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14 posts from April 2010

April 30, 2010

Cougar Is Not A Dirty Word!

Linda_Franklin77 Please indulge me today, this is my day to rant.  For the past three years I have been an advocate for cougar women all over the world.  I have been telling anyone who would listen that cougar is not a dirty word, even though the majority of people still think is. For some reason, both men and women choose to slam cougars whenever they can. Both sexes don't want to admit that Real Cougar Women are strong, confident independent and refuse to be defined by the age of the man they are with.

The cougar craze started to grab people's attention when high profile women like Demi Moore, Madonna, Katie Couric and Kim Cattrall switched their preference to younger men.  And, even though they clearly fit my description of a Real Cougar, they all said they hate the label.  So why is that?

In my opinion, it's because the media jumped all over the cougars portraying them as man hungry cradle robbers that would do anything to snag some young flesh.  They made them into cartoon characters sporting bling, cleavage and way too much botox. TV show like The Cougar, and CougarTown emerged which portrayed women on the prowl. People watched and began to believe that a woman over 40 was a predator that would do anything for love. The bottom line - sex sells so it's no surprise that soon after everyone jumped on the cougar bandwagon - Cougar Beauty Contests, Cougar Cruises and of course Cougar Dating sites.

The part that puzzles me is why so many women are choosing to participate in these cougar sideshows?  Why are they so ready to supply sexy photos of themselves in skimpy outfits to be viewed by millions online?  Come on ladies, stop exacerbating an already negative image and start showcasing how fabulous you really are.

I'm not alone in this rant. My community of Real Cougar Women are discouraged too. Just when they thought it was safe to call themselves Real Cougars the image is more tarnished than ever before. They are tired of being the joke du jour around the office coffee machine.

Okay, so now you know what's bugging me.  I will close this posting by confessing that I am seriously thinking of dropping the Cougar from The Real Cougar Woman. That doesn't mean  that I will stop teaching women how to be healthy, happy, beautiful and financially independent - how could I when it's my passion.  I am just sick and tired of the negative spin trumping all the positive and wonderful qualities women have to offer.

Thanks for your support and I would welcome your comments. 

April 28, 2010

Internships - A Great Way To Re-Invent Yourself

Boomer women All of us are familiar with the traditional definition of an intern.  It's a student that you invite into your business to lend a hand.  The intern can get college credits, a stipend - but they always benefit the most from great on-the-job training. 

This prolonged recession has turned the world of traditional interning on its ear. Older women are trying to re-enter the workforce or start their own businesses. And, many have decided to market themselves as interns, just to get through the door and learn new skills.

Interning is something I did myself.  It wasn't easy to re-invent myself after almost 25 years on Wall Street, but I thought it would be fun to try breaking into in the world of communications.  I had zero experience in that field so I wondered how I could get on-the-job training without any media background. This is what I did.

One day I walked into the HR department of  WNYC, the New York City public radio station, and asked if I could intern.  They were skeptical at first but after I told them my reasons they were quite receptive to the idea.  Who wouldn't want a smart, confident woman eager to help them out for very little pay?

I started my new adventure by workng every Tuesday as an assistant to the producers of the Brian Lehrer Show. My job was to look for interesting guests, cover press conferences, and since this was a call-in show, I got to be in the studio working as their call screener. All of that was great exposure to the world of radio. I got to try a lot of things - the best way to figure out what you are best suited for.

My year as an intern was a gift.  It helped me get clear about what I wanted to do next.  I was sure that my second career would somehow be involved in communication.  

Before deciding to become an intern you have some work to do.  You must learn to keep your ego in check. Chances are you will the the oldest member of the team.  That means you will be taking your marching orders from someone young enough to be your kid.  The upside however far outweighs any ego battles you will encounter.  The experience you get will help you reignite your passion.  And, if you shine, there is a very good chance the company might offer you a permanent job. Once you're in the door it's all up to you.

April 26, 2010

Real Cougars Are A Hit On "Sunday Night"

Australian sunday night logo On a cold and windy day in February an Australian camera crew was in NYC filming me for an upcoming segment of Sunday Night.  Down Under Sunday Night is the must see show, much like our own Sixty Minutes. The fabulous Sonia Kruger and her team came, they interviewed and I am happy to report that Real Cougars conquered.

When the producers of the show were first thinking of doing this cougar segment they interviewed a lot of cougar specialists but happily they chose me.  They told me I was the only credible source talking about empowering women and establishing a Real Cougar Movement. They liked that I was establishing a new and exciting role model for strong, smart, independent women who know what they want. 

