Editor’s Column – A Lion’s Perspective on the “Bitter Cougar”

Mike Nanna

I have sat through a number of chick flicks in my day, five years and eight months worth to be exact. My girlfriend has essentially made me an expert on the romance/romantic comedy film genre. I am not ashamed to know most of the lines in The Notebook, tell you that I still get chills during the final ten minutes of Love Actually, or admit that I cried a little during A Walk to Remember. Ok, I’m a little ashamed about the last one. The bottom line is that I should be an expert on love at this point. That’s why Lauren Mendell’s article on the bitter state of senior girls’ love lives should have made a lot of sense to me. Senior girls, Mendell’s “bitter cougars,” are the victims here right? Not so fast.

The idea that senior girls have it worst among Colgate singles didn’t sound quite right. Couldn’t a single senior girl get just about any younger guy she wanted? In fact, a number of examples of older women happily dating my na’ve and innocent friends flooded my memory, which made me think that the frowns on the faces of these old maids probably didn’t have anything to do with their class year directly. Some older women at Colgate have done quite well for themselves, but the majority of others feel hopeless. I wanted to know why.

With the help of some extensive consultation with my girlfriend, I came up with a three part hypothesis explaining why older Colgate girls tend to be unhappy with their male situation, while a select few are exceedingly happy.

The first reason that many senior girls and many young people in general are unhappy with the dating scene is the excessive amount of rules that we impose upon ourselves. By senior year, girls at Colgate have all the rules ingrained in their heads and the list is endless. Don’t date friends. Don’t call or text the morning after. Don’t be too available. When you’re single you have to walk the tight rope between being too nice or too mean, too smart or too dumb, too wild or too conservative. The fact of the matter is that guidelines only tie you down and limit your options. If your guy friend has potential, give it a try regardless of how awkward it might end up. If it starts off as a jug hookup, don’t immediately assume that it can’t ever turn into something more. By opening up to new possibilities and ignoring baseless dating laws, you might find that doors open for you. Maybe that sophomore from your Calc class is just what the doctor ordered.

The second big reason that I see senior girls not getting the most out of their love lives is that they are simply too judgmental. By senior year, girls think that they have all guys figured out. They can spot a jock, a player, a nerd or a frat boy from a mile away. I get the sense that once those first judgments are passed about a guy, there is no getting past that. If a guy calls too soon or too much he’s a creep but if he doesn’t call he’s a player. If a guy dresses too nice he’s trying too hard but if he wears sweats he’s a slob. If the guy is a DU he must be a meathead and if he’s a Phi Delt he must read all the time. Stop the stereotypes, girls! First impressions are often way off and if you rule out a huge majority of guys just based on how you stereotype them, you’re selling yourself way short. If my girlfriend had judged me on a first impression she might have written me off as a guido hothead with a propensity for fighting and completely missed out on what a cuddly mamma’s boy I am. With that said, be smart enough to make an educated decision once you’ve taken the time to get to know a guy. If the guy is quoting South Park every time you see him for three weeks that might be enough to make a fair judgment. If all signs point to him being a liar, a jerk, or full of himself after you’ve already given the man a fair shot, then by all means move on to the next lucky bachelor. Don’t miss out on Mr. Right because you thought he’d come in a different package.

The biggest reason that I have found for senior girls’ problems on the dating scene is that most girls don’t know what they want. By senior year, you girls are more confused than ever because you’re feeling the pressure to pair off before college ends. It’s not uncommon for girls here at Colgate to consistently seek out jerks, knowing full well what they were getting themselves into, while still managing to complain excessively about how they can never meet the right guy. Other girls say they want to have fun then get caught up in a controlling uber-relationship because they get too emotionally attached. Please girls, figure out what you want before you enter the dating scene or don’t complain when you have trouble finding it. You girls control your own destiny, so open your eyes and take what you want. If you want a relationship, stay away from guys that have screwed over you or your friends in the past and maybe go for a guy that flies under the radar but you know has a big heart. If you just want to have fun, don’t waste your time convincing yourself that you want a nice guy. Ultimately, just loosen up a little. Ignore the rules. Take risks. Put yourself out there. In the words of Nick from The Wedding Date, “Every woman has the exact love life she wants.” Figure out what that love life is and go after it, no holds barred.