"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 --
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.)
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?"