Advice for my Unborn Cougar

Advice for my Unborn Cougar

The whole cougar thing versus the biological clock. What to do? So many choices.

I’m not carrying a baby in my tummy right now. If I were, and it were a girl, I would have some advice for her – once she could understand the things I say, that is (and one can but hope for small miracles).

When I say advice, I’m not talking about handy pocket-sized nuggets of counsel like ‘never spray deodorant between your legs’ or ‘a sailor playsuit is not an investment wardrobe piece’. I am talking of big suitcase-sized wisdom: the type that can take you on your travels to very different life-lands, depending on how you choose to employ it.

My advice to my miniature person would be the following: ‘take care when thinking of becoming a cougar.’

Sometimes, yeah, you consider the options and you go, “What’s needed here is an actual picture of a cougar”.

I think this is stellar guidance for a young female, and one day it must and will rank alongside existing maxims such as ‘take care when crossing the road’, ‘don’t take sweets from strangers’ and ‘eat your tea and be quiet’.

No matter how successfully we ladies reclaim the word by dragging it out of the shame-bed it shares with MILF, and propound that it’s cool to be the older woman, there is one cougar scenario which won’t alter in its funkiness level. And this is a scenario around which I want to place some flags with creepy skeleton faces and say ‘look out, little one.’

I refer to a scenario in which we have a younger man dating a cougar who is on the brink of uteral endgame (my term, not the NHS’s). If a woman in her late 30s or early 40s is dating a man several years younger, the fact that – if she wants them – she has to have babies soon kind of cancels out the thrill obtained by a mutual attraction with someone who has his own hair and un-clankety jaw.

Maturity-wise, the age gap may not be consequential – you may both enjoy fine cheeses and box set indulgence – but when it comes to having kids the Mister still has time up to his armpit, but as a Ms it can feel like you are close to banging on the shop door when even the closing down sale has closed down.

Obviously if you end up in this scenario and you are both certain that each other is ‘the one’ and you want to get down to baby building right away, then there isn’t a huge problem. But not everyone wants that. Many people want a little time to get to know their partner, to spend time with them without the pressure of a conversation about family planning. There just isn’t anything cool about dating a younger guy while your biological timepiece seems like it is about to explode in the secret pocket you feel compelled to hide it in until the time is right to talk about ‘the time’.

What I am cautioning against here is adopting this ‘cougar is cool’ attitude early on without considering the implications of being a cougar later on. Women can have a lot of things these days, but we can’t have all the things men have. We can’t expect that because we can make our thirty-something outers look more like twenty-something outers that the same time-warp thing is happening on the inside. It isn’t. Essentially, what it boils down to is giving yourself the choice to have children when you want to, rather than feeling forced into it.

So, how to avoid becoming a tragi-cougar? Well, of course, nothing can truly be planned. Life can’t be expected to turn out the way we envision it. You can meet your ideal life partner in your twenties then circumstances change and they, or you, are are no longer the person once loved. But you can also spend a lot of time faffing around in relationships that just don’t seem right, feeling like you have all the time in the world, because women have lots of choice these days.

It’s a gamble to dilly-dally away younger days in relationships which aren’t working, hoping that it will all come together and our bodies will have waited for us. I’m not saying having kids is the ultimate lady dream – I certainly am not sure if I want them – but what I will be saying to my little one is, if you are a female who values choice then don’t get too carried away thinking that a cougar is always a cool cat. At least not if you want cougar kittens one day.

Air kissing gone wrong: Body language. What is even happening here? Photo: Mark Stewart