Step Aside Cougars

leopard-cat-savuti-botswana-37535We’ve all heard of cougars, those 40-something female predators who stalk bars, hoping to sink their finely sharpened claws into the tender flesh of innocent young men. Luckily, these modern-day Mrs. Robinsons—who’ve exchanged their garter belts for Spanx—have been exposed by the media and are now easily avoided. But young men, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet because there is a new danger out there, lurking in cafes and restaurants, preying on your naiveté, dining out on your trust. They’re called leopards.

Leopards are older than cougars, a lot older. They have age spots, thus the name leopards. They frequent prime hunting grounds like Marie Callender’s and Claim Jumper, and unlike cougars who target bar patrons, leopards set their sights on a different prey, a captive prey: waiters.

Leopards cajole and flirt with young male waiters for one reason and one reason only: to satisfy their insatiable need for extra condiments. Don’t be fooled by their sweet countenance, they are not harmless little old ladies.

These cunning vixens will sully your reputation and put your livelihood at risk by duping you out of additional rolls and butter, syrup and jam, blue cheese dressing and ranch dipping sauce. At one recent Mimi’s Cafe sighting, I hid behind a well-placed potted fern, and observed a leopard in her natural habitat. The scene went like this:

“Hi, I’m Jason. I’ll be your server.”

“So nice to meet you, Jason,” said the devious leopard, then under the guise of perusing the menu, she actually perused the waiter. “Well, aren’t you the cutest thing? I could just adopt you and take you home.”

“My mother might not like that,” the waiter said.

The leopard winked, revealing a wide swath of blue eye shadow. “I won’t tell her if you don’t.”

This blatant fawning is not cute; it’s cloying, but it was all the leopard needed to score a second basket of mini-muffins. I pity the poor waiter who faces down an entire pride of leopards. I wanted to shout, “Jason, Stop! She’s not your grandmother, she doesn’t have your best interest at heart.” I mean, would you ask a bank teller to slip you a few extra bucks?

I’ve actually seen leopards fake dementia in order to bag more sourdough bread. “Are you sure you already brought the bread, because, silly me, I don’t know where it got to.” Really? Try checking your purse.

Waiters, you must resist the feminine wiles of the leopard. They’ll let you believe that embezzling baked goods will ensure a big tip, but the only Ensure these leopards know about comes in a can. They’re using you just like that cute girl in 5th grade who pretended to like you so she could copy off your spelling test. Believe me, pilfering a half-dozen pumpernickel rolls is not worth your job. Don’t fall victim to the sugary, red-lipped smiles of those gardenia-scented scampsters. Remember, just like their namesake, these leopards cannot change their spots.

Now, if you want to slip a few extra mini-muffins into my doggy bag, hey, that’s totally up to you.