My friends and I have an ongoing debate about what, exactly, qualifies one to be labeled a cougar:
- You have to be at least 10 years older than the fella to be a cougar
- You can't be a cougar in your 30's; you have to be 40 or older
- You have to make more money than the boytoy to be a cougar
- You have to be a celebrity to be a cougar
- If the dude is closer in age to your daughters than to you, you might be
This discussion stemmed from my dalliance with a couple of rather young (okay, very young) twenty-somethings over the summer, and has continued thanks to my entering the final year of my thirties. I'm not particularly fond of the term, but it does make me giggle. And I dare any woman to say "no thanks" given the chance to have a strapping young male tell her she's hot. That's just going against nature.
It hasn't helped that Shal's daughter Abi blurts out, "That reminds me of Becky!" while watching "Cougartown" with her mom. But, to be fair, her comparison is more about copious amounts of wine drunk from ridiculously large glasses than dating habits.
The truth is, I think I'm in a twenty-something dating state of mind. Let's face it, I didn't do a lot of dating in my twenties--I had a baby and then got married at 23. The problem is that most guys my age did do a lot of dating in their twenties, and even in their thirties, and many of them now want to settle down and have a family. OR they have little kids and are looking for someone to love their spawn as much as them. Which is not a bad thing to want--it's just not what I'm interested in.
I want to play. I want to hang out and go to movies, and see bands and have drinks. I want to try new restaurants and visit art galleries. I want to be spontaneous and do things I've never done before. I want to be silly. I want to be a little bit irresponsible. I don't know if this is some kind of pre-emptive empty nest syndrome or my version of a midlife crisis, but being on the brink of "on my own"--not a wife or a mom of little kids, but just a woman living my life--makes me somewhat giddy and I want to ride it out.
In preparation for my impending fortieth birthday which is coming in a little less than 50 weeks, my friends have offered (or should I say threatened?) to throw me a cougar-themed party. My preferred definition of cougar is related to being at least 40 years old, so the theme is perfectly timed. There's been talk of cocktails served by shirtless young men and lots of animal prints. It sounds horribly awesome! So I figure I should keep the cougar-vibe alive for the next 11 months or so...but only so my friends won't have to come up with another idea for my big birthday bash. I'm always thinking of others. That's just who I am.