The Mythic Cougar

Way before Demi made it vogue to strut with younger arm candy, Mrs. Robinson was seducing poor Ben Braddock in The Graduate.

In fact, in a survey done by popular dating site/Facebook app over 70% of women would not be offended if they were called “cougars” and 85% of men think it’s socially acceptable to date an older woman.

Many people attribute this to the women’s revolution and independence of the 60’s and 70’s, because it was during this time that it became more socially accepted for a woman to support herself and approach men without having to worry about finding a man “take care” of her.  Others believe the cougar craze began with a Canadian dating site,, which was created in 1999 for the express purpose fo serving older women and younger men who wanted to date.

Per the original website’s Cougar Manifesto, they chose to call these women “cougars” because a cougar is: “The largest North American cat, top of the food chain”  Which makes sense.  The Dream Moods dream dictionary states that cats symbolize an independent spirit, feminine sexuality, creativity and power to the subconscious.

By most definitions a “Cougar” is a woman older than 35 who prefers to date men who are at least 8-10 years her junior.  Variations include women in their early 30’s called “Pumas” and women over 60 called “Snow Leopards.”
Photo Credit – Houston Zoo

So what’s the appeal of the cougar craze?

The term used to have an extremely negative connotation, describing women who had grown desperate in their search for a mate, exhausted all possibilities in their own age bracket and generally wore far too much makeup and too many tight clothes.

However women have claimed the mindset of a cougar as more than just a December-May romance. is another online dating site devoted to helping older women find younger men (and vice versa.)  Yet their definition is one of empowerment and ownership: “Cougars are women in their PRIME: independant, sexy and wildly successful. They enjoy men that are youthful, fit, with the same zest for life. Cougars are classy, confident women that already possess many of the finer things in life – but now want the young, hot guy to go with it.”

No teased hair and leopard print for these ladies, unless that’s the look they choose to rock.

On the Cougar Candy Store (a site dedicated to women of any age who are strong, sexy, smart and independent) President Janet Margolis offers this simple 10-question quiz to determine if you have what it takes to embody the Cougar attitude:

1.   Are you mature, independent and savvy?

2.   Are you opinionated, sassy and fun?

3.   Do you have a full fantasy life that you want to share with others?

4.   Are you open to relationships with younger men?

5.   Are you fun and enjoy humor of many different types?

6.   Do you love to travel, explore and learn new things?

7.   Are you getting sexier and more sensual as you age?

8.   Can you assert yourself without worrying what others will think of you?

9.   Are you happy whether in a relationship or not?

10. Do you know what you want and then go after it?


If that’s the barometer, then gosh, I think I might be a Cougar!

Or would I be a Puma?

Jeez, this is confusing!  🙂

What do you think of the cougar phenomenon?  Has it changed from it’s original concept or is it still boozy divorcees looking for toy boys?

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