Not All Older Women Want to Be Cougars


“Oh, it’s the stop after this,” I pretended, and sat down.

He wrote out his name and phone number on a piece of lined notebook paper. His writing was childlike, awful. He lived in Soho. By that time I had figured out the request for directions was a cheap ruse to start talking to me. I hated cheap ruses.

“I want you to call me,” he said, making what I guess was a serious face, “I want to see you again.”

I smiled, “It was nice chatting with you,” I said.

“Hey, did you have braces when you were little?” he asked.

But before I could laugh, the doors to the train opened and he was gone.

Braces?! Jeez, I can only imagine his bedroom talk: “Did you read 'Thomas the Tank Engine'?” The short subway ride to the next stop was the longest in history while everyone continued to stare at me.

That wasn’t the first time I was approached by a “cub” looking for a cougar, but when I moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, from NYC I figured I left all those weird trends behind ... until I met my neighbor, Nate.

Nate lives on my block. He’s thin with glasses, a fuzz of black hair, caterpillar eyebrows and a permanent 5 o’clock shadow. We met over dogs. He was new to the area, about 30 years my junior, and wanted to know if I was married.

Next I saw Nate at a café in a snowstorm. He came over as I was opening my computer.

“I’m reading an article about SM,” I told him when he asked.

“Oh, you mean s AND m?” he said.

“People who practice it call it SM or BDSM,” I said.

“Is that why you’re wearing leather pants?” he asked very sweetly.

“No!” I said, realizing I dug myself into a hole. “My leather pants are my ‘jeans of the winter,’” I said, “They’re waterproof and warm.”

Nate’s eyes lit up. Bingo. She’s old and kinky, he might of thought.

Then I saw Nate walking his dog in front of my apartment at 6 AM while my elderly dog peed. I was wearing pajamas, an unzipped coat, unlaced snow boots, glasses, bed hair. I apologized for my appearance.

“Don’t underestimate yourself,” he said seriously. What a mensch.

Nate invited me to a nerd night that he hosts and a game night at his house. I went to the nerd night and it was a blast. A beautiful young willowy woman his age hugged him and he stood there awkwardly, giving me a scared face over her shoulder.

He’s going to be a friend, I thought. I love authenticity.

Originally posted on Purple Clover

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