Columns Oct 21, 2015 at 4:00 am

One Last Time


Good luck to SMART. I hope it works out. I also want him to report back when it does.
SMART - I'm a guy in my 30s dating a woman in her late 40s. She didn't seem too squicked out by me hitting on her - just the opposite actually. She might just assume that because of the age difference you aren't flirting with her so like Dan said, be direct. And polite. And be complimentary - if you don't want her to think you're trying to date her because of her age, make it clear what it is you like about her. Tell her how much you admire her work etc. and then ask her out.
Meanwhile, the object of SMART's affections is writing Dan, "There's this cute younger man who might be flirting with me, but doesn't seem to notice when I flirt back..."
An older man with a younger woman is an attractive guy with game

That might be how a lot of other men see him, but women will mostly assume he's a creep.

an older woman with a younger man is a fetish object with no self-respect

Huh? I've never heard that one before. I don't think this is actually a thing. The term for her is "cougar", which is generally connotative of sexual power.

Am I a creep?

And here's the crux of the issue. Guys who are attracted to significantly younger or older women will be stereotyped as creepy. Same goes for guys who happen to like heavy women, or petite women with small boobs, or women who are handicapped, or amputees. Really, in many dating situations, the onus is on the guy to demonstrate that he's not a creep.
re HUBBY, only part of that really got my attention. the best sex I've had with my wife since we've been married was during a period when she thought I might leave her. to hear that from someone else, well, I don't quite know what to think about that.
Great advice to SMART.
@HUBBY: I know it's tempting to think that your wife has already given you a pass to have an affair or to hook up with women to have your needs met discreetly, but from the way you put it (When the subject of affairs came up in the past, she said, "I wouldn't blame you." ), I don't think that counts as having her blessing or even her informed consent. I also don't think she necessarily really meant it as permission to have sex with other people.

So you need to be more direct. You need to tell her explicitly that you plan to get your sexual needs met outside the marriage. In addition to telling her what Dan already said (that you remain committed to the marriage), I'd emphasize the discreet aspect: don't look in your friend or acquaintance pool, and don't start being dismissive or contemptuous of your wife.
WILM, maybe the gym guy swiping "no" has nothing to do with you or your attractiveness. Maybe he has had a bad experience dating someone from his gym and doesn't want to risk future awkwardness if the relationship doesn't go well. Maybe he's not out at the gym. Who knows? I hope you don't take it too personally!
@5 Agreed. HUBBY should divorce. Mainly because he wife comes off as manipulative and selfish. She's not physically incapable of sex, and she was willing to drop her panties when a divorce was on the table. And her comment seems built around giving the LW half-assed permission which is troubling.
@HUBBY: Get a divorce. There are a lot of possibilities here, but none of them are compatible with having it be a good idea to stay married.

Unless she has a really weird idea of foreplay. I've never heard of someone having a divorce-threat fetish before, but I guess there's always a first.
Cougar.. Who did initiate using that offensive word.
At last, an age related ques I can relate to. As a woman in her 60s.. I can only imagine this woman does not assume a man in his forties is flirting with her. Given all the bad press we older women get, one hardly assumes anyone is ever flirting with one. Supposed to have closed up shop and joined the after 60s women's morning tea chat alongs.
SMART, this woman is an Artist, she goes into herself all the time in order to do her work, or rather, sits with herself. Trust she knows her own mind.
The thing I think I'd be turned off by in a younger man, is lack of confidence. Not trusting his ground..
So yes, SMART, tell her how you feel. Be upfront and confident.
Let the age difference fall from your mind. Just be a man trying to pursue a woman.
@LavaGirl: Cougar.. Who did initiate using that offensive word.

As I understand, it was first coined by Canadian professional hockey players in reference to a certain segment of very dedicated fans. Perhaps you're more comfortable with "MILF" or "GILF"?
I might be Sean, if I knew what they meant.
Why the need for any title? People are attracted to a whole person, the age difference gets yuk for me.. If it's a way older person with a much younger person. Any gender playing either role.
This guy is in his mid forties, big boy now.
. I assumed. He's in his forties, that is still an age when a man knows a lot of who he is and what he wants.
Funny to see a grown man feel trepidation with a woman, because of her age. Just another little stereotype to be hacked away at.
@Lava Why the need for any title?

How else are we supposed to communicate the concept?
Good one marilynsue. Classic identity problem.
Sean, what concept? A word like Cougar creates a ready made concept.
Predatory older woman. Watch out you men! Like how about putting another label on women to contain their freedom?
"Developing woodworking tools"? Why the fuck would SMART include that detail?

If she's hot, why should her age matter? You're both adults. WAY over the age of consent. I'm your age, but my rule of thumb with younger men (and I like me some younger men) is, if they don't mind, why should I mind?

