Friday, 10 September 2010


I almost can't talk about it.


I'm so very hurt and embarrassed and humiliated and just awful right now.

I was told once, that you should never say something behind someone's back you wouldn't say to their face and here's a good example of why I wish everyone would think a little more before they spoke. Because sometimes you say something you never intend for someone to hear but they do.

And I did.

When I got Cary's disappointing email, I called my friend to let her know he'd emailed, and that I was bummed because it was clear from the email that things weren't going anywhere.

As we were talking, her husband called on the other line and I guess she mentioned that Cary had finally emailed me back because when she came back on the line with me she was laughing. "Well, that's funny, because when he told Cary that he'd given you his email and he hoped that was ok, I guess Cary asked him if you were a Cougar."

I didn't laugh.

I was stunned, actually.

The term, for those of you who don't know it or use it, refers to an older woman, usually in her 40s who is looking to sleep with a much younger man. Usually in his 20s. At best? A Cougar is Demi Moore dating and marrying the 15 year younger Ashton Kutcher. Or possibly Samantha from Sex in the City; an over-sexed almost lecherous older woman who scores a hot young model.

At worst, it's an over the hill, somewhat desperate woman who goes after younger men. Much younger men. A Cougar is tacky, slutty, all about the sex. Not respected.

So, not something you'd want to be called. Especially when you're nowhere near your 40s. And you're not going after men in their 20s.

I ended the call pretty quick and my friend immediately called me back apologizing.

"I'm sorry," she said. "Please don't take that the wrong way. I shouldn't have said anything. I happen to know Cary really liked an older woman and thinks Cougar is a good thing, so please don't be upset."

But upset is too light a term for how hurt I am.

You know how sometimes something quite little touches on what's a really deep insecurity for you and it becomes this huge thing? This devastation?

That's what this is for me.

See, I'm sensitive about my age. I've talked about it a little bit here, but I already feel like I missed out on getting a man when it was a good time for that, that I wish I'd met my husband in high school or University. That it's hard being single when your friends are getting married or already coupled. So I already am insecure about being single at my age. I'm already sensitive.

So to hear that a guy I thought was bright and interesting and intriguing, a guy who'd said we had chemistry thought I was not only older than him but significantly older than him really really hurts. Has devastated me.

Do I look that old? Do I look ten, fifteen years older than him?

I'm not. I'm maybe five years older than him, but do I look it? Act it? Where is this coming from? Didn't I leave his hotel room, so didn't I shut him down? Isn't he the one who told me I was hot? So, wasn't he the one who was interested in me? Since when did I become the older woman chasing him?

And putting the age thing aside, which is hard enough, is me emailing him enough of an act that it looks like I'm throwing myself at him? That I'm chasing him, trying to lure and capture him?

I am so so humiliated. I can't even begin to explain it.

I know that you, and any other friends I talk to about this will tell me flat out that this guy is a loser and a jerk and immature and wrong, but I'm not ready to go there yet.

I'm not ready for this to be about him because I'm still hurt and insecure and rocking from the shame of it all.

I'm cringing that someone I was wondering about a future with thinks I'm an oversexed, eager, whore of an older woman.

Imagine what he'd think if I'd actually slept with him. Or kissed him.

Imagine how humiliated I'd feel if I'd done that. I can't even think about it, it's so bad.

But for right now I'm just hurt. I'm hurt and having to remind myself over and over that I'm young and attractive and beautiful and smart and wonderful and amazing and all sorts of good things because the voices that like to tell me bad things about myself are having a field day right now. An absolute field day.

I know I'll be ok, that this will go away soon enough, and I'm hoping that this hurt and embarrassment will soon turn to anger and that I'll move on and forget this, but right now I'm not in a good place with it all.

It's shame on top of insecurity on top of disappointment on top of sadness on top of regret on top of humiliation and wanting to curl up and die and erase myself from having gone to the wedding, having met him and having ever thought any positive thoughts towards him at all.

And if I can tell you anything out of this, it's that it's not really necessary to pass on hurtful things to people. And that you really should listen to Bambi's mother and if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all.

Because it hurts.

And sometimes the hurt can go deep.

And sometimes it scars.

So right now I'm trying not to let myself get scarred, I'm just trying to hold it together. I'm trying not to be confused and embarrassed and ashamed and hurt.

But damn, I'm hurt.


Blogger Mademoiselle Hautemess said...

