- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2011

Miss Cougar International decries ‘tabloid’ image

Though older men get praised for scoring hot young girlfriends, older women (commonly referred to as “cougars”) are often berated and laughed at for pursuing younger guys.

Since the 1967 release of “The Graduate,” a film centered on a mother seducing an unsettled 20-something man, cougars have been viewed as aggressive women who force themselves upon insecure young men.

The 2009 television series “Cougar Town” reinforces the idea that it’s unusual and humorous for a seasoned woman to desire a young, physically fit dude who would not have issues downstairs, but a “cougar-cub” relationship does not need to be seen as scandalous or weird.

Kenneth Martinez, 21, never expected to date a woman 16 years his senior, but he does. The “cub” met his girlfriend while waiting for a buddy to pick him up at a skate park in Indianapolis.

“We talked for like an hour,” Mr. Martinez told the Daily Caller. “She gave me her number, then we went out.”

This was not Mr. Martinez’s first cougar encounter. He said an older woman had fawned over his appearance before he even reached adulthood.

“I was not even 18,” Mr. Martinez said. “I was just going into a gas station and she stopped me and told me, ‘You’re the most good looking kid I’ve ever seen.’ I was like, ‘thanks,’ you know.”

Amy Luna Manderino, also known as Miss Cougar International 2011, told the Daily Caller that cougar dating is no different from traditional relationships.

“We are just people like everyone else,” Ms. Manderino, 40, told the Caller, adding that news outlets and the media have created a “tabloid” image of cougars depicting them as almost predators.

“Sometimes when I do my public speaking, I joke that somebody in some boardroom somewhere decided that you cannot write an article on cougars without one of three keywords, [which are] predator, prey and prowl,” Ms. Manderino said, noting that many people assume cougars are out just to get wild in bed with young guys.

This stereotype, the Berkeley, Calif., resident says, doesn’t present the full story.

“These relationships are so rich in so many other ways besides just the sexual aspects,” Ms. Manderino explained. “It is tabloid because it’s titillating and sells newspapers, but I think the real story is how gender roles are shifting in our society.”

Scarlett rejects Marine invite, but sends champagne case

Unlike Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, sexpot actress Scarlett Johansson declined an invitation to the Commandant’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball on Nov. 12.

Miss Johansson, who was asked to the major event by Sgt. Dustin L. Williams, wrote in a statement to Zap2it that she was moved by the military man’s gesture but unable to accept because of some other plans she had made.

“I feel incredibly honored to have been invited to the Marine Corps Ball by Sgt. Dustin L. Williams,” the actress wrote. “Not only does Sgt. Williams deserve recognition for his bravery, selflessness and dedication to the United States and its people, but he also displays a cheeky talent for film making. Sgt. Williams, unfortunately due to prior commitments I will not be able to attend the Ball with you this year.”

The 26-year-old “He’s Just Not That Into You” star did, however, offer some drinks.

“I am sending you a case of Moet and Chandon with gratitude,” Miss Johansson continued. “In my absence, I raise a glass to you and all the men and women of the U.S. Marine Corps, past and present, in thanks for your continued commitment to preserving the safety of our nation.”

Miss Johansson joins “Friends With Benefits” cast members Miss Kunis and Mr. Timberlake and comedienne Betty White in being invited to one of the Marine Corps balls. Like Miss Johansson, the 89-year-old “Golden Girls” small-screen legend said “no” to the invite. But “Terminator” star Linda Hamilton begged Sgt. Ray Lewis to take her to the ball in Miss White’s place.

‘Arrested Development’ movie confirmed, set for 2012

Fans of the Fox program “Arrested Development” will soon have new material to celebrate, as a film based on the sitcom will hit the big screen in 2012.

Comedian Will Arnett, who starred in the series about the formerly rich, dysfunctional Bluth family, said on a recent Marc Maron “WTF” podcast that “Arrested Development” will hit cinemas next year.

“We are gonna make the ‘Arrested Development’ movie,” Mr. Arnett said. “And [creator] Mitch Hurwitz, who is really just a brilliant, brilliant guy, is in the process right now of concocting something that’s really kind of unexpected, I think, that I really don’t want to give away, but I think the fans are going to be really satisfied.”

Earlier this year, “Arrested Development” actor Jeffrey Tambor said the sitcom had inspired a flick.

“It’s all going straight, everyone’s on board, I know they’re writing, and maybe this time next year we’ll be having this conversation,” Mr. Tambor said.

“Arrested Development,” which had an impressive cast, received widespread critical acclaim and high DVD sales figures but failed to soar in TV ratings. The show follows actor Jason Bateman’s widowed character Michael Bluth as he tries to normalize his unusual family members. Mr. Bluth’s son George Michael, played by awkward duck Michael Cera, strives for decency and integrity yet repeatedly gets into bad situations. Mr. Arnett plays Michael’s brother Gob, a Segway-riding failed magician. Michael’s twin sister, portrayed by Portia de Rossi, is a shallow, self-involved princess who has only fleeting interests in social issues.

• Compiled by Laura Donovan and Michael Mayday 2011 the Daily Caller.

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