Why the Double Standard? Issue #3: Cougars vs. Foxes

Cradle-robber, crib-snatcher, May-to-December, Oedipus complex, Electra complex, chickenhawk, manther, Lolita, jailbait, MILF, cougar and cubs, silver foxes and sugar babies. All terms used to describe people/relationships between one older and one much younger person. Did you know that there is an actual rule of thumb about age disparity? Supposed it is socially acceptable to date someone who is half your age plus seven years. I had no idea until I researched for this post. Lemme get a calculator… hmm, interesting.

To start, let me say that I didn't know what the heck a "cougar" was until a girlfriend of mine called me one-in-training (a puma – seriously). I had to look it up. It seems that the definition has varied but apparently if you are a woman near or over 40 dating a man over 8 years younger than you, that makes you a cougar. And you stay a cougar unless you date someone your age or older… how depressing. Being a cougar always has the connotation of a sexually voracious female reaching back to a more virile (supposed) male to keep her satisfied. I ask you, would Stella have gotten that same groove back with a 55-year old stockbroker or is more compelling to bring in a young, toned dude? And speaking of Stella, let's just pause for the cause with the movie trailer (we're gonna ignore how this turned out in real life and enjoy the fiction, mkay).

Someone said there was a reality TV show about cougars and now a sitcom called Cougartown? I haven't looked at it yet, I think I'm mildly offended by the entire concept. Women get the predatory name of cougar while men are called silver foxes. The foxes are hunted and revered as a prize. The cougar is a feared carnivore. I smell a double-standard.

Men "of a certain age" are lauded and revered for getting the youngest women possible to hang on their arms, sleep in their beds and wear their rings. It takes a case as severe as Anna Nicole before people even come with the obligatory, "Eeew!" It is a literal cliché that the older some men get the younger and more blonde their women get. Please check the picture I embedded today and tell me that Mariah and Demi aren't MUCH better preserved than Larry and Donald? Shouldn't you expect women who maintain their looks and vibrant personalities to attract men of all ages? Conversely, aren't you looking at those Barbies on Larry and Donald's arms and thinking, "I hope he has a pre-nup and Viagra?" Of course you are.

Moving on, the theme of the week is live and let live. The only problem I have with age differences are when there's a creepy sex offender vibe to it. As much as I loved Aaliyah the late songstress/actress (RIP); every time I hear the song Age ain't nuthin' but a number I think of R.Kelly and his urine issues and I get a little nauseous. Don't judge me, you know R. is nasty. The whole Mary Kay LeTourneau vibe freaks me out too. Even when I was fourteen, I didn't think fourteen year old boys were sexy. Someone from yesterday's post commented that they knew a man who had his first sexual experience at eight with a sixteen-year old girl but didn't consider that molestation. Again, I gag a little when I hear stories like that. Whole different issue.

But if a 62-year old man finds a 26-year old woman willing to love him up, (eww and ick) I say go for it (get a pre-nup and don't change your life insurance). If a 72-year old woman (a la Joan Collins) can keep finding 35-year old men to give her sponge baths, (blocking the visual) I say go for it (get a pre-nup and make sure you recognize the subtle signs of arsenic poisoning). Seriously though, what have I been saying all week? Get love where you find love (or whatever passes for love in your mind, Amen).

I'll share an interesting tale of some folks I met recently. We'll call them Steve and Tina. Steve and Tina were married for ten years, divorced quite bitterly and moved on. Steve was 42 when they split, Tina was 38. Steve moved a 22-year old girl in with him soon after the divorce. Within six months of that, Tina started seeing a 25-year old male. (Can anyone else say rebound relationships?) Since Steve and Tina had children, there were those blended family outings that always seem like a good idea ahead of time but really play more like a Lifetime Movie of the Week. One great story I was told involved them all going to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for Christmas. At one memorable dinner, Steve's girlfriend was carded and the waitress asked Tina if her son (her date) wanted dessert. The evening deteriorated in an epic shout match, "You're dating the babysitter!" "Well you're dating the pool boy!" before their seven and nine year old daughters had to intervene and send them to their rooms. (Parenting FAIL)

Steve sued Tina for full custody claiming she was an unfit mother for having the pool dude in the house. The judge actually said it showed "an appalling lack of judgment" for her to be dating someone so much younger than she was. Yes, Mr. Judge completely ignored the barely-outta-high-school-chick coming into court on Steve's arm. Ironic twist? After being thrown together time and again, guess who ended up hooking up? Yep, Steve's chickie and Tina's boy-toy. Less than one year later, Steve and Tina got back together.

So what's the moral to the story? I don't know I just found it both fascinating and entertaining. So, what do you say? Have you been the cougar or the cub? The fox or the sugarbaby? Any opinion on Mariah-Nick, Ashton-Demi, Larry-Shawn (his EIGHTH wife), Donald-Melania (his THIRD)? Am I right, are cougars given a bad name while foxes are applauded?