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“Cougars” are popularly defined as women in their 40s (or older) who date significantly younger men, generally at a 10-year age gap or more. Pop culture paints the cougar as predatory and pathetically desperate, but women have recently begun fighting the stereotype: real cougars, they argue, are confident, successful, single women over the age of 40, who — tired of unromantic and narrow-minded men their own age — date younger, more active and more adventurous men.XResearch sourceXResearch source This article offers tips on identifying and attracting a “cougar” — also (and preferably) known as, an older woman.
Part 1Part 1 of 2:Identifying a Cougar
- 1Forget everything you think you know about cougars. In fact, forget the term all together. If you are interested in dating and/or having a romantic encounter with an older woman, you’ll need to treat her like a human being — not some sexist stereotype of how a sexually active older woman looks and behaves.
- 2Determine the woman’s age. The generally accepted age group for cougars is 40-plus; however, some people go as low as 35 in their definition. With new creams and procedures available, many men and women are able to look much younger than they are. Some things you can look for, which apply to both sexes:XResearch source
- Dry, dull and/or thinning hair: both men and women experience a decrease in the quality of their hair as they get older. You might notice that an older woman has brittle-looking hair that lacks the shine and fullness of younger people. Her hair might also be dyed to cover grey hairs.XResearch source
- Sparse eyebrows and eyelashes: as we age, our hormones drop and hair growth slows, which can make our eyebrows and eyelashes less lush. Some women might opt for pencilled or tattooed eyebrows, and eyelash extensions — so it still might be difficult to judge their age based on these factors alone.
- Thinner lips and eroded tooth enamel: our lips wrinkle and thin with age, and our teeth wear down and erode. You might notice thin lines around an older woman’s mouth, thinner lips (maybe partly hidden with lipliner), and duller or translucent teeth.
- Thin skin: as men and women get older, the smooth skin on their necks gain ridges and wrinkles — unless they use Botox or have a face-lifts, that is. Thin skin will also be apparent on the hands, making veins, knuckles, and tendons more visible.
- Dry and saggy knees and elbows: with age the skin around our knees and elbows begins to dry and sag around the joints. The skin around the elbows in particular can become darker and much drier than the surrounding skin.
- 3Evaluate her makeup. Evolutionary psychology has shown that when evaluating women’s desirability, physical attractiveness is a more important factor than it is in evaluating men’s desirability.XResearch source This means that while less attractive men might still be desirable based on their intelligence, humor, income, etc., women are still largely judged on how they look. For this reason, it makes sense that with age, a woman might amp up her makeup routine to try to hide the signs of aging that will make her less desirable.
- You might notice an older woman wearing more foundation and structuring creams and shades to help give her face a smooth, contoured look.
- She might also be more likely to wear lipliner to make her lips look fuller, a brow pencil to fill in her eyebrows, and blush to make her cheeks look more youthful and rosy.
- Contouring is a popular makeup technique right now, used by women in all age groups, from their teens upward.
- 4Don’t think you can judge her by her fashion sense. The comical cougar stereotype is of a woman wearing clothes that are much too young, and often too tight, for her — usually in tacky fabrics such as animal print. The reality is that women of any age can dress in a tasteless and unflattering manner.
- How a woman dresses — regardless of her age — depends largely upon her own personal sense of style.
- While women of all ages wear push-up bras, older women may find them even more useful as their breasts will sag with age.
- 5Pay attention to her self-confidence. In general, the older a woman gets, the better she knows herself and what she likes, and the more confident she becomes. Some signs that she is confident:XResearch source
- Good posture: whether sitting or standing, a person with good self-confidence will likely have a straight back and a head that is well-balanced on the neck, with the chin pointed neither too high nor too low.
- Relaxed: a person with good self-confidence will likely seem relaxed in most situations, perhaps looking around the room with an easy smile, or just seeming generally calm and at peace with herself. She won’t be very fidgety.
- Eye contact: confident people make eye contact and maintain it in social interactions. That said, there's a difference between maintaining eye contact and staring intimidatingly at someone: looking someone in the eye roughly 60% of the time you are talking to them is a good rule of thumb.
