Student criticizes cougar lifestyle in fictional work

Even though Anna Mavromati is a far cry from the qualifications of a cougar, she is able to bring others into the world of older women seeking pleasure from young men in her fictional story “Ready,” which was presented during the MFA Reading Series last Friday.

Mavromati is a creative writing graduate student at Cal State Long Beach, with this semester being her last as part of the MFA Creative Writing Program.

Showing comfort in front of the microphone and the packed theater, Mavromati started in on her story, which follows a drunken older woman during her night out with a friend. The story is written in second person to give listeners a sense of them being there, she said.

“I wanted to show the depiction of what [being a cougar] would be like,” she said.

The story portrays the older woman bar-hopping and picking up a younger college man, while providing moments of reflection on her actions.

“You flirt with everyone when you’re drunk. You go to this bar often – a dive bar that attracts a younger crowd,” the story reads.

Even though the story is told through the eyes of an intoxicated narrator, there is a great amount of detail that brings Mavromati’s audience into the story, even when the character is seen curling up to the toilet. Mavromati also includes comedic breaks, which gives the audience a chance to laugh in between the intent pondering of the lifestyle that the main character chooses to lead.

It seems that Mavromati criticizes the idea of being a cougar, but she said that her intent was to be objective and have the listeners decide for themselves. Listeners can sympathize with the main character as she judges her actions on a harsher level, she said.

The subject matter of Mavromati’s story came about on accident during a writing exercise in one of her workshop classes.

Growing up on the coast provides inspiration for Mavromati, whether it’s from observing older women at bars in Hermosa Beach or exploring the symbolism of land meeting water. She plans to use the coast as her main inspiration for her thesis.

“A lot of writers want to capture the idea of what the ocean means to us,” she said. “I want to explore the inherent symbolism of land meeting water.”

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