That doesn't satisfy you? Fine. You youngsters are so hard to please—outside the bedroom, anyway. People judge older women for dating younger men for the same reason that cats lick their assholes—because they can. A more concrete reason, however, is that women aren't supposed to age. We are to perpetually dye our hair, Botox the wrinkles, and lypo-suck the jiggly bits away until we die suddenly, surprising everyone that we were actually grandmothers.
Whereas George Clooney will probably make GQ's "Top Hottest Men of All Time" lists until he's 107 years old, women over the age of 30 don't have the same luxury. There are a few exceptions to this: Helen Mirren, Madonna at certain angles and, of course, the den mother herself, Demi Moore. But most women are considered "past their prime" well before these ladies. Since a woman's worth is largely tied to her desirability as a sexual object, and men are supposed to want the latest and greatest, fresh-off-the-factory-line models, cougar/cub relationships throw a sensible shoe into the "natural" order. Men are also supposed to be attracted to younger women for evolutionary reasons. It's harder for men to spread their seed in the barren, cob-webbed wasteland that is an older woman's vagina, if you catch my meaning!
Of course, plenty of other people give two enthusiastic paws up to cougar/cub pairings, and I don't just mean those people who watch terrible TV shows starring Courtney Cox. If you somehow missed the riveting cinematic treasure "Cougars Inc.," starring Denise Richards, let me assure you it does exist. There are also a plethora of cougar-themed dating sites, like Cougar Life, Cougar Passions and the oddly airline-sounding, Cougar United. Books on the topic include "The Cougar Imperative," and there is even a Cougar Cruise(with duty-free shopping and an indoor jogging track).
We as a people love to police one another, especially in the realms of sex and dating. He's too young, she's too old, he's too fat, he's too broke, she's too clingy, she's too vanilla, etc. The takeaway here is this: Don't let the haters get you down, young buck! Date whoever makes you happy, regardless of what society tells you is "OK." Remember, you can't spell cougar without courage, if you're also a little bit drunk.
Want to ask Anna an anonymous question about love, sex or dating? Email your quandary to firstname.lastname@example.org. Need to give your dating life a boost? Sign up for RedEye Dating. Pick dates, not people.