in which I update my Linked In credentials

Some years ago, when I was still living in Tucson, I was out with my very beautiful, slightly-older-than-me girlfriend Sarah. I don't remember where we were, or what was going on, but I referred to her as a cougar. She cringed. "Ugh, Ellie, no. That is not a compliment." When I'd used the word, I thought it only meant a woman in her upper thirties attractive enough to still win the attention of younger men - which Sarah did. But she explained to me the word's more negative connotations, namely that it posits the woman in the dynamic as predatory - if not a little bit pathetic.

I never used the word again.

The bar where Krista and I hang out - ok fine, where we're regulars, but only because the staff, food, and other patrons are so awesome - is next to a nightclub the trashiness of which is legendary. Last night we, along with another girlfriend of hers, had just enough to drink to venture over for a last cocktail and some laughs. The place wasn't so much trashy as young. My actual words were "Holy shit it's a daycare."

You can see where this is going.

It couldn't have been written better. We were on our way to the bar and Krista, being her sociable, pretty self, got waylaid by some dudes who started chatting her up. I was happily tipsy, absorbed in the scene but removed from it. Observing. Feeling my age a little bit, but nothing that uncomfortable. Anyway, someone said something funny, and for a gag I matter-of-factly announced to the crowd at large that I was forty. Then I said it again, louder. "I'm forty!" Just sort of calling it out, like a town crier. Just to make myself and Krista laugh - which she did. "Hey everybody, I'm forty! Just so you know."

"No you're not," scorned Krista. "Shut up." But by this time the kids she was talking to wanted in on this so someone said something about my looking good, yada yada. Typical bullshit banter.

Then one kid cuts in with this thoughtful look on his face. "Seriously..." he starts, and I expect the rest of his sentence will be telling me how old I actually look. I brace myself for The Number. But instead he finishes with "...I love cougars." Boom.

It was amazing. Comedy and poetic justice and the cycle of life and irony all tied up into one. It was like, Oh wow, that's it. This was the moment. I am officially older.  The kid didn't mean anything by it, it wasn't malicious and I was more amused and, like, brought up short than offended, but oh man.

"Oh my god," I told Krista a minute later. "It's like that scene in Knocked Up. 'Bitch you old.'" She scoffed and told me to STFU, that I still turned plenty of heads etc - all that she's supposed to say. And I spent the rest of the night meowing and putting pretend claws out, because whaddyagonnado. But I tell you what, Quents. I don't think I'll be stopping by daycare again anytime soon.

(K's pups, and perfectly polished thumbnail)

Maybe it was my Mad Man bra giving my age away?? wtf