A Play Space for Cougars and Cubs

BY WINNIE McCROY | In an effort to connect older and younger lesbians interested in that reputedly unheard of activity — actually dating women across generational lines! — Brooklyn ritual healing artist Judith Z. Miller has created New York Queer Cougars and Cubs Together (NYC QCCT). The social group holds events for younger women attracted to older women and vice versa.

“When I go out to lesbian events, there will be 500 young women, a few middle aged and a few older women, and I have no clue how to figure out who might consider going out with me,” said Miller. “None. I realized most people who are older or younger and attracted to someone of the opposite ages were in the same position. So I founded this club.”

Miller said that the group, which started last September, currently has 73 members. So far, they have only held a few events, including a meet-up in late April at a Brooklyn Arts Council event at the Public Library at Grand Army Plaza and a game night at Fat Cat in Sheridan Square.

NYC QCCT invites women over 18 years of age who are interested in finding someone older or younger to date. Miller said that new members are asked five or six questions about what they find attractive, whether they have previously been in relationships with people of variant ages, what their interests are, and how they hope other members see them.

“What I didn’t think about much when I started the group is that someone who is 30 years old could be a cougar to someone who is 20, but to a 50-year-old, they’re a cub,” said Miller. “It wasn’t immediately apparent who identifies as what, and who they are searching for.”

Miller made it clear that the group was not for younger women in search of a “sugar mama” to take care of them. She relayed a story of a young woman who moved to New York from the Carolinas, leaving an unfulfilling relationship with a wealthy woman who used her as arm candy.

“She didn’t take the girl seriously at all,” said Miller. “We talked for an hour, and she was really very bright, independent, and grounded, and I was impressed by that. Thank God she came to us. This is a group for women who want to find meaningful relationships.”

Miller said that NYC QCCT can be useful for younger women who are afraid older women will dismiss their advances, and older women who are young at heart and want a lover to match their mindset.

“My friends are at home cooking dinner or watching TV, while I’m out dancing,” said Miller. “I feel like I need to be with a younger person to resonate. My outer body in a sense belies my actual spirit, and many people are a different age than they appear. In an internal, spiritual sense, this group helps match people of the same age who are in different bodies.”

May-December romances can be the subject of much scorn from friends and family members. Miller said that upon hearing of a new romantic interest, her own friends roll their eyes and say, “‘Another young one?’ But then they meet her and say she’s great. But some people encounter much more than a rolling of eyes.”

Between judgmental attitudes and the difficulties presented in finding partners across generations, Miller said that NYC QCCT is essential.

The group has given its first member, Barbara, optimism that she will find a suitable mate. Barbara, who is 53, said that her last girlfriend was 22 years her junior, but that “it was no sugar mama situation.”

“I felt I had life lessons to teach her, and she had youthful lessons to teach me,” said Barbara, who declined to give her last name because she is not out at work. “I came across some women who wanted me to take care of them, but it was like prostitution to me. I’m not interested in that. I’m looking for a long-term relationship and friends, too.”

Barbara said she wanted to find a woman who likes to travel and go out often, and said that a group like this — where everyone knows what they are there for — was helpful. So far, she has met a younger friend whom she is mentoring, but the relationship is not romantic, which Barbara said is fine with her.

“I think it’s important for generations to be in touch with each other,” said Miller. “Our society is more segmented than ever before in this country’s history. Talking about cultural experience and sharing across many generations is essential in terms of creating real community and developing perspective and wisdom. And in terms of the lesbian community, I think it’s essential because there’s simply no way for us to find each other.”

NYC QCCT invites all interested women to join them on Saturday, June 23 at 4:45 p.m. at Bryant Park near the percussionists for the Annual Dyke March. For more information, visit meetup.com/nyc-queer-cougars-cubs-together.