Life Advice



Single File: Cougar Talk Revisited

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: Hey! Do we women get told that older men have a lot of baggage? Are we considered "prey"? No! It's different when men take younger lovers. -- From the 'Single File' blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Wow. There it is -- the stark comparison we women tend to forget in our rush to equality. We're so caught up celebrating our newish freedoms -- sexual and otherwise -- that we totally forget we might deserve a shot at the privileges men have reveled in for eons! Getting more personal, I find myself rhapsodizing about snow bunnies on the arm of a gray-haired father figure but feeling more than a tad conflicted as I tackle the issue of younger male lovers. I for one feel a bit uncomfortable discussing such partners as being perfectly suitable -- ideal, actually -- for women past 40. But part of the resistance is ours, ladies: bred to beautify, we hesitate to be with a man whose face bears no trace of age while ours, well, looks a bit lived-in. When (not if) we're over that absurdity, we'll undoubtedly glide more easily into the scenario of worldly cougar with -- dare I say it -- a young man's arm around her waist.

DEAR SUSAN: I'm a middle-aged woman who is two years out of a long-term relationship. I want to meet and date men my age, but I don't know where to find them. All my friends and family know I'm looking, but so far no meetings have materialized. I'm active and well-rounded. Where do I start? -- From the 'Single File' blog

DEAR BLOGGER: You start by reminding yourself this is a personal project, not one to be farmed out to friends and family. They mean well, and have your interests at heart, but -- you get the point. This is your little red wagon, both challenge and privilege, so let's get to it. On separate pieces of paper, write two headings: "Must-have" and "Optional." Under each heading write the traits you're looking for in a partner/companion/mate. Don't be shy; these lists are for your eyes only and may help you mightily to solidify your thinking. And lead to a plan of action! Example? If you're looking for the outdoor type of man, you will plan your activities around sports-oriented groups. If morality is your thing, your focus should be on religious organizations and volunteer groups focused on good works. You get my point: narrow the world down by your tastes and preferences. After all, on paper you get the exact man you seek. And why not? The idea here is to get as close to the ideal as humanly possible. But (you knew there was one coming, no?) DO NOT limit yourself to these qualities. Leave plenty of room for the unplanned, unforeseen. Stay flexible, bend a bit if someone really nice pops into your life, with qualities you didn't consider, but find yourself moved by. Hey, woman, this is your life, your happiness. Think about your lists a while before acting on any part of them. Use the eraser often; far easier than making a mistake in real life, no? And after you make what you consider your final lists, send me another letter and let's talk this through. Can't wait.



We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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