Getting My Cougar on With Chris Mann at Blissdom

“Oh, look, there is Chris Mann,” exclaimed my friend Nicole. “Let’s go get our picture taken with him.”

Nicole (who writes the wonderful blog By Word of Mouth Musings) pointed across the party room at the recent Blissdom Conference where Singer/Songwriter Chris Mann was holding court with a bevy of blissful women.

Nicole has a lovely South African accent so she could suggest we lather up in fish oil and wrestle hungry alligators in the Everglades and it would sound like a good idea. But I was NOT on board with this particular suggestion.

It’s not that Chris Mann, an emerging talent on the show “The Voice” who had stunned us with his amazing vocal abilities at lunch at the Blissdom conference wasn’t photo-worthy. He seemed to be very down-to-earth and genuinely nice, incredibly talented, and also, ridiculously adorable. The problem was that I had just humiliated myself the night before with Joe Jonas and was trying to reclaim what little was left of my self-esteem in the wake of coming across like the world’s most desperate cougar.

“Tell you what,” I replied. “You go stand with him and I’ll take the picture FOR you, OK?”

She was perfectly happy with that arrangement, but when we approached Chris Mann, he invited me to pose with them.

“No thanks,” I replied.

“Why not?” he wondered.

Why not, indeed? Why not have my picture taken with this handsome twenty-something year old with the piercing blue eyes who sings like an angel? Why not pretend we were good friends or even better, that he was my boy-toy? Why not have a picture to post on Facebook that would make my friends pant in envy?

Because I would look like his freakin’ MOTHER standing next to him, that’s why!!

But I didn’t want to tell him that. It’s one thing to look at a guy and know that you were probably listening to the Bee-Gees and roller-skating at a disco when he was being potty-trained. It’s another thing to actually admit that out loud.

“Well, um,” I stammered. “Cuz, uh, I don’t really know you and I only take pictures with people I know.”

He stared at me dumbfounded.

“Okayyy. Well, what do you want to know about me?” he wondered.

“Uh… Uh… where are you from?” I punted.

“Wichita, Kansas. How about you?”

“New Jersey. Well, I’m not actually FROM New Jersey,” I added. “My husband is from New Jersey. He convinced me to move there because he said his parents would help us out with the kids.”

(Note to self: Do not talk about husband and kids if you are trying NOT to come across as a desperate cougar!).

“Did they?” he asked.

“Did who what?”

“Did your in-laws help you with the kids?” he asked.

“No,” I answered. “It was a bait and switch. But it’s OK. I told him I wasn’t going to gain any weight after we got married, so I guess we’re even.”

(note to self: Do not talk about what a married hog you have become when trying to impress a hot young guy).

He laughed. “So what else do you want to know about me?” He wondered.

I shook my head. My friend Nicole tapped her foot impatiently. “Look, I’m sure you are a great guy and lots of women would kill to have their picture taken with you,” I finally said to him. “But you are young enough to be my son and it’s just embarrassing, you know.”

He flashed me his devastatingly good-looking grin. “I bet I’m older than you think I am.”

“OK. How old?”

“I’m 29.”

“I’m 47,” I said.

He did the math in his head. “OK. You’re right. You’re old enough to be my mother.”

I grimaced.

“But now that we know each other, let’s take a picture anyway!” he said.

Since all the cards were out on the table and he knew a) I was from New Jersey b) I was heavier than I had been when I got married, and c) I was old enough to have birthed, nursed and raised him, I relented and stood in for the photo.

Confident that I had salvaged my reputation, I reached out and shook his hand.

“Nice to meet you!” I said honestly.

He grinned. “You too… Mom!”

(PS… Nicole says the two of us look like we are sending our son off to college in this picture. Yeah, thanks for that Nicole!)

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