Friday, July 16, 2010

Not that kind of animal

I am soon to be embarking on a new career challenge. My current boss wants me to find a mentor within our company and pursue a formal mentoring relationship. I mulled this for about a week, and coincidentally, we both came up with the same person in mind for the role. (We haven’t shared this with her, yet.)

It’s strange to be in this position, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m always up for something new. Heaven knows I haven’t ever followed the “traditional path.”

In other news…

I have a friend at work who shares a lot of my tastes- in music, books, humor, general outlook. He is a single parent of a young son. We email each other during the day and laugh at the same things. And he’s 32. Good grief. What is it about these young guys? I am old enough to be their babysitter. He doesn’t “get” the Eighties. He wasn’t alive – let alone understand the significance of – the 70s or the 60s. I am about to have my 49th birthday. Today, I said something to him about this disparity, and he actually used the C word.

No, not that one. He said “Cougar.”

I am NOT a cougar. Just because, for the past 15 years – or so – my relationships have been mainly with men sometimes as much as ten to fifteen years younger than me. I don’t have this intention. I don’t seek out someone younger than me on purpose. It used to come as a big surprise to both of us, and now it is something I’ve come to dread. I just meet some guy that I like. We get along. We talk. At some point, we start comparing notes, and then it happens. “wow,” they say, “you don’t LOOK that OLD.”

It happened when I was 38. It happened when I was 40. And 45, 47, and today.

“Gee, thanks,” I think. “You don’t seem that young.” And then I wonder what it is that makes me different.

On a typical work day, I turn off the alarm, get up, take a shower, and then stand in front of a mirror. I have no illusions about the passage of time. I don’t dye my hair or employ any special tricks. I think I look like I feel (which most of the time, is tired and preoccupied).

I hate that term “cougar.” It implies so much premeditation and predation. I am neither. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I broke up with my daughter’s father (who is nine years younger than I am). My desires as far as men are concerned are so far from what the culture says a cougar's are is laughable.

I’d like someone to “get” me: my sense of humor, the way my mind works, what is important to me. I’d like someone to share my interests and like some of the same things I do. I’d like to sit across from a nice man and share a meal. I’d like to be kissed on the back of my neck. I’d like to have someone reach out for my hand in the evening as the day comes to a close. I’d like to have someone to bounce thoughts off of.

I have none of those things. It has been years since I shared that whole part of myself with anyone. I feel like that part of me is on hold. I see myself getting older and I feel wistful, but I think that what I’m doing now is important, and that’s as far as it goes.

To be called a name that seems so far away from who I am kind of makes me feel that much lonelier.

Just because I like Indi music and look good in my jeans. Sheesh.


  1. Good luck to you with the mentoring thing at work. I hope it is a positive experience for you.

    As for the dating thing, I'm not so sure that the numbers are that big of a deal, but I do think the shared experiences are. That common ground is important, I think. Good luck to you. I hope you find the one you are looking for.

  2. Having a daughter as you as M probably makes you seem younger in others' eyes, and probably keeps you a bit younger, as well.

    That, and the fact that you're hot HOT HOT!

  3. How did I miss this post? :( Sorry, my dear. I've had my head up my bum a lot lately.

    Anywhooo... You're not a cougar, no. You're not prowling around, looking for younger men to pounce upon. You're just a nice, pretty lady looking for someone to share your life with. Labels are for schmucks. You're MtnMama, and that's all you need to be.

    Good luck with this new guy. Just remember: women live longer than men, so having a younger one makes sense logistically. ;) You'll be the only old lady in the nursing home who's still gettin' some!

  4. There is no "this new guy" - I am keeping my attraction to him a state secret and am treating him as a buddy. I just can't go there. I plan to enjoy him as a friend and nothing else.

  5. Age ain't nothin' but a number. I know some young 60 year olds and some old 30 year olds... just keep doin' you! And don't forget that you DESERVE good things!