That said, if getting involved would be awkward for professional reasons, don't do it. Don't shit where you eat, is the other rule, which takes precedence.

"Sapiosexual"? I don't like the implication that he is attracted ONLY to her mind, where did he say that? Women in their 60s can be hot. Maybe this one is. (And if she IS all that, he probably won't be the first fortysomething guy to notice.)
Lava @10: I don't mind the term cougar. A cougar is a sleek, powerful cat. That's a compliment!

Sean @11: No, not MILF. I am not a mother, I am not a MILF. (Other women can call themselves MILFs if they like.)

If someone self-declares as a cougar, then I'm sorry Lava, please stop saying it's offensive. It may be TO YOU, I acknowledge your opinion. It's not everyone's. I'm fine with being a cougar, it means I get to shag younger men, which is awesome :)
Marilynsue @15: ZING! Great story :)
Are all three of these letters old, or just the middle one? Usually Dan says when he is reposting old letters, but I didn't see that this time.

Weird, I went to the original post, and the LW's letter and Dan's response are slightly different. I wonder if Dan forgot he had already shared the letter:…
Several times lately, Dan has run a SLLOTD as one of three letters in the column.
To HUBBY: Read's Dan's latest book. There's an ad for it/link to it right there in the sidebar. It's got a whole chapter about people in your situation. If your problem merits a whole chapter, no wonder Dan's tired of answering questions like yours.
The hot sex when threatened with divorce is a common thing - it even has a name. It's called "hysterical bonding," and it's not just faking enthusiasm (usually anyway). It's a surge of horniness brought on by the need to establish a strong sexual bond and keep the threatener from making good on his or her threat. Although it may work for a while, it obviously does nothing to address the real problem and in fact might set up a really bad dynamic of periodic threats and increasingly hysterical, fear based responses. I hope that HUBBY has the guts to have a real sit down conversation with his wife.
Fine Fan. A cougar rips apart other animals, as well as being sleek.
Why do you need a name if you find the men you are attracted to are younger than you?
Ms Fan - I hope (with some confidence) you take proper care of them. To paraphrase Mr Woodhouse, young men can be delicate plants, with hearts easily bruised by those who see them mainly as sex toys.

I'm not sure whether, in OS circles, it's seemly for the younger person to make the first overt expression of interest, or whether it's more seemly for it to be made by the woman. It's much easier on the SS side of the aisle, where in these cases it is clearly the domain of the younger party.

I'm also not sure whether LW's spidey senses are telling him She's Not Interested, which makes me incline to agree with #17's word of caution.

If LW does decide to declare himself, I suggest sending a footman with a note. (I wonder whether Broadway Damage could be a useful yardstick here; we see Robert's somewhat heavy attempt to interest Zola - a bookstore clerk fond of French literature - in person, and how he declares himself by having Cynthia bring Zola a paperback From His Secret Admirer. Alas, Robert isn't Zola's type - Zola was actually the first main acting role for Gary Janetti, who is currently the creative force behind Vicious - but the idea came closer to working than more direct conduct.)
LavaGirl @10, @12, & @13: You are, as is so often the case, so fucking right on! Batting 1000. Please don't ever stop. I hate the term "cougar" for an older woman, too, and that U.S. society seems to feel like I need a penis to be considered "whole". That's nothing but prefabricated male chauvinist bullshit.
I'm with Lava @12. Why do older women with younger men get a title like "cougar", while younger women with older men get called "trophies"? If I didn't know any better I might conclude that women are always defined according to their relationship with men.
@27 JibeHo: Agreed. And people wonder why I don't bother with the dating scene anymore.
@14 sean: This "concept" sounds a bit chauvinistic to me, and may explain any deeply welled breaks in communication.
Dan, excellent advice to HUBBY, and summed up perfectly.

@18 BiDanFan: If you're fine with identifying as a cougar, that's your choice.
I don't like the term if it implies an unwanted social double standard upon me, regardless of my age group.
@Lava: Predatory older woman

If that's what a cougar is, consider me prey.
HUBBY, if you're determined to stay in this marriage, you have to let your wife know that you will be seeking sex outside the marriage since she is "broken" and can't or won't get help. You love her, you love the kids, but you can't be celibate for the rest of your life. And as someone else said, don't sleep with someone in your circle of friends. Surely there's a married woman determined to stay in her sexless marriage who's looking at getting her needs met. (Well, there is, as Dan did a column on one not too long ago, but I mean in your area.)

WILF, is this is the sort of thing that happens regularly, then maybe you're a bit fucked up. If this isn't the norm for you, then maybe ask yourself what triggered it. And don't be devastated at being rejected on a dating site. Rejection happens to all of us.

