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Dating Online – Why a Young Cub is not always that attractive to a Cougar

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The day I turned 40, something completely surprised me on my online dating profile.  I thought that once I reached my midlife milestone birthday, the amount of email would slow down. I was surprised when I saw more traffic than ever.  The bulk of interest came from much younger men. Suddenly 19 and 20-year-olds were sending me things like,

“What’s up? U R Hot. Do U like younger guys?” – Always hysterical to me, since the young ones often use text speech and insane word substitutions that drive me crazy.

“I really love older women.  We should hang out sometime.  Let’s get a drink” – I’ve gotten these from men who aren’t old enough to legally drink alcohol.  So either he’s got a fake ID, or we’re drinking coffee.  I guess I could take the risk of being arrested for giving alcohol to a minor, that would be living life on the edge!  Maybe they are asking me out BECAUSE I can buy them liquor.  Who knows?

“I know you’re a lot older, but I’m really looking for a serious relationship” – I’m not kidding, I’ve gotten several emails like that one.  Are they serious?  I have no idea.  Do they have Mommy issues?  Probably.

“I’m going to start college in the Fall. I love to go snowboarding, and play video games.  Let’s hang out!” – I assumed he lived with his parents and was still in high school.  So technically he’s legal, but honestly who in their right mind would think that’s a good idea? Someone must have written a self-help book that advises young men to search for women 40 or older on dating sites.  After 40 we’re more desperate, we’ll pounce on a young eager kid.  When I’ve complained about this deluge of barely legal would be suitors, some of my male friends get extremely upset with me.  I hear things like,

  • Well I would dream of getting hot 19 year olds in my inbox
  • Score! You have teenagers hitting on you.  I’d tap that!
  • How could you complain about young guys?

Again I know this might sound shocking to some, but men and women are extremely different creatures.  Most women in their 40’s don’t want to date men over 20 years younger.  Of course there are exceptions and age and maturity don’t always go together.  If two people can find love in this world and they have a twenty year age difference, then more power to them!   But usually most of those 19 year olds I get in my inbox aren’t exactly “hot young studs”.  The really good-looking younger men, probably have a surplus of attractive, hot young women.  And I’m not talking about a 30-year-old with a 45-year-old.  At that point both parties are adults, and although the age difference is great, it’s not the same as a 19-year-old man hitting up a woman who could be his mother. Even though a 19-year-old is legally an adult, most are basically children.  I have theories about why I keep getting these requests, the younger men think an older woman could:

Teach them about Sex – Some women might get off on this, or think this could be a lot of fun.  Personally I don’t want to train anyone. The thought of having awkward or bad sex with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing is not exactly my idea of a good time.

Take care of them Financially – Some don’t even hide this, and will say it openly.  My favorite was from a 29-year-old.  He somehow just assumed I would was rolling in it because I was a whopping 11 years older than him.  If only being 40 magically brought financially stability. In his case we discovered he was better off than I was.

Take care of them Emotionally – Mommy issues.  Some guys really do feel more comfortable dating someone who takes on a more maternal role in their lives.  To each his own on this one, but not every woman is going to WANT that arrangement.

Need to be Dominated – This is true of men at any age, but the power dynamic does get a bit skewed with a large age gap.  An older woman is probably going to have more life experience and more relationships under her belt.

Drawbacks to younger men

  • Aren’t financially secure
  • Immature
  • MIght live at home or with multiple roommates
  • Have totally different interests and lifestyles
  • He might not get along with your friends, you might not get along with his
  • Probably won’t want kids right away
  • Less likely to stick around long-term
  • Text speak, totally different communication skills – The younger ones don’t call, they text, tweet, IM and Skype.  It’s a whole new world of abbreviated speech that can be a bit unnerving to women who write in full sentences.
  • Porn educated – Sorry boys but this one is so true.  I’ve found with men closer to my age that sex is far less influenced by pornography.  Younger men don’t seem to understand that porn is a FANTASY and that most people don’t try to reenact porn scenes every time they have sex.
  • Lack of sexual experience

Of course age is just a number and emotional maturity and numerical age do not always go together.  I’ve met plenty of immature men in their 50’s and 60’s.  Some May December romances work out beautifully and there are no hard rules to what makes a relationship work.  I have several female friends who are older than their partners. The older two partners get the less an age difference matters.  A 30-year-old with a 45-year-old is something else entirely than a 19-year-old with a 34-year-old.  Once a person is well into adulthood, they know who they are, what they want and have a reasonable level of maturity.  A kid who is 19 or 20 however is just trying to figure these things out, they could be so easily manipulated and crushed by an older partner of any gender. I wish my male friend’s fantasies were true, and the hot young 21-year-old men were lining up in my inbox, but that’s just not the case. Regardless, I want a partner who is an equal, and it’s difficult to see a kid in college as a peer.  So until then, much to the disappointment of my male counterparts, I’ll continue to turn down the young ones who hit me up.  I would rather not be the cougar who devours willing cubs.

