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Okay, first up, I have to say I hate the term “cougar”. Not the big cat, they’re lovely to look as in the wild. I hate the term as it refers to older women and younger men. It could be because I am squarely in that territory, made acutely aware of my status while walking the streets of Manhattan. As depressing as this is to admit, not a single man under the age of 30 peeks in my direction.

The older woman/younger man thing has been on my mind lately, courtesy of a couple of high profile women and their boy toys. First, Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon has surfaced at a film festival in Italy with the guy rumored to be responsible for breaking up her 23-year relationship with actor Tim Robbins. Then there is Linda Hogan, 50, who is reportedly ready to walk down the aisle with her much younger beau, 21. And of course, there are the poster children for the May-December relationship, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, married since 2005.

There is no shortage of relationships where the man is significantly older than his bride. Larry King is 26 years older than his wife, Shawn Southwick. How about Clint Eastwood and Dina Ruiz (35 year age difference), Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones (25 years) or Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart  (22 years)?  My own marriage is a May / December, with my husband 14 years older than me.

So does all this mean Hollywood and society are ready to embrace those romances? Unfortunately I think the answer is still no. First of all if we were, it wouldn’t be worthy of photos or a blog post and yet, here we are talking about them.  And why is that? Here’s Good Enough Mother’s amateur analysis and it has to do with sexism.

SOCIETY STILL THINKS WOMEN NEED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF: Since the beginning of time gender roles dictated it be so.  We were seen as weak and fragile even though, since the beginning of time we have been carrying around and pushing out something roughly the size of a watermelon. Weak, my butt.  That didn’t really start to change until World War 2 when women entered the workforce en masse. Like so much of life, we did it because it was a necessity; someone had to keep the jobs going while the men were off fighting. But even now, more than 50 years later, the fighting continues by women in the workforce, who make 78 cents to every dollar men do.

WOMEN ARE NOT SEEN AS SEXUALLY LIBERATED:  Okay maybe it’s just this country where we have such an uneasy relationship with sexual relations. We nickname body parts and blush when we have to have “the talk” with kids. I maintain it’s that same unease that makes us gawk at these relationships. Older women, in all areas of their lives, have been there, done that and know how to get what they want without waiting for someone to ask. That includes the bedroom where we can articulate what we want, who we are interested in and send them on their way if they’re not getting the job done.  That is a prospect just too daunting for some.

MATURE MEN LOOK DISTINGUISHED, MATURE WOMEN JUST LOOK OLD:  How long will we continue buy into this nonsense?  I am 47-years-old and while my own mother looked great at this age, my 47 is definitely not the same as hers was. I maintain my figure through cardio and weights. I run, jump, ride roller coasters, climb on ladders to paint walls, swim, water ski and ice skate. I honestly feel, even 3 years from 50, there are few things I cannot do.  Yes, my waist is not as small as it was, there are little lines around my eyes and I am losing the battle against the gray but those things are what make me interesting. Not just interesting to look at but interesting to talk to and to be around. I have a depth and perspective that comes from living.

I can’t speak to Linda Hogan but as for Susan Sarandon and Demi Moore, they have a lot to offer a younger man and it has little to do with what goes on between the sheets. I think these men have an appreciation for smart, savvy women who’ve lived a life of experiences and still look hot

Plus I’ll bet the sex is pretty good too!

But what do you think? Will you ever get used to seeing older women and younger men? Would you as a woman, date a younger man – or are you currently doing so… start sharing your stories…


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  2. Bonnnie

    August 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I tried to comment on this last week, Rene, but my phone hates me and would not let me. Grrr. However, I am now comfortably positioned before an old-fashioned desktop monitor, and have much to say.

    I am 40. I have been involved, more on-again than off-again with a man 10 and a half years my junior for three years. He is currently 29.

    I, too, hate the term cougar.

    He was 26 when he began his full-court press pursuit. He actually began flirting when he was 23, but that’s another story. I paid him little attention till he was 26 and my marriage (to a man my age who liked hitting and dating) fell apart. He courted me with an intensity that is impossible to describe. If he hadn’t, there is no way I’d be writing to you as an acknowledged cougar.

    I HATE that he is 11 years younger than me. I HATE that when he is a handsome, sexy, distinguished 39 year old I will be a 50 year old hag. In my head, anyway. HATE! I don’t know what to do about this.

    …because I love him.

    He is intellectually my age. He is my partner and my friend (most of the time). You mentioned that women are seen as needing care. He can take care of me. I can take care of him. Isn’t that what relationships are supposed to be about?

    Oh, and you guessed it, the sex is Always has been. For three years. Amazing. Never gets old. I *am* sexually liberated lol. So is he. His drive matches my drive and we are driving! Don’t EVER tell my daughter I said that lol.

    I don’t know what will eventually happen with us, but I must admit I watch women like Demi and Julianne Moore with acute curiosity. I want to see what happens with their relationships. I hope they and their young men are crazy about each other forever!

    …and I spend a LOT of money on eye cream. For realz.

    Thanks for asking…

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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