When you get divorced, you go to some dark, disturbing places.
I went to a cougar bar.
It’s been two years since my marriage ended and my decision-making skills in the immediate aftermath were sometimes lacking. I showed the high dating standards of Bret Michaels, the long-term planning skills of a goldfish, and the general intelligence of a farm-fresh potato.
Fortunately, my sojourns into seedy bars were not successful. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and doing a little celebratory dance when you realize you’re alone.
And now that I am sane again I have a higher purpose: To warn recent divorcees that the answers to their problems are NOT in bars. I plan to call it Men Against Dive Dating, unless there’s some sort of unforeseen legal problem.
I’ll give speeches at places where male divorcees gather — laundromats mostly — and tell people my troubling but inspirational story.
So here goes: I went to a Toronto cougar bar called Crocodile Rock.
All you really need to know about the place is that when I mentioned the bar during a standup routine it evoked instant laughter. The exception was the night I was performing for a bunch of ballcap wearing drunks. That night it evoked hoots of approval.
Crocodile Rock is known as the Cougar Capital of Canada. So I thought, “I’m 32. A cougar is just a contemporary, right?”Wrong.
First of all, I did not fit in. I’m not the kind of person who can walk into a dance club by himself and strut around like he owns the place. Most of the guys there were 80 per cent shoulders, 15 per cent hair gel, and five per cent sense of smug self-satisfaction.
On some nights I’m 45 per cent crippling neuroses, just for starters. I can’t compete.
Second, I didn’t realize there’s a sliding scale of cougar. If somebody my age goes to a cougar bar, I’m not leaving with anybody younger than 66. And the Liver-Spotted Toothless Cougar is a species you do not want to mess with. The gum marks aren’t much, but the press-on nails can kill.
I left drunker and, if possible, more alone.
Yes, it’s a sad story, but the important thing is I survived to tell it. And I plan to bring a simple message to divorced men everywhere: Cougar’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Men Against Dive Dating is here for you.