I’ve heard that some women don’t like being referred to as a cougar. They think it conjures up a vision of a desperate older woman on the prowl for young men. To each his own. Personally, I love the title. It’s playful and vibrant and it resonates well with my alpha personality. The odd thing is, I have NEVER, not once, approached a younger man. It’s always been the other way around – they approach me. The very first time that a young man approached me, I thought he was going to ask me for the time or directions, or truthfully, I thought he was going to ask me for money! It’s not that he looked indigent – quite the opposite – he was clean, pants pulled up, well almost all the way up, but far from “thuggish” and he was well groomed. He was very handsome and VERY young. Imagine my surprise when he smiled and told me I was beautiful and asked if I was married! My initial response was a blank stare and a loss for words. It took a few seconds for his words to register in my brain. This young dude was hitting on me! I was amused and I remember laughing out loud. I told him that I was old enough to be his mother and I had daughters who were his age. The young man stood his ground and didn’t seem deterred in his efforts to talk with me. He stood there smiling and told me that, although he was sure my daughters were equally as beautiful as their mother, it was me he was interested in. For the second time that day, I was speechless and completely unprepared and caught off guard by his boldness and surety. I smiled politely at him, as though I was indulging a young child, and told him that I was not interested and wished him a good day and headed towards my car. Needless to say, I was quite confused and very flattered at the same time. This handsome young guy was actually attracted to me – a nearly 50 year old mother of two beautiful adult daughters. I had been happily divorced for about two years at that time and hadn’t done much dating at all. I’d certainly considered what dating would be for me after almost 20 years of marriage, but I certainly never imagined it would be with younger men.
Fast forward a year later. I’d been on dates in the months that followed with several men – all in my generation – mostly in their 50’s. I remember dinner or coffee dates with these men and, other than my company, the one thing they all had in common were discussions about their adult children who still living at home munching off them, or the ones who’ve moved back in with spouses and/or grandchildren, endless droning on about why their ex-wives were horrible and mean to them or various physical ailments that they were currently dealing with **YAWN** I even had one guy tell me that since his daughter and grandson lived with him, he’d feel more comfortable if our next date (he was being very optimistic that there would be a next date…) could be in a hotel room, where he’d cook me dinner. He told me he didn’t feel comfortable bringing a woman home with his daughter and grandson there. Wait…there’s more! He then commenced to bragging to me about his culinary skills and that he even carries a hot plate and a George Foreman grill around in his trunk and would whip me up a fantastic dinner in our hotel room. (**BLANK STARE**)…Once again, there aren’t many times in my life that I’m left speechless, but you can bet this was one of those times. I remember cutting the coffee date shorter than I usually do and telling him that I needed to leave for an appointment. I got out of there as quickly as I could, with him on my heels. His car was parked right next to mine and as we approached our vehicles, he asked me when he could see me again. I remember getting into my car, closing the door and starting my engine while he stood by the window. For a fleeting moment, I thought about running him over with my car, but I’m too old to do time, so instead, I rolled my window down and simply said “never.” I pulled out of the parking lot and left him standing right there, next to his car with the hot plate and George Foreman grill in the trunk.
Little did I know that that particular date was an epiphany for me. It was a turning point in my dating life that I had not anticipated. From that day forward, I decided something very simple: I was going to surround myself with people – men and women – who made me happy. I was going to be in the company of people who made me laugh and feel wonderful! I had no idea that that simple decision would lead me on an uncharted and new road in my life: dating younger men. Yes, thanks to hot plate dude, I was now about to try something different (and it sure wasn’t going to be dining in some cheap hotel room with some old man standing in his socks and underwear flipping me a burger on his grill, hoping he’s going to get lucky – I shudder…just shudder at the imagery!!) Now, I need to mention that the young man I’d encountered a year earlier was the first, but he wasn’t the last. In between dating so-called mature men my own age, the young men kept coming. They had various approach lines, looks, and personalities, but they were all much younger than me. And just like before, I blew them all off, but not before I found myself laughing with them (not at them this time). Yes, I laughed with them because they were all usually very funny and animated and their self confidence, boldness and audacity was outrageously sexy and appealing. Even though I found myself spending more and more time chatting with them – giving them excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly be interested in them, I would still always refuse to entertain the thought of actually going out with one of them.
