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Jul 19

Here she comes, Miss … Cougar?

Posted on Monday, July 19, 2010 in Aging, Relationships, Self image, Sex/sexuality, Singles, Women

“Look,” Sara said, flipping through the pages of the paper. “Marin’s going to have it’s first Ms. Cougar Contest!”

“Oh, gross.”

“Why, aren’t you for older women shagging young dudes?”

“Of course I am! As often as possible.”

“So?”

“It’s just so stupid to make it a “thing,” give it a name and go on display.”

“It’s no different than Miss America or Miss Universe, is it?”

Yeah, it is, actually. I’m no fan of beauty pageants, but at least they get a scholarship out of it and maybe even a sex tape or a spread in Playboy.

What do you get for being Miss Cougar USA, or Miss Cougar America or, now, Miss Cougar Marin? A free berth on a cougar cruise and
really, really embarrassing pictures in your
local newspaper. 

Not to mention all the snide remarks.

And while Miss Americas may go around
doing charity work, Miss Cougars are probably performing ever so slightly different charity work.

Gloria Navarro, 42, the first Miss Cougar America, wasn’t off the mark when she said:
“I believe every woman has a cougar in them, someone who doesn’t need a man for
anything other than companionship.”

But, is that what a cougar is about?

And, does a woman who feels like that have
to have a name, other than, well, woman?

I really don’t want to obsess about the word “cougar” (although I’m a woman and we obsess about way too many things). But it bothers me.

I’m not quite sure why, beyond the fact that labels in general are silly.

Do I believe in the older women-younger guy thing? Sure.

Do I believe that women should have NSA sex? If that’s what they want, sure.

Do I believe that women should have a life of their own, independent of men? Yes!

Do I believe women should “know what they want, and know how to get it?” Uh, doh.

But, do we have to have a label to do that, and have stupid conventions and cruises and contests to live whatever life we choose?

I sure hope not. Do guys do that? (well, I think there are PUA conventions, actually, but it’s not like the guys are on stage strutting and gals are drooling on the sidelines, waiting to buy some guy a drink with a name like a Screaming Orgasm (wink-wink) and take him back to their hotel room).

Maybe it’s me. I’m not into the pageantry thing; I never wanted to be the prom queen, either. But at least you talk about that proudly to the grandkiddies one day.

  • Regardless of what you think of cougars, the label, versus cougar, the “sexually liberated” woman, what do you think about contrived ways to get older women and younger men together?
  • Would you feel differently if there were “events” to gather together older men and younger babes?
  • OK, yeah — what do you think about the label “cougar”?

photo © Nathalie P – Fotolia.com

Jul 15

Commitment and freedom; can you have both?

Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 in Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, love, Men, Relationships, Singles, Women

“I’m in the mood for something uber-romantic,” Sara said as she, Mia and I looked over the selections at the video store.

“Rhett Butler romantic or Nick Hornby-John Cusack romantic?” I asked.

“Epic romantic,” Sara said. “Costumes, lust, dramatic music …”

“How about ‘Out of Africa’?” Mia
piped in.    

“Oh, I haven’t seen that in years,”
I enthused. “It started that whole Banana Republic look,
remember?

“Yeah,” Sara said, “and it also started the biggest fight the ex
and I ever had!”

“About?” Mia asked.

“Men and women, freedom and
commitment.”

“Perfect!” I said, as I headed toward the counter.

So we settled in for an evening destined to give us something to bite into, and not just because we made a batch of super-buttery popcorn.

As the romance between a big game hunter, Denys (Robert Redford), and a baroness, Karen (Meryl Strep), develops — intellectual equals and renegades in their own way, he loves her stories and determination, she loves his free spirit and sense of adventure — it’s obvious they’re doomed.

He stays with her on her African coffee farm for a while, they share passionate nights and exciting days together … and then he leaves. For a long time.

And she’s home, alone (well, with a helluva lot of help whom she educates and domesticates and helps in her own ways), keeping everything going.

As much as Denys is happy to give some of his stuff a home — hers — he’s not about to move himself into her home and all the related problems of ownership. He’s committed to her, but treasures his freedom. He loves Africa for its wildness; he does not want to domesticate it like Karen does.

And she’s committed to him — and always waiting for him to return. And stay.

Independence, commitment — can this relationship be saved?

And just like Sara and her ex fought years ago, Mia, Sara and I struggled with deciding who was being selfish — a man who wants commitment and his freedom, or a woman who wants commitment and an equal partner.

