Now that I’ve officially become a cougar, a title invented primarily to mock women who don’t want to admit that they’re no longer hot, I’ve watched myself and my friends turn our sexual energies to a new place. Because of our desire and choice to share said sexual energy with only our husbands, those of us with predatory natures must find another way to channel our need to hunt. We don’t really have the energy to lust after hot guys, anyway. Besides, all the guys we know are married or kind of icky, or both. So now, we still have a hunger for the kill, but no outlet. This is why we shop.
One by one, most of my friends have admitted to me lately that they have discovered internet shopping. They are excited and a little bit ashamed, but they clearly have no intention of stopping. The rush of discovering and attaining goods is rapturous for us. It’s like masturbation with souvenirs. We push a button and expensive goods appear in the mail. We didn’t even have to leave our houses. We can even do it at work. When you think about it, it’s better than hunting men, because a new pair of Ella Moss leggings will never break your heart, unless they’re too small, and then you just send them back without regret.
Gradually, our taboos about discussing our spending are falling away. A year ago, we would never ask each other how much something cost. Now, we announce it. We want everyone to know that we know exactly when Nordstrom’s and Saks post their clearance sales. We are members of online sample sale sites. Our discussions inevitably turn to return policies and shipping costs. No detail is left unexplored. We dive in with the gusto formerly reserved for analyzing our sex lives. When a girlfriend gives in to temptation and spends four hundred dollars on a sweater, we keep the secret for her, because we know she would do the same for us. We tell her that she deserves that sweater because she’s a good mother and does the majority of the cleaning at home.
Shopping gives a safe way to satiate and share our need for acquisition. It’s a secret that we can share, that allows us to bond. Because we are wives and mothers, lust for men would put us at risk of looking treacherous and pathetic. Truth like that makes us and everyone around us feel vulnerable because we have yet to completely accept that not everyone still finds us as attractive as we find ourselves. In the eyes of society, our days of sexual freakdom have come to a screeching halt. But we know that we’re still beautiful, and we know that we still share the same longings as women half our age. We can channel our cravings into a lust for goods that will make us feel beautiful and powerful. We get the rush of knowing that we have found something wonderful and made it our own.
It’s like sex, but safer.