Cougar Connection

DEAR EXENE: I'm 54 years old and recently divorced. Finally, after six months, I'm ready to date again. And as with a lot of people who get divorced at this age, I've been on the hunt for a younger partner. To the rest of the world, I guess that makes me a cougar, but whatever. Anyway, I'm not super-interested in trying to scoop up a guy at a bar for a night and take him home; I really want to have a long-term relationship with someone. I've set my range to about mid-20s to early 30s. Of course, younger men dating older women is nothing new, but I feel as though these days, the younger guys, even the good ones, are harder to get face time with because of all the electronic barriers we have that allow us to avoid being physically social unless I'm at a club or something. But without being overly sexual or flashing a bunch of cash around, I'm trying to make a connection on an emotional level before it gets physical. Do you have any advice on being able to connect with a younger man and finding things to talk about without coming off fake or desperate?

Love, Sofia

DEAR SOFIA: If you do not want to come off fake or desperate, I would advise you to abandon your entire plan. It's probable you won't take that advice, so here are a few things to consider before you spend a lot of money on lingerie. Some young men are brutish, sexist, opportunistic and selfish. They are mostly into the Bud Light girl, the cheerleader, the daffy blonde with really long legs. Don't bother. When you say, "emotional connection," do you mean lots of drama, crying, laughing and madness? Maybe a sensitive kind of guy—a musician, actor or poet, brilliant, talented, with sparkling young eyes, longish (but not too long) hair, a man who can talk about his feelings? That would work out for about a year. He'll never be completely in the relationship, but as long as you keep paying for dinner, guitars, clothes, books, his rent, he'll be there for you. Because he needs you. Maybe more of a hippie, nature-loving guy? You could go on a four-day mountain-bike adventure at Moab. Hiking, Phish concerts, hanging out with his young hippie friends who all met at college in Oregon. You'd fit right in. Start yoga classes ASAP.


Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. If you want to ask the legendary vocalist for adviceon your love life, politics, your musical career, filial relationshipssend an email to

So there's three stereotypes from which to choose. I would instead try to connect with a real, 3D, human man, of any age and any type, a man with a spirit and a soul, a man with courage, strength, individuality, kindness, a job . . . a story, a history, a reason for being here. Don't get me wrong; young people are fantastic, full of life, beautiful to behold. But they are not objects to capture in your orbit.

Love, Exene


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