The word cougar used to send a shiver down my spine, mostly because comedian Joe Rogan's dog was eaten by a cougar and I think he's a funny guy. But also because it's grown to be played out, tasteless and unfunny. Five or six years ago, when the word first surfaced it was hilarious because it conjured an image of a woman with acrylics, animal print sleeveless tops, leather pants and a perimenopausal hankering for something that doesn't need Viagra. But from that somewhat silly image an unflattering stereotype emerged and the whole thing lost its appeal. Now reports out of England suggest the cougar, like the mighty Chupacabra, might not exist and, come to think of it, Joe Rogan's dog may have been eaten by a mountain lion.
From Yahoo! News, the University Of Wales Institute, Cardiff has published a study in Evolution And Human Behavior that shows manfolk and womankind are still quite traditional when it comes to relationship standards i.e. ladies mostly go for men their age or older.
The study grabbed 22,000 people across 14 countries (the US was not one of them, big caveat there) and determined that people using online dating sites still overwhelmingly adhere to the time-honored norms, you know, the old chestnut of older dudes and younger chicks exchanging money and status for youth and exuberance. Interestingly, the half-your-age-plus-seven* rule appears to be in effect as younger guys go for women their same age or slightly younger and older fellas like increasingly larger gaps.
For cougars, the study states: "...this notion of the 'toy-boy' phenomenon is dispelled as a myth which only exists in the world of celebrity rather than reflecting real life." Admittedly, these United States of America were not included in the study, but we do a lot of the same stuff that they do in Canada and Britain (just without a queen, fun accents or poutine). In mentioning Demi Moore and Madonna, the study seeks to stress that their relationships fall out of the norm. 5 Reasons Being A Cougar Rocks
In my opinion, the real study should be a sociological one. Are we more accepting of older gals with younger guys? Why have we gone cougar crazy? Is the visual too good to pass up? Is the increase of female earning power forging bridges? Is the movie Harold And Maude finally being appreciated?
*Note: The half-your-age-plus-seven rule sets the basement for how young a guy can reasonably go with his dating options as long as she's 18 to party and 21 to drink.