SMART, why not just ask her out? Make it casual, say for a cup of coffee or something. If you hit it off, ask her out again.
@BiDanFan: A cougar is a sleek, powerful cat.

I know, right?

And cats embody a sort of feminine grace that I find super sexy. Throw in some power, danger, and aggression and it seems like almost anything could happen.

P.S. I kind of love the gay taxonomy: "bear", "wolf", "otter", and "polar bear", "twink". I've been labeled a few times myself, I'm proud to say.
Fan; the scenario is Opening up.
I'm thinking a room full of well dressed hetero, Cis women.. In their 50s.
They like to play the predator, each and every one... In walks Sean.
@JibeHo: Why do older women with younger men get a title like "cougar"

A cougar is just a mature woman with a healthy and unabashed sexual appetite. She doesn't have to date younger men, although she probably can, and who can blame her if she does?

If straight ladies ever decide that comparable terms for men would be useful, more power to them, as long as their not being, like, super mean about it.
The whole situation HUBBY is going through reminds me of a thread here on slog where a frequent male poster (I can't remember who, was it Seandr? correct me if I'm wrong) revealed that his wife started to want sex more often after he started going out with friends, and saw it as a positive thing, while several female posters told him it probably wasn't such a romantic thing, but the wife acting out in fear that her husband may leave her. Does anyone else remember that thread? I'm trying to find it but can't.
"She's "broken"—her word, not mine, and her final answer."

It's not like she's hiding it, it's her entire being.

@38: "A cougar is just a mature woman with a healthy and unabashed sexual appetite."

It's just odd that it requires its own term.
Hunter78 @35 and BiDF

some artists are very very particular about their tools and sometimes require custom ones. there is a small industry out there for this, so I'd read it as what the guy does is so specialized he doesn't want to alienate a good client as they're few and far between.
I still hope he moves forward with confidence.
@undead: I guess the term also implies an availability and interest in sex for it's own sake, which isn't all that common, at least where I'm from. Sadly, in my corner of the world women my age aren't very well represented in places where people go to hook up.

Things may be different elsewhere. I can testify that there are significantly more casual opportunities available on Tinder in France and Belgium than in Seattle, where pretty much every profile starts with "Looking for a hookup? Swipe left."

P.S. to Seattle Tinder women - enough with the Seahawks jerseys already.
gueralinda, is that your doggeh? I want to boop its nose and scratch its ears.
Speaking of age gaps, the term I really object to is "sugar daddy". It's as if a man's whole worth is based on the size of his wallet. Talk about objectifying. Oh what, like an older man can't be interesting due to his personality alone? Or are we implying that older men can't provide sexual satisfaction, and have to compensate with money? It's this kind of systemic discrimination....

Actually, I'll be honest. I really don't give a rat's ass about this term or anything it implies.
@32, @34, and @38 seandr: Okay. Fair enough. No longer the sexually naive equivalent of "Wendy Torrance" or"Thelma Dickinson" I was half my life ago, I am still dealing with intimate trust issues.
@42 Hunter: I guess it's how we all see and project ourselves, individually, compounded by how others see us. Now how to find a happy medium...?
@46: I never liked that term, Sugar Daddy, either, except when it applied to the caramel pop by the same name when I was a kid. Does anyone remember the bag of jellybean-like caramel chews called Sugar Babies made by the same company?
@48, Part II: I can't imagine eating Sugar Daddies or Sugar Babies nowadays though (I think the candy company was Curtis?), considering the ingredients. Who knew?
1. Seriously...what's in a name?
2. Why do so many men use their penises as weapons?
3. Why don't the people (name your group) who claim they're "Not All Like That" go after those who really ARE revoltingly "Like That" and get them to knock it off? They're making the self-proclaimed "good" NALTs who aren't look bad.

Last week's crisis was a wake up for Griz, and now this kitty's back is up. Reooow! Ffft!
Excuse me Sean. Not meaning to Stick my nose into your
private life( much).. But wtf are you doing on Tinder?
It's all very good to be on here, pretending you're some hot stud blah blah blah. but Tinder, way outta line for a good married man. Unless you and the wife have an understanding. Do you and the wife have an understanding?
Considered post - attractive by whom, Hunter? @53.
That is an offensive comment.

