Fierce, wild and sex-starved, with the brute strength to rip a young boy to shreds, she stalks the night air – crazed, prowling across The City of Saint Frances. It’s a prime opportunity for a guy on this peninsula to be preyed upon by rich, older women, yearning for fresh meat. I peddled my bicycle up river on safari, in search of cougars.

My first stop was the Balboa Café, a well-known lair in the Marina District.

When I walked in, I immediately noticed how clean everyone was. The long bar was full of stuffed shirt dudes and a copious amount of screeching bimbos. In any event, I sat down and ordered a coke. Alcohol isn’t my drug of choice.

I sat at the bar. Within 15 minutes, a woman walked over. Her accent confused me.

“Doo yoo have a cigarette for me?”

I turned to see a dark haired, semi-exotic 40-year-old.

I didn’t, but quickly lied and said, “Yeah, hang on.” I swiveled off the chair and headed for the door.

Out in the street, some guy in a suit coughed up two cigs. He scanned my outfit, sensing that I might be a barbarian from yonder who’d crossed the great mountains of Pacific Heights to cause a ruckus and fornicate with his kind in the Marina.

By the time I found her at the bar, she was talking with someone.

“Got two.”

I placed the smokes down on the bar top and told her to come outside.

She began slurring her life story to me.

“I’m married. I don’t have kids though. Do you have Facebook?”

I told her I didn’t, but I gave her my alias. She wrote it down, saying she would look me up since I promised her I would join the site.

“You are a sexy guy. And you don’t have a girlfriend. Why is this?”

She advanced.

“Not sure…”

“I have a husband, but he is far away.”

She inched closer, running her fingers through my hair.

“So cute!” And with that, she walked over to some suits who instantly surrounded her. What the fuck was this? It always surprises me how these business-types rope girls in, with money-laced small talk and poor fashion taste.

She was pre-occupied and I didn’t have a boat to take her sailing on. I backed away, but not before I found out she was from Norway, making her a snow leopard, not a cougar.

On Wednesday, I headed to Harry Denton’s Starlight Ballroom, dressed like a sexually repressed librarian’s assistant, on a tip that there would be older women present.

I entered the lobby of the Sir Frances Drake Hotel.

That scene is always bustling with rich travelers, and the older women who tag along, bored out of their skulls, on their husbands’ business trips.

In the elevator, I managed to gain some control of my mind, which was already racing with a million plans for how I’d handle the elder feline class.


The doors opened half way to the top and in walked a Latin woman. I watched her carefully through my fake prescription glasses. She glanced back.

Crossing through the velvet drapes of the Starlight, my assignment plans derailed at the sight of some burlesque dancers in their early 20s.

Once that eye-obstacle was hurdled, I took a once-around, really scoping out the selection. Some were pressed against the bar, laughing, being leaned on by other men. I began to notice that cougars seem to all dress alike – Forever 21 mashed up with Neiman Marcus.

After some time wandering around, mildly spaced-out, I spotted the woman from the elevator.

I went for it.

“Are you also hunting?”

She leaned in, “Excuse me, what did you say?”

“You’re on a little hunt, right?” I tried not to laugh.

“Oh, you think I’m a cougar?”

Her breasts seemed expensive.

“What’s that?” I baited.

But before I could finish, a looming shadow that stunk of sporty cologne approached me from behind.

“Excuse me. This is my wife, man.”

I retreated to the dance floor. I shouldn’t have been bored looking at the younger girls dancing, but I was. The place sagged in thick yuppie filth, the kind that’s impossible to walk in under any normal conditions. And the music was questionable.

Earlier I had spent the evening running through a series of outfit changes.

“Too dorky,” my roommate said.

“That one is too over the top,” another added.

So I took the easy option and wore a brown sports coat and some dress shoes.

Out on the balcony in the unofficial smoke lounge, I popped a question to the man himself.

“So where the hell are all the cougars, Harry?” Denton, that is.

“Right inside. It’s early!”

