We can all picture the stereotype easily. The woman is way too tan, with a too-tight shirt and hair bleached beyond recognition. There may be leopard skin spandex involved, and if she's drinking, it's Zinfandel. Think Dolly Parton meets Mrs. Robinson. She is called a "cougar," a derogatory term for an older woman trying too hard to be sexy so as to (gasp) date younger men. But like many other great words, "cougar" has been reclaimed. Its new meaning--a powerful, confident, independent woman of maturity, both emotional and sexual, dating a younger man!
We've all become used to the Harrison Fords and George Clooneys of the world dating women who are significantly younger. Yet when it comes to the Demi Moores and Susan Sarandons, our counting suddenly slows. While we could get into a long analysis about why it is considered acceptable for older men to date younger women and not the other way around, we're less interested in analysis than in performance. (Spoken like a true cougar!) This being a family-rated site, I won't be able to delve into one of the greatest perks of dating younger men but surely it's not a hard one to apprehend. Let's just say there's no budget line for Viagra.
In addition to not needing Viagra, younger men offer other benefits, too. They are often less jaded. There probably hasn't been a divorce and custody battle yet: Read "less baggage." Younger men tend to have been raised with a more egalitarian set of values. Or in other words, women as equals is a concept that is not unfamiliar to them. They are not as set in their ways and tend to be more flexible and spontaneous. They're more likely to stop and ask for directions without believing that it diminishes their manliness. Younger men have more energy. And last but not least, they have hair!
So how do you go about dating younger men? Here's a checklist to get you started:
- As with almost everything, attitude is key. Think you're a hottie who younger men would be lucky to hang out with? Then so be it. But if instead, you're looking for the ego boost that you hope a younger man might give you, you'll need to do that work yourself. In the long run, no one else can make us feel good about ourselves--that has to come from the inside out.
- Meet them, greet them, don't be shy. You've been around the block a few times so I don't need to tell you how to meet a man. The rules are pretty much the same for younger men as for older men except that you may have to hold the eye contact or let that smile linger just a nanosecond longer so as to erase any possible doubt. You'll want to remain subtle, of course, and not edge into Mrs. Robinson territory. But we all know how to send a signal by now--the signal is yes--and men can interpret "yes" at any age.
- Don't get stuck on the age question. It's probably obvious that you are older so just get over it. If the question comes up, you can deal with it with humor. "Oh, you're asking for my number already?" Or just bunt. "Twenty-nine. And I'm still older than you, aren't I?" If age is going to be a problem, might as well find that out up front. But the odds are, if you've gotten this far, he's attracted to you, and a number--which is what your age is, after all--is not going to change that.
- Take good care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Thankfully, yet another of the benefits of your age is that you already know how to do this. We've all had the occasional pint of Ben&Jerry's while feeling sorry for ourselves in front of the tube and gotten right back up on our feet again the next day. So just take care of yourself like you always have, and you'll be fine. And you'll be ready no matter what happens--whether it's a marathon roll in the hay or a weekend alone.
- Think of the bennies for him. You know what you want and you're able to ask for it in all arenas of your relationship. You know your way around a variety of social settings, and can hold your own with just about anyone. You're resilient and self-assured. You're not looking for someone to take care of you or provide you with home, car and kids. You already know who you are and are not looking to a man to help you define yourself. These aspects of dating a mature woman can be incredibly freeing for younger men.
As for the leopard skin spandex, it's entirely up to you. Take it or leave it. Remember, it's your attitude--and not anything else--that matters most. Grrrrrrrrr.........