That all changed! When I decided to surround myself ONLY with people who make me laugh and feel wonderful, I didn’t know at the time that it would include younger men for dating. But when I thought about, I realized that they were the very ones who were already doing what I decided was necessary and important to me. Suddenly it became very clear: I’ve tried dating men my own age and it’s not working out. So, why not try dating the men who are eagerly stepping up and showing interest, even if they are decades younger than me? Decades?! A decade is ten years, right? Right. And yes, these young men were ranging anywhere between mid 20’s to mid 30’s! Wasn’t there a happy medium somewhere? Where were the younger men who weren’t SO young – like in their 40’s. That was still a lot younger than me because by now I was 50, so 40 was younger! I have no idea where those 40ish men were, but I never met any of them…at least not at first. Well, maybe one or two, but they didn’t interest me. So what did this say about me? Oh my God, was I some sort of undercover freak pervert who only liked them REALLY young? I wondered, but then I realized that I did have my “cut off” limit – the point where too young is REALLY too young. And that decision was made pretty easy for me because the large majority of men I met were in their mid to late 30’s anyway.
So, with much consideration and a few conversations with a couple of my close girlfriends (who while very supportive, teased me about being a cradle robber! – And that same girlfriend – I won’t mention her name, but she knows who she is (Georgia!) is now considering dating younger men, too!) My daughters were my biggest cheerleaders, with some good natured teasing in the mix as well. But ultimately, they told me that they just wanted me to be happy. And so I was. Now know this: I did not seek my daughters’ and friends’ approval before doing this. They simply gave it to me unconditionally and lovingly. What I did seek is some advice from my closet friend, who also happens to be Georgia. I shared my thoughts about eventually becoming sexual with a younger man and how I might be a little nervous being naked in front of him – after all, I’m a 50 year old woman and although I very healthy and exercise regularly, I don’t have the body that I did when I was 20 or even 30. My friend laughed and said something that I will never forget. She said, “Ava, younger men know EXACTLY what you have and they know EXACTLY what they want if they approach you. They know you’re older and your body is, too. It’s the confidence that goes along with your body that they’re attracted to, so don’t be nervous. If they wanted a younger woman, they’d have one.” She was so right! And this was the friend who told me I was a cradle robber!
And from my two darling daughters, I sought what I refer to as “Urban Translation.” Over the last few years since I started on my journey with younger men, my daughters have clued me on such meanings as “Dope,” “Keep it 100,” “Ratchet,” “Killed it, “Monet,” “Shady Boots,” and most recently, “Turn up!” (If you don’t have children as cool as mine, get the Urban Dictionary app for your phone). Now, truth is, I don’t use these words, except around my daughters just to hear them beg me not to! Although I will admit, I do like the word “Dope,” (urban translation: adj: cool, awesome, nice – noun: drugs). Obviously it still means what it’s always meant, but I use it “occasionally” when I REALLY like something, and ONLY in limited company, and I always feel dope when I say it. The beauty for me about this dating younger journey that I’m on is the fact that I’ve never used any of those words when I’m with them. I’m simply myself – my 50-something self, talking just the way I talk when I’m with my friends, family and strangers. The young men will sometimes use it and I like to know what it means and have asked them at times. And my questions are always met with a smile and a patient explanation of its definition. Now it’s their turn to indulge me like a young child, and I love it!
My point here is that I haven’t changed who I am one bit. Instead, I’ve learned a few new things that have only enhanced me. Not just the slang, but the fact that the very reason that I’m attractive to some young men is because I remain true to me. I don’t try to act their age – I act MY age, and that’s the appeal. Someone once said to me that I probably like younger men because they make me feel alive. I thought about that for a moment. Finally I said to him: No, it’s just the opposite – I date younger men because I already feel alive and I want to be around people who feel alive, too. After my divorce, I metamorphosed into a free spirited, vibrant, youthful and happy woman who realized that life is too short to surround yourself with people who are negative, complaining, complacent and miserable. Misery does not suit me at all. I’m not bashing men my own age. As a matter of fact, I have met a few older men who are good friends, but nothing more. Dating younger men may not be for everyone – again, to each his own. But it has brought me more laughter and fun than I can ever remember in my “love” life. I’m determined to be an old chic with no regrets! And, by the way, I got over that anxiety of being naked in in front of a younger man. My young lover of two years quickly dissolved all those fears and worshipped my body and I felt like a goddess. And the sex, well…just DOPE!
Photos: Courtesy of Stock Photos