Sometimes I'm amazed by how easy journalism can be. Sometimes you get lucky and things just fall right into your lap. That was the case on Friday night.
I had to do a radio doc for Midweek, a weekly current affairs show on the campus radio station. This class/show may kill me, by the way - every week I have to come up with more than one item, often long form like a five minute doc, plus possible same day items. Anyway, I watched that new Courtney Cox show Cougar Town and I thought I would investigate the mating habits of local cougars. I did some googling around and found out that Maxwell's, a bar on Elgin, is famous across the country as a cougar and cougar bait destination. I showed up on Friday night with a microphone and hoped for the best.
I want to preserve some material here that I’m not sure will make it in. I won’t use full names because these people probably would rather not have this blog come up if someone googles them.
Andy, the bartender who has worked at Maxwell’s for 22 years. Explained to me the cougar history of Ottawa: Apparently there was a bar called Hartwell’s that was a true cougar bar. It closed seven years ago and the clientele moved to Maxwell’s. Has witnessed a middle aged woman named Olga dump her beer in another woman’s purse who stole her seat, then hide behind the bar as the woman chased her.
Zak, a 20-year-old bus boy who gets groped when he goes onto the dance floor to clear glasses. “The worst I had was a woman fully wind up and spank me, so I just continued walking and decided not to acknowledge it… I don’t like to really acknowledge it. I think it’s awkward.”
Rod, bar staff. Once experienced full frontal cuppage as the woman looked him in the eye and laughed. “It’s not Chippendale’s or anything…. If a guy did that to a girl, he’d be tossed out in the street, but she was old enough to be my mom.”
Joe, 25-year-old cougar bait/cougar hunter. On why he loves cougars: “They teach you some things. They like to be in control.” On whether he thinks cougars are trendy right now: “I’d say that’s pretty accurate. I pretty much love cougars right now. And I’m planning on picking up several tonight.”
Pam (not her real name), 53-year-old self-identified cougar, grandmother, and Maxwell’s regular: “I just find that every once in a while we’ll get a younger crowd who will look at us and seem to think, you’re too old to be here. Like, oh my god, you’re too old. And to me, I think everybody should be lucky enough to know that at this age, we can still have fun. And at 53, what do you expect to be at this age? Do you expect to be at home knitting for your grandchildren?”
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