We writers often speak of “showing” a scene rather than “telling” the reader about it, and the concept makes sense to me. People tend to understand things more clearly when we allow them to visualize the images in their minds. Words in and of themselves are really just concrete representations of the images we’ve constructed the letters to represent. We speak and write and communicate with an often necessary metaphorical language.
As a writer I can understand that.
We want to help our audience envision the world we see in our heads, and by making comparisons to a more common reality, we can communicate our visions much more precisely. What fascinates me is that our society still has a tendency to equate certain human characteristics, qualities, and/or actions with those of our animal brethren. The image of certain animals comes quickly to mind when we find we need just the right word for those “special” moments.
Oftentimes children are called kittens or cubs or lambs or pups, and men can be called bears or foxes or dogs or jackasses. And while women have been known by more negative associations, such as hyena and cow and bitch and crow, I’m happy to note a more positive analogy of late.
I have no idea who dreamed up the use of this term for a woman who has a relationship with a younger man or even, in reality, what is truly meant by the connotation. Even when I “googled” the word in this context to uncover some sort of answer, I found a mixed reaction and a mixed history. According to Wikipedia, the definition should only be applied to a woman who dates a man her junior by eight years or more. Since I’m only 4 ½ years older than my dh of 20 years, I guess that rules me out. Some say the word is still a negative hit for women—another word for a “catty” female. Others say it means an older woman who is “hot” and “sleek” and “sexy.” Since I find cougars to be unbelievably beautiful and crafty and intelligent, I think I’ll go with the latter.
Since time began, men have been able to date women several years younger than they are, but women are just catching up with the trend. I think it’s about time. Why shouldn’t we be able to find the one true heart that matches our own even if he was born a few years later than we were?
What about you? Do you think “traditional” relationships have more of a chance to succeed? Or do you think a woman can find real and lasting love with a man who might be a “dog year” or more younger than she?