Have you caught the hot new reality show: "The Cougar?" The title refers to a woman of a certain age, i.e., over forty, who romances a bunch of much younger men, all of whom are in their 20s. As a 40-something woman, I had no idea that I could be considered a feral, sexy predator, hungrily sniffing about for a tasty snack. Frankly, neither did my husband.
I'm glad that TV thinks I am still sexy in middle age. But did they have to make me into an animal? And such an energetic animal? This is too much pressure.
The Cougar, who in the case of the TV show is named Stacy, is supposed to spend many weeks dating and being romanced by a dozen young fellows, gradually narrowing it down until she chooses her favorite. They do all kinds of unreal, reality show types of dates, like rowing around on a lake or going fancy places. Stacy is constantly wearing a full face of makeup and clothes that need dry cleaning. I got exhausted just watching it.I have to wonder if Stacy really wants a guy in his 20s or if she just likes the idea that she can still attract one. The men are sexy, I guess, in an "I'm still figuring out what I want to do with my life — but business school sounds neat!" kind of way. Really, I can't imagine being with someone to whom you'd have to explain to what it's like to use a pay phone.
The name Cougar implies that you are confident, sexual, impatient, and ready to take what you want. You are the boss. You prowl around in pursuit of pleasure and new experiences, snarling and swiping. This does not describe me, except, occasionally, the snarling part, like when there are giant toothpaste blobs in the sink.
Once again, Hollywood has taken a perfectly good idea: sexy middle aged women, and turned it into something ridiculous. It's not just enough be sexy, you have to be so insatiable, so passionate, so powerful, that you constantly crave a fresh supply of young blood.
I know what I crave. It's called a nap.
I'm sexy, (at least that's what I'm telling myself) but I'm tired. If I spent all that energy dolling myself up and hitting the town — how would I have the energy to get the kids to swim team in the morning or vacuum up the dog hair? And where would I find all these young guys anyway? My son's Boy Scout troop is way too young. I could try prowling around at the swim club, what with all those lifeguards on duty. But I've been going to the pool for 12 years, and I know all their mothers, so that's not going to work. I can't lope around in my tankini, purring and mewing, and then say "Tell your mom I've collected 250 Box Tops for Education". Not very Cougary.
It's not that I don't want to be an animal, I just want to be one who knows how to relax. Maybe a seal, sunning herself on the rocks in between fish dinners. Or a bear. Bears are good mothers, and they have beautiful thick fur coats. They don't feel the need to shore up their ego by chasing around a bunch of teenage bears. They have too much dignity for that. Yes, indeed, I can relate to bears.
Best of all, they sleep all winter long.
Pam Lobley is a columnist and co-author of the book "You Definitely Know You're a Mom When ..." To read her past columns or get contact information, visit her website: www.pamlobley.com.