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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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Dating Online: eHarmony is useless!

This has got to be an eHarmony date.

This has got to be an eHarmony date. (Photo credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography)

eHarmony – The reasons why I absolutely loathe your site.  

Too many suburban matches – I honestly felt bad for these guys because many of them tried to contact me, and I didn’t see the point.  I live in a city with 8 million people, I shouldn’t have to date someone in the suburbs when I have no reliable way of getting to them on a regular basis.

Too many matches that did not meet even minimum criteria – location, height, religion, political affiliation, etc.  Sending me multiple “matches” that were well below my own height?  Sure some guys might be fine with this but many don’t like dating women more than a couple of inches taller than them.  Also I clearly said all over the questionnaire that I was agnostic and NOT RELIGIOUS! I would rather have fewer matches that actually fit my criteria rather than have hundreds of men that did not come even close to what I had indicated in my preferences.  I could just get that from a non-premium free site.  I also questioned the validity of a questionnaire that sent me men with CAT ALLERGIES!

Long process to delete a match – To get rid of a match is a two-step process.  It doesn’t seem so bad but when a person has so many bad matches, it’s an extremely tedious process to get rid of them.

Too many matches with no photo – eHarmony is hardly cheap.  If I am paying a premium for the service, I should not have to waste my time with profiles that don’t have at least one photo.

High Cost – The lock you into a three-month contract and have auto-renewal, I made sure my account did not auto-renew, but it is difficult to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

No Gays Allowed – I didn’t know that when I signed up.  And had I known it, I probably wouldn’t have signed up.  I am not gay but I don’t see anything wrong with being gay.

Questionable matching process – Suburban cops?  REALLY?  I am a creative stand-up comic, emcee and singer with a degree in Theater and Music, call me crazy but I don’t think a COP is probably my best match. I don’t think most suburban cops would think I was their best match.  The amount of law enforcement matches was baffling to me.

Unethical practices – eHarmony recently sent me an email completely out of the blue claiming a member was sending me an “icebreaker”. I found this highly shady since I hadn’t been a member now for a year.  I went to “unsubscribe”, but the link took me to a page to re-register my account.  I could find no way to contact the company other than to sign up again for a service which I absolutely hated.  So they are either using phony profiles to try to lure old members back to their site, or they are using deleted and deactivated accounts as bait for current members.  I responded to their email basically saying there were committing fraud and threatened to expose them on this very blog.  I decided to not wait for a response, as the whole experience really made my skin crawl.

The Incident that made me shut down my account 

I went on eHarmony to answer an email from a “MATCH!”  On eHarmony I get a ton of matches, but most of them live extremely far away, or are horrible.  Despite their claims of superior matching abilities eHarmony doesn’t seem to pay attention to things like height, or religion as they have sent me more than one 5’2″ devout Christian. A man’s height is not a deal breaker but a deeply religious man is definitely a bad match for an agnostic, at least this agnostic.  I find it all very frustrating since I spent an hour filling a long questionnaire when I signed up.

I finally had one member contact me who lived in Manhattan.  I really didn’t have strong feelings for him as he was average looking and his profile didn’t say much.  He lived in Manhattan though and wasn’t a cop!  eHarmony loves matching me with members of suburban law enforcement.  I have no idea why!

I thought, let’s try this so I started to do their whole question back and forth thing.  On eHarmony unlike other sites has a very rigid way of communication.  We had to go through a series of questions before setting up a date.  He asked for my top favorite albums of all time, and the last five albums I listened to recently. It get why he might think that was important, but it seemed rather trivial.  Asking about one’s favorite bands was something we did in college right?  Like most people, I don’t buy full albums very often but I managed to cobble a list for him. He also asked me to type random things about myself and I obliged.  I became aggravated because after several steps, and a lot of time and energy, I still knew next to nothing about this person.

His response, over a week later was to tell me he was allergic to cats.  I wondered why eHarmony matched us in the first place since I think I had indicated strongly my cats and I were a packed deal. Things really got strange when he attacked me personally for my accordion, my ukulele and my use of punctuation.   I admit maybe my punctuation wasn’t perfect, but it was online correspondence and he had asked for random things.  I think I just gave him a list, and I was trying to write in these tiny boxes that eHarmony uses for its forms.  I’m sure I wrote in fragmented and run-on sentences.  Compared to the writing style I usually see on dating websites my prose was on par with Hawthorne or Poe.  I guessed what upset him is that from the time he first emailed me until his second response, I had tried to shut down my account.  I wasn’t that interested anyway and I hadn’t heard from him in over a week. He must have taken this personally or as some type of snub and thought his best defense was a good offense.  I had gotten hostile reactions from men online before, but it was a little unsettling to get it on an expensive premium site, especially one that brags about it’s screening process.

