Gabrielle Solis, (Eva Longoria) Parker, from “Desperate Housewives” made John Rowland’s (Jeff Metcalfe) being a handyman gardener look like the best vocation ever. All a young guy had to do was lounge luxriously in the sun, gently snip off rose thorns, and pass lemonade cups with his burly, sun-licked forearms. Seems like an easy way to spend the heated days.
And, at the end of a long day’s work, of course there were the other perks: full use of the hot tub, the kitchen counter and the backseat of the Porsche –– at least until Gaby’s husband came home from the office.
As great as this arrangement may sound to you fellas, I wouldn’t recommend applying for that pool boy gig just yet. According to recent studies, it may be harder to find an available MILF than “Desperate Housewives” would lead you to believe.
Dr. Michael Dunn of the Department of Psychology at the University of Wales studied more than 22,400 online dating profiles of women between 20 to 50 years’old in order to glean more information about the elusive creatures we call “cougars.”
After carefully tracking countless personal pages on the most popular match-making sites, Dunn made a final announcement from the results.
“There was no significant group of older women seeking younger men for relationships –– the so-called cougar or toy-boy effect [does not exist].”
This must be debilitating, I thought, for all the strapping young guys out there who were hoping to unclog some serious drainage next summer. Now what will they do with their tough, tanned arms and trusty toolbelts? (I have the answer: Come to my house!)
But Dunn’s research also indicated that young guys aren’t particularly interested in bagging older ladies, either. Fortunately for college-age women, Dunn reported that young “cubs” are eschewing the hyped cougars in favor of more age-appropriate partners (I will now admit I was little relieved to know I wasn’t facing competition from Stifler or Stacy’s mom).
If there aren’t many available MILFs out there, though, why have we as a society become increasingly aware of the sexually powerful older woman? Dunn argues that entertainment television makes a display of “sex role reversal lifestyles” (like those of cougars or sugar daddies) in order to incite viewers’ interests. He calls the cougar myth a “media construct.”
To be honest, Dunn’s hypothesis doesn’t seem far off. Think about it: Media outlets play up the unusual power dynamics of on-screen couples all the time just to get you watching. The neglected housewife hires a hunky high school gardener; the powerful businessman submerges himself in air-headed Playmates.
This kind of racy stuff is on TV all the time. However, when left to my own devices, I can’t think of a real, single older woman who has slept with the household help.
As Dunn suggested, partnering trends are inaccurately depicted on television and in print, and maybe this means men and women alike both grossly overestimate the real lioness population –– or maybe they just aren’t making profiles on www.okcupid.com.
As rare as they are, I have seen that real cougars exist. One night this summer, my friend Mike announced, over the gentle flicker of a thick candle and in the slow relaxation of too much port wine, that he’d been pounced on yet again.
‘Yet again?’ I asked, confused. One cougar, maybe. But three was like an entire pack, and this isn’t Animal Planet.
He met them at a bar I had once accidentally wandered inside with a small group of friends. Unbeknownst to me, it was a rumored pick-up spot for older women and single young guys.
I remember being surprised by the social mix, though: older, silver-haired gentlemen and a handful of pleasantly drunk moms wobbling on barstools. It was all very funny.
At that moment, the place didn’t strike me as a gold mine for the Ashton Kutchers of the world, but now I’m curious to go back –– and I wonder whether they were simply in hiding.