Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rrrrraaaawr!

In case you were unsure, that is the sound of a large cat, growling.

"Large cat" as in "cougar."

The Loose Interpretations (for those of you not following along, that's my a cappella group, currently comprised of 11 women, most of whom I'm older than) had an outing a couple weeks ago, where we went to dinner and then went to a club.

When we arrived at the club, we were almost the only ones there. Within an hour, the place was packed.

Mostly with boys.

Mostly with boys who seemed much, MUCH younger than me.

It's entirely possible that the average age of club-goers was 24 or 25, but for whatever reason, the gap in our ages -- what with me being all of a geriatric 32 -- seemed like a canyon.

At first, I felt very uncomfortable. Young man after young man poured into the club, trying to look cool and collected. And while sometimes I can pass as a twentysomething, there was no way that these guys were going to notice me. Judging by the rest of the crowd, and even my gorgeous fellow group-members, I was too old, too heavy, and too clothed. (Well, and judging by the girls in the ladies' room, I was also too sober, but that's another story.)

But as I continued to observe, my few moments of self-doubt changed. I went from a few, fleeting moments of feeling inadequate, to feeling --

-- gosh, don't hate me --

superior.

I mean, I was as surprised as you are. I was all set to have to put on my emotional "I don't really care" armor...but I never did. I just sort of felt satisfied.

Yes, I'm older, but I'm also wiser and more experienced. Yes, I will spill things down my shirt all the damn time, but I do know how to hold myself, handle myself in the larger sense. Not to mention I'm financially stable, gainfully employed, and have a group of friends and family I would go to the ends of the earth for.

And uh, not to creep out all my NON-invisible friends who may be reading this and/or related to me (hi!), but let's just say I know my way around the bedroom.

So there I was, with these thoughts whipping through my head, and I had to laugh at myself. Because I realized that in the context of our club outing, I was a cougar. Ha!

(Okay, not really. Especially as I was NOT on "the hunt." But still.)

It's one thing to enjoy dollar beer specials in a sort of ironic way (ahem), but it's quite another to enjoy them because you cannot afford anything else because you spent two months' rent on your damn phone which you refuse to use for any actual conversation, but still seem incapable of leaving in your pocket for three consecutive seconds lest you miss a text message.

Ah, the texting. And the hair product. And the Bud Light bravado.

It was awe-inspiring to watch the clusters of boys buy cheap beer and rounds of even cheaper shots for themselves, just so eventually they'd get up the courage to talk to any of the cute girls in clusters on the other side of the room. (They didn't even have the courage to make eye contact with the bartender, which I sort of understood since she was about 2.5 seconds away from having her boobs pop right out of her shirt.)

So there they just stood -- hordes of hormones, drowning whatever social graces they may have had in a thick, clumsy coat of Jager, posturing and cheers-ing each other at the end of the bar, creating an impenetrable forcefield of cologne.

Leaving me and my curvy, comfortable, cash-positive self to sashay over to the other, cologne-free end of the bar, where I was served immediately. (Probably due to the fact that I was ordering high-end liquor and tipping well.) (And not texting while so doing.)

Hmm.

I'm probably sounding a bit bitter, and I really don't mean to. I just didn't know. I didn't know places, people like this existed. Was twentysomething dating always like this? Did I not notice it before? Or did I manage to avoid it?

And why? Why, girls in your 20s who may be reading this, do you partake? Surely there must be other options...

This past weekend, my cousin, Nate was in town with his girlfriend, who is my (aforementioned) would-be/could-be/long-story-but-we're-not-actually-related "cousin," Liz. And they came out with me and Ish and a few other people, including PinkJaime and her friend and his friends.

Now, when I say "his friends," I mean two guys. One was very tall and built like a football player and one was shorter and lean and fit and had a couple facial piercings. They seemed a bit reserved, but also nice and polite. I said to Jaime, "they're kind of cute." And she replied, "yeah, and they're like 12."

In the dim bar light I hadn't noticed how young they looked. But on second glance, they could have passed for teenagers. So rather than hang out near them, I returned to my group of friends.

I learned a long time ago that men in bars -- especially the young ones -- do not have much interest in talking with:
A) Girls who they don't want to have sex with, or
B) Girls who are at the bar with their boyfriend

...and I had to figure I was both.

