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The Cougar Edition: Hunting With the Female of the Species

What's that you say Mrs Robinson?  The classic cougar scene where Anne Bancroft seduces a young Dustin Hoffman
What’s that you say Mrs Robinson? The classic cougar scene from The Graduate where Anne Bancroft seduces a very young Dustin Hoffman

My objective was to observe the predatory mating habits of the cougar. For those of you unfamiliar with the term because you live on a different planet, the Urban Dictionary defines a cougar as “a woman in her sexual prime who prefers to hunt rather than be hunted. A cougar’s victims are under 25, as cougars prefer to mate with men who still have hair. Cougars are gaining in popularity as young men find not only a sexual high, but many times a chick with her shit together.”

The Cougar's Lair at the Quayside Cabin
Cougar’s Lair at the Quayside Cabin

My handlers in Cape Town had arranged a meeting with a sophisticated, discreet cougar who’d agreed to an interview. It’s a tough job being your correspondent and I take my responsibilities seriously! On a spring day when the weather couldn’t quite seem to make up its mind, I motored two hours along the east coast of South Africa for our rendezvous. In Hermanus, a pretty coastal town with excellent whale watching opportunities, I drove into the port and parked next to a shack. The Quayside Cabin is literally a shack inside the harbour with a legendary reputation for its fish and chips. Frantic fishermen offload their catch by the back door of the restaurant. Seagulls swooped low, searching for food. Seals thrashed about for the offal the fishermen occasionally tipped into the ocean. Inside the restaurant are casual tables on an uneven floor. The decor leans towards the rough and ready, with fishing nets stretched across the ceiling, adorned with nautical kitsch. Open to the sea on two sides the room had plastic curtains, straining against their guy ropes on a blustery rain swept day.

The cougar ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Two Oceans, a delightfully light wine that works well with fresh seafood. A sexy brunette with large beautiful eyes she explained that this is one of her favourite date restaurants. Far enough away from Cape Town to minimise the risk of bumping into someone she knew, it was off the beaten track and incredibly romantic. However if you Google the restaurant you discover it has glowing accolades from foodies far and wide. A successful cougar must be able to find hidden gems that surprise and delight, seemingly serendipitously, she explained. She had a list.

A table fit for a Cougar: mussel soup and sauvignon blanc
A meal fit for a Cougar: mussel soup and Sauvignon Blanc

She ordered us each a bowl of mussel soup made with ground mussels and spices. It was rich and perfectly spiced with the meat of the mussels providing body and a fullness in the mouth. We shared the special of the day, grilled yellow tail tuna, and the famous fish (hake) and chips. This was not haute cuisine but very fresh fish made simply and well.

The weather had cleared by the time we finished a leisurely lunch. Back in centre of Hermanus, she took my hand and said, “Let me show you what happens on a typical date.” In the name of research, I relented. We walked the coastal route that hugs the cliffs overlooking the ocean, through beautiful wild thickets of Fynbos, a flowering shrub found only in the southern tip of Africa. A horn was blown from a watchpost , announcing a whale sighting. There were five or six whales within twenty metres from us, gambolling lazily in the gentle swell. I gasped as their giant tails waved a lazy arc through the air, releasing a shower of droplets which shimmered in the sun. The cougar was watching me, grinning. “You know they come here to mate,” she said with a wink.

The whales in Hermanus come within 20 metres of the coast.
The whales in Hermanus come within 20 metres of the coast.

As we walked,  I planted the killer question with all the stealth of an elephant buying crockery – “Isn’t being a cougar just about the sex?”  She calmly explained that while sex was important to any relationship, being a cougar wasn’t primarily about sex, but was about inverting the power relationship. “It’s more about being strong, confident and knowing what you want as a woman,” she explained. A proper feminist icon, this one. Our seemingly casual walk had led us to the five star Marine Hotel, established in the late 19th century.  The Marine blends 19th century colonial style with the casual elegance of a 21st century boutique hotel. We settled in for champagne and cake, while gazing out over the lawn at the ocean, and its fornicating whales. She probably had a suite reserved upstairs for the denouement. Research shows that 73% of cougars have sex on a first date. It was time for me to leave.

Cougar's destination: the view across the lawn from the Marine Hotel.
Cougar’s destination: the view across the lawn from the Marine Hotel.
A carpet of Fynbos (from the Afrikaans meaning "fine bush")
Our walk led us through a wild and beautiful carpet of Fynbos (from the Afrikaans meaning “fine bush”)


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