Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine


Unleash the Cougars

Who needs Botox, pilates or yoga? The new beauty secret comes labeled "younger man"

r. Strange and I host one boozy and fervid dinner each year, and it's always a frisky night out for the firm's old guard and new hot blood. This year we booked the historic yacht Sequoia with a chef from the Mandarin Oriental, imported to seduce our palates. The night air was cool velvet, the city's monuments sparkled, and I imagined JFK's mischievous ghost at the helm. We inhaled Domaine Romanee Conti like sailors on shore leave. Liquored up and feeling chatty, I leaned in close to the man on my left, the firm's newest star, Jesse, who also happens to be a brown-eyed, blond-haired hunk. "Seeing anyone special?" I wanted to know. "No, not really."

"But the meat market is vast for you 20 and 30-somethings," I said. He differed. "Maybe, but that's not what I'm into."

What was he looking for, I asked. After a pause, and a long, slow sip of wine, he leaned right back into me, and knocked my Choo's off. "Honestly, what I want is someone like you: a full blown woman."

My pulse raced. Talk about flattering the boss's wife. Thank God the waiter with the magnum was in nodding range. "So, you want to be cougar-prey?" I purred. Dear Jesse, all 28 years of him, broke into the kind of smile that gets Brad Pitt one looney actress after another. "Seriously," he said. "Me and many of my buddies. Last year I dated a woman who was 37, and it was great. Vintage is better. No limits. I'd date a 50-year-old if she was hot."

Back on dry land and sober, I did my due diligence. A casual survey among friends of a certain age revealed that Mrs. Robinson had blazed a trail all those years ago that many smart, buff and independent-minded women follow today. Face it, if The Graduate were made today, Anne Bancroft would be married to Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin Braddock. What was once subversive is now fashionably mainstream. It's Susan Sarandon and Madonna and Demi Moore. It's Laurie David leaving Larry for the young gardener. Katie Couric has a 15-years-younger beau, a year for every million in her CBS salary. But it can be you, too, with the boy next door. All the pilates and yoga that fit into a day can't compare to the fountain of youth that's a good roll in the hay with a younger man. It's the new Botox, and apparently it's as easy to score as those $600-a-pop shots.

A notorious founding member of the Cougar Hall of Fame happens to have a Washington pedigree - father a Congressman, two brothers in the Bush '41 administration. That would be school teacher Mary Kay

Letourneau, who went to prison on child rape charges for bedding a student 21 years her junior. As dirty old man Woody Allen so famously said, "the heart wants what the heart wants"; Mary Kay is now married to her prey, Vili Fualaau, and they have two children.

But can it play today in this town, where even Hollywood Fred Thompson takes heat for having a comely young wife? Would there be a jolt if Queen Noor stepped out with Tripp Donnelly rather than Jim Kimsey? Personally, I think a little romantic age-role-reversal might be just what's needed to get this town's groove back. Let's let the cougars out! Younger women, naturally, are dumbfounded by this trend, but who cares? Girls, you can keep the old guys.

The day after our dinner, Jesse sent two-dozen white roses and a bottle of rare burgundy with an envelope addressed only to me. My secretary blushed when she handed over the card. After the obligatory polite thank you, he'd scrawled with his best prep school penmanship, "Give one rose to the boss. The rest are for you, and the wine is for when you have me ... to lunch."

Readers wishing to get in touch with Michael can email her at: mstrange@washingtonlife.com


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