I don't want to be a cougar

Over at Health24, we've been much taxed by the story of the anaesthetist's wife, the rugby player; and the hired hitmen who did the right thing and squealed to the cops. See, the thing is, the image of the woman that was broadcast throughout the world was a picture taken as she realised she'd been rumbled.

I can't imagine anyone would look their jolliest at a time like that. But do we take that into account? No we don't. The entire nation just looked from her image to that of the Adonis-like object of her obsession, and recoiled. No way!! So Health24 writer Joanne Hart set out to find out what a cougar actually is and does.

Turns out you don't have to be a mix between Demi Moore and Halle Berry, with a bit of Sharon Stone. You simply need to be a decade older and up for it. That's hardly an ambition, so I'm going to have to find something else to which to aspire.

The details of who did what to whom in the Reyneke home have been well documented in a garbled kind of way, and what sobers us at Health24 is just how dysfunctional an ostensibly "normal" family can be. It's focused our thinking, as we head into this most family-centric period of the year.  

Instead of stressing about being cooped up in holiday homes with passive-aggressive mothers, fathers who insist on leaving the meat on the braai until it blackens, and aunts who prefer to toast the season with 5th Avenue Cold Duck, I think we should focus on what's good.

Chances are, none of our older relatives have seduced or taken a contract out on our partners. If we all drive carefully and get there safely, we'll be able to enjoy simply being together. Something the Reyneke family can only dream of. Family love – whatever "family" means to you, and that's a fluid concept which also includes in-laws– is, actually, worth its weight in gold.

PS: for all those who're having weight-stress around classic Christmas dinners, we got a dietician to put together something that keeps the traditionalists happy while cutting the tummy bulge. And remember people, moderation is everything! And hired killers solve nothing!

(Heather Parker, Health24, November 2010) 

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