Ooooh boy, here we go.
I have, on more than one occasion, been called a cougar. Now, if you’re not familiar with the term, a cougar is a woman who pursues or have relations with men younger than her. The internet desperately tries to gloss it over a bit, by saying that the men are “significantly” younger, or they are “at least 8 years younger”, or the term only applies if the woman is “very aggressive”.
That’s a bunch of doo-hickey. The last time I was confronted with this, was when talking about a recent partner. He came up in a conversation about relations in general and even though the age difference is so small, I knew I was going to get shit for it when I had to answer the question of his age.
‘So how old is he?’
‘He’s 29, will be 30 in August.’
‘Uuuuuh, you always were into the young and eager ones, wink wink, nudge nudge, craddlerobber, cougar, ha ha ha, no-no that’s not so bad.’
Not. So. Bad.
In this case it was a massive 366 days exactly that was the difference between us. Wow. Hold on to your horses. The scandal. Oh my. Let’s bring out the bell and yell in the streets. ‘Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Another young man falls prey to the beast!’
Because that is exactly what the term imply. A cougar is a predator, it hunts and overcomes the prey. It eats the helpless small creatures.
I have had several partners that were significantly younger than me, but none of them were prey. Because not only are you calling me a ruthless predator, you are also removing all agency from the younger partners I’ve had. You are robbing them of their own will and ability to make decisions, you are condescending and turning them into impressionable children. They are not.
(I don’t even get turned on by having control, so it all makes very little sense in my case.)
GASP OH HORROR! He was totally tricked! He didn’t know what he was doing, he was completely overwhelmed by the experience and age of this older woman! Poor little thing with no mind of his own! He had no choice at all when faced with this beast of a woman!
Stop removing agency from people. Stop making them mindless push-overs.
I do the numbers game in my head all the time, not only trying to calculate the amount of shit I will get, but also how it will affect a potential partner. If I’m 7 years older and I consider the consequences that I faced when hooking up with someone 5 years younger than me, how much annoyance and pain will it bring, divided by 3 because of the social circle, minus 4 because it’s spring, plus 52 because I’m now 30 and I was 28 the last time. I sometimes just revert to the stupid 7-year-rule.
Half your age + 7 = Acceptable lower limit. Double your age – 7 = Acceptable upper limit.
It’s exhausting and it has held me back many times, either because I couldn’t deal with the amount of math I suddenly had to do, or because the numbers told me that it would be in everyone’s best interest if this did not happen. Only the numbers, nothing else. It didn’t matter how mature they were, how serious it was/could be, how much I liked the person, the situation, the place, how much the person liked me, only the numbers.
How fucking sad is that. I don’t want to be held back by something as idiotic as this, but I can’t help it. Because I’m in the “cougar position” all responsibility is on my shoulders and I have to be extra careful. Even if we are talking 366 days. Because, as you remember, the prey have no say, no responsibility, no will, and thus I have to take care of everything.
It all boils down to consent. If it is two consenting adults, then let them do whatever the hell they want.
How about we just let people enjoy their daddy-issues and Peter Pan syndromes in peace, shall we?