I am so sorry that this has shaken you up. But I just want to comment on the way you imagine a cougar... I think that cougar is more of a buzzword right now- its hot, its trendy. It is not necessarily a put down- referring to a nasty, aggressive, oversexed woman in her 40's. I personally love the idea of dabbling in cougardom- largely because I imagine it more to be a badge of honor that when I am over 30, men in their mid 20s will find me so appealing that they still go after me! (i count only a 6year age difference as cougar) It will be about being ageless and desirable! NOT aggressive and used up.

So please, don't let yourself get too hurt and humiliated based on one narrow definition of the word- but rather, turn it on its ear.

YES- he hit on you! Yes- you left his hotel room! and YES he thinks you are hot! You are hot and in control of your love life! OWN IT!

Friday, September 10, 2010 8:57:00 am  
Blogger "Just Sayin....." said...

MY Darling Victora!

I think all women at some age ahve been hurt by this term. Cougar. It's vile. Unless you pride yourself at being a whore. Then koodos to you.

Dating younger men is an unwritten right of passasge for a lot of women. You however are not one of those women.

I recently went thru the exact same thing, feeling undesired cos I'm over a certain age. (38) and may possibly die alone.

A male friend had actually got mad at my thought process and told me the following. It helped me, I hope it helps you. Take from it what you will.

He said: "Who cares that you're single. Who the hell is anyone else to belittle you for that?
Everyone is single at some point in their life, they all got there just via a different venue.

Divorce, death, moved to a new town for a job, left loved ones behind etc... WHO CARES!?
They're all single now too.

And don't let anyone tell you that is something wrong with you cos you're almost 40 and never married.

Everyone has a story and yours is, you just havent met a man worthy of your undying devotion and love yet."

He said all this in such a way, with such love, honesty and disinterest in those that would go out of their way to make another human being feel like I was, you are.

It helped and my out look on my love life, my furture with singlehood is less tourmenting now and it shows.

He didn't meet his special one until he was 37. :)

Hope some of this helps you. Like I said, take what you want from it, if anything.

Chin up love, don't let some side remark from a man with no class get you bummed out. Even if he thought of it as more of a compliment....

(side note - men, calling women cougars is never a compliment, even if you mean it in the sense of it being an attractive trait cos she is older, knowing what she wants and not afraid to go after it etc ... those are not cougars, those are real women).

Leave the cougar comments for the women in their 40's and up who dress like 20 year olds, dress inappropriate and have no class or shame about their intentions... there is a difference. A big one.

Friday, September 10, 2010 9:00:00 am  
Blogger Kas said...

I got married the first time when I was 24. The only positive thing I can say abt THAT is-- I now have beautiful babies.

I didn't meet my special one until I was over 30 and we were together for 7 yrs before we decided to get married. EVERY DAY I thank God I have him.

BTW- I'm 41 now... he's 57. We just attended a funeral for his boss last weekend and all the guys (construction type dudes) are all on him wanting to know how HE scored such a young babe. I look MUCH younger than 41 (I'd say about 30-ish)... I still get carded to buy alcohol!

It will happen. Just believe in YOURSELF and the good person that you are.



Friday, September 10, 2010 9:18:00 am  
Anonymous Dominic said...


I've been trying to think of something more insightful to say but so far I've got nothing.

Age is very different for the genders, in so many ways. I once dated a girl more than a decade my junior and nobody bats an eye. If she'd been that much older instead, I'm sure things would have been said.

I know what you mean about starting to be bothered by age vs. accomplishments - being another singe 30something myself & having recently completely reset my career, and all, I often get those moments when I wonder if I've left "having a life" a little bit on the late side.

So I can understand this has hit hard.

I hope you have someone around to give you a big hug!

Friday, September 10, 2010 11:59:00 am  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

I'm not going to advise anything, or try to lift you - because you don't want to hear any of that crap.

I will however say that I'll be here, reading what you're sharing tomorrow. And the day after...

Friday, September 10, 2010 1:54:00 pm  
Blogger Elle said...

I was thinking of all these things I could say, but then I read everyone else's comments and they have put things just way better than I could have so....please listen to them.

Friday, September 10, 2010 6:55:00 pm  
Anonymous ray said...

Cougar isn't necessarily a very bad name. I see it as an "attractive older woman on the prowl". It's about a woman who doesn't stay at home learning needlepoint just because she think she's too old.

The asshole is your friends husband - he and Cary were having a private conversation and it sounds as though Cary made an offhand comment that probably made sense as a joke in the context of their conversation.

FWIW, I have been with my wife for nearly 15 years and she is 10 years older than I am. Age doesn't matter in this.

This next bit will probably be unhelpful to you but: stop overthinking things. Not every comment like this is an attack or an insult. The fact is that you are still putting yourself out there and that men find this attractive.

