The Cougar Industry.
Well, we asked for equality and I guess one area where women are getting what they asked for is with respect to May-December “romances.” After all, men have had, throughout the history of man and womankind, their share of old goats who traded in a 40 for two 20’s (ha-ha). The image of the walrus-mustached, white-thatched tycoon with the knockout blonde on his arm has certainly been around for at least as long as The New Yorker has been printing cartoons. And anyone want to start a pool with me guessing the date when Arnold Schwarzenegger will appear in public squiring a leggy young thing. (Let’s make it more interesting: you have to guess the date and the year of birth of the leggy young thing.)
We’ve come a long way, baby. At least I guess we have.
Cougars, it seems, have come into their own.
And let’s just say that these days, you can’t have any kind of little old trend – in this case the “cougar predator lifestyle” - without an entire economic apparatus growing up around it.
Thus, I give you the Cougar Industry. (Actually, it’s Business Week that’s giving it to you. I’m just the channeling medium.)
Sorry to say that I missed the National Cougar Convention, which was held at a Manhattan nightclub. Then again, I wouldn’t have wanted to stand in the way of Aalsa Lee. At 73, she may not have all that many more opportunities to make a run at the Miss Cougar America title, which she won, beating out over thirty not so young lovelies, including crowd fave “Jerzee”, she of the “very dark, unhealthy-looking tan” and the “extremely short tie-dyed skirt adorned with peace symbols.” (All she is saying, is give piece a chance….)
The Cougar lifestyle has now been with us for ten years.
I'm not quite sure exactly what defines a Cougar, but I don’t think it’s just when there’s a few years difference in ages. I guess it’s when the woman is old enough to be the mother of the object of her affection. (Or, as the article states, perhaps “"cougar" is simply the label society assigns financially independent divorcées.”)
"There is a new archetype that's emerging," says Amy Luna Manderino, the reigning Miss Cougar International. "There have always been free-thinking, vital women over the age of 40. The difference today is our numbers have reached a critical mass."
I’m all for free-thinking, vital women over the age of 40. In fact, I do believe there’s been critical mass of them for quite a long while. That is, if you define the free-thinking women category as broader than those who prefer to play with boy-toys.But if you constrain the definition to those who think young men, there’s apparently an entire “transcontinental economy” designed to cater to their every Cougar desire.
…conventions, dating sites, tourism, and other cougar-themed business ventures. Miss Cougar America is part of a larger pageant hierarchy that includes Miss Cougar Miami, Miss Cougar Las Vegas, and Miss Cougar Sydney…The greater cougar industry has expanded into books (Dating a Cougar, Hot Cougar Sex, A Christian Cougar), television (real-life cougar Courtney Cox's Cougar Town and the reality-TV show The Cougar), and even the big screen.
There’s also a new movie out – Cougar Hunting – that follows a bunch of young guys “on a quest for older women.”
The old me wants to say “as f-ing if”. But the new me – even though, as a married gal who’s a bit long in the fang, I don’t qualify as a cougar – says that, once media constructs are constructed, they sure do have a way of becoming reality. Especially once – ageism rules! – the age of the cub-desired cougar is drifting down from true older gal, like Aalsa Lee, to thirty-early-forty something. And it’s apparently the cubs that are driving the surreality in which the cougar hunting is a “very hot economic trend in the dating world.” And in which Ms. Manderino has:
…already identified six categories of cubs, including "fetish cubs," "mama's boy cubs," and cubs who simply want a story to tell their friends.
“Mama’s boy cubs”?
Sorry, my stomach is roiling. Waste basket, please.
Lucia Demasi, who recently took over Urban Cougar, is enthusiastic about the company's outlook. She is hoping to increase current traffic from 35,000 to 100,000 visitors each month. "In the Jewish tradition," Lucia says, "you become a man with a bar mitzvah. For everybody else, maybe it'll be a cougar."
Today your son’s a man. Mazel tov.
Soon, Urban Cougar will offer VIP memberships, Lucia says, for $7.99 to $12.99 per month.
Or you could save up for the:
Norwegian Cruise Line provides a Cougar Cruise to the Bahamas. (Three- and five-night packages range from $150 to $500.) More modest cross-cultural options include a $195 two-night Celtic Cougar deal at the Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel in Galena, Ill.
I can honestly say that I never thought I would see the words Celtic Cougar, Irish Cottage, and Galena, Ill. used in combination. I do believe that my mother and my aunt Mary took a trip once to Galena, Illinois. Hmmmm. They said they were looking at the old Victorian houses. Wonder what really went on there.