Part 2Part 2 of 2:Attracting an Older Woman
- 1Know what you want, and be honest about it. Whether it’s just sex or a long-term relationship, knowing what you want will help you figure out your best course of action to get it. It’s also important to be honest with the woman about what you want — don’t act like you want a relationship if all you want is sex. Women enjoy sex too; she might be fine with some no-strings-attached fun.
- Some questions to consider: Is it sexual — a checkmark on your bucket list? Or, are you interested in something long-term, with someone who is more mature than your previous partners? Perhaps you have someone specific in mind already, and are wondering how you can get her to notice you.
- If you just want sex with an older woman, for example, your best bet might be dating sites geared specifically toward older women seeking younger men, and vice versa. There are even cruises devoted to connecting older women with younger men.XResearch source
- Dating sites are also a good option if you are seeking a longer-term relationship with an older woman. Again, just be clear about your intentions from the beginning.
- Women in and over the age of 40 have lives too; this means that you can meet them literally anywhere — from the gym to a boating club, to an acting class, or even in your local grocery store. Spaces are shared interest are great for meeting people in general, no matter your age.
- 2Forget the stereotype. Sure, some older women might fit the traditional "cougar" stereotype, but just as many — if not more — will not. As with all people, desires and behaviour differ depending on the individual. When approaching an older woman for romantic purposes, you’ll do well to forget the "cougar" stereotype and simply treat her with the same respect and consideration that you would treat anyone else.
- Some websites would have you believe that there are specific types of cougar: the moneyed cougar (or sugar mama), the angry cougar, the sweet cougar; alpha versus beta cougars.XResearch sourceXResearch source
- While there is often some truth in stereotypes, you’re better off getting to know the individual woman rather than trying to lock her into some predefined, narrow-minded, and generally unflattering idea of how a mature woman behaves.
- 3Show her you’re interested. If you’re interested in a mature woman, let her know. How you show you’re interested will vary depending on your own situation — including where you meet the woman and how well you already know her.
- If you meet a woman at the bar, you might show your interest by smiling at her and seeing if she smiles back. Wait to see if she keeps looking back at you; if she does, this might be a sign that she’s interested. You could then approach her and ask to buy her a drink.
- If you are interested in a woman who is in the same running club as you, your tactic would be different. You might gauge her interest by starting a conversation with her after the run — it doesn’t have to be anything too serious; small talk about the weather and the run will do to begin with.
- 4Be prepared for rejection, and take it gracefully. If you approach a mature woman and she rejects you, don’t be a jerk about it. It’s okay to be disappointed and to even express your disappointment in a polite or witty manner; it’s not okay to call her names or threaten her.
- Do: "I’m devastated, but if you change your mind, I’ll be over there!"
- Don’t: "Are you kidding me? You’re lucky to have a young guy like me show interest in you!"
- 5Be "young." If you are trying to attract an older woman, don’t get stuck on the idea that you need to act like a man their age might act. Many women in their 40s admit to seeking younger men because they are more open-minded, adventurous, and romantic.
- When going out on dates, be adventurous and willing to try new things. Share your interests with her, and learn about her interests too. As with any relationship, take pleasure in learning and growing together.
- You’ll also benefit from being adventurous and open-minded in the bedroom. Chances are, she’ll be clear about what she likes, so it’s important that you’re willing to listen and possibly follow instructions.
- 6Be honest about who you are. If a mature woman says that her last relationship ended because her partner was an unromantic, stubborn workaholic, and you know that you’re approaching a critical time in your career where you will need to prioritize work over everything else, it might not be the best time to get into a relationship with this woman.
- 7Be reliable and uncomplicated. Most older women (and men) have had enough relationships to know what works and what doesn’t; they’re not interested in playing games. Cancelling plans at the last minute and "forgetting" to call for days to weeks might have been tolerated by younger women, but more mature women will likely not put up with this behaviour.XResearch source
- If you are seeking a long-term relationship with a mature woman, be realistic about your expectations from her. If she has already had children and is over the age of 40, it is unlikely that she will want more.
- Be prepared for people to judge you. It might not be fair, but if you choose to date an older woman long-term, people will probably judge you. What’s most important is that you’re both happy; when your friends and family see this, it should be easier for them to accept the relationship.