The once-innocent Ben10 morphs into the young self-serving cassanova

2013-08-27 13:02

We all know Ben10. Well, I thought I did until recently.

Isn't Ben10 that cartoon character on the Cartoon Network channel that draws the attention of my nephews whenever he materialises on the TV screen?

I thought the superhero, admired by many toddlers or minors, was the youngster who is able to morph into odd-looking alien creatures and is determined to save us from foreign-creatures set on destroying our planet earth?Just a few years back I was a proud uncle when I bought my sister's boys matching outfits that had prints of this Ben10 who, in my mind, had become their emblem of hope for making this world a better place.

It all seemed innocent, heroic and very harmless. Well that was then. Now I am not sure if I did the right thing.

Lately, Ben10 has been morphed into something else. He is no longer just the moving sketch on your TV set that keeps your children at bay while you are trying to catch up on your house chores. Actually, he has been turned into a “representation” of something quiet opposite to a parent's view of safe entertainment for kids.

He has transformed into a much wilder animal. He is now the slick, money-chasing and charming young man who is on the lookout for cougars. Yes parents, in real life Ben10 is a young teenager or a twenty-something who is desperate to find himself an older, wiser and hopefully “experienced” lady. Apparently it’s a bonus if the woman is moneyed, well-travelled and connected. Ben10shave the view that cougars come with certain benefits that they may not be able to acquire from young female counterparts. It has been said that these young men court elderly women to get certain paybacks. They offer the elderly females their company, youth, naivety, most of the time sex and a party spree. The cougars in return offer their credit cards, shopping sprees, access to their resources and let’s not forget the sex. However other Ben10s claim that the only thing they get out from the older women is maturity and intellectual conversations that they may never have with ladies their age. Yeah right!

I have also been told that these mentarget “lonely women” who happen to be too powerful and apparently intimidate their male counterparts who are the same age or even older. So, the Ben10s come to the rescue to keep their older “friends” company and their transaction is complete when they get as remuneration a pair of designer jeans or expensive snickers to show-off to their “homies”. The wealthier the cougar is the more lucrative the transaction is. The well-to-do cougar might allow you time-and-time-again to cruise in her Land Rover, dine with her at Mandela Square and stay the night with her in one of those plush hotels located in Melrose Arch. If you are lucky you might even score a money-spinning government tender from the elderly stateswoman, or even better, be included in the will. Anyway, wasn’t there a female Minister who recently admitted of doing such?

Someone would say this is not a new phenomenon. No, it isn’t. Women have been dating younger men for ages. But coining it as such is. When social networking websites are full of “Cougars Proud of their Ben10s” pages and “Ben10s For You” chat rooms you know that things have been taken to the next level. You click on some of these pages and you find young men, as young as nineteen if not younger, requesting to have sex with older woman and leaving their cellphone numbers on the sites to be contacted. Just the other day someone showed me the Facebook statuses of an influential woman who was literally bragging about herBen10 and how much she spends on him.

Who is to blame? Is it the cougar or the Ben10? Well, I don’t know, since these relationships are based on mutuality and agreement. Most of them being “no-strings-attached” transactions the two parties appear consensual about the give-and-takes. It is becoming more apparent that more and more people are becoming more transparent about these kinds of affairs and therefore have nothing to hide. And then again, there is that cliché: “Age is nothing but a number”, and who are we to disagree?

I have to ask how the older men feel about their female peers dismissing their presence and preferring young males who seem keen on this eerie game? It must mess with their ego and their masculinity.

Even deeper, I want to ask of this transaction of Cougar and Ben10. Isn’t the transaction a deep loneliness itself? Surely, relationships are not based on the reason of selfishly wanting to get something out of them. Surely, it is much more a lonelier ventureto buy someone’s company. Surely, it’s ruthless to want to win someone’s affection so that you may be materially or sexually satisfied. Surely, the playfulness of the moment seems worthless when you have to make a payment for the fleeting pleasure. Surely, the Cougar and Ben10 syndrome says something about our greater society when it comes to relationship.

twitter your views: @jazz2ben

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