“My very first introduction to the phenomenon of the cougar came about in the 1967 Dustin Hoffman film, The Graduate. Mrs Robinson, played Anne Bancroft, and immortalized by the duo Simon and Garfunkel in the eponymous song, seduces a young purposeless graduate, Dustin Hoffman, who then proceeds to in keeping with all precepts of predictable plot twists, fall in love with Mrs Robinson’s daughter. Perhaps the most iconic was the film’s poster, a stocking clad leg held aloft in the foreground, an invitation of sorts to the wary, uncertain young man looking on. American television, the font of all things disturbing in popular culture, has a reality show called The Cougar, which has an older woman choose from a line up of 20 younger men, seeking to be her love interest via a series of weekly challenges. The aim? To ‘tame’ the Cougar.
Does the Cougar need to be tamed is the moot question, a point we are still debating centuries after Shakespeare said his bit about taming the shrew, a different creature though from the cougar. Then there’s a dating site, called Cougarlife.com, which encourages older women to find younger love interests, and I use the term love with all the gentle, tender emotion it comes weighed down with.”
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