October 1, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 19  

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Are all women really "cougars" at heart?

By Allison Buchan-Terrell
Gazette Writer

Cougars are no longer a seedy bar phenomenon; they are on the prowl, searching for cabana boys who can provide more than intellectual stimulation.

A new study conducted by the American Association of Retired People shows 35 per cent of women between the ages of 40 to 69 are interested in younger men and 34 per cent are actually dating younger men.

Xenia Montenegro, who prepared the report with the AARP, said women usually date older men because [older men] want to date younger women, therefore women cannot really find dates among their own age group.

The AARP survey covered 3,501 women 40 to 69 years old in the United States about their appetite for strapping young men.

"[The] number of singles over 40 is exploding in the United States, pushing the issue of dating to the forefront," said Ron Geraci, special projects editor for the AARP publication, The Magazine.

Geraci explained women are looking for companionship and someone to have fun with. "Older women do not have as much desire for sex as older men do," Montenegro said, contrary to the popular "coug mystique."

"People automatically think of the Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher paradigm," Geraci said, which is easy to do as the remodeled Moore and dumb struck Kutcher graced tabloid spreads weekly.

This is not the sole thrust of this phenomenon, Geraci said. "The economic liberation in the last 35 to 40 years [has] allowed women to be more empowered about the mates they choose," he explained.

Whether empowerment means men who can keep up with these spry babes or greased and golden boy toys a la Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the question is still up for debate.

The study focused on dating preferences of participants with one question asking for the three most important things in choosing someone to date; interestingly women rated financial standing second, Geraci said.

The Gazette went in search of some youth seeking women and found some interesting perspectives.

Frances, who works at Tim Hortons in the University Community Centre, said "If he had lots of money [then] maybe," when asked if she would rob the cradle.

Patti, who also works at the UCC's Tim Hortons quickly agreed to dating younger men. "Would I? Sure I would, I'm not dead," she said. When Patti was asked to narrow it down to a specific age, she said "Fifteen. Then you're robbing a cradle."

"Older women, they go for security [and] younger men go for older women for security," said Rita, a cashier at the CentreSpot on the subject of financial security.



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