Monday, November 24, 2008

Fairness in Negative Stereotypes is Important

The North American vernacular has been graced with the slang word "cougar" for some time now. At its best it is used to describe beautiful women over 35. At its worst a cougar is a cross between Mrs. Roper from Three's Company and Edie Britt from Desperate Housewives:

It is the most common of knowledge that ladies aren't the only ones sleazing around the bars in your town. There's another kind of creepy character out there that can even be found hanging out in the same establishments as young people. Where, I ask, is the slang term for the aging man on the prowl? I present as a candidate the word "Bougar". In written form it is just "Boy" and "Cougar" mashed together into one word, but I think how it sounds adds just the right amount negative connotation, similar to how Cougar was originally used as a put-down. I suspect that the word Bougar may never grow into a near-compliment the way Cougar is seeming to, but that's OK with me.

The Bougar can be defined using the same model as above, this time using (for fairness) Mr. Roper from Three's Company and Judge #3 from American Idol.

As you can see, the Bougar is much scarier than the Cougar. Perhaps this is why up until now we have been afraid to utter its name, kind of like he-who-shall-not-be-named in the Harry Potter books. Like young Harry, my fear is overcome by my mix of curiosity and revulsion, and to everyone's dismay I proclaim this name aloud: Bougar! Let us fear no more.


Epilogue: In composing this entry I was torn between two graphical formulas defining "Bougar", and indeed originally had a different one posted and took it down, thinking it a little too weird. My daughter was not happy with me, saying the first one was much better. Since I would do anything for my daughter:

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