Cougar Convention© Lauren Greenfield
In the wild, every female cougar has a cub, from which she never strays far. In the city, cougars have high-powered careers and salon appointments, so sometimes they need a little help to find their cub and nurture the bond. Fortunately for the rising numbers of older women and younger men seeking May-December romances, there are as many obliging mating grounds as there are years between the two lovers. On a recent Friday night in Los Angeles, over 300 “cougar” bachelorettes and “cub” bachelors convened at a Beverly Hills hotel for the first annual California Cougar Convention.
The night’s events — speed dating, drinking, dancing, and an anthem song ‘Cradle Robber’ — promised new romance and clandestine indiscretions, and culminated in the crowning of a cougar queen. Young men arrived in packs, smoothing their buzz cuts and stone washed jeans. They lavished compliments and caresses, flexing muscle shirts and machismo. Older women showed up solitary: stilettoed divorceés in search of a young mate. They flashed rhinestones and cleavage, hoping to go home with a Miss Cougar California tiara and, more importantly, a doting cub to care for. Cougars outnumbered cubs three to one, with a good shot at their pick of the young pride.
While their social acceptability has gone from verboten to vogue, the cougar profile has generally remained the same: financially independent women over 40 years old with a thing for younger men. Today’s cougars say that early stereotypes often dismissed benefits to the “cub”, giving the cougars a bad taint. Instead of predatory, modern cougars are nurturing, agile, and innately experienced. The Cougar Convention crowd agrees that their relationships are mutually benefical: Tyana Alvarado, 40, prefers younger men because “they have a voracious appetite and make me feel sexier.” Raymond Lai, 28, spends the evening with many women. “I hooked up with three girls. One was 36, the other was 40. I don’t know how old the other one was. But I got their numbers; I’ll give them a call.”
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