Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Mother's Man

In the 1967 hit movie, The Graduate she was called Mrs. Robinson, today she is called "cougar" as in older-women-who-date-younger men.  These women are at least 8 (often 10-15) years older than the men they date and are called "cougars" because of their so-called stalk-and-ambush predator animal nature. And there are tons of websites devoted to "cougar" pursuit (or pleasure) depending on your point of view; as well as the popular TV shows like Cougar Town starring Courtney Cox and its predecessor the Reality TV show Kept, which starred Jerry Hall.

The growing popularity of shows like Cougar Town and Kept undoubtedly help people see the once frowned upon older-women-dating-younger-men scenario in a new, perhaps more neutral light.  However, there are still (and always will be) relationships hurdles, humps and bumps.

For example, what happens when your mother brings home a man who is not only your age, but it turns out "your mother's man" used to be your man some 6 months earlier. I know it reeks of daytime soap opera drama, but there's no need to make this stuff up.  I myself have been privy to a few personal stories just like this. Suffice to say, this will be a very interesting dinner gathering.

It's fascinating talk but can be quite awkward when your mother is dating someone your age that you dated (and yes, I mean a guy you've already had sex with).  So what's the protocol when the door opens and "your mother's man" used to be your man?

1.  Keep on doin' what you doin
At this point, "it is what is" - so there's no need for you to loose your composure and not treat this man as cordially as you would any other man your mother may date. Stay in the now.  I know it might take a minute to regain your composure, but be your best you.  Smile and put aside your surprise, confusion, anger and possible disappointment (considering your mother got the guy you couldn't keep).   Likewise, I hope he will also keep on doin' what he's doin' - stay in the now - greet you cordially.

2.  Don't do him
Even if your mother leaves the room for ice, to refresh drinks or get the dessert, don't do the "what the hell are you doing with my mother" look. Don't do the "what the hell are you doing with my mother" silent whisper (mouthing the words with contorted face).  And certainly don't do the under the table hanky-panky with "your mother's man" because you want to rekindle what you had when he used to be your man. 

3.  When the time is right, talk about it
There are two schools of thought when it comes to talking it out.  One perspective advocates putting it out there to your mother, talking about it and getting it out of the way so all parties can get beyond the fact that "your mother's man" used to be your man.  The second thought cautions you say nothing to mother (or him) about the fact that "your mother's man" used to your man.  Here the thought is "let sleeping dogs lie" (not that guy is a dog), what your mother doesn't know can't harm her and ignorance is bliss (after all the relationship may fizz in 2 days and you and mom might have a good laugh together about it).

Either way, I think after you've weighed it, given it considerable thought and thought it through, you'll know which avenue to take when the time is right to talk about it.  Most importantly, I think the situation should be handled with the Hippocratic Oath to "first do no harm" to the relationship with your mother.   

So if one day you open the door to find "your mother's man" used to be your man, after you take a deep breath, remember that "cougars" - women like your mother - are just like most women - ISO, looking for,  the hunt for love.

To be continued...


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