April 5, 2007
‘Cougars’ and Younger Men
I've been living in the Valley almost six years, and I've discovered that trying to date in Los Angeles could be a full-time job. Now I keep hearing about a new trend,
which has perked my interest. Mature women (referred to as cougars) dating younger men.
Unfortunately, this new trend has not reached all eligible men. I'm still waiting for more younger men to jump on the bandwagon.
Seventy is the new 50, and 60 is the new 45. I'm delighted the dating scene is changing.
Several years ago, I met a younger man online, and I thought that was really cool. It made me feel elated and very special that he was interested in me.
We have many things in common, although he says we have some differences. In a recent conversation, I asked him, "So, what are our differences?"
The response danced around his issues -- something about my kids being older than his kid. I asked myself what this has to do with the price of gas. We've dated. We have chemistry. He calls me almost nightly when he is driving home from the office.
Periodically, I check in by asking if things are going to change, and I get the same answers, "I travel and have to get my daughter through college."
I've made it clear that "I can deal with that." And while he keeps telling me I will always be his friend, to me that means there is something he really likes about me, yet he is not comfortable moving forward.
He knows I enjoy his friendship. We talk about almost everything and anything. However, I feel I'm up against a roadblock of sorts. I'm a mature woman, seasoned, energetic and marinated in life experience, with much to offer. I'm self-confident, and I can be maternal and playful. I can sure be an asset.
Many women (including me) are financially secure these days and will pick up dinner tabs, buy gifts, etc. Our pilot light has not been extinguished by menopause. I'm open to love, dating, new dreams, just exploring life and enjoying.
I have a new, exciting lifestyle that people admire -- an acting career -- and now I'm trying stand-up comedy. I did my first show a few weeks ago, and I made people laugh. I'm still on a high.
It's also a good feeling that the younger people in my classes welcome me as an equal. So my message to my phone friend and other men is: if you think you're hip, get with the new dating trend.
Strange how we accept old men dating and marrying women young enough to be their daughters or granddaughters, even while some men still have issues being involved with mature women.
Recently, an East Coast male friend visited. He's an older gentleman who is well off financially, however, the drawback was he has a problem walking. So I couldn't take him many places.
One day, we went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and he left his hand print on every wall and display case. He leaned on everything, and periodically needed to sit. He also had difficulty getting out of my car. He was more comfortable sitting in his PJs watching TV with his teeth in a glass.
Yes, we did go to the movies and out to dinner. The highlight of his visit was seeing an overpriced condo in Marina del Rey.
If my mother were alive, she would be completely surprised and horrified to see how I have evolved. She would not have approved of my divorce, my new acting career or my stand-up comedy.
She would ask me in Yinglish, "What are you doing? Why do you need it?"
I do know that I've come a long way from my growing-up days in New York.
I'm sure women agree with me on this new dating trend. For all those single men who are sitting on the fence: Try it. You may really enjoy the friendship of a mature woman, and it could be the best thing that happened to you.
Esther Hersh is an actress working in Los Angeles. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.