It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
I was at a bar once not so very long ago, out with some older and single women. We had spent the night primping prior to making our way to Gilderland to the Side Door Cafe for Friday night karaoke. For me this meant brushing my hair and putting on some lip-gloss. For them… there were creams and powders and push-up bras. Now I’ve always been of the opinion that natural is sexy and cosmetics should enhance the natural. I couldn’t understand why they were applying so much make up and trying to fit into clothes that were too youthful even for me. You see as I eclipse thirty, I may use a semi-perm color to hide my numerous grays, but I dress age-appropriate and proudly show my laugh wrinkles. I earned these baby.
We arrived early for the singing and decided to sit at the bar with a drink so I could watch the game. Two guys smiled and began talking to me as it came down to the final moment. Obviously one was the wingman that night, so he chatted up one of my older friends – the mother of a girl my age. Things were going swimmingly until the wingman commented that it was so nice for a mother and daughter to go out for drinks together. Wingman thought he was entertaining my mother while his friend tried to get my number so we could meet up after the supposed family time. My friend was furious that he thought she was too old to hit on. Which she was. They were both younger than me and her daughter is my age.
It didn’t dawn on me that I was out with a group of cougars. The blue eye shadow, the deep-vees and bedazzled jeans were not out of place at Side Door. Being upset at being considered an elder is understandable, especially if one’s self image is that of a youthful woman. Drinks started flowing and we began singing.
And then I approached a guy who I had seen a few times before there. We got to talking. That’s the dance – approach, chat, flirt and then maybe suggest another time. Without each other’s respective entourage. You take it to a more intimate setting – just you and him next time. Or at least that’s how I’ve always approached the dating circuit. Cougars do things differently.
One of my group spotted me and this handsome fella. She approached, like women do. And then as she introduced herself, she felt up his crotch area. (Chatting? Check. Flirting? Double check.) Immediately he lost interest in the wonderful discussion we were having about Lost. (Pity too – his theory on the flash sideways was nearly spot on!) Someone suggested getting a smoke, and they vanished for the rest of the night. One by one, the women I were out with began pairing up with younger – sometimes much younger – co-ed tail from the SUNY campus. They did it in not-subtle ways a woman like myself just cannot compete with.
I do enjoy the company of a younger man, and by younger I mean maybe two or three years so. The appeal of dating someone with the same amount of energy and go-get-em is entirely understandable. (At twenty-eight I have more energy than people ten years my junior.) However, I’m also a big fan of acting one’s age. Let’s be honest here, the same dating techniques that applied in my late teens just don’t work. A girl who acts slutty is nice – for a night – but the appeal wears off. Guys actually do want someone they can relate to, share interests with, and have conversations with. What a near fifty year old woman in denim capris and a sheer blouse from Fashion Bug (why do all cougars in Albany shop there anyway?!) has in common with a SUNY brat is a complete and total mystery to me.
But the real problem is that women my age, often don’t simply walk up to a man, buy him a drink and then proceed to fondle him. We play with our necklace as we check him out, we slide slowly across the bar (or dance floor), we smile and then turn away only to look back to double check if he’s still paying attention. Cougars simply choose their prey, douse it with alcohol and attack. I just can’t compete with that.