Yes, Sludge 77@ 41, I hope he tells her as well. if he is considerate in his approach, should be no reason he is putting their commercial relationship in jeopardy..
one of the more attractive aspects of a man in his forties for an older woman, is that all his parts might still be working.
Obviously Sean. A comparable term for men could be Tiger.
Oh God, he's such a tiger.. Just ripping thru those young women.. Tearing them from their hearts and showing them what a damn good time older dudes can give them.
Little Blue Men.. That could be another. " I love you, I love you, said the Little Blue Man.. And frightened me out of my wits".. Song from the 50s. Weren't they a forward thinking song writer?
Grizelda, Lava: Perhaps try thinking "assertive" instead of "predatory"? That, I realised, is another reason I prefer "cougar" to "MILF". MILF stands for "Mother I'd Like to Fuck" -- it's objectifying the woman, setting her up as the object of desire. A cougar knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Trust me -- a lot of men appreciate your being the assertive one, taking the initiative, saving them the potential rejection.

And I don't even think I need to stoop to the accusations of "not taking no for an answer" or anything along those lines.

One does not simply need to be dating a younger man to be a "cougar." One must have a preference for younger men, be independent and sexually confident. I'm with the guys on this one. The women don't know, but the little boys understand.
Bloomer @46: Just as "cougar" describes a very specific type of older woman, "sugar daddy" describes a very specific type of older man: one who is financing the lifestyle of a much younger man or woman. No, not all age-gap relationships include financial support.

Once again disagreements among commenters are drawn mostly along genitalia lines.
People would love to be able to have relationships with younger, "fully functioning" members of the opposite camp without being labeled.
A term found sexy and attractive to a fucking-wanna-be can be offensive to a future fuckee.
Some modest, shy people just shut up, put on the yellow gloves and do their job.

In other news:
Any party suggestions for this week? Lave had already suggested allowing a male observer in the women's party, only to be reprimanded by the Mistress of ceremony.
Lava @52: Considered post-attractive by the world. It's not offensive, it's reality. Hollywood movies. Look at who they always pair the 50- and 60-something leading men with. A woman half their age with not a single wrinkle on her face. The whole concept of cougar is rejecting that and turning it on its head. It is a term of empowerment. It says, I am NOT past it just because I am no longer in my 20s. I am sexy and in control.
CMD @56: Our Director is currently scripting a cougar hunt, Sean wanders into a meeting of sexy older women and finds himself the object of desire. As I've had my way last week, I will let her handle this week's party planning and simply be on hand as expert consultant on the seduction of younger men.
Not to me Fan, it says predatory woman.
I'd be fine if a younger man came onto me.. Would not make me a cougar. I'm only interested in working models.
And fuck Hollywood. Who cares what those fat old men think? Who needs their fantasies.. When we can create our own?
A woman is only as attractive as how she feels, not how she looks. So many variables in what attracts one animal to another.. Human animals.
If you needing a title for older women who pursue younger men, Fan.
How about The Seductress.. If it's a skilful older woman required.
Being a cis-OS-female in my forties, I prefer older men because they already know what a clitoris is, and won't be freaked out or grossed out by my interest in having them play with mine (unlike guys in their mid-twenties), and they don't equate being good with pounding my cervix like a fucking hydraulic press (unlike guys my age).

Besides, available guys my age are either divorcees who are after unpaid and fuckable domestic help, or POS still-married cheaters. Exactly what I got divorced from.

As for having more sex under threat of divorce, I've been there, and I refer to that shiny period as "the time I prostituted myself to save my kids from being children of divorce". That was so not worth it. That sex under threat may seem hotter to the threateners says a lot about them.
Hey Sissoucat.
Ms Fan - You're at least verging on the creepy, which raises the interesting question of whether the idea that Women Can Be Creeps Too is a point that belongs theoretically to the MRAs or the feminists.


Mr Bloomer - You almost had me there. Just for the record, I doubt that term was applied to me often. (I am, the assembled company will recall, too poor to afford health insurance.) There are those who do automatically think any reasonably attractive young man can't genuinely prefer anyone older to his own kind, though I refer such people to "The Herb of Death" and Dolly Bantry's argument that young men don't particularly value the youth of young women and it's only middle-aged men like Arthur who go on twittering about girls playing tennis; that's a reasonable cross-orientational point. (I shall save a description of my typical defence of the character of my PLB for another occasion.)


Ms Lava - Dr Sean lives in the moment, and Mrs Sean knew that when she married him. You may borrow LMB if you wish.


Mx Wanna - You seem unusually determined to make this place a completely heterocentric space. I'm not offended; I just wonder why.


Trigger warning: serious post coming next.
Hey LavaGirl and y'all. I 've been reading but not posting, having not much to say, and shit hitting the fan in real life. Now's calmer.
Lava @60: "Seductress" has nothing to do with age.
And to me, Aussie says alcoholic. Oops! That's not fair, is it? Or accurate? Perhaps your impression of self-identified cougars is not either. Having a preference for younger men is no more predatory by definition than having a preference for taller men, or curvy women, or blonds, etc. etc.

