10 Things I Still Don’t Understand… (Part 2)

Continuing with the final 5 in my list 10…

6. Cougarism/Dirty Old Men – I do not mean negatively. What I don’t understand is why we spend time labelling either of these types of people.

Because what we are talking about are “types” of people: women who prefer to date younger people AND men who prefer to date younger people.

This is vastly different from people who struggle with pedophilia or pederasty.

Yet still, we spend time reducing women to animals “cougars,” because they are 1) able to and potentially 2) prefer to date younger men. Also we do the same to men.   We make them into perverts, that somehow they are doing something “wrong,” something “dirty” by dating someone younger.  Jealousy gets you nowhere, folks. 😉

I live in Rome. I don’t know about other cities in Italy or around Europe. Here, however, it seems to me to be quite normal for “May-December” relationships to occur. Younger men often date older women. Older men often date younger women. It doesn’t seem to bother the Italians who live in Rome much. So, why is there such fuss and such hype… enough so that there is apparently a television show called “Cougar Town?”

Granted, there are some people who are just simply predatory and seek underaged sexual/intimate partners… And that’s when I would point possibly to words like pedophilia and pederasty… Of course, this is just my opinion.

Also, there is seemingly a gender bias here that disturbs me. In researching online about the topic of “cougars,” both women and term seem to enjoy a positive relationship with the media. There are dating sites devoted to “cougars” and it presents as a point of fascination and something at/about which one ought to smile. Whereas the “dirty old men” don’t seem to enjoy the same luxury… Are they not of the same ilk, however?

If the agenda is that one is strictly worried about the welfare of the young, then it shouldn’t really matter if the older person is male or female.

7. Reality T.V. – As some of you know, I am back in college for the second time around. Life as an undergrad affords one many pleasures. One of these pleasures is hearing about the latest in reality television. Apparently, the Real World is still on! Who knew! Considering the fact the first Real World premiered prior to my attending college the first time around (1995), I was a bit surprised, especially as after season 3 the structure of the program shifted dramatically.

I still miss Pedro Zamora (3/1/72-11/11/94), at whose funeral President Clinton spoke… and who, in my opinion, represented the very best of what the Real World hoped to show the youth of the world… That is that we can do so very much in our lives and touch the lives of many in real ways… even if we are given limited time…

My point is that my fellow students are quite absorbed in these made-up realities, these worlds of opulence, in which a group of young people are tossed and expected to humiliate themselves through intoxication, fornication (yes, I wrote that!) and by divulging way too much information, and making general spectacles of themselves… But why is this entertaining? Does anyone else remember the original 3 seasons of the Real World??? How awesome were they in comparison to what’s going on now? Oi… 😉

8. Relationship Construct – Perhaps as therapist I shouldn’t write this type of thing.  And on a professional level, my opinion is quite different from what I am about to write… because I do get it.  On a personal level, however, I don’t get traditional romantic relationships.  More specifically, I do not understand why we engage in the process of “demanding” or “asking” of someone else or ourselves to commit to being together “forever.”  No…. really, I don’t get it.

In my mind, at this point and for some time now, it would make more sense to simply allow for people to flow into and out of our lives, rather than say “No, you must stay” or “Don’t leave me.”

Yes, I understand that it is important to feel secure, to feel loved, to feel respected, to feel beautiful, to believe that you can trust in someone, etc.  Shouldn’t you first provide yourself with those things, so that it should not be so important to ask that someone else provide them for you?

And yes, I am single… and happily so  😉 (And apparently, eHow.com can tell you the way to achieve this too in 10 easy steps!)

9. Pejorative Reclamation – Okay, at first glance this may not make much sense.  What I am talking about is in reference to certain movements, such Third-wave feminism in the 90s. Pejorative reclamation is the action of marginalized groups taking ownership of terms/words that were used against them and “reclaiming” them in order to infuse and empower these words with new and positive meaning.  So, for example the term “bitch” was one of the first to be reclaimed.  Some examples of reclamation are Meredith Brook’s song “Bitch” (1997) and “Reclaiming Cunt” Eve Ensler’s episodic play The Vagina Monologues (1996).  So, what don’t I understand?

I don’t understand what happened…  Again this is simply my experience.  I, however, watched as women went from in the 90s taking power over the words that were for so long used against us… to then slowly but surely using them against ourselves as the decade ended and the new millennium began.  I could say as much for the “N” word.  Also the LGBQQT community has watched as the word “gay” has been taken back and has now become synonymous with the meaning of “stupid” or “ineffective” even as the community gains wider acceptance.

10. After 2000 – To end on a lighter note.  I am not sure about anyone else in their 30s or older.  What I have recently noticed is that I somehow stopped.  I am reminding myself of the “little old ladies” I used to see as a child, who seemed to be stuck in a period at least two decades earlier… from their manner of dress to their manner of speech.

What I mean is that my frame of reference drags me right back to the 90s.  I feel much more comfortable listening to alternative rock and am comforted by thoughts, songs, movies, etc. from the time period of my adolescence and my young adulthood.  It’s not that I am against the new millennium or that I refuse progress, etc.  Just somehow I feel a bit out of sync.  I don’t know… Perhaps I should start watching television.  It perhaps doesn’t help that the only things I watch on YouTube are between the years 1969 and 2002. 😉

Until next time!



In memory…