I only heard the derogatory term “cougar” as it pertains to women a few years ago. However, when researching the subject, I discovered that it has been in use for at least 20 years (well, the last time I was single and looking for love in all the wrong places was more than 20 years, so I’ve been out of the loop for awhile).
There are many theories as to where the term originated, but the most prevalent one references a Vancouver, B.C. bar (where else?). According to the lore, “cougar” is slang for older women prowling drinking establishments in order to pick up much younger men for sexual liaisons. To be considered a “cougar,” a woman must be at least 10 years older than the man, who is known as a “cub” or, possibly, a “drunken cub.” Does a guy have to be severely intoxicated, or desperate and intoxicated, to allow an old lady to pick him up?
But back to the question: are menopause “cougars” fact or fiction? According to my Internet research, the answer is “fact.” There are many dating websites that cater to older women. One of the sites states that there are more “cougars” than “cubs,” so the “cubs” have a vast array of very mature gals from which to choose. I’ve not come into contact with a “cougar” (that I know of), but in another stratosphere that I don’t inhabit, there are Heidi Klum, Kate Hudson, Courteney Cox, Mariah Carey and Kris Jenner to name a few.
It appears that “cougars” appeal to the younger man because of their maturity and life experiences. The older woman knows exactly what she wants and isn’t inclined to play dating games. Also, there is no possibility of pregnancy! The “cubs” appeal to the “cougars” because men their age may not be as attractive, are married or are in a relationship. Dating a younger guy makes the “cougar” feel like she’s still attractive and relevant.
But I think I’ve changed my mind. The term “cougar” for an older woman seeking the companionship of a younger guy may not be derogatory at all. A cougar is a slender, agile, fierce, adaptable animal with lithe limbs. And there you have it!