Venn @63: I am exaggerating to argue my point, and thank you for the opportunity to clarify that the "younger men" in my life are 10 and 13 years younger than myself, not teenagers. I am also involved with a man my own age. Nothing creepy to see here, and none of these "seductions" was not mutual in nature. Just trying to dispel the sex-negative views towards "cougars" that I see others on this board espousing.

I am looking forward to closing this debate and moving on to your serious post.
Very Serious Post

I am absolutely sick. I just read about Recently Straight, which was going to be a television series but apparently ended after the pilot. Already on YouTube, the programme pushes ex-gay therapy by telling the story of a young gay man happy with his life when his ex, now ex-gay as well, comes back into his life and starts shoving ex-gay rhetoric at him. Our protagonist's life then proceeds to fall apart. When he proposes to his current BF, BF not only mocks the idea of marriage but starts cheating on him. Reeling from both this and his ex's relentless psychological assault, he turns to his best friends, a committed couple, only to overhear them fighting and see them both going on hookup sites. He contemplates suicide and is on the brink of jumping when the ex shows up and talks him into giving the therapy group a chance; the episode ends with our protagonist knocking on the door of the meeting.

IDHAETC - I don't have any even to can't. (For those who find me cryptic, this is a twist on "I can't even.")

The real kicker is that the lead role is played by an openly gay - and now SS married - actor, who apparently didn't pay enough attention to know what the role entailed when he accepted it, and then decided to honour his commitment. He's advanced a not quite convincing defence that actors play rapists and child molesters, which isn't construed as a defence of such actions. That may be true enough, but it isn't applicable here; this is propaganda. To his credit, he objected to the way the issue was being presented, and told the producers they'd have to replace him, rejecting a number of altered scripts for planned future episodes. He's also been able to reach out to struggling youths.

I am seriously sick about this, way beyond the LMB point, and just can't think of anything to do. As horrid as this message is, and as little as I want vulnerable young people exposed to the repulsive and dangerous idea that the only answer to normal unhappy periods in life is a choice between suicide and conversion therapy, I don't want it censored, although I'd hope that anyone pushing this line of garbage would be shamed out of it, if not held responsible (at least morally) for any tragic consequences that may occur.

I'd go on, but - IDHAETC.
Sorry for bringing down the mood, and apologies to anyone who may have answered the post before my last, but this is really overwhelming and I have some real life things that require attention and concentration today. I have to duck out for a bit; maybe I'll be able to return this evening; if not, then don't expect me before tomorrow evening. I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to look at the ghastly programme, which, of course, makes formulating any sort of response all the more difficult.
@39 - it might have been this thread, my comment at bottom of 207 and EricaP's response at 224.…

Studies show that women who feel secure in long term relationships lose their libido (not all women, obviously). I haven't read it - I think NoCute has - but Bergner's book talks about it, in What Women Want. I suppose it should be no surprise that women, when threatened, their libido spikes to bring the male back in the circle. Men have what they call sperm competition, so perhaps there is some evolutionary basis for this.

Hysterical Bonding sounds hot. Not sure the other 22 hours of the day filled with hell and tears and hiding of the household scissors would be worth it.

Dan, how on earth can you forsake the standard "long term married, not enough sex, want to cheat" letter? You are a sex and relationship columnist. It's like a children's party clown that says no more balloons twisted into poodles....
@11 SeanDr. - we called them puck bunnies.
RE Hubby
I love Dan's declaration that this is the last letter like this. I feel guilty that I wrote a similar one to Dan and am partially responsible for his ennui at the dozens like it that he gets. I have grown to appreciate that there are many men out there like me, and am so happy to have found this little group of writers. I do not know any of these struggling married guys personally but at the same time feel less alone.
@17 SMART has the issue of having the cougar ( sorry Lava, it is in current use) as a customer, as well as an a social contact. It is weird to approach a customer and attempt to change the relationship from a business one into a intimate one. (ask me how I know this is a bad idea) . I agree that he should make it as casual as possible. His hormones have ramped up his attraction to this woman to the point where his ONLY thinking about her with the "little head." He needs to introduce some reality and allow that this means risking losing his "fantasy woman"
RE wilf
This man needs to work in sales for a year or two to get more used to rejection, IMHO
Venn @66: That does sound horrible and offensive to the extreme.
If I were you, I would simply not watch it. Do you know that clicking on YouTube generates ad revenue? Just ignore them and their homophobic message. If their stupid religious propaganda falls on deaf ears, then that's no more than it deserves.
@69 First off;...congrats to our Canadian cousin for glomming onto the prized spot! (I was THIS close!)
TB is correct @69. I recall years ago a relationship advice given to a married man who had been caught cheating. The columnist told the man:.."Your wife is going to throw herself at you sexually. Her marriage is threatened and she will do anything to save it. BUT! After a short while when she once again feels secure, she will employ guilt as a weapon against you and you will never hear the end of this affair."
"Be prepared" the advisor told him "if you decide to stay and make things work out." The advisor stopped short of telling him what to do.
Mr. Ven: Stupid tv shows come out and fade into oblivion all the time. It will probably hardly be seen. But if you are concerned that a vulnerable young person will see it and be influenced by it, perhaps you could put your own video countering it up on Youtube. And people seeing the cancelled show would also be directed to the corrective video.

