Somehow I managed to fall through the cracks when they were passing out the societal categories. Having spent most of my teenage years in the 80's, I'm a little young to be a Baby Boomer. And, I'm a little old to be a Gen X. Up until now, I've travelled solo through this society without feeling a part of the moral or the immoral majorities, the hippies, the tech heads, the grungies, etc. The only time I had even a remote kinship with others around me was in the age of John Hughes films. He was the only man who understood my kind. I, of course, was a shoe-in for Ally Sheedy's "weirdo" character in "The Breakfast Club" which didn't help my cause when it came to ‘fitting in’. I totally would have lied my way into Saturday school just to hang out with someone for a day.
Alas, as an adult, I grew away from that small group of Hughsies and was left again, groupless. That was until a new buzz word cropped up for which, I’m apparently fully qualified. I’m talking about the “Cougar”. People I knew were calling me a cougar before I even knew what this term meant. Suddenly my rank among co-workers was upgraded to rock star status. I could hardly hear myself think among the ‘You-Go-Girl!’s being hurled my way. I was continually forced to shift my purse to the other shoulder to prepare for oncoming high five’s. ‘What had I done to earn this distinction?’ I wondered.
If you don’t already know, a cougar is a woman over 40 who preys upon much younger men. It's true. My husband is 10 years and 4 months younger than me. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a cougar.
"Hello, my name is Sharon. And I am a cougar. I have been a cougar for 4 years now."
(all together now) "HI, SHARON"
And, as it turns out, there are varying degrees of ‘cougarness’. Your top of the line cougar will be pursuing men in their 20’s as a rule, mercilessly devouring one post-grad after another. The medium grade cougar makes it a rule never to date anyone her own age but is still seeking a meaningful relationship with her prey.
In my case, I’m what you would call an “Accidental Cougar”. In all honesty, we fell in love without much thought at all to our ages. I never intended to seek out a younger man. I was merely aiming for a decent guy who wasn’t living with his mother or wearing a Judas Priest t-shirt.
Sure, there are some generational differences. One being that he is a Gen X’er and I’m of no distinguishable generation. I can name all the characters on Welcome Back, Kotter. He can sing the theme to the Gummy Bears Cartoon. (I would have never guessed that they created a show inspired by candy until he told me it was so. Because honestly, who would have?)
As categories go, I’m generally happy with this classification, although I’m no candidate for a trashy reality dating show. Hubby and I enjoy a life like any other happily married couple. And we’re only occasionally tripped up by our age difference.
One night, while snuggling with him on the couch, I looked at my young hunk and said “We’re just like Hart to Hart.”
To which he said, “Who?”