This week’s Dating and Relationship Radio Show on AM640 was chock full of very useful and interesting information for ‘dating as an older woman.’
It featured myself, Producer & host Laura Bilotta, Executive Producer and host of Inside Jokes, Sandra Carusi and Relationship Expert, best known for coining the term ‘Cougar,’ the one and only Valerie Gibson.
Valerie, like me, is all about empowering women, encouraging them not to lose the ability to have fun, to make sure they know that, contrary to former beliefs, your best before date is no longer 30. So let’s get into the recap:
DATING AS AN OLDER WOMAN REVELATIONS
A lot has changed for women over the last few decades, it used to be frowned upon for women over 50 to date. Especially if they were widows, widows were supposed to put on a black veil, go away and never be heard from again. That was then, this is now. The boomer generation has been aging very well, they’re healthy, look great and are the biggest growing demographic of singles over 50.
Society as a whole hasn’t figured out how to process the ‘later dater phenomena.’ Even the later daters themselves have preconceived ideas about what kind of couple is acceptable. For example, If a man sees a great looking woman, he doesn’t think about age, if there’s a connection, there’s a connection, it’s organic. But, if he reads her age on paper or online, he automatically thinks he wants someone 10 years younger. I see this a lot. When we do speed dating events, we have to market according to the ‘stereotypes.’ For example, we’ll say women between 35-44 and men between 38-47, a lot of older women don’t like this, but I say we have to trick the guy’s mind. It’s a psychological thing.
Same thing goes for women who decide a man’s profession is ‘not good enough’ to be considered dating material. Open your mind! A successful friend of mine married a factory worker and he is the most amazing husband, we should all be so lucky, he cherishes her, he does everything for her. They’ve been married for 11 years and it’s still going strong. If you’ve read my book you know that I have a lot to say about expectations, or having lists of must haves. What you must have is an open-mind.
FERTILE HUNTING GROUNDS FOR COUGARS
I asked Valerie why she thought it was difficult for women to meet guys. She said that Toronto, for example, is a huge city and that people don’t come here to find relationships, they come here to find a career and climb the ladder, relationships are not a priority.
So where do you meet him? Most older women and men don’t generally go to bars or clubs, Valerie advises networking, hiking, tennis, etc., she also highly recommends travel, particularly Europe. She said European men love older women. Good to know!
Sandra gave an odd example of a place to meet men, she said she went to a funeral with a friend who was lamenting the dating scene. She said she had given up, was done with it, that it was too hard, but before they even got out of the car, her friend saw the widower and said ‘hey, he looks really good and he’s on his own now.’ Her friend told her funerals were the new place to scope out potentials…eww.
You do have to get out there as much as possible, I may draw the line at hunting at funerals, but you do have to get out there.
REENTERING THE DATING SCENE
It’s hard to know what to expect for an older woman over 45 reentering the dating scene. We discussed the differences between dating in your 20’s and 50’s and things women should know about men in their 50’s and beyond.
The new sexual etiquette is an example of one of the differences. Valerie reminds us that attitudes have changed, that you have to be prepared to pay your way, to wear condoms, to be prepared for ailments and things like that. She said that, unfortunately, a lot of older men hate wearing condoms, they say it’s like having a bath with your overcoat on, so women are foregoing that, DO NOT forego the condom because STDs are everywhere!
I also mentioned that I noticed several men were more interested in women’s pocketbooks. Valerie agreed, she said some men want to be taken care of financially, but also, there are a lot of older men who want a nurse more than they want a woman, she says ‘I have never met a sexy older woman who wants to be a nurse, unless he’s a 90 year old billionaire.’
MORE ABOUT VALERIE
Valerie coined the term ‘Cougar’ when she wrote the book ‘Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men.’ As you know, it became very famous, but many women have a problem with it, which bothers Valerie.
She explained that when she came up with the word ‘Cougar,’ she chose it specifically because the Cougar is a beautiful animal, powerful and strong, it knows what it wants and knows where it’s at. She wrote this book with the intention of helping women gain self- esteem, she put it out there as a positive.
“It’s so sad,” she confessed, “when I took it to America they had never heard that word, they loved it. They embraced it, but then the media and the movies twisted it into something sleazy. Real Cougars are not sleazy – they’re very, very independent women, they’re sophisticated and sexy. They do not want to marry, they do not want to have kids, they want to have a good time, just like men.”
Being with a younger man makes you feel good, just like men having a younger woman on their arm makes them feel good, it boosts their ego. It’s exactly the same thing for women. Valerie’s hope in life is that there won’t be any more labeling, no more ‘alternative relationships,’ that all relationships are just relationships, no qualifiers required. I hope so too.
Listen to the full episode that aired on Feb 26. The Dating and Relationship Show airs Sunday nights at 9pm on AM640.