How to be a cougar? First, get rid of the old-lady underwear. Go for the sexy stuff, advises AARP. Get a thong! A push-up bra! Garter belts!
AARP has joined the Cougar Nation. In “How to Be a Cougar: 7 steps to snagging a younger man,” author Pamela Satran tells older women to get flashy and trashy. Forget about “making love.” Just “have sex. ” Oh, and this: be sure to tell that young man how AWESOME he is.
“Let’s practice,” writes Satran.
Young guy: "I'm in my third year of law school." You: "Awesome!"
Young guy: "I'm into skateboarding and hanging out with my dog, Spike." You: "Awesome!"
Young guy: "Let's get naked." You: "Whoa there! I mean, awesome!"
We burned our bras 40 years ago for this?? Well, OK. I never did actually burn a bra, but I did have that “click” moment of radicalization so aptly described by Jane O’Reilly in the first issue of Ms. Magazine in 1971. (Mine wasn’t about lingerie; it was about being assigned to make coffee for the men in the office.)
Probably I never burned a bra because I had so few of them. I once had lots of lacy lingerie when I was too young to make much use of it. (Although my sister did introduce me to the man who became my first husband by saying, This is my sister who wears black underwear. That was in the pre-Gloria Steinem days. Thanks, sis.)
In the heady days of liberation, we protested being sex objects and trashed the Frederick’s-of-Hollywood look. Now, apparently, buying hot pink pushups is a way to feel good about yourself, for women young and old, married or single, cougars or not. That’s probably good, in a full-circle kind of way. But what about flaunting that slinky bustier? Some young women in the post-Steinem era seem to be reframing the underwear question in a provocative way, leaving little to wonder about. We are sexy, they say. But we are not sex objects. And we will not be told to make coffee for the guys in the next office.
Perhaps older women can take a lesson from their young sisters in the Advanced Lingerie department. But that advice about attracting a younger man by flashing your thong and pandering to his ego seems creepy to me. It prowls at the edge of an era when women thought they couldn’t be both sexy AND smart, when they believed they had to act stupid before a man would find them interesting. Really, AARP? Awesome?
That’s a little like asking, Coffee, tea, or me?