Is the “Lioness” the New “Cougar”?

While Paula has been playing poker, I’ve been swimming in a new section of the friend pool. As with most of my friends, I stay in the deep end, surrounded by like-minded and like-aged gals. But in the last few months I’ve been playing in the “kiddie pool”. I now have a friend named Rhianna who is twenty years my junior. Is this ok?

Seriously, I know there’s many a Cougar out there: women who date younger men and are applauded and praised for it. But what am I? What form of animal describes an older lady who has a much younger friend? So much younger I could actually be her mom. Is this creepy? Wrong or illegal?

My age typically never really bothers me. But in the presence of Rhianna, I do feel older. It’s not her fault. She’s lovely and we have fun giggling about her dates, and swooning over new collections and consignment store finds. But I kind of always wonder if she’s hanging out with me out of pity or judging me against her much more youthful self. I know she’s not. She’s not that kind of girl.

Rhianna’s a Tuft’s graduate, fluent in French, Couture and Counter Culture. She lives alone, without a roommate in NYC. She’s not bankrolled by her parents or a trust fund. She budgets her money, likes to cook, write and have picnics in the park by candlelight. And at the ripe age of twenty-three she’s a published author, having just written her first book— Parisienne French – Chic Phrases, Slang & Style.

Parisienne French,

I know Rhianna’s not judging me. But I’m judging myself. I wish that when I was 23, I could have had my shit together like she does. I wish I had followed my desires and my heart a little more, and not chased boys or a career that didn’t really fit. But it’s all in the journey. And as I learn from her and what “totes” means or “poor Norma”, among other things, she too learns from me. Like…stop answering your phone in the middle of the night. Those kind of boys are no good.

I’ve already pre-ordered her book. And I hope you do the same. Young ladies with brains, ambition and a funny bone need to be applauded and protected.

And now I know what I am. A Lioness, fiercely protecting this creature with so much potential. She’s totes amaze! And yes, poor Norma will never ever be Rhianna.

I’ve decided not to feel weird about this friendship—but lucky. I’m grateful that Rhianna will keep me informed as I get older. And I look forward to her telling me things she might not want to share with her own mom out of embarrassment, since I too have been there and done that. Even if my escapades involved caves and dinosaur bones.

7 Responses



      Note that when I uttered the words “poor norma” to Jen I was referencing her norma kamali pieces that had yet to sell on consignment. There is absolutely nothing undesirable about your lovely name, however for cotton cocoon jumpsuits i’m not so sure. xx rhianna

    Kelly Connell

    I have lot’s of friends way younger than me and older as well. Lot’s of different perspectives all fun to hang out with. Each one a blessing in their own way.


    I loved reading this and can so relate. I have a new friend that’s 15 years younger than me and I adore her! We had this realization the other day when we worked out our ages and told her I could be her Auntie. We both laughed because that was so unimaginable. She inspires me in ways and I hope that I inspire her also. I also feel protective of her and I think that’s a good thing! Love the bright red lippy on Rihanna. It’s amaze!


    Jennifer, I have been hanging about with some “younger people” and I feel a little awkward at times, but I also feel really protective of them. I’m always like, “that ‘boy’ is bullshit and you should do what you want and travel and be young and free while you can.” and “I’ve been married TWICE. it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” I don’t know what i would have done with advice from an older person while I was in my 20’s, though. I don’t recall that I ever got any because when I was that age I was like “ew, 40 is SO OLD.”

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