Too young to be a cougar? Too old to be illegal? Well, marketers are carving out a niche for cougars in training, that is women under 40 who like younger men.
There's already a school for aspiring cougars, and now there's a name: pumas. San Francisco will elect its Miss Bay Area Puma on Feb. 18, and I imagine similar contests are being held around the world. All winners will be sent to Jamaica to compete for the title of Miss Puma during International Cougar Week at the end of March.
Who's responsible for all this? It's actually sponsored by the Society of Single Professionals, a nonprofit organization for singles (its website certainly looks nonprofit!), and the Singles Travel Company. Though the cougar trend really only exists in pop culture, they've twisted the cougar-cub phenomena into an empowering movement for women.
"Midlife women are victimized by our youth-oriented society," says Rich Gosse, organizer of International Cougar Week. "They are regarded as 'non-sexy.' Supposedly guys are only attracted to nubile 20-year-olds found in the centerfolds of men's magazines. The truth is that there are many millions of men who find older women attractive. We will prove that during International Cougar Week."
Are you convinced?