Cougars and sugar daddies are mostly pop-culture myths, according to a new study that found people who marry outside their age group are usually poor and not so easy on the eyes.
"Hugh Hefner is an outlier," co-author and economist Hani Mansour said in a University of Colorado press release.
The researchers examined U.S. data on age, marriage, education and wages from 1960 to 2000. Then, they had interviewers from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health gauge attractiveness on a scale of one to five.
Both men and women in differently aged couples were more likely to be less educated, earn less money and be rated as less attractive.
And very few women were married to younger men.
"We really didn't find any evidence of a new cougar phenomenon," he said. "Although their share has slightly increased over time, cougars have been among us since the 1960s."