Revel in your energy and stop obsessing over every offhand comment. Contact Cary, someone that I guess you were attracted you to before this comment, and see if you can reconnect.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 3:17:00 am  
Blogger Single and Picky said...

So this is where I will say if we were all sitting around a table, we would haul you out for some fun, maybe a drink and some good food and remind you of how wonderful you are. So since we all can't can I ask you to spoil yourself today? Go buy some flowers, the makings to your favorite meal, maybe buy some shoes, shoes can always make you feel better and then re read what "Just Sayin'" has said again if need be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 8:09:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks for your comments, thoughts, love and support everyone. They've helped and I appreciate it.

I guess I do see the word as much more negative than some Mlle Hautemess, that's true. Thanks for the "turn it on its ear" thought.

Yeah, Just Sayin, I'm not a fan of the word... I'm sorry you went through age stuff too. I guess it happens to all of us at all sorts of ages, eh? And, yes, your friend was right. Thanks.

Thank Kas. Your story made me smile. I'm glad you're so happy with your hubby.

It's true Dominic, no one thinks anything of men dating much much younger.

Thanks Jonathan. It helps to hear that.

I will Elle. Thanks.

SnP, I'll see if I can do some "spoil myself" shopping today. Haven't bought myself flowers for a while. That might be nice.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 10:04:00 am  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm also not a fan of the word cougar and I think it's incredibly rude when people use it. Even if you ARE using to describe an oversexed woman in her 40's who's desperate to find a younger man and is dressing inappropriately. Those women have emotional issues that lead them to act that way, and I think it's sad, not funny.

BUT, I do agree that the term "cougar" has become so commonplace that most people probably wouldn't define it the same way as you, and I think you're doing yourself a disservice to assume that Cary meant it the way you're taking it. I highly doubt he meant it that way. I expect it was just a (albeit disrespectful) casual comment that meant he assumed you were a little older than him and was flattered that you were interested. You are clearly not what the average person would picture when they picture a cougar. So please, PLEASE don't let that bring you down.

That said, I do understand the insecurity about being single way longer than you thought you'd be. I am right there with you. Most days, it's fine. On bad days, I just want to wallow in self-pity.

I think there's a lot of factors that lead to some people being happily married in their early 20's, but you know what? I think one of them is seriously just dumb luck. That they just happened to be in the right place at the right time in the right mood and said the right thing and met their perfect match and circumstances were right and neither of them happened to do something dumb to screw it up.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 1:00:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks Laura, being reminded that sometimes it really is just luck. (My Mom and her friend were saying the same thing to each other recently, like how lucky were we in our marriages)

Saturday, September 11, 2010 1:39:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Hey Ray, Blogger had your comment in spam, so I only just found it and got it published today. Wasn't intentionally ignoring it.

I think different people see the term different ways. Most women don't love it, and yes, I'm sure the comment was funny to the two of them.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion and I'm entitled to overthink or not. That's what I like about having a blog. I can write out things right when I'm in the middle of them and sometimes just doing that makes me feel better.

I won't be contacting Cary again, but he's free to contact me when he's next in town as he said he would.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Sunday, September 12, 2010 2:34:00 pm  
Blogger DEC said...

Honey, don't be sad, not for that!!! Are you kidding me? I guess if you ARE in fact 40, than cougar might be offensive, but if you are not, but happen to like younger guys - I do! - then that's totally fine.

Am I the only one in the world that really don't mind that world? Cougar is HOT.

My ex was younger than me - about 3 years - and we actually planned to go to Halloween dressed like Cougar and Cougar hunter.

Believe me, I'm sensitive about my age too. All my friends are married or close to getting married as well. I wish I got married in high school, university, grad school.

But I had no problem with my ex calling me sugar mama and cougar. You know why? Because unless you are 40, it's not true - OMG, I really hope you are not 40 ;) -, it's just a joke.

Now, forget about this douche. I do recommend younger guys, but you have to come to terms with yourself if you are going down this road.

Anyway, again: don't be sad, not for that :)


Monday, September 13, 2010 7:01:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Oh Anne, I think the thing was, on top of me being sensitive about my age is that I didn't think this guy *was* younger than me, so it all came as a shock. I really thought we were the same age, so to hear that he'd thought I was older was just a shock.

Monday, September 13, 2010 7:56:00 pm  
Blogger Yvonne said...

It's possible he's used to immature silly girls his age and was discombulated by your grace and intelligence!

Thursday, September 16, 2010 2:08:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Heh ;)

Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:52:00 pm  

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