That's what Littlewood loves about the cougs, too. "Girls in their twenties will just lay there," he says. "They won't reach down. They won't work to get you aroused. They kinda just don't care. That makes me feel like a sleazeball." But the 36-year-old at the mall was a different story. "I'd never met a woman who wanted to do everything to me," he says. "And she was so good at it."

When Faust works her way into the party (the sold-out, fire-marshal routine is mostly for show, it seems, especially when a tall brunette with bright eyes and a Cheshire smile wants to buy a ticket), she's accosted by an older rival who accuses her of being too young. Technically, she is. Cougars are supposed to be 40 and over, and Faust is 35, which makes her a puma. Unfazed, she writes her age on her name tag and strolls into the banquet hall, pausing from her prowl only long enough to answer questions from a TV reporter. That's when Littlewood steps in to defend her. She smiles at him. Soon she's holding a mai tai in one hand and stroking Littlewood's face with the other. "Isn't he cute?" she says, and grabs the lapels of his suit jacket. Littlewood beams.

Faust is clearly his type. "I'm confident in bed," she says. "I'm willing to explore. I know my body really well and I can let guys know what works for me." Better yet, she has always gravitated to the energy of younger people. Though she's open to dating older men, she relies a lot on intuition—and more often than not, it's the young guns who have the right vibe. But that comes with a cost. One close friend told her, "I don't judge you for dating younger guys," which of course meant she did. "My mom was always upset," Faust says. "She wanted the doctor, the white picket fence." Dinah's banquet hall offers a refuge, a place where she can escape judgment. Here, it's no big deal that she has a 15-year-old son but no husband. "Most of the guys I date are disappointed because I have this whole other side to my life," she says of her role as a working mother, "and I'm very passionate about that, too."