Cougars And Silver Foxes: A Field Guide to Dating Outside Your Age Range


The new “cougar” is sleek and sexy. Photo:

The social laws of the dating jungle are ever-evolving and dating out of your age range has never before been so prevalent within our species. Where gentlemen of a certain age would historically step out with a hot young thing, women have decidedly gotten in on the game, wrapping their well-manicured fingers around the arm of a gorgeous young guy. Whether youre a young thing considering an age upgrade or a sophisticated single looking to tap into the Fountain of Youth, the rules of engagement are still basically the same:

Hunt Where They Gather
Many May-December romances start out like any other, with people meeting socially through friends or going about their daily lives. However, if youre specifically looking to meet someone of a certain age, there are some rather easy solutions. Guys looking to meet attractive older women can usually find them at the hottest brunch spot in town or at wine bars with their girlfriends. Ladies looking to catch a silver fox can usually locate them in the best steakhouse in town or high-quality pubs during a sporting match. Great neutral zones for people of all ages: the gym, bookstores, dog runs, the grocery store (outer periphery is best), and, believe it or not, Apple stores.

Act Your Age
Part of what attracts you to this person is your personality, so if youre older, dont start dressing younger and using slang thats uncomfortable or unfamiliar. If youre younger, your youthful exuberance is part of your charm. I would advise stopping short of taking your new paramour to a sweaty techno club to teach them how to fist pump or a knitting class. Some things are better left unshared.

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Breathe new life into a silver fox. Photo:

Be Prepared for Public Scrutiny
Although dating outside your age range is becoming more common, people still feel quite free to interject their opinion and commentary where its not wanted. Women gain the moniker of cougar from everyone they know, and even men will privately question their buddies as to whether youre right for each other outside of a sexual relationship. A word of caution: if you met through work, you had better be confident this will work or open both of you (and the company) up to potential harassment suits.

Sex Might Be Different
Depending on how great the age difference is (plus or minus ten years is a good guideline), the dance moves of the Horizontal Mambo might be surprising. Heres a good rule of thumb: women tend to have higher sex drives as they get older, men tend to require some additional assistance; its Mother Natures Little Equalizer and the cause of a multimillion dollar erectile dysfunction drug industry. Be patient and enjoy the ride.

Change Your Communication Strategy
If youre the younger party, rely less on texting and emails. If youre the older party, realize that youre dating someone who does everything from their smartphone, including getting aroused. Try to meet in the middle: use sexting as foreplay, coordinate dinner over email, but when it comes to serious or heartfelt matters, face-to-face is better.

Dont Dig For Gold
My grandmother once told me if you marry for money, youll earn every dollar of it. I have subsequently watched as many of my younger friends who married/dated for money were tossed aside once the person holding the checkbook decided to trade them in for someone younger/fresher/more attractive/smarter/more successful. Youth fades and youd better have something else to tie you together if youre going to make it for the long haul.

Learn Something New
Everyone can teach you something and its especially true of relationships between people of different age ranges. Explore what they have to offer: writers, music, life experiences, hobbies, etc. I mentioned the sex thing earlier, right? THIS is where learning can be very beneficial. An open mind in the bedroom = everybody wins.

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Dating a younger guy? Don’t overthink – just enjoy it! Photo:

Its Only an Issue If You Make It An Issue
If you keep bringing the age difference up between you, it will become an issue thats bigger and more important than the relationship itself. Relax and let things unfold. If things dont work out, they werent meant to be and if they do, youll know that the age difference only enhances your lives together.

Ready to give dating outside your age range a try? Take these lifestyle tips into the field and check it out. After all, variety is the spice of life. Happy hunting, everyone!

Kristin Booker is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle writer in New York City and has contributed to such publications as Marie Claire, Running With Heels, YourTango, SHEfinds, Daily Makeover and Ebony/Jet. She is also the creator and editor of Fashion.Style.Beauty, a fashion and beauty blog.

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