LateBloomer: I just left you something at the Tom Waits cafe, if you feel like wandering by.
@66 That's disturbing. Take heart in the fact that it will disappear into obscurity only to be resurrected in the future as an example of how insane some people are.
@54 You're great
@Lava: It's all very good to be on here, pretending you're some hot stud blah blah blah.

Oh dear, is my ruse really that transparent?

But wtf are you doing on Tinder?

Although I love @venn's response to this, I'll come at it from a different angle. Once a man has learned from experience that his well can run dry, one can hardly fault him for developing a keen interest in alternative water sources.
@Hunter: "Cougar" does imply a more mature woman involved with a younger man (or men)

I guess the implication is there. Still, when I've heard the word used among friends, there was no assumption that we (being middle-aged men) were automatically disqualified from the competition.
BiDanFan, I would be devastated if you thought I wasn't being sarcastic @44.
My understanding of "cougar" is a little more specific: she's recently out of a sexless or otherwise humiliating long-term relationship, she has some cash of her own, she's groomed within an inch of her life like a Soprano wife and she's hitting the bars looking for young men who can keep up with her.
Oh vennominon, hugs. I think you were forced through this yourself, or was it PLB? Or even both of you? Anyway.

I can only imagine how distressed you must be to find out that it's still a thing, still out there, still preying. I hope you can take some comfort in focusing on the fact that the preying doesn't seem particularly successful given that the pilot was cancelled.

Do you have a little dog you can take for a walk? Does a neighbour?
Alison @80: That's more a "caricature" than an "understanding," I would say. Lots of blanks that you've filled in which may or may not apply.
@71 - but we don't know that the artist lady is a cougar. She hasn't shown any indication that she's looking for a younger guy. So calling her a cougar in this case is a bit premature.

Re the whole cougar discussion: I always thought a cougar is an older woman who prefers and actively seeks out younger men. I'm with BiDanFan, I'm not sure why it's offensive? Should guys who seek out older women be offended at being called cubs as well?

As for why the term is necessary at all - I once read an anthropological observation that said that having a specific name denotes how rare something is, compared to the rest of that particular society. In American culture, cougars are the exception, not the norm, so by having the specific name "cougar," we don't have to say "an older woman who's seeking a much-younger man" every time we talk about one. That doesn't mean that trait is a negative thing, just something outside of the norm. By the same token, people with, say, Lyme disease call themselves Lymies, because having Lyme disease is not exactly common. The rest of us don't call ourselves non-Lymies, because there's no need to - we tend to assume by default that the people we meet don't have Lyme disease. People who never forget things are said to have a photographic memory. The rest of us just have common or garden variety memories, so we don't have a specific term for it. Does that make sense?
Venn @ 63
“Mx Wanna - You seem unusually determined to make this place a completely heterocentric space. I'm not offended; I just wonder why.”

Letters last week and this one are pretty déjà vuing. Many of us have read them many times before and milled them to dust.
Party is a good thing. I’m suggesting what I know/desire/find creative with others, etc. Rest assured, no intentional “completely heterocentric” agenda on my side.

Here’s a suggestion: Would you like to pick a gay party theme or any others for us to work on? I’m game, and I suspect so are the rest of the usual party suspects.
@Venn: FWIW, I think the people saying this is basically nothing are right. Irritating you, personally, is almost certainly the most that video's ever going to accomplish.

