While shopping with my sister at Target recently, I had an odd experience. We were in the check-out line and I noticed that our cashier, an 18-ish year-old who looked for all the world like a stunt double for one of the Jonas Brothers, seemed a bit distracted. He was pleasant and friendly and helpful, even chatty, but so distracted that I thought he might have a nervous disorder that should be medicated. Turns out, he was suffering from one of the more common maladies affecting teens, he was trying to flirt.
Realizing this, I looked around surreptitiously to see who he had his eye on. Back in the day, this was usually my sister. She brought out the nervous flirtation in a group of teenage boys faster than a stroll through the woods brings out poison ivy. However, my sister is now great with child and, while she is incredibly cute and radiant, she was not the object of this kid’s attention. No…I was.
I think I can be forgiven for being slow to catch on that this kid was checking me out while he was, well, checking me out. Unlike my boisterous and approachable sister, I was more of a gloom cookie in high school, overly dramatic and brooding. I did not have a glut of teenage boys chasing me when I was a teenager, I didn’t expect it back then. I expect it even less now that I’m 31.
So there I stood, getting my receipt from a kid who had difficulty putting two words together when I looked at him (God only knows what he would have done if I had smiled at him or if I had been wearing a push-up bra) wondering how this happened. And it prompted me to wonder if he thought women who were dangerously close to being twice his age were so very attractive, or if the kid was mistaken and thought I was much closer to his age than I am. The latter seems more likely.
When we were kids it used to really annoy me that people routinely thought my younger sister was actually the older one. However, it has been a long time since that has annoyed me–funny how that happens. Not being married or having kids, I am minus two of the bigger causes of stress that age a person. On a recent tour of a historical village one of the tour guides tried to add me to the high school group. And that isn’t the first time something like that has happened.
Is it possible that my baby-face has turned me into an accidental cougar? A true cougar is a woman who actively seeks younger men, but that just isn’t me. It isn’t as if I’m seeking the attention of nervous, teenage boys, it just sort of…happens. My preference is for a guy one to two years older than me–I like the idea of being the young one. But now I’m wondering if there is a way I could make my tendency to still get carded at R-rated movies work for me. Maybe that could be my way of sticking it to the men* out there who are always looking for a newer, younger version of what they had before.They can think they are getting a barely-legal honey and I can get a guy with a decent dental plan.
*No, not all men are looking for a newer, younger version of the woman they had before. I know that. I’m just talking about the ones who are.