2 min

The Cougar in me

Everything gels at 40

“Happy Birthday” is a song I cannot stand Waiting tables, I sang it to countless strangers for whom I felt more contempt than happiness. Like Annie Lennox’s “Diva” and anything by the Gipsy Kings, “Happy Birthday” is tarnished forever because of my years of slinging hash.

“You know… once you cross 40 you’re considered Daddy material,” a friend said to torment me.

“Whatever happened to 40 is the new 30?”

“Paris Hilton.”

Bitch ruins everything.

The thought of me as a Daddy is hysterical —with a sibilant S. I still don’t know what a red hankie means, or what side it goes on. Whenever a younger man online propositions me, I assume I’m being lured onto Dateline NBC.

If I must be labelled in my 40s, I would prefer to be called a cougar. Cougar implies athleticism, virility and claws. Mrs Robinson was a cougar; so was Edith Prickly. I fall somewhere in between.

Against all odds, I don’t look 40. I credit two things for that: I’ve never had a kid or a car. It’s the only explanation. I drank and smoked excessively for 20 years and I’ve never moisturized a day in my life. But I have seriously considered the virtues of spray-on hair.

What I enjoy most about getting older is dressing my age. Did you know they make shirts with buttons down the front? And that you can have them “fitted” to your body so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing an iron maiden? It’s genius! The best part is I can wear a fedora without looking like Judy Garland.

The two things I wish I could get back from the last 20 years are the money I spent on Calvin Klein underwear and the hours I sweated trying to look good in them.

I was working out not long after my 35th birthday and in the middle of a dumbbell curl I realized: This is how people kill time in prison! If I had put as much effort and energy into my career as I did obsessing about my body, I’d be a millionaire. On the other hand, I still have a nice ass at 40.

I’m still body conscious, but I refuse to spend more than $10 on a pair of underwear. Rimming is off the menu as well. Until I see that ass hosed out by a guy in a Hazmat suit, my face isn’t going near it.

Ever since I was 20, people have told me that everything gels when you’re 40. I never believed them, but it has. And it’s wonderful.

So, to all you perpetual 39-year-olds, don’t fret. We’ve still got it. If not, there’s always steroids and Viagra.