A Dog Can Be A Companion…

I cannot begin to imagine the things that hair stylists hear from their clients.  I can say to a moral certainty though that hair stylists must be in possession of enough interesting information to quit doing hair and create a blackmail empire.  Which leads me to wonder – is there a stylist/client privilege? Perhaps there should be some legal restrictions put in place in this area for the good of mankind.

I have been with the same hair stylist for about eight years now.  In those eight years my hair stylist, Autum, has been privy to a lot of information about my adventures and hijinks.  Discussions about lovers, boyfriends, husbands, and ex-husbands are par for the course as is every other conceivable thing that occurs in one’s life.  Let’s face it, hair stylists often become therapeutic outlets for sharing information.  They take in pieces of information from their clients  and sympathize, empathize or act appropriately horrified or humored.  Something about the intimacy of the hair styling process (that I confess I do not fully understand) engenders a level of trust that allows folks to share their lives with abandon.

Having been with Autum for so long, we can now have dialogues that include historical information from past joys and dramas; which means that not only does the depth of the therapy become more meaningful over the years, but so too does the knowing laughter and the emphathetic sighs.  I saw Autum yesterday and as is customary, the debriefing of the events that had occurred since we last saw each other was of primary focus.  Kids, dating, work, travel – you name it -it all finds its way into the conversation.

I can’t share the extent of that dialogue here as there is a sanctity that exists in dialogues with stylists, but I did want to share two things that I believe deserve to be appreciated by a wider audience.  The first is a concept that I began discussing in June while with gal pals in Maryland – the notion of geographic boyfriends.  Geographic boyfriends entail having boyfriends from different desirable locations around the globe that one would want to visit.  The goal of geographic boyfriends (in theory mind you – as this is still in its rawest conceptual form) is to combine the love of travel and the love of boys without putting oneself into a situation wherein one might marry again.  Folks around me zone right in on the outcome of the geographic boyfriend concept – no more marriages – and buzz right past the potential difficulties in living in geographic boyfriend reality.  Autum on the other hand, went a little deeper in examining the concept – honing it to be more concise in language. 

She suggested that the word “boyfriend” was too potent a label to attribute to these inter-actors.  She postulates that it is but a few happy steps from boyfriend, to fiance, to husband; therefore, she argues that they should be called geographic “companions”.  The term companion, she postulates, more accurately captures what they are…after all she noted – a dog can be a companion and we don’t elevate them up the relationship food chain to husband (although I appreciate there is a whole different discussion to be had on whether a husband is ever labeled a dog – we won’t go there today).  Autum appropriately notes that the framing of the relationship status is important to avoid inadvertently moving away from the intended goal of the concept – no additional marriages for Carol.  I found that observation to be quite insightful and valuable (hence, why I share it here).

The second item that I wanted to share from my dialogue with Autum was her view on the label that a woman who dates or marries someone a few years younger should have a distinct label as they don’t really qualify as a cougar.  She calls these women (herself included) – pumas.  Now, I must confess – I wasn’t entirely sure what a puma was.  I had in mind that it was one of the big cats, but that was about it.  I resolved after hearing about the potentiality of this new label to learn more about pumas as it is conceivable that some day I may stray from my cougar label (hard to conceive I know, but it could happen).

So I googled puma and in doing so I learned that a puma by any other name is a cougar or mountain lion – so maybe the slightest variation may exist, but isn’t the equivalent of moving from cougar to domesticated house cat.  Although, the label “puma” does sound decidedly kinder and gentler.  It almost doesn’t even sound like a predatory cat (but make no mistake about it, pumas are fierce).  Of course, while pumas may be virtually the same as cougars in the big cat world, the label “puma” does not carry the burden the “cougar” label does.  So, as the unofficial official spokesperson of the Ms. Robinson Society I do believe I will endorse that label – “puma” – for use by women who date or marry men who are younger than them by six years or less.  Once you pounce into the seven year difference though you are back in the land of cougars (although at some point when both parties are beyond age 40 one must ask if a seven year difference is even worth noting…increasingly I lean toward probably not).

As I said, hair stylists hear a lot and have a therapeutic effect.  I surmise that is why we stick with the same stylist for years – a good therapist is worth their weight in gold.  😉

Day seven hundred and forty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

3 Responses

  1. For what it’s worth, I think cougars (both the women and the cats) are incredibly sexy. The thought of a woman having a boy-toy is just desserts for a society that has only recently begun to appreciate the fact men are sometimes and quite often really stupid; and women can contribute more than a hot meal and a child every year or so.

  2. Barbara Wang

    I found this to be very informative (in a giggling sort of way), but I am now wondering about the long distance companionships in my life. I correspond by email and/or chat with several of my children’s classmates, most of whom are men in their 40’s. That might seem to be a little creepy except that I’ve known them since they were toddlers who became very bright and decent men. We are a totally plutonic situation that is not assigned a name here. Might I be called a Mama Kitty?

  3. I agree that as we get older, the age difference becomes less of an issue. My dear wife is a year order than me, and when we met (I was 2o) she seemed like a Mrs. Robinson type figure. She was WAY more mature than I was! Over the years I believe I have closed the gap, although most others (my wife included) continue to question my maturity. As the surviving victim of a “Puma,” however, I can say there are far worse fates in this world than being mauled by an older woman!

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