DEAR ABBY: In your response to the letter from "'Cougar' in New York" (Sept. 3), you invited your male readers to share their thoughts. Abby, cougars are nothing new. They're simply out of the closet.
Men have been called "dirty old men" for their dalliances with younger women. But older women have quietly involved themselves with younger men for years. As women have become more successful, both in the corporate environment and individually, they have grown bolder in their personal lives.
As a 58-year-old man, I look on this as a natural progression of the boomer-born sexual revolution. When I was in my teens and suffering the testosterone overload, my father said, "Look for an older woman to teach you the ropes." His idea was that they had the experience and patience to tutor.
I don't consider "cougar" as being predatory, nor do most men and women I know. Our world is changing and evolving, and this is simply another chapter. -- SAN DIEGO READER
DEAR SAN DIEGO READER: I appreciate your comments. My male readers shared some interesting insights in favor of the "cougar." Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Older women are more established and more interested in fostering personal relationships. Many young women are highly career-oriented and less interested in pursuing relationships, and that can be a turnoff for men. Not all men avoid commitment. Some of us desire it, and we have a greater chance of finding it with someone older, even at the risk of finding a woman beyond childbearing years. -- WILLIAM IN MARYLAND
DEAR ABBY: In truth, I am neither looking for a cougar nor a younger woman. What I am looking for is someone full of life, full of ideas, able to think for herself and not wanting to think for me. I seek someone who is confident, but humble. THAT is what I find attractive in a woman. -- ONE MAN'S PERSPECTIVE
DEAR ABBY: On my 25th birthday, I met a woman who was 10 years older than me. We were both just looking for someone to have fun with. Six months later we were married. We were still together 45 years later when she passed away. I wouldn't trade our years together for anything because we were friends and able to talk about anything to each other. We learned to enjoy simple pleasures, and that made all the difference. If you find someone you are comfortable with, don't let the calendar get in your way. -- STILL GRIEVING IN KILLEEN, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: "'Cougar' in New York" answered her own question when she said, "I am a caring, fun person who loves music and dancing." Women like her are attractive at any age. It's the lack of older men who can keep up with them that makes "cougars" available to younger guys! -- JOHN IN GRAND MARAIS, MINN.
DEAR ABBY: Age is just a number. The age difference doesn't matter. Women tend to live longer than men.
I'm in my early 50s and going through a divorce. I always wanted to be a better dancer, so I enrolled in a dance class to improve my skills. I met a wonderful woman there who is several years older than me. Life happens.
We have been dating for more than a year now, and we're having the time of our lives. As my friend says, "Does it get any better than this?" -- "BOY TOY" IN NEW YORK