Pub date November 17, 2009

Dear Andrea:

Since you were so good as to weigh in on "cougar" ["Cougar Den," 10/22/08], perhaps you could settle the evident controversy around the correct usage of "MILF?" I think a MILF (Mother I’d Like to Fuck) is the mother of someone in your peer group. If your mom seems as sexual as burnt toast but Jimmy’s mom looks surprisingly hot at the ninth grade bake sale, it makes you reevaluate the sexiness of mothers or, generally, adults over 35. Jimmy’s mother is a MILF, and deserves the special category, only from the intergenerational perspective of a 14-year-old or whatever. It seems, though, that it’s being used to mean any woman who has a kid, which totally gets my back up. I’m 26 with an infant — I’d like to think I’m sexy in my own right and MILF is uncalled for, unless my kid’s friends at play-date start using the term way early. What do you think? Is MILF only referring to women of your parent’s age and above, or does it mean any woman who has (gasp!) had a child?


Still Hot?

Dear Hot:

I think I’ve weighed in on "cougar" a bunch of times, and fascinated as I am by the way the sexually-not-dead-yet moderately older woman has become the Hottentot Venus of our time — sexualized yet grotesque-ified, exoticized, gawped at, and lampooned — I think I need to leave it alone now. As for "MiLF" and MILFs, we have discussed it and them here, but only once, in passing, when some bozo wrote in about his hot former ex niece-in-law, or something, whom he described as "the very personification of the MILF." And indeed, he did want to F her.

"What does it even mean" I wrote then, "by specifying the ‘mother’ in ‘mother I’d like to fuck?’ Does the speaker intend to make a distinction between the rare mother worth fucking and the unfuckable masses? Or is it really the ‘mother’ part that intrigues, that sexy whiff of fecundity, that milkshake that brings all the boys to our yard? My personal suspicion is that it’s the latter masquerading as the former, that the fascination with the pregnant or baby-toting Heidi Klum or Angelina Jolie is not fueled so much by the fact that they still look ‘hot’ as by the implication that if somebody knocked them up, then so, by extension, could you. But I may be getting a little theory-addled here."

And indeed I think I was. Such subtexts are fun to contemplate, and I do think there’s something to it, but it’s obvious the other element in wanting to F Heidi Klum is simply wanting to F Heidi Klum. And while we’re on Heidi, no pun intended, my husband and I got to teach the "sex and parenting" section at San Francisco Sex Information this past weekend and got to tell my Heidi Klum joke, which is actually no joke, and goes like this:

Q: How do you look like Heidi Klum after you have a baby?

A: Easy. All you have to do is look like Heidi Klum before you have a baby.

Now, on to your specific questions. I’m glad it’s not that you actually aspire to being classified as MILFy and are trying to figure out who has the standing to nominate you. You are more than just musing semantically, though, the way I might while washing dishes or pushing the stroller around. This bugs you! I’m sorry!

I think you have the right of it when you narrow the term to what I’ve always felt was the best use of the (icky anyway) phrase: the mother of one of your friends, a full generation older than you "but" still hot. Stacy’s mom. Or, to hark back to the classics, Anne Bancroft in the leopard-skin coat, coo-coo-ca-choo. And by the way, do you know how old Anne Bancroft was when she played Mrs. Robinson? Thirty-five. Thirty-five! No fairsies playing the hot older woman when you barely qualify as "older," Anna Maria Italiano.

I loved Anne Bancroft.

Since its (fairly recent) inception, the "proper" use of MILF has morphed from "Mrs. Robinson" to, yes, anybody female and parous, of any age, whom the observer, also of any age, deems "fuckable." This is sort of nasty in that it clearly divides the fuckable from the un, probably along the most obvious and cartoonish model (you need to be thin, flat-bellied, big-but-perkily boobed, etc. to qualify). And yes, it also casts those of us who have had kids into a special category, needing to be judged, separate from the nulliparous masses, as still fuckable despite having committed the antisexual sin of reserving much of our time and affection and a good deal of the access of our bodies for (small) people who are not the guys doing the judging. Oops! Sorry, dudes!

It is objectionable. It is kind of gross. But it is also silly and far more their problem than yours.



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