Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Forget About Cougars

I spend way too much time online, reading blogs and on Twitter.  And every day I must see about a dozen references to .  They make me laugh, because that’s not really a category that’s relevant to me or anyone I know.

I’m more worried about piranhas.

I hope you’ll give me some leeway here as I try to connect some disparate dots for you.   This weekend the published an article on Women Bullying Women at Work. It was one of those pieces that got emailed around a lot and written about by lots of other women.

I read it and didn’t think it was in the slightest bit controversial or even note-worthy.  I spent most of my “professional” career in female dominated offices where women had the bulk of the jobs in middle management (myself included).  And by and large there was a ton of bullying and backstabbing and wrestling for position.  All amongst women.  The few guys in middle management got to sit back and have a free ride. They didn’t live with the same kind of pressure or scrutiny.  And by and large, if they stayed with an organization long enough, they were guaranteed a promotion to the top.  Very few women made it to the top. We were all in the middle, beating each other up.  A rare few would rise.  And not so infrequently when a space at the top was made for a woman it was made for an outsider.  Someone who wasn’t covered with mud.

I’m not going to get into the politics of this.  It’s a very real thing that happens every day in large organizations.  And it’s one of the reasons I walked away from my former career.  I refuse to play dirty.

There is a connection to in all of this.  The game, in my world, has turned many single women into creatures I’ll call piranhas.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s poll, women my age find it hard to date in .  Sure, there might be some who find us attractive.  And if I wanted a younger guy that would be great.  Plus, there are plenty of guys who are 10+ years older than me who are dying to date me.  And I think some of them are great.  But the prime candidates, the ones I’d probably want the most, are in their early to mid 40s.  And many of then are strictly interested in much younger women.  Leaving me and other single women my age (let’s put a random number on it – 100K in the NY metro area) with a rather shallow dating pool of prime candidates (let’s guestimate and say 25K who would be as open to dating us as someone younger AND YES I’m making these numbers up but they ring true based on my experience).

So that leaves us with a 4 to 1 ratio.  Not good.  And so some women become willing to do just about anything to win a guy.

I know some women who misrepresent their profession and income (either making themselves more or less successful to seem more attractive).  I have a friend of a friend who hasn’t left her home in years without serious cleavage showing.  Even in the dead of winter this women walks around with her boobs out.  She’s always the center of attention, I can assure you.  And yeah, some women lie about their age, and other details of their life.

I could get mad at the women in their early – mid 30s who are dating the men I’d want to date (if I wanted to be mad at someone).  But then, I’d have to be mad at myself.  I had a few boyfriends who were 10 years older than me when I was in my early 30s.  And now I sometimes date guys in their early 50s.  I’m sure than doesn’t make women in their 50s happy.  We’re all taking what the others want.  Fighting over dwindling resources.

But like I said, I refuse to fight dirty.  I’m pretty sure I’d rather “lose” and never date again than have to pretend to be someone I’m not to find a guy.


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7 to “Forget About Cougars”


  1. GkGddss says:

    Very interesting. I don’t run across piranhas, because the only women I work with are low-level clerks, and I work with a small tight-knit group of execs – there *are* no other people to gun for our jobs. But I remember, 25 years ago, working with snarky women. Considering how few there are of us in the oil business, I found it detrimental and fitting into the male stereotypes that women couldn’t handle this industry.

    The age thing is something altogether. I’m 52 and am well educated, successful in my business, and financially well-off. I find men my age and educational background are generally looking for someone much younger. One of my work peers, who is my age, says *he* finds that women our age are starting to worry about their impending lives on social security and are merely looking for a meal ticket for retirement, so he seeks out younger women even though he doesn’t find them as intellectually interesting.

    There’s a problem here, somewhere.

  2. terry simpson says:

    Not all look for someone younger -some of us are perfectly happy to enjoy the company of someone with intelligent conversation.

    Life experience cannot be duplicated by silicon and bottle blonds

  3. Dazzlingly Single says:

    I’m 29, so I supposed I’m still considered young enough to find available men. Still, I’ve already met some piranhas- not just in the workplace. I don’t think it’s all about age. I know a few women in their middle-to-late 20s who are already lying in order to find attract a guy. Most of them feel pressured to marry and start making babies, so they’re out there playing dirty too.

  4. singlegirlie says:

    This reminds me of the Sex & the City episode in which Candace Bergen is explaining to Carrie that the dating pool for her, a woman in her 50s, is so small it’s more like a wading pool. Then she tells Carrie (who’s dating an eligible man in his 50s), “Quit swimming in my wading pool.”

    This whole double standard about men dating younger women always bugs me, but I suppose it’s not going away any time soon, so I won’t go on about it. I sometimes wonder if men in cities other than NYC or LA are different. There is so much focus in these two cities on status and celebrity. I sometimes feel men in these cities date younger women more for status than because they actually like the women. Or perhaps they do like them because they’ve been unconsciously brainwashed by society to believe that a younger woman is really a better woman.

    I once *almost* dated a 39-year-old man who told me a story about how he went out with a 21-year-old stripper and how it was cool because all his friends were high-fiving him. I still don’t see why this would garner accolades. My ex is now 40 and dates women in their early to mid 20s, never failing to mention their age when he talks about them to me. If a man truly loves a woman and she happens to be much younger, that’s fine. But to consciously seek out only much younger women because it makes you feel like a hipper, more virile, more desirable man only makes you look insecure.

    Oops, I wasn’t going to go on about it, was I? :)

  5. SINgleGIRL says:

    -GkGddss
    First, welcome to the blog. Interesting, that a different perspective on why men (some) date younger women. There does indeed seem to be a problem here.
    -terry simpson
    Of course, you’re right. Not all men seek out younger women. It’s a generalization and like all generalization it’s overly broad and limited. Some men prefer to date women their own age.
    -Dazzlingly Single
    Wow, that makes me sad but I’m sure you’re absolutely right. I travel in circles where women don’t really start to think of “happily ever after” til after 30. And so the cutthroat dating happens later.
    -singlegirlie
    I remember that episode. I can imagine her saying that to me, as I’ve dated a couple of very attractive, successful guys in their early 50s. I didn’t go looking for them, they came to me. *sigh*

    I hear you about the double standard. It’s frustrating. I’d like to imagine that a lot of guys who tend to date younger have more substantial reasons than because, as you say they, “feel like a hipper, more virile, more desirable man”. I know some guys who say that women in their 40s (in NYC, at least) are just too jaded and bitter. I take issue with that, but I have to take the guys at their word that that is their honest assessment. Even if I think it’s a load of crap.

  6. Dont Be a Slut says:

    That 4:1 ratio thing you mention? As a black woman, I’ve been dealing with it my entire dating life. Black women outnumber black men just in terms of the general numbers, but then when you start adding in conditions (college-educated, middle-class, early-to-mid 40′s, etc.) the pool gets smaller and smaller and smaller.

  7. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Don’t Be a Slut
    I’ve had friends tell me that. It seems so horribly unfair. And to be honest, it is something I think about every time I go out with a black guy (Which I do, sometimes. I date all kinds of guys.). I imagine one of my black girlfriends being mad at me for dipping into her pool. Ugh.