Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm a Cougar in Missoula

So this last Friday was Paige’s 27th birthday. We had a big BBQ at Paige and Justin’s (where the mosquitoes were quite literally attacking us) and then headed downtown. We went to three bars: The Rhino, Red’s and Stockman’s. At all three bars, Paige would tell people it was her birthday and they would inevitably ask how old she was. She would answer that she was 27. We got the exact same reaction wherever we went: shock and mild disgust. “Oh… really? I’m 23 (24, 25, etc.).” Then they would slowly turn and try to get the attention of one of their friends so they could sneakily stop chatting with us. Having been 27 for almost nine months now, I was especially offended by this obvious and ridiculous agism. In Portland (and anywhere NORMAL AND NOT A COLLEGE TOWN) 27 is not old. 27 is established, attractive, professional, etc. but definitely not old. But the one thing that was made glaringly clear to me in the last three days is that, in Missoula, I am officially a Cougar.

For those of you who don’t know – a Cougar is an old woman who preys on younger men. This is easy to do here because the University students are inevitably at the same bars as us and have most likely been drinking large quantities of alcohol. If I actually WAS a Cougar and wanted to take advantage of the situation, it would be like taking candy from a baby (literally). I think the situation infuriated me even more because our friend Tom (who actually calls himself T. Rex), is 42, has never been married, is very successful and is quite the catch. But he is CONSTANTLY surrounded by 21 year olds and has even dated women younger than that. So fine. If T. Rex can do it and not be called ridiculous names or be looked on as a dangerous predator, so can I. If the normal aged men think I’m OLD (gets more ridiculous the more I say it), I’m going to start dating 18 year olds. No one older than 20. I’ve decided to just embrace whatever Cougar vibe I’m putting out there and see where it takes me. The way I see it, there are actually quite a few pros that could come from this situation:

1. 18 year old men have not yet developed beer bellies or started balding
2. 18 year old men have plenty of time to spend with you because THEY’RE STILL IN SCHOOL
3. 18 year old men are still being supported by their parents (I realize this could be a con, but I really enjoyed it when I was still supported by MY parents)
4. 18 year old men can’t come to the bars with you, which means I can go out an have a good time with my friends WITHOUT the guilt of not spending time with my significant other

Now, there are also plenty of cons to this plan. I’ve dated a younger man so I know it might not be for me. Some of the other cons include:

1. The possibility of several roommates (or, let’s be clear, a FRATERNITY HOUSE full of roommates)
2. An 18 year old body, which would bring me back to the days of 2 times a day workouts and a generally fat free diet just to feel like we were on equal footing
3. The internal shame of dating someone younger than my brother
4. The embarrassment that would come from reading about his first DUI in the Sunday Missoulian
5. The fact that he might still be carrying his photo from prom in his wallet
6. Dealing with the drama of sorority girls AGAIN
7. Long nights helping him edit his English papers

Now I’m kind of second guessing my decision. Thoughts from all of you? Younger? Older? Or maybe I’ll just become Justin’s second wife and be done with this whole thing…


Alyson said...

You know I love the younger men! I fully support your decision. In fact, I just might have to come back and investigate the quality of young men in Missoula. Oh how I miss waking up in the top bunk at a fraternity...

The Quintessential Life Experience said...

Not to be a stickler, but I must take issue with your definition of Cougar.

1. Attractive. Check.
2. Successful. Check.
3. Well dressed. Check.
4. At a bar. Check.
5. 40+ years old. Nocheck.

The urban dictionary clearly defines a cougar in some fairly unfriendly terms, few of which apply to you...

For a good sampling, try the Devil's Martini (aka the Cougar's Martini) in Scottsdale.

Finally, the definitive Cougar website, - does not even have listings for Montana.

So, I'm sorry to disappoint, wish you the best of luck with the Grizz frat boys, but of course, can't support the misuse of the Cougar application.

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