I walked back in and noticed a woman tight in black and crimson lace looking at me. I paused to fix my glasses and when I turned back she was gone.

I rode the elevator alone, burnt and slightly twisted at the end of the night. Note to self: 30-year-olds are not cougars.

Later in the week I was at a friend’s place in North Beach, another good hunting ground, telling her about my late-night adventures in search of older women.

“Oh my god! Do you know what? Some guy the other night called me a puma. I guess it means like a young cougar.”

I laughed in somewhat disbelief, but later did some research on the most accurately-sourced database, Wikipedia. To my surprise, there was such a term.

“A woman in her thirties who dates a younger man (i.e., 20-somethings), often considered to be a ‘cougar-in-training.’ It also means a cougar whose age disparity is less than 8 years.”

Well, there was no shortage of pumas at the W Hotel that Friday, when I arrived cool, calm, and collected to be greeted by a stylish mob after moving through the rotating door.

I walked up to two cougars that looked to be on their eighth lives.

I said hello and found out they were from (surprise, surprise) Marin County. From an earlier incident there involving a broken down car and a cougar cornering me in a gas station, I came to the conclusion that crossing the Golden Gate Bridge meant danger. That county is one big den.

About five minutes into the conversation, the drunken brunette dropped a wine glass, causing a commotion that swayed the more interested one away from me. And like that, I was shut down.

I realized that cougars are picky. Apparently not every guy is guaranteed tail – or even claws – just because he’s the youngest bachelor in the room.

I left the W in a last attempt for some action. I found myself in Hayes Valley. It was hollow and dead, but I went into Sugar anyway. The small bar, with its cozy lounge areas made for an intimate scene to come across a late-night, lone hunter.

I noticed one instantly, sitting alone at the bar. From where I was standing, I first believed she was 28, which lead me to grumble at the lack of appropriately-aged women I was seeking. But as I got closer, it became clear that she was indeed a cougar.

The blond bombshell nodded at me and without thinking I started talking to her, giving her “the eye” or 20/20 scope – vision for hunting big cats.

I ignored the rest of the bogus behavior swilling drinks around us and moved closer.

We talked about Halloween costumes, and I asked her if I should be a doctor or a nurse.

“Definitely nurse!” She grabbed at my shoulder.

I smirked at her movements in that tight black dress, knowing quite well she could pounce at any moment. Her name was Juliana and she was one hell of a woman.

I asked her if she believed in instant attraction, seemingly out of nowhere.

Her eyes lit up for a moment when she put down her gin and appeared to be caught up in a minor trance. I continued, asking her how she knew when someone instantly swept her off her feet.

“Oh you just know these things, I guess it’s just a feeling.”

She made a loopy smile, and then looked across the bar, eye level with the bottles.

I could see her turning a little red, knowing that I was on her trail. We talked some more, eventually stepping outside for a smoke. She was fit, and certainly well-groomed.

“I know I’m hot. I’m a cougar and I rock it!”

My jaw hit the floor.

“Oh yeah?”

She did this little perky hop and leaned forward.

“Yeah, I am, and I don’t date younger guys.” 

“Who said anything about dating?” 

I told her how sexy she was and that I thought she was 28 at first glance. 

“Really? Really!” 

 Her claws seemed to be slowly coming out, until I was hit with a dose of reality. 

“I just don’t understand it.” She frowned “I don’t understand why 40-year-old men don’t get on this.” 

I didn’t either. She was clearly the kind of woman you’d find in an old Humphrey Bogart film – curvy, with soft eyes and a hint of sorrow. 

“You honestly make me feel hot.” 

I tried to say something back, but she very quickly pulled at my jacket and kissed me. A cab pulled up and something raced inside of me. This was it. I got closer, but she backed off. 

“You’re sweet, but I really don’t do younger guys.” Then she turned with a smile and hailed a cab. 

I watched her leave, mildly puzzled. 

Peddling away back out into noir of the concrete jungle, it seemed I’d finally gotten hunted… well, maybe swatted at.

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