Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Who, me?

LAist, in a clearly misguided attempt to maintain some stylistic consistency, a modicum of professionalism, and minimize lawsuits, tend to edit the holy hell out of everything I write for them. Therefore, a much shorter (and less offensive) version of this is on their site, but here, for you, is the full piece:

Enjoy!

Friday night, as the cool kids gathered at the sold out Pixies show in Hollywood, I set out for Beverly Hills on a solitary mission – to attend, survive and report back from the Los Angeles Cougar Convention, held at the badly ageing Crowne Plaza Hotel.

I suppose it made perfect sense to send me wandering into the maelstrom – I am, after all, a ‘woman of a certain age’ with a crazed look in my eye, a credit card with enough space to run up a bar tab and a hotel room (if necessary), and, most importantly, no Pixies tickets.

With a purse full of roofies and cheap gin (mother always said to be prepared), I arrived at the event, checked in as press and was introduced to the event’s organizer, a genial fellow who informed me that the organization behind the event is actually a non-profit educational group (no, really) dedicated to enabling women who enjoy dating guys younger than their own children and the men who love them. I then strolled into the ballroom and was charged by the attending press who smelled a victim, until I informed them that I was also press. They then lost interest in me and clustered around the vendor who was demonstrating personal massagers on her friend.

I’d arrived before the official start time of the event in order to sit in on what was billed as the first-ever ‘cougar school’, which was really a short talk by Lucia (no last name), a local radio personality and author who apparently specializes in the older woman/ younger man dynamic (and is dating her personal trainer who happens to be 12 years her junior). Lucia (no last name) is a very attractive woman who refused to state her age and advised the other ladies not to do so, either, gave some generalized advice such as “let him pay so he can feel like a man” and “don’t get too friendly with his mother”.

Too bad there were far more press there than attendees, although I’m sure we all learned something. In case you were wondering, according to Lucia, the term ‘cougar’ was coined by a player on Vancouver’s hockey team, who started calling the older single women who came to the games cougars. The press present raised our eyebrows in disbelief at anyone in Canada setting any kind of trend, but I suppose it’s possible.

Also according to Lucia, to qualify as a cougar a woman must be at least 40 years old and exclusively date men at least 10 years younger than herself. The rest of you ladies are out of luck and just getting your freak on like everyone else.

The event started with a ‘speed-dating’ type mixer, followed by a keynote address by Lucia (no last name) who for some reason kept quoting Karl Marx, and the cougar-themed “comedy” stylings of Unique Monique, and then a dancing and drinking at the cash bar.

Note to event organizers: Wonder why your event keeps getting press hatchet jobs? It’s the cash bar. Never, ever make any media representative pay for drinks. Trust me on this one.

Although many of the guys there declared that they did indeed find older women attractive, many of them, when questioned, admitted that they were interested in meeting any lady, not just an older one, and had primarily shown up out of curiosity. Most of the ladies there would only admit to being curious about the event. One guy told me he was planning on organizing a competing event and was just there to scope it out.

The structured events were really enjoyable (despite photographers circling like vultures), but as soon as the party went into lights out and dance mode, things came to a grinding halt – groups of guys talking to one another and stealing furtive glances at the ladies, and the ladies sipping twee cocktails and giggling. And, of course, one couple who decided to waste no time and were making out in the corner. Just like high school, only many of us are middle-aged. And they keep asking me why I won’t go to any reunions.

Despite the event’s organizer telling me about the non-profit status and greater good mission, when I asked his wife (who was taking the money) if all the events were so loaded with men (about a 4:1 ratio, which made a good night for the ladies), she snapped at me to not ask her those questions as I might cost her ‘customers’.

Thusly chastised, I scurried back to the safety of the press crowd around the bar, where I was then cornered by a very, very tan man who wanted to tell me about the dating site he runs where I could meet a ‘nice fella’. I decided against explaining to him why this was a fundamentally bad idea and excused myself.

As the dance music upstairs grew increasingly lame (or so I’m told) and attendees ran out of cash, the party moved down to the hotel’s lobby bar where I was camped out in a futile attempt to log onto the wireless to post my story.

It’s amazing how quickly one forgets about the internet when one is drinking heavily surrounded by twentysomething guys who think older women are ‘super hot, dude’.

By the time I left, I’d collected a dozen phone numbers. Just for the sake of a story, mind you.

Filed under: dating, life in LA, Non-Work, Off-Topic

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