The concept of making friends, engaging in casual conversation, and networking is usually completely lost on the 23-year-old guy, especially in a bar situation. I have found myself wanting to tell more than a few guys to CHILL OUT, I AM NOT HITTING ON YOU, I AM TRYING TO ENGAGE YOU IN CONVERSATION BECAUSE I AM A HUMAN BEING AND THIS IS A SOCIAL GATHERING AND THAT TALKING THING? SPEECH? IT IS MY PREFERRED MODE OF COMMUNICATION. AND NOT ONLY THAT, BUT I CAN ENGAGE IN SPEECH WITHOUT EVEN ONCE THINKING ABOUT YOUR PENIS.

But I never do say that, mostly because I think I'd make it about halfway through the sentence before he'd return to texting. Well, until he heard the words, "your penis."

Anyway, this is why it came as such a surprise to me when about 30 minutes after our introduction, the shorter of the two young men approached me.

"Kristy?" he asked, a bit tentatively. Perhaps he wasn't sure if he'd heard my name correctly and wanted to be sure. But the mere fact that he'd approached me, and remembered and USED my actual name to engage me in conversation absolutely floored me.

Maybe not all early twentysomething boys are so clueless, I thought. Maybe I was being unfair. Maybe the good ones do exist.

I smiled and nodded, encouraging him to continue.

"Do you have any gum?"

8 comments:

  1. LOL! Priceless.

    I must say, I also somehow managed to miss this "club dating" thing.

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  2. Ha ha! I hadn't read this entry until this morning, but by hilarious coincidence I too had a "cougar" moment this weekend that I just wrote about. When did this happen? What will I look forward to now? ;)

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  3. K - What bar was that? Those 20 year olds that aren't quite ready to approach the chicks sounds like prime hunting grounds for me. :D

    LOL.

    I guess the gay equivalent of the "Cougar" is the "Chickenhawk."

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  4. You wanna know when you come full circle with the 20-somethings and can really engage them on a human level? When you find yourself to be the mother of one of 'em. Talk about cougar action, heheh...

    I guess there's technically a level of disefranchisement there because it means you're not sexually viable to them once you're in Mom territory (I don't consider myself a practicing MILF, thank you very much). But it does take some of that awful pressure off, and I find myself able to have real and decent conversations with 20-somethings and older teens for the first time... ever, I think. I was scared of them as a teenager, disdainful of them as a peer, and had absolutely no dealings with them when I was in my 30s.

    And now there's what you're talking about, that level of self-confidence and ease in my skin and sexual experience and a checkered past better than anything those little twerps will EVER have.

    Either that or my kid is just super-cool and wise beyond his years, and therefore so are his friends.

    Whatever, it's all good. And that was a good moment you expounded on, thanks.

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  5. Ericha2@yahoo.com10:39 PM, August 13, 2007

    K~
    Priceless! Truly priceless. This is the reason that all my life my friends have been older than me. I mean, even at 31 I the majority of my friends are in their late 30s through their 50s.

    I still find a large number of younger 30somethings hard to deal with. Either they are still single and are getting desperate and therefore a chore to be around or they are already in a relationship of some sort and have 3 kids running around and don't have time for non-mommy and me friends. Maybe this is specific to the bay area where many of these mommies are of the stay-at-home variety because their husbands make so damn much money. I don't know.
    Luckily I missed the club dating thing too and I hope to never have to return.

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  6. Oh, to be a mere 32 again. . . . I turn 40 gasp! in a few short weeks and I've had a lot of these moments lately. Kind of like in Knocked Up, when the sisters can't get into the club because one is older than shit and the other is pregnant. That's my life. I feel like a teenager in so many ways, but find myself as a parental figure to the teens in the youth group at church. Sigh

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  7. all of the rings so true - especially the part where you know you are so, well, above it all and so much the better for it

    "do you have any gum?" - priceless!!

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  8. haha... i'm only 26, but already all the guys at bars these days look 12 to me. typical conversation between my gf and i out at a bar:

    "how about that guy in the corner?"
    "he'd be cute if he wasn't 14."
    "ah. right. alas."

    i look young though, so all the barely-21-year-olds DO hit on me, which is sort of hilarious in a condescending way because aw, sweetie, come talk to me again when you hit puberty, 'kay?

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