Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Cougar Phenomenon


Well, it's really gone public now, the Cougar Phenomenon, I mean. This season, a new television show entitled, Cougar Town, will debut. It's about two women who relocate to a town where, it turns out, all the available men are younger than either of them. Golly, what a coincidence. I'm sure the producers would like it become the stuff of comic legend. I like Courtney Cox, so I hope she has a winner.

Anyway, when I'm asked what I think about this (the theme, not the show), I have to say I'm surprised it's taken so long to catch on. Speaking from experience, it's extremely flattering to be a younger man and find an older woman is interested. For one thing, you realize you've got enough game to actually be appealing to someone who has more experience, may have a successful career, and could easily make other choices. Instead, she chooses you. Wow.

At the same time, it's not so surprising when you think of the limitations women have had, and still have, to overcome to achieve genuine social equality. And not women only; interracial dating has only gained acceptance in recent years and, in some locales, I'm sure it's frowned upon even today. So, in a real sense, romantic relationships between younger men and older women are the natural result of women becoming freer to express themselves.

But relationships are complicated things (as if you didn't know that already) and the reasons for attraction are as varied as the persons involved. I think it's grossly unfair to assign blanket attributions to sex, unresolved Oedipal desires for mother, or any other generalization that strikes a fancy. Truthfully, one of the best things that could come from all of this is a change in the ways we describe a relationship as appropriate or not. It seems to me that it's far more important to be concerned about mutual respect, compatibility, and yes, love, than whether a couple fits within a given socially-acceptable category. But that's me and, hey, what can I say?

Image by digitalART2 via Flickr)
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