Lately I’ve been running into a whole lot of me’s. 40 something single chicks without kids, one divorce under their belt and no regular guy in their life. According to the urban dictionary of yesteryear we’re ‘old maids’ but since most of us are neither old or particularly maid like (my cleaning habits leave a lot to be desired and I don’t own an apron), we get labeled as ‘cougars’.
Ah the ‘cougar’. The generic term for anyone over 40 who still actively pursues a relationship or sex, with or without strings. The name originated in Vancouver some time back (no one is sure when), to refer to ‘older women who would go to bars and go home with whoever was left at the end of the night’. These days in the US, it tends to mean older women who voraciously and aggressively chase younger men for the purpose of sex. Either definition sucks; we loathe this term.
Why? Because in no way to we resemble the actual cougar or the slang cougar.
An actual cougar is an excellent stalk-and-ambush predator that pursues a wide variety of prey. So on the surface, this whole ‘hunting dudes’ thing kind of makes sense. Except the actual cougar only socializes with males for the purpose of mating, and spends the majority of its time with other female cats. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t see big packs of 40 somethings females swarming the streets. In fact, we’re sort of invisible. We’re at the dinner party with our male counterparts, hanging out with families and friends, pursuing our passions alone, or together with women and men.
And cougars are largely silent. They can’t roar and spend most of their life silent except for the occasional scream, hiss or whistle. (have you met a silent woman? Ever?) About the only thing we’ve got in common with an actual cougar is the term ‘pussy’.
Now the slang cougar? Well that pisses us off even more.
Hunting for sex? If I ask my friends and their friends, its lucky if any of us have gotten laid this year. Hitting a bar for the purpose of picking off a lame deer to screw? Are you kidding me? That’s for 20 something drunk chicks and the movies. Actual 40 somethings – we’re a little more discerning and most of us have a toy drawer. No thanks, we’ll wait.
Specifically hunting men in their 20’s? Again, pass. We’d like to have a conversation with whoever we screw and have you met a 25 year male old lately? They still don’t need to shave on a daily basis. Most 40 something women like our men good in bed, giving and game for anything in the sack. We’re not looking for marriage or kids (younger guys tend to look for one or the other eventually) and your 20 something guy? Most of them haven’t even discovered oral sex yet. We’re not that hungry.
In fact, if we’re hunting anything at all, its a pair of discount Stuart Wietzmans or a cheap flight to Mexico. Men.. we all have hope that one or two will pop up eventually, but hunting? We’ve got better things to do.
So really, not cougar-like at all.
Which begs the question. If we’re not old maids and we’re certainly not cougars.. then what are we? Us 40 something singletons with sexual desire and confidence, pleasure seeking, no urge to tie anyone down (unless requested) and past the notion of kids?
I initially thought about otters. They always look like they’re having a good time, whether its alone or with another otter. Google ‘otter play’ and show me anything that looks more content, happy and playful. Sure they hunt (well..technically.. fish), but its not their sole purpose in life. Their den is called a couch.. (hello Friday nights??) and in Japan, folklore around the otter focuses on their ability to shape shift into beautiful women. (double hello???). A match? I thought so.
But on reflection, otters aren’t that smart. They’re sort of delighted playful fools, and no woman in her 40’s wants to be associated with stupidity. We need to look elsewhere.
Next I considered the dolphin. Its unbelievably smart, playful and are actually descendants of terrestrial mammals (aka ‘us’). They never stop communicating via whistles and squeaks (hello ladies), they have acute hearing and insanely good eyesight (just try to slip something by us). They display ‘culture’ teaching their young to use tools and how to display sexual desire (aka. your girlfriend in high school) and they’re incredibly playful with other dolphins but also play across multiple species from man and dogs, to birds and whales. They masturbate and engage in non reproductive sexual activity. Sounds like a better match doesn’t it?
Except… well dolphins only sleep for 4-60 seconds at a time and they are known to be sort of aggressive (sleep deficit anyone?), with behaviors that include infanticide, murdering other aquatic animals (and birds) which they don’t actually eat. I don’t know about you, but no amount of PMS can account for that kind of shenanigans. Plus dolphins have babies forever…and us, we’re definitely over that idea. Sooooo.. maybe not dolphin then.
Ape? Hell no (we’re nothing if not precious about our depilatory routines).
Beavers? (snort). Well we are industrious, but Beavers are workaholics ..which we’re certainly not. That was our 20’s and 30’s.
Sharks? Well we are smart and many of us are permanently cold so there are some similarities. They’re certainly highly social and they’ve actually evolved thicker skin than the males as a result of the bites they endure during mating (amaright ladies?) But who wants to be known as a shark? Can we get over the hunting and eating references maybe?
Which brings me to the conclusion that you can’t categorize me and my 40 something single friends into an animal stereotype. We’re too diverse. We’re not ‘like’ anything other than what we are, a bit of everything. Strong and weak, playful and serious, social and aloof, sexual and comforting, happy and melancholy, driven and content.
I say, if we have to be an animal, let us be unicorns. We’re women who don’t want the white picket fence, we’re not coming for your money and we don’t have or want kids. We enjoy our lives and to be honest, we just want to have fun. With our friends and our lovers.
Plus, we’re always horny.