This imperative tutorial was brought to you by the prolific Rebecca Suhrawardi.
I recently experienced my first ghosting.
My introductory encounter with this modern-day ailment was inflicted by a man a few years my junior – a 35-year-old man, to be exact. Anybody who has ever dated in New York knows that 35 is the developmental dark hole, the age when men don’t know WTF about anything female-related. Sure, they may be proudly wearing certain hallmarks of manhood, like a secure job or a their first piece of real estate. But, when it comes to relationships and emotions, they are either frightened and confused or simply don’t give a damn. It’s a tricky time to engage with a guy – you are almost better to go younger or older, but 35 – oof.
The experience, unpalatable as it was, got me thinking about the times I’ve successfully gone out with younger men. Let me pause here to state that there haven’t been that many – I prefer older men because I’m an Alpha female on the outside and a loving mushball on the inside (Scorpio!) and need someone who is strong enough to take my Alpha female hand and lead the way, and be bloody mature about the whole thing. I also like a man that has his feet firmly planted on the ground, and it takes time for a man to get there, developmentally. Besides, it takes a lot to tame a firecracker such as myself, and I have found that age and experience help the case.
There were ever only two younger men (three if you count the ghost) and they were never serious relationships. They did, however, make for great fun, and one of them even lasted a while.
Oh, those youngins. They are like amusement park rides – the most incredible thrill until someone turns green in the face and pukes up their candy floss. Although, if armed with the right ammunition, you can ride the ride, have the time of your life, and then exit gracefully through the gift shop before everything goes tits up.
And now, let’s move on to How to Make the Most of Cougarism 101.
Avoid being the mother. (Unless that’s your thing, which is a totally different issue that we will not address here.) The younger guy/older woman predicament can be frightfully Oedipal and, given that men are less mature than us, this dynamic will play itself out rather easily if you allow it to. Especially if you are the kind of woman who is comfortable in her own power and may inadvertently attract the sort that will want you to make his bed and do his laundry or worry over his whereabouts. Just don’t do it. It will digress into something twisted in less time than will take you to finish this sentence.
Manage expectations. Be realistic and don’t expect your young lover to provide you with endless intellectual colloquy or be able to understand and empathize with the complexities of being an actual adult. He will be immature, it’s the nature of the beast. So just see it for what it is: a hobby.
Be powerful, he will eat it up. Being powerful is not the same as being mother, and it’s also not the same as making the little fella some sort of feudal serf. It’s about doing what you do best, which is being a strong, independent woman who knows how to handle her business. It will inspire him and have him hanging on to your every word.
Have lots and lots of sex. Obviously. He is younger than you.
Don’t introduce him to your friends, but hang out with his. As a rule of thumb, it’s inevitable that there will be a palpable disconnect when he hangs out with your friends. You will all be talking about big projects and big problems and big ideas; he will be sitting there like a mute contemplating his Saturday bottomless brunch destination. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally hang out with his friends (at the boozy brunch, in fact!) and have a damn good time of it. They will be young and foolish, you can act the same all while being the hot older woman in the crew.
Be hot and own it. If you’re going to be a cougar, then milk it. Be the woman he fantasized about his entire life. You’ll both love it.
Let him be the man. If treated as such, he will relish the opportunity to show you that he can be an actual adult and will go out of his way doing so. Allow him to pick you up for dates and plan nice things to do. Let him to cook you dinner and buy you drinks. Be the damsel in distress who can only get by with his help – you will see how quickly he will step up his game to become your hero. Score!
End it when it’s time. This sort of thing is meant to be temporary, which means that there is no need to drag it out after it’s run its course. No messy breakup is necessary, just have a mature discussion with him when it’s time to part ways, and bid him adieu.
And there you have it, the basics of how to be a cougar. It can be fun, it can be exciting, and you can very well have the time of your life. Just make sure you have a few of those sick bags set off to the side in case the ride gets a little bumpy.