The other night my husband gave me a leave pass and I made my way to an awesome underground club called White Revolver with my going-out friend (also a young mother and fellow member of the dying breed of sometimes truant housewives who still manage to tear themselves away from the toilet scrubbing-brush, the hot coal oven and the laundry).
So, we were having a fabulous time in our too-tight tops and too-short skirts and trying out our fake, ‘do not attempt to contact me or befriend me on Facebook in the “real”-world’ names (“Kristell” and “Serena”) when this adorable 22 year boy who thought he was old enough (and good enough) to talk to me approached and decided to engage in some friendly chit-chat.
The young, good-looking gentleman gave me the top-to-toe cursory glanced and asked me “what my story was”.
In the interests of almost full disclosure and an expensive wine list, I proceeded to tell him fragments of my full story, being that I’ve been married for 6 years and have two little baby boys – a 2-year-old and a 7 month old – and that I had not slept in 2 years. Judging by his raised eyebrows and blowfish lips he wasn’t so inspired with “my story” anymore and was shifting his gaze around the room for more worthy benefactors of his weekly entertainment allowance! However, before he could tip his baseball cap, say “G’night Ma’am” and scurry away, and in the interests of preserving any slim chance of scoring a future-free drink, I decided to reciprocate and asked him what “his story” was.
Turns out he was an aspiring model and hard-working supermarket basement car-washer by day. Upon reflection, if he had to ever wash my car one day, I reckon it would be the oldest driveable car he’s ever washed, let alone seen, in his entire life.
The funny thing is that just before we said our goodbyes, he actually thought he would pay me what he thought was a parting compliment.
He told me that I was a really cute cougar – GROSS! I mean I am only just 30 years old – I really thought that you only entered cougar territory in your early 40s. That little backhander made me feel really old and suddenly, very tired too. He could not even believe that I was out at all. given my age and ‘circumstances’. So I gave him my signature reply in this type of scenario “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time!”
Crickets….Crikey.. Cue my ostentatious, Princess Mary-like wave to a fake friend in the smoky distance, dramatic glance at empty cocktail glass and epic dash and stumble to the powder room via the bar!
As I sulked and stared at my crows feet and frown scars in the queue of skimpy Lindsay Lohan clones I was genuinely shocked and mortified that I was being labelled as cougar. I never usually look, or feel old, and 9 times out of 10 I’m carded at a nightclub door. (Mind you, I am starting to feel my age lately in some respects. I’m coming to realise that hangovers are way worse at 30 years old and can be excruciating when coupled with the dead of the night wakings and early starts brought to you by your little offsprings. Also, things become less palpable when you’re getting on and still going out. For instance, the only thing worse than a 30-year old with a hangover, is a 30 year-old with a hangover who needs to scrub toilet bowls the next morning.)
On one occasion I recall being almost bounced from entering a club because the doorman (or clip board dude? Not sure what the youngsters are calling them these days) surmised that I was completely smashed, drunk and didn’t believe me one bit when I told him that I had only had 1 drink before I got there! The dude was adamant that my bloodshot eyes were a dead giveaway for a drunk and disorderly patron. I attempted to rationalise and justify my bloodshot eyes by explaining that they were due to me not having slept at all for the past 2 years (my excuse for EVERYTHING these days!) – which he totally did not buy at all!
But back to the cougar label. Not only was I insulted, I felt annoyed by the fact that I was expected to take it as a compliment!
I then proceeded to drink ’til I no longer looked like someone who would be expected to produce ID at the bar that night, trying not to think of the fatal 30-year-old, age-appropriate hangover that would present in just a few short hours.
So, how old do you have to be to be considered a cougar? Forty? Fifty? Not less, surely!