Included in the piece is Germaine Greer an Australian born writer and well known feminist.  Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since her book The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller in 1970,  She thinks Real Cougars are cool cats and actually isn't offended by the term 'cougar' which is refreshing to hear.  The only thing she said I didn't agree with was that cougars are choosing younger men only for their looks and not much else.  She suggested that these women were using the money they received from lucrative divorce settlements just to amuse themselves.  

I have always said that Real Cougars are not Sugar Mamas!  We have careers, worked hard for our money and are not looking to squander it for a quick fling with a young guy with washboard abs.  That's not to say we won't choose a younger man to have a relationship with but he has to be smart, ambitious and love us for the fabulous women we are. The most important part of any relationship is the connection - - we are looking for that.  

Anyway, check out the video for yourself and if you have time I would love to hear what you think.

April 23, 2010

Marriage - Is It The Best Choice?

It's hard to imagine in this environment of infidelity, sex addiicton and coping with a recession why anyone would choose to get married.  All the hopes and dreams we believed about happily ever after seem to be nothing but a fairy tale illusion.  It's very possible, the "hard work" it takes to make a marriage work simply wrings out all the passion and joy two people once might have felt for each other. The spectacular public bust-ups we read about every day makes it very obvious we currently inhabit a vast and bleak landscape of marital discontent.Bride and groom

In a much-discussed survey of 35,000 American women, published last year in Women's Day, 72 percent of married women said they had considered leaving their husbands. Seventy-nine percent said they'd like sex more often, and 52 percent said they have no sex life whatsoever.

Most of us have not consciously or categorically banished passionate love from our lives, we just can't seem to make it work. 

Talk to almost any therapist, and he or she will tell you that the primary reason people aren't happy is they are too tired to have sex and have built up a mountain of resentments over the difficulty of running a household together.  This is in part why we are so fascinated with marriages that appear, from the outside at least, highly functional and romantic but are they really? 

It's interesting that even as heterosexual women are sounding the death knell for their nuptials, homosexual men and women are fighting for the right to marry traditionally. It may be that you can't properly loathe an institution of which you are not yet a member.

April 22, 2010

Real Cougars Choose To Be Single

The women in my Real Cougar community are often asked why they choose to be single. Of course every woman is unique so the reasons vary.  But, I would have to say the reason I hear the most is "because I choose to be." 

I received this email from one of the members in The Real Cougar Woman Club.  She explained to me why at this stage in her life she is choosing to be single.  Here's her story in her own words.    

Being a single parent raising two kids on my own with no help has been tough.  Now that my kids are grown and are away for the summer I’ve been forced to deal with the issues that I have been running from or covering up for so long.

Black woman eater strawberry jupiter images24035029 I believe that we all make choices in life.  I happened to always choose the wrong type of men.  They guys were physically attractive on the outside, but with no substance on the inside.  They were just empty, hollow and emotionally unavailable.

After giving my choices some very serious thought, I came to realize that I was drawn to the wrong type of men because I had a father who was never there for me.  I felt invisible.  When I got older I used men in an attempt to validate myself.  Of course that was impossible because I hadn't  yet learned how to validate myself.

Now that I’m older and wiser I know I deserve better and won’t settle for less than God's best.  I’ve come to realize that I really don’t need a man to make me feel good about myself.  Why would I?  I am an independent, strong, attractive woman in the prime of her life.  I am a Real Cougar.

I could have a man in my life now  but I am choosing not to.  I just turned 44 years old and Idon’t want to waste my valuable time on the wrong things or on the wrong people. 

 

Will be there room for a man in my life someday?  Yes, but on my terms.  It's very important  that I have people who celebrate who I am.  I am done with people who try and bring me down to their level or diminish the woman I was created to be.

 

Ladies, life too short to waste on the wrong person.

April 21, 2010

Real Cougar Women Dazzled At The Matrix Awards

I was lucky enough to attend The Matrix Awards on Monday and I have to admit I was starstruck.  It's not every day you get so see so many truly accomplished women gathered in one room. The grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria was packed to the rafters and "estrogen energized". This prestigious award recognizes women who have established themselves in the field of communications. This year's honorees were:Awards - matrix

Susan Chira, foreign editor, The New York Times

Sheryl Crow, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter

Tina Fey, executive producer, head writer, star, NBC's three-time Emmy Award-winning "30 Rock"

Ina Garten, author and host, Emmy Award-winning Food Network Program,"Barefoot Contessa"

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian

Anne Keating, senior vice president, public relations, special events & corporate philanthropy, Bloomingdale's

Gayle King, editor-at-large, O, The Oprah Magazine, host, The Gayle King Show, Sirius XM Radio

Marissa Mayer, vice president, search products & user experience, Google

Each women was introduced by a close friend or colleague and I don't have to tell you how excited we all were when Oprah stood up to talk about her BFF Gayle.  They have been friends for over thirty years and Oprah said they are more than friends they are sisters. A few of the other presenterswere Katie Couric, Mariska Hagerty, Leslie Stahl and  Maria Bartiromo.