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Dating Online: Confessions of an Accidental Cougar

English: North Amerian Cougar

English: North Amerian Cougar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I call myself an Accidental Cougar, because it’s exactly what it feels like.  I didn’t seek this out.  I never thought I would become a 40-year-old woman trolling for younger men.  Although I think the term “Cougar” is inaccurate as in my case, I’m hardly predatory.  In fact, the young ones usually come to me.  I have been a wimp when it comes to dating since as long as I can remember.  Any time I’ve gone outside my comfort zone and tried to be aggressive with men, the results have been disastrous. I’m just not good at it.  So I guess I’m younger man bait, but not exactly a cougar.

Many younger men seek out a liaison or even a relationship with an older woman.  Most 22-year-old women might demand more time with their partners.  Whereas a more mature gal might actually desire significant personal space. Most women past 40 would also not rush into a major commitment right off the bat, or could prefer a more casual relationship.  A cougar would probably be more mellow, calm and less likely to flip out over something that might upset a younger cub.  Of course there are exceptions as there are plenty of immature women in their mid-forties and up and even-keeled emotionally grounded 23 -year-olds.  There really are no rules here, as people don’t necessarily grow emotionally as they age.  But the perception by many young men is: older women know what they want and are less of a hassle.  That’s at least what I’ve heard from any number of them.

Some younger men have issues with their mother, and openly seek a more maternal relationship with a partner.  While others view a more emotionally complex middle-aged woman as a greater conquest.  And of course, for some the appeal is the sexual experience of a woman who has been having sex, longer than they have been alive.

I view the dating game as a totally different beast than I did when I was younger.  At 25, if an obvious player type hit me up, he would be instantly cast aside as a lecherous pig.  Now, I size him up – he might be a lecherous pig, but is he attractive?  Will I get bragging rights?  Can I show him off to my friends?  As I’ve often said many times on this blog, I would rather have an honest devil than a lying phony saint.  So I’ll take the admitted man whore for a few spins around the block, as long as I know everything’s above-board.  Afterward I will be sharing my exploits at the next girl’s brunch, or BBQ with my married friends.  Once you hit a certain age, it’s difficult to tell who’s the hunter, and who’s the prey.

It’s not to say that all younger men are nefarious lotharios, or good for nothing but sex.  A close friend of mine has had a long-term committed relationship with a man 16 years her junior now for nearly three years.   Another has been happily married to a man 14 years younger than her, for over a decade.  Age and maturity are relative.  At this point in my life, I feel like I almost don’t have an option anymore.  Most men in the 35-45 age range are one of four things: married, in a serious committed relationship, crushed from a breakup/divorce or confirmed bachelors.  It’s just so rare when I have an age-appropriate man even approach me.

Yesterday for my article about online dating profiles I had to re-start my defunct OKCupid account.  I wanted to search through as many names as possible to get the best sample.  I knew when I did this that OKCupid would treat my account as if it was brand new, and promote it heavily.  My inbox overflowed, I got over 87 emails in a 24 hour period.

Here is how the ages broke down.

  • (Ages 20-25)  17 or 19% of the Total
  • (Ages 26-30)  34 or 39% of the Total
  • (Ages 31-35)  14 or 16% of the Total
  • (Ages 36-40)  4 or 4.5% of the Total (10 minus 6 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single) 
  • (Ages 41-45)  5 or 5.7% of the Total (12 minus 7 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single)
  • (Ages 45-62)  6 or  6.9% of the Total (10 minus 4 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single)

The largest group of me to send me emails were 10-14 years younger than me, the second largest group was 15 years or younger than me.  The two groups totaled 51 men or 58% of the total amount of emails .  When I subtracted the men who didn’t live in NYC from the 36-45 age group I was left with only 11 men.  I removed the men who didn’t live in NYC from the older categories as they didn’t even live in NY state.  Some lived as far away as Italy, the UK and Spain.  I also omitted men who openly admitted to being married, or in a committed relationship.  There were some non-single men like this in the younger groups but their numbers weren’t significant to count.

I indicated on my profile that I’m seeking men ages 30-45, but that didn’t seem to stop 51 men from making a go for me.  So am I a predatory cougar?  It looks instead like a lot of younger men couldn’t care less about my age and are just as predatory and aggressive with me as they would be with women their own age.

The creepiest email of the day ironically came from a 36 year man who simply said.

“I would love to come over and videotape you”

He didn’t indicate what he wanted to video tape me doing.  Maybe I should have offered to clean my bathroom, or my cat’s litterbox – but then someone probably has a fetish for exactly that activity and the next thing I know I would be on a kitty litter cleaning porn site.

Admittedly, I look very young for my age.  Everyone in my family including both of my parents seem to have some magical youth gene.  Most people think I’m in my late twenties.  My youthful appearance might have skewed my results somewhat, but my age is very clearly indicated on my profile.  It seems most men don’t give a f*ck, at least not on a dating website.  If they are looking to have children or a long-term committed relationship the age difference might mean much more to them, but if they are trolling for ass online, age seems to matter very little.

The 35-45 age group of single men is still as elusive to me as a well-paying steady job with health insurance.  In theory such a thing exists, but I have no idea how to get it.

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