Achieving cougar status.

I used to have a cardinal rule of dating for which I would sacrifice my entire coffee supply before breaking: Never date younger men.

As a semi-responsible and highly ambitious young woman, I often come across as older than my age. In fact, when I was 12, my grandparents’ doorman offered to marry me– even in the absence of a dowry. He was convinced I was 18, and that an impending nuptial would be legal under state law.

When he discovered I was only recently bat-mitzvahed, he exclaimed, “Oh, honey, you better stick to older men. You come across as a full grown lady.” Now any woman with an ounce of street smarts would know that an elderly Bangladeshi man offering you his hand in marriage is probably not the best individual to seek advice from, let alone follow. However, I lack said smarts, and so I abided by his words until two weeks ago when I discovered this little boy:

A year old on Sunday, this infant exemplifies everything I want in a man: intelligent, emotional, and with a notable penchant for French stripes. If he were 20 years older, and I wasn’t his babysitter, I would wed him immediately.

Also, he obeys commands. When I say, “Sleep time,” he obligingly accepts his pacifier and lays down in his crib. When I hum Hebrew lullabies to him (because I know none in English), he feigns interest and nestles himself in the area surrounding my cleavage. And when I challenge him to eat unusual adult food, like pumpkin spiced ravioli from the local Amish market (welcome to New York), he accepts the culinary challenge.

While by cougar reference is only in jest, I believe my time with this adorable baby has helped me clarify what I need to sustain a long term relationship: patience and personality. I need an individual who will wait as I sort out my professional aspirations, as well as a companion who has a larger than life persona– and will subsequently tolerate my proclivity for sarcasm and dramatic storytelling.

And ideally, I need to find him before I turn 23, or else I will have Grandma Blumenthal to contend with.

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