The master of ceremonies for this mega celebration of women was Brian Williams.  Brian is not only gorgeous he is so funny.  There was no doubt he had a connection with this crowd of fabulous females.

For me, the best thing about this celebration, was the majority of women in the room were over 40.  They were smart, accomplished, confident and independent - Real Cougars.  They are women who knew what they wanted and went after it.  Women, who when they didn't make it at first try, didn't give up. But most of all women who are following their bliss - doing something they are passionate about.  That's the real key.  They are great role models for all of us.

April 19, 2010

Real Cougar Tips For Successfully Attracting Men

Every woman could use a little help when it comes to attracting men. You could, of course, continue to do what you've always done and get the same results or you could consult a professional that can deliver the results you want.  

 

Book - ronnie ann ryan I recently spoke to top-notch dating coach Ronnie Ann Ryan and she agreed to give us over 40 gals some fantastic tips that will greatly increase your odds for attracting the man of your dreams. 

 

Ronnie Ann says, "one of the first questions I ask my clients is "do men approach you?  If she says no, it is usually followed with a because - "because men find me intimating".  Ronnie Ann's answer to that is "could you be sending out signals that scream don’t come near me?"  Are you creating non-verbal self-sabotage? 

 

If you are having trouble attracting a man, don't worry, Ronnie Ann says it's very fixable.  Just use her five successful tips that are guaranteed to increase your odds for success. 

1. Get Out of the House
To meet men, you need to get out of the house. Take a walk in the park, in your neighborhood or at the beach. Attend a singles event or dance. Try a business networking function. Drag a girlfriend or go alone, but go!

2. Be Friendly
An approachable woman is a friendly woman. Men prefer to approach women who seem open to a pleasant exchange. It’s not just about looks. The fundamentals of flirting start with being friendly.

3. Dress for Self-Esteem
When you run out to pick up a few items at the store, you probably don’t care what you look like. That's an A+ for efficiency, but a big “F-” for allure. No matter where you’re going, pay attention to your appearance so that you feel more confident. When you look good, you’ll feel good.

4. Approachable Body Language
Studies show that attraction is 93% non-verbal. Your body language is crucial to being approachable! Tilt your head down slightly and look up through your eye lashes at a man for a flirty, brief exchange! When you catch a man looking at you, smile first before turning away. Be sure not to cross your arms - crossing your legs is OK and in fact if the leg on top makes your foot point at him, that's a non-verbal signal you are open to meet him. Smooth wrinkles in your clothing with your hands to make him want you.

5. Appeal to his Masculine Ego
If you see a man who catches your eye, strike up a conversation. It's not the same as asking him for his number or a date - I don't recommend that. But being friendly is ideal! Ask him for help,
- "Can you help me reach this?"
- "Do you know of a good place to go for happy hour?"
- "Can you get the bartender's attention for me?"

Men like to help and be needed, so you'll appeal to their macho nature.

 

Using these tips you will discover how you will attract more men then you ever dreamed of. It's amazingly easy!  To learn more, Ronnie Ann is offering a new group coaching course at www.GetMarriedGurus.com or visit her blog at www.after40dating.com.

April 16, 2010

Cougar Women OwnThe Seductive Advantage

Every woman knows that looking good helps you get what you want, but in today's cut-throat world, beauty isn't enough. That's why after observing many successful women I have come up with that special something that they all possess. The common denominator that really is their secret weapon.  It took  some time for me to define it, but now I have.  A seductive woman

It's something I call  'the seductive advantage'. It encompasses your social skills, your financial independence, your sexuality, your lifestyle and your spiritual awareness.  Make no mistake all of those qualities are an important part of the mix.

We all know women who aren't conventionally attractive, but exude huge appeal, charm and sexual power. Madonna, Hillary Clinton, Oprah, Meryl Streep  - not all raving beauties, but they've all achieved amazing success by using their innate social intelligence to build on what they were born with.  They have found out that with 'the seductive advantage' they can turn ordinary into extraordinary. 

