No, this isn’t some poignant tale from my Swedish childhood.¹ This is me struggling with the weird reality of going out with a guy young enough to be my son. You know, dealing with the discovery that I am a “cougar.”²
Ok, so I’ve said it. I’ve said both “it”s — I’ve gone on dates with someone who isn’t AC, and that not-AC someone is ridiculously young. Take a moment to denounce me if you like.
Done? I’m not sure I am, but let’s continue.
We’ll call the little whippersnapper I’ve been talking to Tarik. On our third date I made the mistake of asking his age. I knew he was young. Even in the dark dance club where we met, it was clear I was the senior partner in our couple. It’s just that I had convinced myself ours was a single-digit age gap. Yeah, not so much.
I am finding this May-December thing decidedly icky. And I’m surprised by how much it bothers me. I don’t know if Tarik ever had any kind of boyfriend potential, but I do know that learning his age chilled my interest. How annoying that I care. Why do I care? After all, AC is younger than I am, too. Ok, only by two years. We’re practically separated at birth compared to me and Tarik. But really, what’s the big deal? A man “of a certain age” dating a woman in her 20s would be envied and admired — ok, maybe not by everyone, but by many. But when it’s an older woman and a younger man, suddenly there’s something animal and creepy going on:³
Shall I photoshop my face in there?
Again, what’s the big deal? According to this handy chart I found on the internets, Tarik’s in my half-plus-seven dating range:
Mercifully, I will be saving myself from having to agonize over this too much longer. It seems that my little trip to Cougar Town is going to be a short one. Tarik is mostly irking the mess out of me these days, and is about to get that final goodbye. I just wish I could figure out whether or not he’d irk me half as much if he weren’t half my age.
¹ Tell me you never saw that movie. What’s Netflix for, friends?
² Oh, so many issues with this use of “cougar.” I suppose it’s better than “cradle robber,” but what is it really supposed to be saying? And, while we’re figuring stuff out, how is it that I’m finding myself in this category?
³ Check out The Gender Blender Blog for a good articulation of some of my problems with this whole cougar business.