The cougars-in-training How high school senior girls are taking junior boys to prom
22:24 GMT, 28 May 2012
An increasing number of teenage girls within the U.S. are attending their school proms on the arms of boys who are younger than them.
As many high school girls consider junior boys to be more respectful than older boys, a new legion of young 'cougars' is emerging.
Rachel Koehn, an 18-year-old high school student from Baltimore, Maryland, told The New York Times: 'Our prom is this weekend and all of the eight couples in our group are senior girls going with junior boys.
Young dates: More high school girls are taking younger boys to prom (posed above by models). Young boys are said to be more respectful than older boys
Miss Koehn, who is taking her boyfriend of 16 months Dan Duffy, a 17-year-old junior, to prom, added: 'The senior guys at my school tend to like to go out with the younger girls, so now I guess we are doing the same with younger guys.'
She added that her boyfriend's parents approve of the relationship.
'They love me because he doesn't have his license yet and I drive him everywhere,' she said.
Charlotte Sargent, an 18-year-old senior student living in Hanover, New Hampshire, agreed that young boys are better dates.
She said of her boyfriend Joshua Himmelstein, a 17-year-old student at the same school: 'I just feel so much more comfortable with him than I do around older guys. This feels easier as I can just be myself around him.'
Miss Sargent admitted that her friends call her a 'cougar' as a joke.
The admiration seems to be mutual.
'I just feel so much more comfortable with him than I do around older guys'
Mr Himmelstein boasted to the paper: 'We took a group picture at our senior prom this month, and of the 50 of us, there were 13 boys from the junior-year class who were there with senior girls.'
He added: 'I really respect her. I am willing to admit that she is older than me and has more confidence and experience. I think I prefer dating a senior to someone my own age.'
And it seems that high school is just an initial breeding ground for cougars.
Kate Burkhardt, a junior at Dartmouth College, said: 'Here at Dartmouth, we have a saying, “Get the guy before he pledges”.
'A lot of my friends are dating freshmen. That way you grab them before they are corrupted by fraternity brothers.