And whether you can have both.

Can you?

I enjoyed being married, and probably would have stayed married forever if shit didn’t happen. But then when I got divorced, I suddenly found myself with something I hadn’t had in years — freedom. I had no one to be accountable to. I had “me” time.

Holy crap! If I knew being single, even with a kid, would look like this …

I loved it!

And a lot of other singles and divorcees feel the same way — we treasure our freedom.

But — and it’s a pretty big but — I don’t want to be alone. I want love in my life, and not just the kind from my family and friends. I want the kind of love that, like Denys’ and Karen’s, offers passion, adventure, intellect and, yes, commitment and freedom. That lasts.

I’m just not sure what that’s going to look like. I have no idea if that can exist under one roof.

Mia and Sara both thought Karen was being used. “You can’t have a woman, a warm bed and a meal whenever it’s convenient for you to drop in,” they sniffed.

But Karen set down roots, made a home — those were her choices, even though, in the beginning, when she was married, she didn’t think she’d be doing it all alone.

To me, Denys was no more or less selfish than Karen in wanting what he wanted; it’s just that ultimately they didn’t really want the same thing.

My gut says there are many men who want Denys’ kind of life, and many women who want Karen’s.

What do you think?

Jul 12

She says romance, he says porn

Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010 in Happiness, Honesty, Men, Relationships, Sex/sexuality, Women

“What’s this?” I said, picking up a book from Sara’s dining table before we headed out for a gal’s night.

“What’s what?” she said from the other room, finishing putting on her “face.”

“This book on your table.”

“Oh, that’s Nora Roberts’ latest.”

Nora Roberts? Oh, please! Isn’t she one of those sappy romance writers?”

“Uh, someone gave it to me,” Sara said somewhat defensively, surfacing from the bathroom, “face” intact. “Why?”

“I’m just surprised to see such porn in your house, that’s all.”

“What are you talking about? It’s a romance novel, not porn.”

“Same thing, baby.”   

“It is not!”

Hmm, well, I guess it depends on what you
consider porn.

Porn isn’t just a bunch of naked people having a really good time with various body parts — especially certain wonderfully super-hard and extra-huge parts — and exchanging bodily fluids until everyone’s smiling and happy after all’s said and done — although that’s certainly the kind of porn I like.

But that porn’s not for everybody. A lot of women don’t like that kind of porn because the porn babes are beautiful and have massive boobs and tight perfect butts and luscious bods, and honestly, few
of us really look like that and never will look like
that.

And, many of us aren’t going to say “give it to me, there — hard,” and really mean it.

So we tend to worry that the man we love is going
to expect us to get all Jenna Jameson on him.

But, if we gals worry about men having totally unrealistic expectations about women based on porn stars, how come men aren’t freaking out about romance novels, the kinds Nora Roberts and hundreds of other female novelists write and that thousands of women read?

Don’t they give us the same unrealistic notions about love and romance? Are they any more reality-based than, say, a Jenna Jameson film? Is a romance novel addiction (I don’t know of any 12-steps program for that, but if you buy every new title that comes out of Harlequin, I’d say, yeah, you need rehab) any better than a porn addiction — if it means a woman’s going to look at her guy and get all pissed off that he isn’t reaching for her gently, even though his muscular arms are strong and tan, letting his arms caress the small of her back as he lifts her up to his full, moist lips, never letting his gaze leave hers …

Ahem, well, where was I?

Do we women dislike porn because we’re insecure about our sexuality and beauty, and jealous of others?

OK, maybe it’s because everywhere you look, from the mass media to the Internet, you’re more likely to see porn star-like babes as the norm than, say, Fabio, and the expectation from men that we’ll look and act like them, too — and, you know, we may not want to! I know a lot of men are into porn but the sales of romance novels is a pretty close second. And, amazingly enough, even though there are more college classes on porn than there are on bodice-rippers, Yale — Yale! — offered a course on romance novels this past spring, so I wouldn’t doubt that we’ll see more.

I’m not into romance novels. Not that I have anything against romance; I love romance, love being courted, love a long seduction. Nothing is sexier than having a man want me so much that he grabs me forcefully, rips off my clothing and desires nothing more than pleasuring me for the next few hours. In fact, where is he — I’d like to him to start now!

But, is it a double standard to be OK with the unrealistic expectations of the romance novel and not porn?

  • Guys, do you worry about romance novels the way women worry about porn?
  • Gals, if you read romance novels, do they help your relationship or make you dissatisfied?