Jenny Landreth’s three lanes of swimming journalism set up as follows: there’s Swimming London, a book due this summer; there’s her recently stilled personal blog “Swimming Round London;” and there are contributions to The Guardian’s “The Swimming Blog,” a vertical currently in beta.
Continuing a recent series that began with a look at “not-for-profit” NYC public swimming pools, Landreth delivers an absolutely fabulous summary of some time recently spent visiting the 42nd floor glass-window encased paradise atop Le Parker Meridien hotel. There, she met a woman with a pool noodle who turned out to have the name to match the playfulness of said flotation device – Hattie Retroage:
A self-described “extreme cougar.” A swimming cougar – a swougar, if you like. She didn’t particularly like being called a cougar, but it is the term by which people have come to understand her preference for sleeping with much younger men. (The youngest, a couple of years ago, was 18; the fact that my son is that age would have added nothing to the conversation.)
Hattie is in her late 70s and looked utterly fabulous, lithe and alive. A force of nature in a cut-out swimsuit, she’s been a resident of New York for her whole life, until she recently decamped to the West Indies… We found out, too, that Hattie had been filmed for TV’s Extreme Cougar Wives in that very pool.
Landreth says she and Retroage talked for an hour as they bobbed above the traffic, winter weather and – presumably – more than a few fast-walking potential future Retroage companions. There’s more rich detail in Landreth’s item not just about this grand dame but also about the odd business group convened at the hotel on the day she swam. There’s also a wonderful must-see photo of Retroage.
P.S. If the term “swougar” catches on this summer at Coney Island, Martha’s Vineyard and-or The Hamptons, remember – you read it via Landreth first.