perversion, plumbing and the rental crisis

If, tadalafil like me, you’re preoccupied with the Tawdry, you will have already learned of the Cougar Convention.

Convention, I think, is a bit of an elevated term for what will, after all, be a fuck-find-fest.  I mean. For heaven’s sake. The hotel hosting the event is offering discounted suites to women aged 35 and above.  And how will they use these rooms?  For wireless business communication, I don’t think.

In any case. I’m attending.  My rationale, I’ll admit, is pure fascination. But, chiefly, I’m going to write a long-ish piece for Rolling Stone. A journo asked me a few questions about it. I consented to interview to suck up to my Eds. Find answers, amended, herewith.

Of course, mention I made of being happily committed to a woman for the past decade has been excised.

I shall write about the “convention” in further detail as the BIG Day approaches. And, heavens, I might even upload some photographs of speckled, crepe-y cleavage and hopeful young male flesh. For the moment, however, some palaver as published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald

AAP: What lengths have you gone to in preparation for the Cougar Convention?

HR: I have not purchased a tin of foam spray tan; sought advice from a cosmetic surgeon or bought an X-Box and a frozen pizza in the hope of luring a cub. I’ve done nothing. I shall wear heels, though, as I understand the dress code demands it.

AAP: Do you think cougars have been unfairly maligned?

HR: In a culture where the register of a woman’s worth continues to be her appearance, older women are quite generally panned. The cougar simply dares to not give two hoots. If they’ve been maligned: big deal. They’re probably far too busy working, refinancing, performing Kegel exercises and doing whatever it is that cougars do when they’re not doing cubs.

AAP: What are your expectations about the convention? Are you hoping to find a cub or is it purely professional?

HR: I’m attending to write a piece for Rolling Stone. And I don’t think, in the tradition of Gonzo established by that magazine, this forty-year-old will be getting all Hunter S Thompson on some poor youngster. (I want to) find out it if this trend really exists outside the imagination of bored television producers.

AAP: What do young men offer cougars that older men can’t?

HR: I imagine older women are attracted to cubs’ enthusiasm and their relative naivety. The late Jean Baudrillard said, “There is no aphrodisiac like innocence.” I don’t think we should overlook the possibility that women can be as eager for an efficient, no-strings encounter as men. And, contrary to the popular view, many women actively eschew commitment. Not every woman dreams of her “special day in white” nor, even, of monogamy.

AAP: What can cougars offer cubs that younger women can’t?

HR: I suppose quite a few ladies of my advanced years keep themselves fitter and better groomed than their younger sisters. We’re the market segment who joins gyms, buys Pilates mats and slathers on anti-ageing lotion, so, it’s not as though we’re decomposing. And it is as though these women offer fewer complications than someone a little younger. That is: they want to keep it simple.

AAP: Is the cougar phenomenon just a media beat up or an actual trend?

I’m uncertain. I can say, however, that I have received more attention from young men since my fortieth birthday than I did in the decade that preceded it.

I have spoken with older women about this and they affirm: the peri-menopausal ladies get all the best young male phone numbers. So, it’s probably something that has been going on, without scrutiny, for years. And I guess it makes sense. Frankly, you will not find two creatures less inhibited and more eager to experiment than a young man and a middle-aged woman.
When I was quite young and lacking in the faculty for decent dress or independent thought, unhealthy
I lived for a time in a very strange house.

This was an all-Lesbian household.

To those unfamiliar with the conventions of the all-Lesbian life of the early 1990s, this site
I should really offer some historical context.

Two decades ago, lesbians weren’t the friendly, tolerant and well-groomed female subspecies they have generally become.  “Lesbian” was not something that Lindsay Lohan did between Herbie sequels.

No, it was not at all the sort of kink now casually accommodated by gossip magazines.  It was far more serious.  Those who practised the early 90s iteration of “Lesbian” wouldn’t have used a term like “lifestyle” to describe their dedication.  Instead, they called it A Way of Life.

I think the word “brand” perhaps describes it better.  Not so much for an insinuation of marketing; but for the implied act of charring a label right into one’s flesh.  One bore the indelible marque “Lesbian” directly on the body.  Back then, the brand was spelled with a capital L.

In recent weeks, I’ve been thinking about my time at the ranch with the serious sisters. This act of reminiscence has three probable motives.

The first is possibly my age.  I am now, to my unstinting shock, forty-years-old.  In many of the years that preceded my fortieth birthday, I fancied myself as a bit of a radical.  And, to be honest, I still do.  However, my actions tend to be far less radical than once they were.  I no longer shave my head, wear boiler suits to rallies or chain myself to public buildings in anticipation of Important Social Change.

No. Now I shop for nice cheese, tend the garden and search for effective anti-ageing lotion.  Occasionally, I have too many pinot noirs and post anonymous offence on right wing blogs.  That’s about the threshold of my activism.

So, I’m fascinated by my past insolence.  That, in part, is why I’m remembering the Lesbians and their fridge over stocked with soy.

The other reason I have given thought to these inner-Sydney lodgings has nothing directly to do with the fear of old-fartdom.  It is, in fact, the current housing crisis that reminds me.

Central to the movement of my milk-crate furniture into the Lesbian house was a rental shortage.  Those of my age and above will certainly recall the economic downturn of the time.  To secure a lease then, as now, one had to offer a potential landlord references from the clergy, DNA tests, the option to purchase a first-born son at cost etc.  So, when a Lesbian bed came up in an established Lesbian household, I pretended familiarity with the music of Ani DiFranco and wore my best dungarees to interview. I needed somewhere to live.

And then, there’s a third reason.  This is entirely related to plumbing.

We had real problems with plumbers at the Lesbian (with a Capital L) household.

This was the sort of house that insisted on hiring only female plumbers. With the preference for Lesbian female plumbers. When the lavatory blocked, we waited weeks for a Lesbian female plumber.  And, to the best of our knowledge, there was only one in the city.

At my current pinot-and-cheese residence, we have secured the services of a reliable plumber.  He is called Gary.  Although Gary drenches himself in Drakkar Noir for Men, a scent linked in my nose to disco, desperation and Dow Jones, he is efficient and can be booked with less that twenty-four hours notice.

Yesterday as I looked at my functional lavatory, I made peace with both age and inaction.  If radicalism means the defeat of one’s bathroom, then I approach midlife with moderation and a scrubbing brush.

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