April 26, 2009

There's a new TV show in America called The Cougar. The premise is an older woman (40) is looking for a younger man and dozens of candidates try to prove they are up for the misson. The highlight was when Officer Nick, a 20-something policeman introduced himself and said, "You have the right to remain delicious." What woman wouldn't love to hear that line?

The other day someone asked me, "How would you feel about being a cougar?" I'm now in the age bracket but I'm about as far away from a Cougar as you can get and still have a heartbeat. The only thing I'm predatory about is getting a seat on the Tube or hailing a cab in the rain. And I didn't realise this was something one needed to have an opinion on either way. But like capital punishment or abortion, I guess it's good to know where you stand. So I've decided I'm against it. Here's why.

If I were to go out with a younger man - especially someone 23 - it would be a very traumatic experience for him. I'd be revealing all sorts of things he wasn't prepared for. Physically and emotionally. The lumps, the bumps, the wrinkles; my hair is going grey and my gums are receding - not to mention the mood swings and anxiety levels which are off the charts. It would be almost like child abuse. Or exposing someone to the deadly gas, Radon. Who needs that kind of responsibility?

Do I really want to be the first time he sees up close all the ways a human body can decay? No thanks. I don't want to be that milestone in someone's life. Men are ruthless about women their own age - so a woman who is 20 years older? I'm no Cindy Crawford. Why would I subject myself to that?

But also, men that age are in their social prime. They want to do things. I'd have to explain to him I don't go out. He'd want to know why. I'd say there's nothing out there but he wouldn't understand. So I'd break it down as simply as possible. I have a problem with crowds and loud noise. An indie band is out of the question. I can hear it now - he'd ask, "What do you want to do tonight?" and I'd say, "What are you talking about? It's 10pm. I'm going to sleep."

Also how do you have a conversation with someone who doesn't get any of your references? I get impatient when someone doesn't know what I'm talking about and would constantly have to be explaining things. Every sentence would begin with "You've never hear of…?" which would get tedious. I can't have sex with someone who has never used a rotary phone or watched a movie on a VCR.

The only good thing I can see is that he would be able to help me programme things. He could teach me to use the apps on my iPhone - after he explained to me what they were and why I would need them. He could guide me through any computer problem I might have. I'd learn how to Twitter but then he'd get annoyed when I lost interest after two minutes.

Friends would also be an issue. He'd want me to hang out with his friends. Going out drinking, snowboarding, Nintendo and so on. I'd pass. Instead I'd suggest we do what I like to do with my friends: nothing. Or even better: sit around and talk about doing nothing.

I think men in their 20's probably enjoy the validation they get from their other guy friends if they date a hot older woman. But that wouldn't be the case with me. There would be no high fives. Only looks of total incomprehension and confusion. They'd worry their friend had lost his mind and try to talk some sense into him. They'd slip him a phone number for a therapist.

Age has never been an issue for me in relationships but the term Cougar is just so wrong. I'm more of a Hedgehog. That's the term for older women who don't want to leave the house and go anywhere or do anything. Hedgehogs are prickly and lactose-intolerant. They don't adapt well to foreign environments.