@80: That's my understanding of the term as well (certainly the only person I've met who identified as one described it pretty much that way) but I assume the term's become broader and less well-defined, as these things pretty much always do as soon as they start to enter the common lexicon.
BiDanFan @82, Eudaemonic @85 part II: Agree with both of you.
I think the most telling thing in SMART's letter is that she's not flirting back. A sixtyish, smart, self-aware woman will probably be capable of flirting very effectively should she choose to. It's likely that she's in a committed relationship and SMART, only knowing her professionally, doesn't know that, or she's just not interested in him. Still, a respectful pass is a compliment, as Dan says, and she should be able to say "Thanks, that's sweet and I am flattered, but I'm not interested," without it crushing him emotionally. For what it's worth I still fondly remember the times that someone kindly but honestly made it clear to me that she wasn't interested. Seemed like the polite thing to do.
Whatever happened to that "My Husband is Gay" show that I remember seeing advertised not that long ago? I think it might have been TLC, or whoever brought us the trainwreck that was the Duggars, but I'm not sure. It was something similar along the lines of the nonsense that Venn was describing, I believe...
Ah, Fan.. There is nothing inherent in the word Cougar that says anything about age either.. that has come about via usage. You call yourself what you like, of course.. We attacking each other's countries now, whinging Pom..
Sean. Just don't think I'll be commenting on any woe is me letters to Dan from you, if the marriage goes pear shaped.
@45. Scary. What a friendly post. You a dog person then?

HUBBY has been to therapy with and without his wife, and he's asking Dan for advice? Sure seems to me that the divorce and/or sex-on-the-side options could be explored and talked about there.

Here's my real question. What sort of broken does Mrs. Hubby have that she's capable of fucking the shit out of her husband once when she knows her marriage is in danger but not the rest of the time? If that's it, why doesn't HUBBY say to his wife: The new schedule is every Tuesday; skip once, and I immediately start divorce proceedings.

Or maybe that's not my real question, and this is: Is that actually what HUBBY wants? To have sex with one woman while raising his children with another? I may never understand that line of thinking. I want hot sex coupled with intimacy.

I just don't understand how, absent a physical ailment, Mrs. Hubby can be psychologically incapable of intimacy and still be a great catch in all other ways. I should think that would spill over into other aspects of their lives including the friendly child-rearing ones.
Jina@83. It makes sense. Of course words are necessary to describe things.
Ok. Looking at it from a different angle, why has the word cougar.. Developed such a negative connotation?
It is not a neutral description, anymore. Not just a sleek cat now.
It's a sad, lipstick smeared, old tits flashing Broard leering at young men and trying to hump them. That's where cougar has got to.

Marmer@87; I disagree re the older woman. If she hasn't flirted back, it may be because she doesn't want to assume she has misread the cues. Then embarrass herself with a much younger man.
He needs to tell her straight how attractive he finds her, and he wondered if she'd like to go for dinner.
Got that arseup.. @93.
She doesn't want to assume she has read the cues, correctly.
Like.. Sometimes , as I catch public transport, I think I see and feel a younger man checking me out. Then I double check myself with all sorts of.. You are delusional, honey.
If this woman is a developed Artist, she is a serious person. In as much as she sells her work as an Artist.
Her saying his personal service is good, then that could be a woman in her sixties type of flirt to a man in his forties.
Women are not socially allowed to cross over age lines, as easily as men are.. After all. We know our place.
Before you jump Fan. Yes some women, which is great . I salute you and others for jumping container age lines.
When a woman hits her 60s, she really has to push back hard. The stereotypes are stone solid. Where are the female Muddy Waters?
I'm going out dancing, with a juicy cunt. The rest of me may have perished bit by bloody bit..

Not everyone thinks a cougar is sad and ugly. The problem is that any word applied to women becomes simultaneously sexualized and demeaning over time because women ourselves are sexualized and demeaned. Even the word "woman" was too brazen for a while, and "lady" was preferred as a euphemism for woman(!) so as to be polite.
Housewife > hussy
Mistress/Missus > mistress/kept woman
Slut [slovenly person] > slut [sexually promiscuous woman]
Maid [girl] > maid [servant]
Quynte [privates] > cunt [an extraordinarily offensive term, relatively recently reclaimed]
Bitch [female dog] > bitch [uncooperative female]
Flossy [fluffy] > floozie
Minikin [girl, woman] > minx [pert, wanton girl]
Sister > sissy

We need to be able to separate the connotation of female = degrading (which will always be there and stick, no matter what we do) from the denotation of words that refer to women. A cougar is a sexually assertive woman who actively pursues younger men. If you append and that's a bad thing, because women are always a bad thing to the definition then it becomes an insult. So don't.
Lava @ 194
"Women are not socially allowed to cross over age lines, as easily as men are.. After all. We know our place."
I think you have to get out of this set of mind in order to date to begin with, let alone while courting the "still functioning" younger men you mentioned earlier.
I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised that quite a few men of all ages are appreciative of confident, intelligent women of all ages.

Not to start another genitalia dispute, but you should also know that In some parts of the world a woman dating a younger man may be viewed more positively and progressive than a ("dirty old") man dating a younger man.

@venn: That's bloody awful. Like a cult, they prey on the vulnerable.

I was under the impression that whole scam was on the outs, but apparently there's still money to be made and political favor to be won from it.

