On the Cougar Cusp

My 35th birthday is coming up and there’s only one thing I’m asking for: move the minimum age for calling a woman a “cougar” up to 36.

Last week, while searching for non-explicit euphemisms to describe Real Housewives cast members, I stumbled across the Urban Dictionary definition for “cougar” and found myself gutted by this entry:

Cougar: Noun. A 35+ year old female who is on the “hunt” for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male.

Thirty-five. That’s me in a month. I’m not ready to be a cougar. I didn’t think it would happen this soon. I thought you had to be at least 40. I thought I had more time.

I’ve lived in Hollywood for almost ten years and I’ve never once considered lying about my age before now. I’m a terrible liar and I don’t think there’s anything that makes you look older or more pathetic than getting busted for lying about your age (except maybe wearing a mock turtleneck). It just seemed like more hassle than it was worth — until I found out that I was on the Cougar Cusp.

Now, suddenly, I feel compelled to start whiting out the dates on old baby pictures and bribing my high school friends to un-tag me in graduation photos on Facebook.

I read on:

“Cougars can be single or married…”


So you’re telling me it doesn’t even matter that my husband put a ring on it? If I happen to be at a stand-up gig and I’m spotted offering basic Hollywood survival advice to some 20-something man-child right off the bus from Kansas who doesn’t even know he’s gay yet, I could be labeled a cougar?

I resent the label. I eschew it!

I don’t want to be a cougar. I have my reasons and they stem from a pretty significant childhood attachment.

The first-ever true love of my life was Jack Tripper on Three’s Company. I was six years old, and there was no one in the world I hated seeing grab at my man more than that cougar Lana Shields. She was the only woman on the show that Jack absolutely refused to touch perhaps because she was an annoying, pesky, undesirable cougar.

Lana Shields sets her gaze on young flesh.



I may be more grown up now, but psychologists say the archetypes we learn in early childhood can stay with us our whole lives. I can’t help thinking that if I’m really about to become a cougar, then the only guy who’s going to find me attractive is someone resembling Don Knotts as Mr. Furley.


Of course, a pro-cougar advocate might argue that I’ve completely misinterpreted the entire cougar concept — that cougars are empowered females who are experienced, savvy women that younger men love because they can teach them about life, sex, and success.

But if that’s the case, then that’s not me either. I just barely figured out what I want to do with my life. I spend my paydays debating whether to try to keep my student loan out of default or pay a mechanic to investigate the cause behind the “Check Engine” light on my 2002 Mazda Protégé. I’ve never taken any of my cats to have their teeth cleaned, still don’t know how to put make-up on, just barely got over all those people torturing me in junior high school and I don’t know any weird sex moves.

On paper, I’m like 20.

I have no wisdom to impart to a younger generation of “willing to do anything” males. (And are they REALLY willing to do anything? Does that include picking up a box of Monistat 7 and some tampons if my seductive and wise cougar-gina is having an off day?)

Thirty six needs to be the absolute minimum age for a cougar so there’s at least one full adult life span between me and an 18-year-old before I’m considered so aged and decrepit that I have to feed off the blood of the young like one of the less hot vampires on True Blood. Please?

Let’s get that age bumped up to 36, people. We’ve got less than a month to go before I’m relegated to wandering up and down the Sunset Strip in search of fresh, young man meat. Do it for the children. Or, if you’re a woman, do it for yourself. Mr. Furley is lurking right around the corner.

Featured Image via Associated Content

  • http://www.facebook.com/liz.haebe Liz Haebe

    I just turned 32, so if Cougar age is 35, does that make me a Tigress or something? Ugh, I agree. Move that age right on up! Move it right up to 40, actually!

  • http://www.facebook.com/NefariousNewt Nefarious Newt

    I always thought Cougarism started at 40, at least… 35 seems far too young. I wouldn’t worry about it. Being labeled a ‘cougar’ is like being labeled anything else: totally meaningless to anyone except those doing the labeling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1638626197 Kimberly ‘Roddy’ Jimenez

    Love the Lana example. She is totally the QUEEN of the cougars… LOL!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaminam1 Aamina Malik

    Lol! This made me laugh, but I’ve always thought of cougars as being annoyingly desperate women who chase after young men to make themselves feel younger. Certainly doesn’t describe you. Who cares what some online dictionary says? :p

  • http://www.facebook.com/rzeigler Robert Zeigler

    HA! Funny article. Really made me laugh. Good writing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1684284487 Dooley J Hornberg

    All hail the “cougar-gina”!!! Long may she reign!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=567485438 Christina White

    I’m 37! 38 in January and I am definitely not a coug. I think a cougar is a divorced late 40’s mid 50’s back on the scene and tearing it up with young men. I think of Madonna most recently I suppose. But, to me she’s a badass pioneer though so cougar is not a the right term period. Well, for any woman really. It’s an backass insult. I like simply put empowered and confident. Beside, men have been doing it for years and not well. I’m looking at you Hef! *shudder*

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurenne.sala Laurenne Sala

    On paper, you’re 20. ME too. Still cannot figure out that damn bill-paying thing. I don’t know any weird sex moves either. I think that means we’re automatically out of the cougar running. Phew. Saved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elenarella Elena Murphy

    To me, “Cougar” says “old and with money”.
    I’m nearly 40, but I still consider myself young and vibrant. Also, I’m broke, so I do not consider myself a cougar.

  • http://cvxn.tumblr.com Heather Watson

    I just turned 42, and since it actually happens to be the name of my high school’s mascots and is emblazoned on the front of all my yearbooks, people are allowed to call me a “cougar” with total impunity, despite the fact that I don’t really fit any of the other characteristics. But I make sure they know they’ll regret making any similar assumptions about the lovely ladies that hang with me. 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionahelen Fiona Lyons

    I’m definitely 20 on paper for pretty much all the same reasons. As for hunting, I’m too damn lazy to hunt out my own breakfast let alone a hungry young gentleman. I’ll just pretend I’m a Siamese cat and charm them with my cold hearted aloofness 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/megaounce Megan Younce

    there is no way a 35 year old could be a cougar. i don’t believe it at all! cougars are WAY older, and desperate women who try to look younger and bang younger dudes. IMO

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508652701 Abby Stewart

    Unless you are preying on men who are a lot younger than you, you are not a cougar at any age. Cougar is the equivalent of a dirty old man – except that cougars usually get what they want. Enjoy being 35 and single and label-free!

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