Stalking Cougar Prey: A Trip to the Choates
'12 boy: You didn't ... I mean, you didn't expect --
'09 girl: What?
'12 boy: I mean, you didn't really think I'd do something like that.
'09 girl: Like what?
'12 boy: What do you think?
'09 girl: Well, I don't know.
'12 boy: For god's sake. Here we are. You got me back to the Choates. You give me a drink. You ... put on music. Now you start opening up your personal life to me and tell me your boyfriend will be at the library for hours.
'09 girl: So?
'12 boy: Senior girl, you're trying to seduce me.
Now freshmen boys, I know many of you are too young to catch the Mrs. Robinson reference, but what you didn't see on the screen can now become your reality. Replaced by our younger, more naive counterparts, the senior girls are now at the bottom of the social-sexual totem pole, and oh hey there, you are standing right next to us.
After all someone once said, "what you want, is right in front of your nose," and they must have been referring to the desires of a Dartmouth Cougar. The mecca of college knowledge, urbandictionary.com, describes the cougar "as anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim, to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister, to a real hottie or milf. Cougars are gaining in popularity -- particularly the true hotties -- as young men find not only a sexual high, but many times a chick with her shit together."
To see if this growth in cougar popularity extended to Dear Old Dartmouth, I took a walk down to the Choates and the River clusters, expecting to run into a variety of pre-pubescent Dustin Hoffman types.
I stumbled upon one '12 guy, who wishes to remain anonymous, doing work in his room. He grinned when I asked him of his experience with cougars. "They know what they are doing," he said. "It was after the Sig Ep show, and my friends were trashed, so I was trying to catch up to them. One girl came up to me and said, 'Hey do you want a drink, I can probably get you one?' I met her at Heorot later. It was like she was in control, subconsciously, of my mind. She put a seed in me and it grew. She just knew what she was doing."
Lord Osei-Ofori '12 is another freshman who has become a mere plaything at the hands of older girls. When asked if he has been approached by any seniors, Osei-Ofori responded, "If it means going to dinner with three of them, then yes. I was going to dinner, and they came up behind me and asked me to join them. They kept talking about their winter formal a lot. I think they might have been joking."
Many freshmen boys appreciate the efforts of cougars. "I would say to any guy out there who managed to get an upperclassmen girl, congratulations," Sam Ross '12 said. He then high-fived Nick Resendes '12, who said, "I wouldn't be opposed to it" with a studied nonchalance.
Some freshmen, however, are just plain scared when the claws come out. "This girl keeps getting in touch with me," a '12 guy who wishes to remain anonymous said. "I saw her at a dance party, she was all over me, trying to hold my hand. I guess we started dancing. She kept on trying to get me back to her dorm. I said no. Next night, another dance party, same thing. Now every weekend she tries the same thing. It's freaking me out. What should I do?"
When imagining the typical cougar, the '12 boy said, "It's usually the ones that are more desperate and it's usually at a dance party. They're usually sober and get really clingy."
He then described the cougar routine, "If you're in a frat, it starts off, 'What year are you?' You'll answer and they'll be like, 'Oh, so you're a '12.' Then one of two things happen: They will walk away or if they clearly want to talk to you they'll get excited."
"They only want to play pong or check Blitz," his friend sitting next to him said, eliciting a chorus of laughter from the Choates study room.
But forget Dustin Hoffman, what do friends and fans of Mrs. Robinson think? "Cougars are totally legit," Jessica Schuster '09 said. "I mean, at this age in our lives, it's probably wrong, not to mention illegal, to date a guy more than two or three years younger, but as you get older, I don't see why it's a problem at all. Men have been dating younger women for centuries, but seeing that we're at a point where fiscal stability for him is not an issue anymore, why should men be the only ones to have much younger partners?"
Schuster, however, is also acquainted with the dangers of cougarness, "My friend started hooking up with this younger guy who was really hot and so sweet and Blitzed-slash-texted her all the time. Things were going well until he invited her to prom. Turns out he was a Hanover High student taking classes at Dartmouth, so he had Blitz. Wow. Things ended shortly afterwards."
When asked about her opinions on cougars, Katie Miller '09 said, "I personally don't care. Age is only a number." Often times, however, that number means that the cougar has to provide the alcohol.
This is where the awkwardness enters most obviously into the equation, according to one '09 girl who hooked up with an '11 this summer. "It's a touch embarrassing for both parties when you've got to supply the alcohol," she said. "I mean it almost feels a bit wrong really. It was also definitely disturbing when I discovered he was younger than my little sister."
For this '09 girl, becoming a cougar was something that took her by surprise. "If he hadn't looked about 23 and been both more mature and more intelligent than I was, it couldn't have happened," she said. "I really don't understand the appeal of younger men in general -- I just believe there are exceptions."
One thing that most cougars agree on is that in order for a '12 boy to be worth the pursuit he has to be hot. "For every year that a cougar's prey is younger, he must be a half point hotter" an '09 girl who wishes to remain anonymous said. "Hence Ivanka Trump and male models."
Ultimately, however, for every cougar, there are five senior girls who are repelled by freshmen boys. "I was at a dance party," said an '09 girl who wishes to remain anonymous. "Some guy came up behind me and he's wearing a '12 shirt. I'm like, 'Idiot.' I can't dance with you, I feel so old. Word of advice, freshman guys: do not wear your '12 shirt."
But for those senior girls who do like '12 boys, here's to you. Jesus loves you more than you will know.