If I'm remembering correctly, the subject has personal relevance to you. Don't trouble yourself by watching it.
CMD @84: Ooh, good idea! Let's have a gay party this week. We could rewrite the plot of that horrid film so that it has many happy endings. Starring Venn, and he can pick his co-star as the confused ex who, in our version, ends up rejecting the ex-gay movement and coming back to being himself. Grand finale is a big gay orgy! Venn, does this appeal to you? Is there a role for Ricardo perhaps?
Jina @83: Thank you.

Lava @92: To me, cougar has positive connotations. Cougar signifies older, sexy (not mutually exclusive after all!), self-assured, independent. All these are positive things, particularly from my POV as a woman in my 40s. Cougar means "still got it!"
Your description seems very age-negative, and I think that is sad.

@94: "Sometimes , as I catch public transport, I think I see and feel a younger man checking me out. Then I double check myself with all sorts of.. You are delusional, honey." Aha! I think I see the issue. You don't think that you, yourself, could be attractive to a younger man. So you think that other women are deluding themselves that they are attractive. I am not as old as you, but let me tell you, men in their 20s still find me attractive because I am attractive. Not just looks; confidence is sexy as well. There are a lot of reasons why a man might desire an older woman. I get that it wouldn't be your cup of tea, but don't sell yourself short.

"Women are not socially allowed to cross over age lines, as easily as men are.. After all. We know our place." -- Not all of us accept this stupid rule. My place is wherever I want it to be.

"It's a sad, lipstick smeared, old tits flashing Broard leering at young men and trying to hump them. That's where cougar has got to."

See, that's not what I think of as a cougar at all. I always thought a cougar is an older lady who is has taken good care of herself and is still stylish and sexy (or has gotten a good makeover), and isn't afraid to show it. Therefore, she has the confidence to go after younger guys. In the movie Ocean's 13, Al Pacino's female assistant is referred to as a cougar. Her character may have been a bad guy, but physically, she was still pretty attractive. There's also an ad on TV for a dating site for cougars called, where the spokesperson is an attractive middle-aged woman (I despise this commercial, by the way, because apparently the only way a woman can get a guy's attention is to tear down other women, by my point is, cougars are seen as physically attractive, fit women). "Cougar" may have started out with negative connotations, but I don't think it's that way any more.
I'm telling you Fan, that that is one common understanding of who a cougar is, not my doing. I find leering women as offensive as leering men. People are not objects..
Perhaps "cougar" is a term like "queer," that we can reclaim from its negative connotations (perhaps the understanding is different in Australia?).

We all have our insecurities around ageing. Over 40, divorced, you may as well get some cats and forget about it. That's the message, that women over 40 aren't sexual or desirable any more. Well sod that. "Cougar" means we are embracing our sexuality and refusing to stop having a good time just because of a number. Just because of stupid sexist rules society concocts to suppress women's sexuality. Same old story. I'll have none of that. I am NOT predatory, I am NOT sad and ugly, those are misogynist aspersions and just offensive. Lava, perhaps it's time to consider that the "common understanding" needs to change? Could start with you.
Jina@102.. Lots of interpretations around, then. It is a too tainted word for me, I never would use it.
If two people are attracted to each other.. the age is only as relevant as the people involved feel it is. And if we here can have such different views of the one word, then imposing such an ambiguous title is just going to confuse the flow of any relationship, imo.
@54 BiDanFan: Okay. Fair enough. Thank you for the enlightenment. I have been out of the dating loop for a long time by my own choice (loooooooong story; some of my comments from last week's SL Down There offer past reference and further explanation if you're interested. No worries if you're not). I'm not sure I'd refer to myself personally as sexually assertive, though. Long and short: I just don't feel that. There are plenty of wonderful men out there, but I'd be uncomfortable (maybe some of this stems from my protected upbringing) with fucking a man young enough to be either my son or nephew or old enough to be either my dad, uncle, or grandfather. I think in part, because my community seems to frown on this---possibly because it's a college town, and especially the further I venture outside the city limits.
It has nothing to do with my being hurt and / or rejected, anymore; I love my freedom. Sooner or later we all get hurt and / or rejected. I'm not hiding behind the "Owww--I've been hurt!" counter; it's just hard for me to live as coupled society seems to expect of me. After 50 years, I have found that I'm much happier single than unhappily coupled.
@92 LavaGIrl: Sadly, that's the impression the word cougar leaves for me, too.
@96 Alison Cummins: Bingo. I hate the social double standards and trivialization aimed at women from expressed-then-overused terminology.
@97 CMDwannabe: I'd like to think so, anyway.
I'd really like to think that I've learned enough from my worst of mistakes not to repeat them.

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