Studies have shown that women who adapt themselves to prosper, by being appealing to look at, socially aware, easy-going, and sexually attractive, are inevitably more likely to succeed than those who don't.  

Basically, it comes down this.  Make the most off what you've got.  It's a dog-eat-dog world, and according to natural selection, those best equipped for the fight will rise to the top.

April 14, 2010

Aging - Women's Biggest Fear

Age appropriate The aging demons are no longer just haunting women over 40. I am finding that more and more women in their 20's and 30's are equally as worried about aging.  And, when you really think about it, it's understandable.  We are constantly bombarded with the media's obsession with flawless youth and very few can measure up to the airbrushed beauties we see on magazine covers. 

How exactly are you supposed to look at any particular age?  I don't know about you but I am so tired of hearing back-handed compliments. It doesn't matter how old you are, people say,"you look  good for your age"?  How are we supposed to interpret that?   

Last week Demi Moore who just happens to be 47, but that doesn't matter, said she is finally happy with her body.  Isn't that sad?  Why hasn't this gorgeous woman, who has always been a knockout, loved the way she looks throughout the years?

It seems the #1 fear of aging is believing that we will lose our sexiness.  That we will be less attractive to men.  We have been programmed to believe that the male population only loves young women. I am happy to say the Real Cougars have blown that belief sky high.  Women in their 40 & 50's are attracting younger men by the truckload these days. 

We all know this - aging is inevitable  but - how you age is always your choice.  Choose wisely.

April 12, 2010

Manipulation - Could You Be A Victim?

My guest blogger today is Brett Blumenthal the founder of SheerBalance.com. Brett’s vision for SheerBrett Balance started when she realized that many of her friends and colleagues constantly struggled with finding balance in their every day hectic lives. She realized they were frustrated by the overwhelming amount of information that was contradicting, unclear and misleading when it came to healthy living. As a result, Brett saw a need to provide women with the right tools and information to make living healthy easy and fun.  In my opinion, Brett is doing a great job in accomplishing her goal. 

The topic today is manipulation. Unfortunately, it's something we are all too familiar with. If we are truthful we have all done our share of manipulating and have also been on the receiving end. Here's what Brett has to say on the subject.

Many of us like to think the best of people.  We like to think that they shoot straight and are forthright in their intentions.  We also like to believe that they will ask for what they want and not resort to crazy tactics to get it.  Unfortunately, however, there are times when we come across those who will do whatever it takes to get what they want…including manipulation.  Being manipulated never feels good, but the worst part of manipulation is that often, we don’t even realize that it is happening.  Here are a few tell-tale ways to know if you someone is trying to manipulate you and how to deal with it:

  1. Buttering You Up: To get their way, manipulators will often make you feel good so that they can then ask you to do something that they want.  The person may first compliment you or tell you what a wonderful job you did on something.  Making you feel good will, in their mind, make it difficult for you to say no…after all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them or give them reason to think you didn’t deserve the compliment in the first place. What you can do: Return the compliments and the niceties before saying no.
  2. Guilt: This doesn’t only pertain to Catholics and Jewish Mothers; guilt trips have been a successful manipulation tactic for centuries.  The saddest part of this strategy is that the victims of this tactic succumb to the manipulators’ demands because they feel they HAVE to, not because they WANT to.  In personal relationships, this sets up a co-dependency that is extremely unhealthy.  What you can do: Ask the individual if they want you to do something because you have to or because you want to.  If they say they want you to want to do it, tell them that you don’t and that they are trying to force you into something you don’t feel comfortable with.
  3. Broken Record: Probably the most obvious of formats is the broken record tactic.  If a person asks you enough or pushes their agenda enough…constantly repeating the question or request over and over again…in slightly different ways, the victim will inevitably give in and give them what they want.  Oye!  What you can do: Ask the individual what they don’t understand about the word “no.”  Tell them that asking you over and over again isn’t going to change anything and that they are inappropriately over-stepping boundaries.
  4. Selective Memory: This one gets me the most.  You swear you have a conversation about a plan and everyone is on the same page, and then one day, the manipulator pretends to remember the conversation completely differently, if at all.  What you can do: Record your conversations…seriously!  Okay, maybe not.  At least have a witness that you can count on to back you up if the person pulls this shenanigan.  Call them out on the fact that they conveniently change the game to fit their needs.
  5. Bullying: If a person doesn’t get their way, they make you out to look or feel like the bad guy…like you are the wrong one.  What you can do: Be firm and tell them that their bullying tactics are inappropriate and unacceptable.

Keep your eyes open for these behaviors and continue to stand your ground to ensure that you aren’t a victim of manipulation. 

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