Rod Stewart scores some free panties at the Target Center

Rod Stewart scores some free panties at the Target Center
Photos by Steve Cohen

Cougar. It's the dirty-sexy car Mercury began manufacturing in 1967. It's the mountain lion my dad has stuffed and mounted on our living room wall. But the word has infiltrated our culture of late as a term for older women on the prowl for younger men. It's become so pervasive my friends in their early 30s refer to themselves as such when chasing after young 20-something hotties. (You're not cougars, ladies. I believe the term assigned you is cougar cub--you're a cougar-in-training.) And anytime we see a women over 40 out on the town, teetering in high heels and doused in perfume, it is uttered from our lips--cougar.

As my friend and I walked into the Target Center Tuesday night to see Rod Stewart, himself quite the manther (formerly cradle-robber, for the uninitiated), our attention was not on Rod's sexual conquests though his ex-wife, model Rachel Hunter, is 24 years his junior; his current wife, model Penny Lancaster, 26 years his junior. Rather, we were noting the crowds of women descending upon the arena, oozing sex, and we, ashamedly, were whispering the word over and over again. Cougar. Cougar. Cougar.

I'll be first to call foul on our misuse. My companion for the evening was cute li'l Ryan Norton, guitarist for The Guystorm, aged 23. But not an eye in the arena was on him, save for the security guard who called his small messenger bag a weapon and wouldn't let him in with it. The women of this arena, and note that the estrogen and estrogen-replacement quotient at the Target Center was very, very high, were there to see Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart! Be still, beating hearts. They didn't want young Ryan's body. They thought Rod was sexy, and they were there to let him know.

Rod Stewart scores some free panties at the Target Center
Photos by Steve Cohen

And let him know they did. By his second song, "Some Guys Have All the Luck," the whole house was singing along as Rod in fuchsia jacket and tie shuffled around on the stage he shared with a trio of backup singers, also in fuchsia, and a dancing female saxophone player in gold sequins. These women were on the town, hot and bothered over Rod, and not afraid to show it. The place was abuzz through all his hits: "It's a Heartache," "This Old Heart of Mine," "The First Cut is the Deepest," "Having a Party," "Sailing," "Tonight's the Night," "You're in My Heart," "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy," "Forever Young," and a noticeably down-tuned "Young Turks," as well as through three costume changes and some bad jumbo screen animation.

Stewart's a great entertainer. While it lacks a little of the trademark sass of his earlier years, he's still got a great voice. And his songs, even his cringe-worthy 1978 departure from blues rock into disco with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy," are classics. But what I don't get is the sex appeal. I don't get why the ladies love Tom Jones, and I don't get why they love Rod Stewart. I'll credit him with a good five years of sexiness while he was fronting Faces in the early '70s, if only because their music was so damned sexy. But the shiny blazers, big blonde hair, and dance moves that look like Pee-wee Herman drunk and trying to Moonwalk are lost on me.

Still, by the time Stewart was covering "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" late in his set, panties were raining upon him onstage. His sex appeal, while to me questionable, is undeniable.

But ladies--don't waste your panties on Rod. You're at your goddamned sexual peaks. Hit a downtown bar, find yourself a 20-something honey (they're at their sexual peaks too, my babies), and be some young boy's Maggie May.

Rod Stewart scores some free panties at the Target Center

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