What’s good for the goose…

As much I want to leave this cougar business alone, it just keeps pulling me back in. I think I was watching one of those entertainment shows on TV and saw another ancient man with another bouncy 25 year old woman and just cringed. I know some would argue that my reaction is wrong. After all, I don’t have the same sort of visceral reaction when I see an older woman with a younger man (except for when Anna Nicole Smith…with that 80 year old…you know.) But, with a few exceptions, when a much older man dates a much younger woman, it gives me the creeps. I guess when it’s all said and done, there must be something to it, cause its been going on for years (wasn’t Abraham like 600 years older than Sarah?) and there’s no sign it’s going to stop any time soon.

I guess this cougar trend is a little bit of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”  While gander refers to a male goose, the expression has come to mean what’s good for a man is also good for a woman. So today I thought I’d highlight some of the older men, and tomorrow we’ll take a look at a few older women.  A few of the relationships (and images) below beg the question, is what’s good for the goose really good for the gander? Or is it what’s good for the gander really…oh you know what I mean.

clooney

George Clooney & Elisabetta Canalis

I decided to start with one of the more palatable and believable May December romances. The 48 year old Clooney who’s got a fondness for younger women has been linked with Elisabetta Canalis of late and even attended the premier of Up in the Air with Canalis and his mom. For the record, my visceral reaction is tempered somewhat because it’s well, George Clooney.

Image: UK Daily Mail

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Morgan Freeman & Edena Hines

Morgan Feeman is 72, Edena Hines is 27 and his step-granddaughter. I’m not sure how to follow that so I’ll just move on to the next and even yuckier pairing.

Image: Bumpshack

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi

woody allen This father and adopted daughter (something they both deny) have been married now for 12 years. Allen famously dated Soon-Yi’s mother for years and was a father figure in Soon-Yi’s life until the 56 year old Allen married the then 22 year old Soon-Yi. When asked about the whole sordid affair, Allen allegedly remarked “the heart wants what it wants.” Yeah. It was your heart.

Image: Detik forum

Jack Nicholson & Lara Flynn Boylelara-jack

Though no longer an item, when the waif like Boyle started dating Nicholson, he was 62 and she was 30. Maybe he fed her.

Image: Toptenz

Billie Joel & Katie Lee Joel

billy katiie When 55 year old Billie Joel married a woman who was just 4 years older than his daughter, that should have told him something. Fast forward five years and the couple is separated and Katie, now 27, is reportedly dating a 36 year old fashion designer. Wait, if they were married for 5 years that means Katie was …give me a minute… 22 when they got married! Sing me a song Mr. piano man.

I have a couple of questions and maybe you can help me answer them. One, would any of these men date women who looked like, or were shaped like them? Never mind, I know the answer and so do you. Second, I know that women are also attracted to power and wealth, but what happens in the cases where we see broke down old dudes with young women?  Help us sort it out. Leave your comments here, or on our Facebook fan page.

Tomorrow: Good for the gander?

The ‘cougarizaton’ of America – Empowering or Desperate?

cougar town Every time I turn on the television these days I’m bombarded by images of, and conversations about cougars. Just so we’re all clear, Wikipedia (the most reliable source of information on the planet) defines a cougar as:

A woman over 40 who sexually pursues younger men, typically more than eight years her junior.

Yeah. About that… This TV season is rife with cougars. Over on ABC, Courtney Cox Arquette stars in Cougar Town, a sitcom about a forty-something, newly divorced mom returning to the dating game. Jenna Elfin’s upped the ante over on CBS by getting pregnant by her much younger, one night stand. Her show Accidentally on Purpose, follows Elfman as she deals with the ups and downs of becoming a first-time mom later in life and by a much younger man. These women are beautiful, smart, and empowered, or at least trying to be.

Both shows are comedies and they’ve got their funny moments, but somewhere in between all the jokes and laughter there’s a little bit of desperation and sadness. Elfman’s character even alludes to it on her show as she’s preparing to mingle at a club (pre-pregnancy) and asks her girlfriends whether her look is “empowering or desperate.” Who knew the line between empowering and desperate was that thin? And if you have to ask…

The thing is, as women, I kind of feel like we should be beyond the stage where empowering behavior equals acting like men. Especially when acting like them involves behavior that we used to frown upon. For years when we saw much older men with younger women, we secretly, or not so secretly, wondered about the nature of the relationship. We questioned its sincerity, calling her a gold digger and him a perv. And look, I’m certainly not saying that all relationships with a significant age difference are questionable, but Anna Nicole Smith and her 80 year old husband for example, really? Of course that’s an extreme example, it’s not so cut and dry when the age difference is 10 years or less, but when men buy their convertibles and leave their wives for younger women, we all groan and mumble things about mid-life crisis. So, why are we now celebrating the behavior when women do it?  And before I start getting hate mail – Not every older woman who dates a younger man is a cougar. Many of these relationships are not predatory as the term cougar suggests.

So here are the questions of the day. Why are so many people, men and women alike, embracing the term ‘cougar’ and why is the definition of ‘cougar’ morphing to include all women over forty who date younger men? Am I the only one who notices the ‘cougarization of women in their forties?’  And is the term cougar empowering or desperate?

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Image Source: ABC Cougar Town