A while back when a girlfriend and I were walking by a billboard for the Vivica Fox-hosted reality show, "The Cougar." I made some snarky comment about this not exactly being the equality feminists dream of, and the friend gave me a cheeky grin and said, "You know, that older woman is only 39."
That's less than five years away, folks. Apparently I don't have long before I go from flirty thirty-something sexual adventurer to predatory over-the-hill sexual adventurer, at least in the eyes of TV producers. I should probably call ahead to see if they can line up some callow youths for me. But the problem is, I'm not particularly attracted to young men. In fact, I already know I would just plain suck at being a cougar.
I have three little brothers who range in age from 23-18. The little brothers have friends. More than once, the friends have hit on me, and some of these guys were--objectively speaking--pretty hot. But while a college athlete's body is a thing of beauty, I wasn't all that tempted. First of all, I knew that even just a fun roll in the hay would condemn my brothers to years of "Yo, Sharper, I fucked your sister!" I couldn't do that to them. Second of all, as I recall from my own experience, college guys are fairly lousy in the sack. Energetic and enthusiastic maybe, but their technique usually needs a lot of refining.
Granted, there are some women who like that. Madonna, when asked about her predilection for very young men, once said: "They don't know what they're doing, but they can do it all night long." Yikes. I don't know about you, ladies, but marathon sex with a dude who doesn't know what he's doing does not appeal AT ALL (and sounds like an excellent way to wind up with a raging UTI). But to each her own. Personally, I know what I like, and what I like is a man who doesn't need to be introduced to the concept of female orgasm. Or the location of the clitoris. Or the importance of reciprocity. By the time men hit their 30s and 40s, you can reasonably expect these things from your lovers (well, more or less. Some men are slow learners). Yes, learning together is fun, and I enjoyed it when I was younger. But I'm not interested in reliving it, either.
Since I turned 30, I've had the chance to date, or just to shtup, guys in their early to mid-twenties, and each time, I've politely said "no, thank you." This is one of the few issues where I realize how despite all my assertions that women should have the same societal privileges as men, I am unable to walk that walk.
Older men love younger women (and I should know). It has ever been thus, mainly for cultural reasons of money, power and Patriarchy. Now that women are wealthier and more powerful, they're more often the December in May/December romances. Pop culture certainly seems in love with the idea of the older women with younger men, although I suspect that's because pop culture gets off on the edgy and transgressive. "Cougars" fit the bill, since they challenge the traditional idea that younger women are hot and older women are icky or sexless.
I don't condemn women who want to date younger men–if that's what works for them, great. If men can do it without being shamed, then so, in theory, should we. But the older I get, the more I realize that it's one masculine privilege I'm not interested in co-opting. Much younger men simply don't hold much allure for me. I think it's yet another of the ways that despite the gains of feminism, even when I'm an old girl, I'll never be be one of the old boys.