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Liz A. Brown Headshot

On the Cougar Cusp

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My 35th birthday is coming up and there's only one thing I'm asking for: move the minimum age for calling a woman a "cougar" up to 36.

Last week, while searching for non-explicit euphemisms to describe Real Housewives cast members, I stumbled across the Urban Dictionary definition for "cougar" and found myself gutted by this definition:

"Cougar: Noun. A 35+ year old female who is on the 'hunt' for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male."

Thirty-five. That's me in a month. I'm not ready to be a cougar. I didn't think it would happen this soon. I thought you had to be at least 40. I thought I had more time.

I've lived in Hollywood for almost ten years and I've never once considered lying about my age before now. I'm a terrible liar and I don't think there's anything that makes you look older or more pathetic than getting busted for lying about your age (except maybe wearing a mock turtleneck). It just seemed like more hassle than it was worth -- until I found out that I was on the Cougar Cusp.

Now, suddenly, I feel compelled to start whiting out the dates on old baby pictures and bribing my high school friends to un-tag me in graduation photos on Facebook.

I read on:

"Cougars can be single or married..."

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

So you're telling me it doesn't even matter that my husband "put a ring on it"? If I happen to be at a stand-up gig and I'm spotted offering basic Hollywood survival advice to some 20-something man-child right off the bus from Kansas who doesn't even know he's gay yet -- I could be labeled a cougar?

I resent the label. I eschew it!

I don't want to be a cougar. I have my reasons and they stem from a pretty significant childhood attachment.

The first-ever true love of my life was Jack Tripper on Three's Company. I was six years old, and there was no one in the world I hated seeing grab at my man more than that skanky cougar Lana Shields. She was the only woman on the show that Jack absolutely refused to touch -- because she was an annoying, pesky, undesirable old cougar.

I may be more grown up now, but psychologists say the archetypes we learn in early childhood can stay with us our whole lives. I can't help thinking that if I'm really about to become a cougar, then the only guy who's going to find me attractive is someone resembling Don Knotts as Mr. Furley.

Of course, a pro-cougar advocate might argue that I've completely misinterpreted the entire cougar concept -- that cougars are empowered females who are experienced, savvy women that younger men love because they can teach them about life, sex and success.

But if that's the case, then that's not me either. I just barely figured out what I want to do with my life. I spend my paydays debating whether to try to keep my student loan out of default or pay a mechanic to investigate the cause behind "Check Engine" light on my 2002 Mazda Protégé. I've never taken any of my cats to have their teeth cleaned, I still don't know how to put make-up on, I just barely got over all those people torturing me in junior high school and I don't know any weird sex moves.

On paper, I'm like 20.

I have no wisdom to impart to a younger generation of "willing to do anything" males. (And are they REALLY willing to do anything? Does that include picking up a box of Monistat 7 and some tampons if my seductive and wise cougar-gina is having an off day?)

36 needs to be the absolute minimum age for cougar -- so there's at least one full adult life span between me and an 18-year-old before I'm considered so aged and decrepit that I have to feed off the blood of the young like one of the less hot vampires on True Blood. Please?

Let's get that age bumped up to 36, people. We've got less than a month to go before I'm relegated to wandering up and down the Sunset Strip in search of fresh, young man meat. Do it for the children. Or, if you're a woman, do it for yourself. Mr. Furley is lurking right around the corner.