Calling all fans of The Graduate! If you're a cute little cat who has always dreamt of frolicking with an older, more seasoned kitty, prance on over to CougarLife.com. The site aims to connect the dots for "cubs" and "cougars" looking for a May/December romance. The site now has over 1.4 million members, and membership is evenly split between cougars and cubs. We chatted with Cougar Life president Claudia Opdenkelder—who is almost 40 and engaged to a 26-year-old man (see the photo on the left)—and found out why she thinks an older woman and younger man are the perfect pairing.
YourTango: How does the site work?
Claudia Opdenkelder: It's free to join and you can send up to three messages for free. If you have a really great profile and members contact you, you can continue to converse back and forth without purchasing a membership. But in order to browse other members and send more then three personal messages, you have to sign up. It's $29 a month for a three-month membership or $40 per month.
How did you get the idea to start it?
There was a local radio contest in Toronto in 2005, called the Ms. Cougar Contest. I entered and won. I'm also in a wonderful relationship with a man 14 years younger then me. We just bought a house together and he recently proposed, so it's not a fly by night kind of a relationship.
How did you meet?
We met on a Facebook, actually. I run a promotions company called Professional Promotions and we're always looking for male models for special events. He applied and I asked him out and we've been dating ever since.
Has the site been involved in any controversy?
Well, Google is our biggest enemy. They decided the word "cougar" isn't "safe" and so now it's grouped in with all the adult sites, which our site clearly isn't. So that's really frustrating. We can't do certain web banners, like the ones you see on Facebook for instance, so we created a "DateMrsRobinson.com" landing page that redirects customers to us to make up for the lost advertising opportunities.