Cougars defend their lairs

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FEATURE, JULY 17, 2008

Our Favorite Cougar Lays It On the Line

A shameless flirt, yeah, but no sleaze: I'm responding to the letter about cougars from "Anonymous" in regards to Unreal's "Cougar Heaven" [Letters, July 31]. I'm sure that some of you know me from the comments on the RFT website, where there's been lots of fur a-flying! I'm Cindy Capps, the 43-year-old who "willingly labeled" myself as a cougar, and I've gone farther than merely labeling myself, I pitched the story idea to Unreal in the first place. To be honest, I was a smidge disappointed in the tone of the article, but it's journalism, so there's bound to be sensationalism and whatnot. I thought that the article was a bit condescending towards the women, and several have told me that our field trip to JackSons' was confusing. I didn't take anyone home, but I had a great time flirting with a cute little 21-year-old who plays in a band. I very seldom choose to sleep with the guys that I "chat up." I'm extremely selective, even though the story suggests otherwise. I love to flirt shamelessly, though, and it's pretty harmless. So I'm not just "looking to get laid," as Anonymous put it. Good thing I'm not, or I would be labeled a "sleaze," right?

Oh, and thanks for the "sleazy, desperate, ugly, old chick" comments online, Anonymous. Talk about sad labels! I guess labeling women is only sad if you selectively deem it so, is that it? I'm not concerned about the label; sorry if it offends you and other women. We've been slapped with lots of labels over the years from men and other women. "Bitch" comes to mind; I hear it a lot. Labeling aside, I think that it's a good social experiment to shake people up once in a while. Becoming too comfortable and complacent can be a dangerous thing, especially when we buy into the idea that there's only one way of doing things.

Some of the stuff in the article was exaggerated and some of the stuff I personally wouldn't do. I agree that no protection is very irresponsible, but the article got people talking and made them uncomfortable. I'm a performance artist and a writer, so I've achieved my goals.

I'm not saying that the information in the article about me was completely bogus. Who hasn't gone through a difficult breakup and had some fun afterwards? The guy that I had been with for three years got engaged two months after he dumped me. So yeah, I got pretty pissed off and had a couple of flings. I don't run around picking up young hot guys every night (even though I have plenty of opportunities), so please don't assume this about me unless you ask.

And if you see me out in public, please come up to me and let's talk. I'd be more than happy to have a civil conversation, or at least set you straight. Many people have approached me in public; several women have been congratulating me, and young guys are cheering me on (and hitting on me — bonus!), while some older guys are glaring at me, as well as asking me why I don't like older men. What, like that's a requirement if you're a woman? Please. So, "Anonymous" (if that's your real name), I appreciate your concern, but I'm fine with the label. If it's a vehicle to educate the public about strong, sexy, articulate older gals who are not going away, I'll take it!
Cindy Capps, St. Louis

Put a cougar in your tank: As an older woman, I was intrigued by Unreal's "Cougar Heaven" and the amazing artwork on the cover of the RFT. As I began to read the story, I was stunned to find the focus on two older women who seem to do little more than engage in one-night stands. Anyone over 25 who has one-night stands as a regular part of their sexual diet has serious self-esteem issues and this is who the RFT focuses on? Older women, like regular people, go out to bars for a multitude of reasons: dancing, cocktails, meeting friends, laughing, socializing, and yes, maybe to meet a special someone. Many older women seem to be attracted to younger men. Why? Older women who like to go out, dance and socialize tend to be high-energy and outgoing. Often, this mindset matches up well with younger men. Most women (us older ones included) like to be admired, flirted with, and pursued. Younger men seem less afraid to do these things. Getting together/finding someone special means physical attraction, sharing a mindset, and appreciating the other person. All people are much more than the sum of their body parts. The way someone looks draws you in and who they are makes someone want to hang around. Being a cougar is not about sex; it's about older women who are high-energy, enjoy looking their best and share their joy of life.
Susan Davis, St. Louis

NEWS REAL, JUNE 26, 2008

Art Disaster

Still no check in the mail: Kristen Hinman wrote about organizer Don Erickson's "disastrous" Olive and Taylor Art & Craft Fair (OLTA) in "Artless in St. Louis." I too drove from west of Columbia to do this show. I showed up, felt uneasy about the conditions and did not stay. I e-mailed Don asking for my money back, as I felt he misrepresented the area where we were to set up. I haven't heard anything back — not even an explanation or apology. Live and learn, but a hard lesson indeed. Thanks for writing this article and pointing out the disaster for all to see.
Nancy Brickner, Columbia

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