Ever since fortysomething Demi Moore started dating then-twentysomething Ashton Kutcher in 2003, the term "cougar" has grown to become one of the most popular reference points, and punchlines, in popular culture.
TV shows like Desperate Housewives and Cougar Town and films like How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Something's Got To Give have given a positive update to the old cougar reputation, which tended toward comical (Harold and Maude) and grotesque (Sunset Boulevard).
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But... you may ask yourself, what about the MEN?! Throughout history the phenomenon of the younger woman and way, way, way older man has been accepted if not back-slappingly admired. Where Demi is 15 years older than Ashton, her 54-year-old ex Bruce Willis married 30-year-old model Emma Heming and publicized the union with a racy nude photo spread in W Magazine. Am I A Cougar?
After ending his marriage of 29 years, 54-year-old Mel Gibson debuted his 39-year-old girlfriend, which is a relatively minor age difference when it comes to male celeb May-December romances. Meanwhile back in 2003 Cameron Diaz—then 30, earned the cougar label for dating only eight-years-younger Justin Timberlake. Thirtysomething women dating younger men get the cougar-in-training label "Puma" but men in their thirties dating younger women? Nary a label in sight, though those who date older women are known by the cuddly moniker of "Cubs." The Trouble With Dating An Older Man
Well we say enough with the double standard. Not only is the tradition of men dating younger women more common and often more extreme in age difference, the male set hasn't even been saddled with a nickname. Fair is fair and men should get nicknames, too!
In Richard Roeper's recent column on the subject a reader suggested "Dingo." Yes, the mangy, scavenging dogs are predators. Their close relative Hyena is a little less attractive. For cool calculation and predatory nature "Shark" is a go-to but that too can be seen as flattering for their aggressiveness and general dominance. So far Manther (male panther) seems to be getting the most traction on the internets as the male cradle-robbing label. Older Woman, Younger Man: Can It Work?
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