Nudge, Nudge: Cougars of Victoria roam free … in heels

This just in: Our city is Canada’s No. 8 hotspot for cougars. Yay.

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about those cougars who terrify people in parks. We’re talking about the ones who favour high heels and youthful men. Apparently, there are quite a few living here.

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This announcement is a tremendous boon for our city. Just last month, Victoria was named one of Canada’s most boring cities by something called the Boring Awards. Well, I bet the Boring Awards didn’t know about our exciting cougar status.

You’re probably wondering, “How is it determined that, cougar-wise, Victoria ranks eighth in the nation?” The statistic is provided by CougarLife.com, a Toronto-based dating site “designed for connecting older eligible women with the cubs who love them.”

When it comes to Victoria, 55 per cent of the CougarLife clients (that is, 2,264 women) are on the prowl. Our percentage is lower than that of London, Ont. (the No. 1 cougar capital!), but ahead of Waterloo, Ont., and Moncton, N.B.

Not only that, Victoria has Canada’s highest percentage of “eager cougars.” This means in this city, 79.8 per cent of initial contact on CougarLife is made by women.

CougarLife also says many of the young men who sign up attend the University of Victoria, Royal Roads and Camosun College. One can imagine their on-campus conversations.

Bud: “I tire of the young, attractive women at my college. Golly, I wish I could date a woman my mother’s age.”

Larry: “You and me both, my friend.”

Bud: “What’s a lusty young fellow with a preference for mature women to do? Hey what’s this — an ad for CougarLife? Sign me up.”

Larry: “Yes, sign me up also. So I can begin a romantic relationship with a woman considerably older than myself.”

Pondering the cougar situation, I wondered: “Hey, who are these cougars, anyway?” Happily, a helpful CougarLife publicist found me a real-life Victoria cougar to chat with. Her first name is Carrie. She would talk only on the phone.

Carrie, 39, said much of the stigma surrounding cougars has vanished. It was once a bit taboo and looked down upon. Now women can take real pride in the cougar label.

“Times have changed,” she said. “It’s more empowering now.”

Carrie, who seemed oodles of fun on the phone, is dating two men. One’s a decade younger; the other is eight years younger.

Why younger men?

“Um, I’m not really sure why. I tried dating men my own age and older men as well. They just don’t hold my interest,” she said.

Carrie says dating younger fellows is part of experiencing life’s rich tapestry. It’s all about variety. Try it. And try dating older men, too, she added.

So in the future, she won’t always date younger men?

“From my personal experience, yes, I would only date younger men,” Carrie said.

I also spoke to 42-year-old Marlo, an American cougar who lives just outside Sacramento, Calif., and is an “official spokesperson” for CougarLife. Marlo is a professional dating coach who competes in fitness competitions. She’s currently dating a 29-year-old man.

I suggested to Marlo that dating younger men might, in part, indicate a preference for the carefree nature that comes with youth. I mean, it’s not just all about the physical, is it?

“I think, primarily, it is just that for me,” Marlo said.

She said young men also suit her because they’re less set in their ways. Marlo is ultra busy with fitness competitions, dating coaching and being an official CougarLife spokesperson. She sees her young man about once a week. (I imagined the daybook entry “cougar frolics!” pencilled in between a yoga session and an oil change.)

Marlo also stressed that today’s women are reclaiming the term cougar. She said it no longer connotes “a pissed-off woman who’s divorced, maybe completely out of shape, sitting in a bar smoking a cigarette preying on young guys.”

Which is good.

And would Marlo ever consider an older man?

Turns out she would.

“Maybe if it was George Clooney or something like that,” she said. “I might go for it. But you’d have to be super, super hot. And have a lot going on.”

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