I was sitting at the counter out at the Oyster Bar, just minding my own business, or so I thought, when the broad on the next stool over gave me a sharp poke in the ribs. I had been shooting the breeze with the guy next to me, and both of us had been expressing, a little too vociferously, perhaps, our dislike of BYU, who were in the process of getting beat in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The woman didn’t look like a BYU type—she was wearing some sort of business suit, a charcoal pin-striped number, and her ash-blond hair was drawn back into a stylish, but professional pony-tail. Hard to tell exactly how old she was—somewhere between 40 and 50, I’d say—but it didn’t matter. She smelled nice and looked pretty damned good.
“You have something against cougars?” She plunged her straw into what looked like scotch on the rocks, and proceeded to take a powerful sip. She glared at me as she swirled and swallowed.
“Nothing personal against the cougars,” I said. “It’s just that I root against BYU every time they play.”
She paused, looked at the big TV above the bar, then laughed.
“OK, I getcha. I thought you had something against cougars, you know, women of a certain age who prefer the company, if you know what I mean, of younger men.”
Her name was Contilla (pronounced Cone-Teeya) Fragrante, and she told me everyone called her Contilla the Cougar and she was proud of it. Born up in Wellsville as Connie Jean Woodruff, she met a man in the Bahamas after her first divorce, named Ignacio Fragrante, a wealthy meat broker from Buenos Aires. After 12 years of marriage, she caught him in bed with a cheerleader from Alabama on spring break. Contilla got a huge settlement in her divorce, and now lived up in the Cove, went to the gym and ate in good restaurants and did what she liked, whenever and with whomever, as long as they were young and liked to have fun.
“I’m probably a bit sensitive these days,” said Contilla, apologizing (sort of) for ripping into me about cougars. “The media pick on Demi, and Cher, and Kim, and those nitwits on Desperate Housewives. So what if we like young guys? I’m more careful now, but at first I couldn’t tell which of them would start to cry when I told ‘em it was time for them go home. Now I have a better idea of which men want a mommy and which ones just want to get laid. By the way, I hate that term MILF, because, let me tell you, I ain’t nobody’s momma.”
Contilla looked at me funny when I asked her to explain what MILF stood for, but when she realized I was sincere, she pulled no punches.
“I thought everyone know what it meant,” Contilla said after she briefly filled me in. She smiled and added, “You aren’t very smart, are you? I like that in a man.”
Contilla ordered another round, insisting on picking up the tab, but at the same time making fun of the fact that I was drinking Miller Lite.
“You see, I like being a cougar. I read somewhere that the word comes from Canadian bar lingo, meaning an older woman who gets the leftovers at the end of the evening. But now it’s like totally positive—powerful and in control. We see what we want and go after it.
“That’s why I don’t like being called a MILF. The mother thing is just too creepy. Pretty soon you’re talking about sick relationships like all those female teachers preying on their teen-age students. Those women are pathetic in my opinion, despite the fact that some of those boys are already pretty grown up, and think of themselves as lucky instead of being victims. I don’t know what’s going on with those teachers out in Bountiful and the 13-year-old kid. And what’s the deal with one of the teachers turning herself in and then pointing the finger at other teacher? Sound like cutting off your nose to spite your jealous face.
“Anyway, those kind of women just give us cougars a bad name. I like younger men, but let me tell you, there’s no exploitation going on. So, how old did you say you were?”