The XX Factor

Like Most of Us, Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch Are Fed Up With the Term “Cougar.’

There’s a funny lady-on-funny lady interview in the December/January issue of Bust magazine . Rachel Dratch interviews longtime friend and former SNL cohort Amy Poehler on the enviable attitude of tween girls (“Girls between the ages of 9 and 13 keep reminding me of how fun it is not to care about what other people think”), Poehler’s love of her son Archie, and their fantasy yupster vacation to Pinot Grigio Island. Unsurprisingly, neither of them are too fond of the term-du-jour “cougar.”

Amy Poehler: Can I ask you how you feel about this term cougar? I hate that fucking word.

Rachel Dratch: Me, too! Since the dawn of moving-making, there have been so many scenarios where an older guy is with a younger woman and we don’t bat an eye. But if it’s reversed and a 40-year-old woman is with a 35-year-old guy, she’s called a “cougar.”

So Poehler and Dratch do one better than complaining and even the playing field by coining a term for the male equivalent of a cougar-“Gray Balls.” Incidentally, this use of “Gray Balls” is not related to the peg-footed, scurvy-sick ship’s captain of your imagination whom you’ve always fondly referred to as Captain Gray Balls or, when you’re feeling frisky, Captain Gravy Balls. (Maybe this is just my thing?) Anyway:

Poehler: I know … there are these derogatory boxes that people have invented that they have to put themselves in. And why isn’t there a word for the inappropriate older guy with the younger girl? What is the exact word for that?

Dratch: I don’t know … Gray Balls?

Poehler: Old Gray Balls! Oh he’s a real Gray Balls! (laugh) Maybe we should make it Clark Gray-Balls. There is just something about a 20-year-old calling someone a cougar that makes me want to punch them in the mouth.