May 25, 2008

In addition to standing as symbols of strength, courage and determination, Harriett Tubman and Diahann Carroll had something else in common – both were married to men nearly half their ages. Today they’d be called cougars. So whose bright idea was that? There’s got to be a better description - cougar conjures up the image of a glittery-eyed desperado on the prowl while stuffed into her daughter’s clothes. Or what my mother would call an “Old Miss Young.”

Truth be told, an older woman doesn’t need to pull a gun on father time to attract a younger man. She just has to be! Younger men swear by the experience and self-assured sensuality of older women. Many women claim their relationships with younger men are fresh, affirming and oh so satisfying. In the words of Ayo Montgomery in From Dusk to Dawn, in a relationship with her 10-years-younger lover, they both win.

But what happens when the fling takes a serious turn into love? It takes a brand new playbook, and lots of soul-searching, especially when the woman is December and the man is May. What if he wants children and she doesn’t? Or she’d love to have their child but can’t? And for the most secure women, occasional self-doubts rear their pointy little heads, whispering about gray hair and gravity. Even Vanessa Williams admitted to questioning her femininity and desirability when courted by the younger Rick Fox. You think Ron Isley and Donald Trump had any such self-doubts?

While you’re pondering the answer (lol) add these questions to the list:

Is age really nothing but a number? Do shared interests and values count more than age?

Are May/December relationships more “acceptable” when the man is older?

Just for laughs: if there isn't one yet, we need a word for the male equivalent of “cougar!”

***Niambi Brown Davis is the author of From Dusk to Dawn. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She and her family lived for many years in Washington, DC and for three and a half years, made the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago their home. She has written for Bronze Thrills, True Confessions and Black Romance Magazines. Niambi indulged her passion for sailing and travel by serving as publicist for the Black Boaters Summit and as a member of the National Association of Black Travel Writers. Presently, Niambi writes for Travel Lady Magazine. Her first digital novella was published in January 2008 by Arrow Publications, LLC. Aside from writing and travel, Niambi is an avid reader of historical fiction, and deeply involved in tracing the history of both branches of her family tree. Her day job is running the business of Sand & Silk/Soleful Strut, where she produces private label products for hair and skincare companies as well as her own line of handcrafted soaps, creams and scrubs.

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