Even Silicon Valley's Cougars Belong to a Mythical Meritocracy

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Silicon Valley's well documented cougar scene is "unique" according to a a new Vanity Fair story documenting the nightlife at Menlo Park's famous Rosewood Hotel, which hosts weekly "cougar nights" because, like everything else in the Valley, nabbing a much younger man (or much older woman) is totally merit based.

"On the East Coast it matters if you come from a good family or went to a good school," Nina Ericson, a Silicon Valley matchmaker and partner at LINX dating, tells VF's Alexandra Wolfe, suggesting that those things don't matter in the wonderful world of ageless dating out West. "Instead, she says, the venture capitalists who frequent the Rosewood worry about being wanted for their money," Wolfe explains of the merits of hunting around at the hotel in Facebook's hometown. "The women, on the other hand, tend to be assertive without the ability to turn it off."

Wait a minute: That doesn't sound too different than the situation on the good ole elitist East Coast. People covet people who went to a good school or come from a "good family" because that usually indicates wealth and status. And there are plenty of rich older assertive women here in New York, too. But Silicon Valley likes to fancy itself "different" — even when it comes to the cougars.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.