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In some circles, talk of a cougar sighting conjures up an image of a giant wild cat with sharp claws and a deadly chomp.
But in the East Bay, there’s a new queen of the cats on the prowl who has a different kind of hold on young, single men.
Berkeley resident Amy Luna Manderino was named Miss Cougar East Bay at a convention honoring mature women who win the hearts of younger men. The event was held at the W Hotel in the East Bay city of Newark on Friday.
The 44-year-old belly dancer was voted the winner by the young men who appreciate older women – cubs -- who attended the convention, according to a statement from the Society of Single Professionals, a nonprofit organization for single people that hosted the convention.
Manderino, from Piedmont, won a free trip on The International Cougar Cruise, which will take a ship full of cougars and the men who love them from Miami to the Bahamas for three days in December.
Manderino will be a guest of honor on the cruise, along with Miss Cougar America, Miss Cougar Canada, and Miss Cougar Marin, the statement said. In addition to belly dancing, Manderino is alos a classic pianist who teaches students of all ages, according to her website.
The cougar convention was co-sponsored by the Society of Single Professionals and a matchmaking service called It's Just Lunch, the statement said. The Society of Single Professionals' website boasts that the organization throws 150 cougar-cub parties per year.