Woman of a Certain Age by Marcia Barhydt"Cougars, cubs and Cooking"

I live near a large city, Toronto, in Ontario and I think that larger cities often produce people who are more accepting, less judgmental of many non-mainstream activities.

If you know what a cougar is, skip this paragraph. I had not heard the word until about 5 years ago when I, well into my 60s, first started dating at an online website, for the first time in about 17 years! When I asked my youngest daughter what a cougar was, she laughingly said, “Don’t worry Mom, you’re too old.” Grr.

It turns out that officially, she was correct. According to Urban Dictionary, a cougar is “A 35+ year old female who is on the “hunt” for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. She will not play the usual B.S. games that women in their early twenties participate in.  The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path. Man is cougar’s number one prey.”

I’ve written about cougars and judgmentalism before, but I’ve just read an article in my Toronto paper with the headline “Why cougars should cook for their cubs.” Well, that certainly got my attention.

The article was an interview of a celebrity named Mary Jo Eustace who had a TV cooking show with buddy Ken Kostic, which ran for years in Toronto. The two of them would babble and quip their way through cooking something and they were pretty entertaining.

Ms. Eustace has gone on to author several cookbooks and her latest one is Cooking for your Cub. Mary Jo, previously of homespun, sensible prettiness, is now, at48, all tarted up in a sexy black dress with an evil or at least seductive smile on her face.

When I think of cougars, cooking isn’t what comes to mind. In fact my impression of cougars is that they live a high enough life style to never cook.  Ms. Eustace is suggesting that cooking with your cub can be very sexy and, well, fun even! She and her publisher, Claudia Oppenheimer of Cougarlife.com, thought a cookbook for cougars would be empowering for all women, not just cougars. “We want to get women back to the kitchen. To make it fun, sexy, intimate and romantic.”

She says that cooking with your partner is sexy, like extended foreplay. She also says that pasta is very sexy, like in the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp. Other foods are great if you need to tear them apart with your bare hands, like in that old movie Tom Jones.

Mary Jo suggests we can make cooking sexy just by putting on a bit of lipstick and a pair of heels, or being barefoot in a sundress. Can you see me biting my tongue here?

I think it’s fine to be a cougar. I think it’s fine to be a good cook. And I can picture in my mind that there may be the tiniest possibility that cooking together might be fun. But extended foreplay? Aw, come on!

I’m not sure about Mary Jo or you, but cooking in my kitchen has never included foreplay. Maybe I’m missing part of the recipe? Or maybe more likely I’m enjoying the act of cooking and then I can enjoy the act of…well, you know.

I’m a woman of a certain age and I’m certain of the difference between cooking and foreplay.

©Marcia Barhydt, 2011