Anyone with an elementary grasp of Sociology understands the notion of a ‘cougar’, a woman romantically involved with a much younger man, isn’t a 21st century phenomenon. History is replete with stories of seasoned maidens courting men young enough to be their son, and in extremely icky cases, their grandson.
Elizabeth I the queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603 never married but Her Highness never lacked companionship either. Various highbrow Europeans wished to take the plunge, but she had more of a “friends-with-benefits” philosophy. Her last serious relationship ended in 1581, when she was forty-eight and her man, Francois, the Duke of Anjou, was twenty-six.
Another Elizabeth, this one Taylor, is arguably best known for her strange relationship with Michael Jackson and her ability to fully consume men in one sitting. Ms. Taylor was married eight times to seven men and in 1991 married her seventh, and last husband construction worker Larry Fortensky. She was fifty-nine; he was thirty-nine. The union lasted five years, which is understandable given their meeting at Betty Ford Clinic.
Deep down every teenage boy fantasizes about ‘being with’ an older woman. Thanks to movies like The Graduate and the meteoric rise of the suburban MILF, being led upstairs our best friend’s mom is a top-5 on every red blooded American male’s bucket list, even if doing so would require the Laws of Physics to permit time travel.
The fantasy seems fixated on the hope of this senior paramour taking the lad under her experienced wing and showing him the carnal “ropes” through closed-door tutoring sessions. Bedding, or more precisely being bed by, an older woman is almost seen as a boy’s rite of passage; an important gate through which he should go before entering into the kingdom of manhood. Though it’s traditionally understood that once he makes it through his sexual tour guide remains behind, like a proud mentor, watching as her protégé sets out to find his own adventures.
The rumor mill is spinning continuously amid the chaos that has become Demi Moore’s life after her late 2011 announcement that she was leaving her husband of six years, Aston Kutcher. Her ensuing public, and epic, meltdown seems all the more pathetic when you stop to consider this entire scene was predestined.
The couple’s history is well known. After meeting at a NYC party the twenty seven year old Kutcher began a public courtship with Moore who was forty two and thirty months later they were finally wed. If 42 has become the new 32, then a hundred thousand dollars in plastic surgery and a bank account that mysteriously has no end, it’s now the new 22.
The motivations for Kutcher were all too obvious. In his case it was a win, win, win. First, she was drop dead gorgeous. Second, she was as A-list as he could have ever gotten on his own. Lastly, the fascination of the relationship in general sent his stock price soaring and the resulting attention was more than talent alone would have ever granted him. As a twenty-something with a sit-com and a few low-brow comedy movies under his belt, being with Moore was arguably a stroke of genius for his career. Can you honestly say he would have landed Three and a Half Men otherwise? But this isn’t implying the relationship was purely one-sided. For Moore being someone refusing to grow old graciously, what better way to strike a blow at the inevitable than landing a strapping young buck almost ½ her age?
Indeed, Moore certainly wasn’t the first cougar, she was just the first to make it mainstream. She was the standard bearer for middle-aged single women everywhere who had grown tired of their comparably aged dating options with expanding waistlines and receding hairlines. She proved to the world that not only can a woman in her forties compete with those a decade younger, she made it in vogue. And in so doing, opened a crack in the door for single younger men everywhere. Now, instead of hitting the bars on Friday night all one needs to do is get a good night’s rest and troll the soccer fields Saturday morning.
As much as we may have wanted to Mr. and Mrs. Moore to take it the distance, even my seven-year-old son knew the numbers didn’t add up on the birth certificates. As with any divorce it’s always fun, and often therapeutic, to ascertain why the marriage went sideways. Certainly Kutcher’s infidelity played a role, but in the end Moore has only herself to blame. You see, she got carried away and made a Bush League cougar mistake – never get serious with the kill. Much like the animal from whence the name derives, a cougar goes in for the kill then moves on to the next; it doesn’t marry it and create a Twitter account with its last name.
For Kutcher, the entire novelty of the relationship was apparent but as the newness faded all he had left was a soon to be 50-year-old wife while he is barely in his 30’s. The emotional age difference alone might as well be a century. I’m almost 42 years old; my desire to stay out partying past midnight is on par with my enthusiasm for a colonoscopy and rumor has it Moore was on a spiritual quest; it appears the only thing Kutcher is in search of is the next hot tub.
Sooner or later the age difference was going to catch up with them as it always does – if Hugh Hefner can’t pull it off, nobody can. In the end Moore had to realize all the plastic surgery in the world can’t change when she was born. And what 30 something husband wants to introduce the drinking buddies to his wife – who just got her AARP card.
Divorce isn’t fun for anyone and I do hate what she is going through, but this is her third tine so I’m sure she knows what to do by now. I can only hope that whoever Mr. Next is, she will card him first.