The word Cougar has been splashed around the media lately. A cougar is an older women who dates a younger man. While older men are lauded and revered--mainly by other men--for dating younger partners, females are often subjected to ridicule for the same. The word cougar invokes the image of a predatory female stalking its prey. Conversely, men, often called silver foxes, are portrayed as wise and handsome rather than cold and predatory. Cougar has a cacophonous, harsh sound to it just like the other word for a strong female that starts with a "C" and rhymes with bunt. This other "C" word has been unacceptable in public speech since the 1500's.
I am not, nor have ever been, a Cougar but I did drive one for a long time. I loved her. She was very sleek and fast. When I slammed her accelerator to the floor, her four-barrel carburetor would give quick response. When she kicked in, yeah, that cat would run. She ate pavement and spat it out for miles behind her. She was worth every penny I paid over the years for speeding tickets. Miss Cougar always commanded respect, even from the ticket writing officers. They would walk around her admiring her long, low, lean lines, pin stripes, glossy black tires and sequential tail lights. They already new how fast she ran, they'd given her chase for miles. They would tell me of the best girls they had left at home--their Mustang's, Camaro's, and Chevy's. And when I asked them if they drove them fast, they would shake their head no, but a knowing twinkle would spark in their eyes. Yeah, she got respect...like a good Cougar should.
But alas, in a speed-lust frenzy, I decided to sell her for a newer, faster model. I had my eye on a Mitsubishi 3000 GT Twin Turbo VR4. Miss Cougar's rear end had a tendency to chatter and break loose a bit when taking corners at over 90 MPH. The 3000 would just lay down, hug the road tighter, beg for more and I would give it to her. So we looked for a new home for the cat. A young man in his mid-20's fell in love with her. He said he would take care of her. He said he would respect her. He said he would give her a good home. We wanted to believe him.
A few months ago, when my husband came home from work, he was very sad. He told me that while he had been out at the wrecking yard that morning, he had run into an old friend. Worriedly, I asked him what was wrong. He said he'd seen a horrible sight. As he walked to the back of the yard, he passed a twisted, crumpled mass of metal. He thought, what a waste, nothing salvageable in that heaping knot. Then he saw it. A of flash of paint...her paint. Miss Cougar, hardly recognizable and broken beyond repair, had not even one part left worthy of harvest and transplant. She'd rolled to the end of the road, worth nothing but the flat rate paid for scrap iron. We spoke of how we should never have let her go. We lit a candle.
I do not like this word Cougar as a term for females. It is used derogatorily and does not infer respect. From this moment on, I will use the word swan to denote a woman in such a relationship. In my opinion, any woman who undertakes the precarious nature of such a relationship, walks in grace. But this is a cautionary tale. A warning to the swans I so admire. Be careful in your involvement with these young men. They are full of promises, hopes and dreams, and high-energy. But in their passion and over eagerness, they can, all too easily, loose control of a fast, high revving, hot engine. Take heed that your front end doesn't end up mangled and your rear end wrapped around a telephone pole. Take a lesson from Miss Cougar.
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