So I told Mr. What are your favorite albums where he could stick it.   During my three-month membership I went on zero dates and found most matches inappropriate or unpractical.  I honestly couldn’t imagine dating someone in central New Jersey, Long Island or Connecticut as I would never see them.

Overall I would never recommend the site.  If they’ve matched people it’s by luck and not their expensive service.

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Dating Online – The Dick Pic

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So what is a Dick Pic aka Cock Shot?  A photo usually sent via text or email, where a man shows off his penis. Some are close-ups of just the genitalia, others are full nude body shots.  The boldest dick pics include a face usually with a sexy expression.  Most are selfies taken with a mirror and a camera phone, but I’ve even got a few professionally done artistic shots in my inbox.  It’s such an epidemic, that nearly every single woman I know has gotten dick pics and often from men they’ve never even met.  Although I’ve never asked for one, I collect the photos I’ve gotten in a secret album in my phone.  I call it my dick pic collection and I openly mock it in my stand-up act.

Men who send dick pics must think: What would I really love to see about a woman I don’t know?

HER VAGINA!

And really bravo to men who like vaginas!  I know most straight men love them, and it is beautiful when men get excited about the wonderful universe that is female genitalia!

Women aren’t as visually stimulated as men are sexually.   If women really loved disassociated penises, we would just spend our days flipping through photo after photo of dick picks.  There would be websites and magazines dedicated to cock shots and dick pics.  Sure someone did dedicate a tumblr account to the anaconda between Jon Hamm’s legs, but for the most part pornography for women is much less graphic or visual.  Women consume porn is in the form of romance novels, erotica and soft core cable television.  If women desired the same type of visual stimulation and graphic sex that men did, then our country would be littered with strip clubs filled with naked men grinding on poles and doing lap dances.  Sure a few exist but they are mostly a novelty and nowhere near as prevalent as clubs geared towards straight men.  Men and women just aren’t wired in the same way.

An unusually large penis is not necessarily attractive to all women.  Just because something looks mighty and large doesn’t mean it’s a lot of fun.   As with many skills in life, it is not so much the tool as it is the technique. An erect penis is just so intimidating.  It says only one thing – this is the size of my dick.  It doesn’t indicate if a man is a good lover or a boring one. and it doesn’t let a woman know if he’ll be selfish or a bore. Good sex is much more than a big penis.

In our virtual world of streaming porn and instantly downloaded images of just about anything, the dick pic has become almost mundane.  Until recently they even showed up on online dating profiles.  In the past couple of years most sites have gotten better about filtering them out, but I did come across a few profiles that puzzled me. The primary photo was usually an erect penis covered only by briefs a towel, but then the rest of the profile read completely normal, as if the man was looking for a serious relationship.

“I just want to meet a nice girl who I can hang out with”

“My friends say I am one of the sweetest guys you’ll ever meet”

“I’m really close to my family and my mom.”

“I just want to meet a nice girl who will want to watch movies with me.”

“I would love to meet someone who sees the world in the same way I do, who is kind and caring and has a sweet heart.”

“My favorite books and movies are…”

When reading this profiles I couldn’t help but be distracted by their throbbing manhood.  It trumped everything.  I can understand using a cock shot in a hook-up site like Adult Friend Finder or tinder, but it just seems like overkill if a guy is really looking for something more.

If a woman just wants an emotionally detached sexual experience, she doesn’t need to know what your favorite movies are or that you are close to your mom.  Actually the fact that you brought your mother up at all when your main photo is of a cock is not only weird, it’s downright creepy.

f the men who post cock shots and dick picks are just looking for a hook-up situation, I understand why they would want to show off their sex organ. But then their profiles should convey as much. For instance in the About Me section, they should just write.

I am looking to hook up with women who live near me, I live in Williamsburg and I love oral sex.

That kind of profile goes with a Dick Pic, but

“I am just looking for the right girl, are you out there?”

That doesn’t really go with LOOK AT MY ERECT PENIS!

But now I wonder, what is a female Dick Pic?  Not in a literal sense of course, but what would men consider a red flag on a woman profile.  What would be something that might indicate a jump from zero to sixty?

  • Typing long-winded descriptions of our perfect man
  • Putting photos of our cats in our profile
  • Writing about biological clocks ticking
  • Smiling while wearing a wedding dress with a caption that reads – I want to get married so badly!
  • Mentioning our emotional problems, mental illness or therapy
  • Writing about past relationships
  • Posting a photo of yourself wearing sweats and eating ice cream
  • Having men in our of our photographs
  • Writing about past substance abuse problems

I’m sure some women out there get excited about dick pics.  After searching through so many boring faces, they stumble along a giant penis and think to themselves – FINALLY!  But I feel safe in saying, for the majority of straight women we would rather see one after we get to know you.

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