A couple of weeks ago we were subjected to the inane ramblings of a Princeton mom, one Susan Patton, who encouraged all Ivy League undergrad ladies to be professional husband hunters, while their male counterparts had to do NOTHING except let the ladies flock to them, because this is apparently 1925. And do it before you graduate, lest you be stuck with an undesirable!
What’s funny is that her letter to the editor created such a shit storm of anger, Ms. Patton felt the need to clarify, which she did via the Huffington Post. Here are the key excerpts:
I sincerely feel that too much focus has been placed on encouraging young women only to achieve professionally. I understand that this can be seen as retrogressive, but for those women who aspire to what used to be thought of as a traditional life with home and family, there is almost no ink addressing personal fulfillment outside of the workplace. Specifically, finding lifelong friends and the right partner with whom to share a life and raise a family.
Okay, fine, but women who aspire to have a husband and family can still find one after college rather than during.
Again, I understand that all women don’t want marriage (to men or other women) and or children, but for those that do, identifying the right partner is critical. One of the criteria by which I am defining the right partner is someone with shared educational and intellectual appreciation. Yes, that can be found after college and outside of Princeton, but the concentration of outstanding men (and women) will never be greater than it is as a student. I wanted to encourage the wonderful young women on Princeton’s campus to take advantage of this while they can. From a sheer numbers perspective, the odds will never be as good again.
Okay, she’s going off the rails again. I agree that it is important to some people to marry their intellectual equal, though how that is defined varies, and that’s okay. I see that in myself – wanting to ultimately find someone who is smart and ambitious and doesn’t like, do unprofessional things like walk into an office to resign without notice for no apparent reason. I am sure Ms. Patton considers me inferior because I went to (GASP) a STATE SCHOOL and therefore am only deserving of someone who grunts as his main form of communication. Intelligence comes in many forms and I am GLAD I have not restricted myself to such a narrow definition of it that Ms. Patton has: ivy league educated.
The popularity of Nikki Mueller’s video (I Went to Princeton, Bitch) comically attests to the difficulty Princeton women face from men who are threatened by their academic credentials. It doesn’t address how unsatisfying it is for exceptionally well educated women to be with men who are not their intellectual equal. I am divorced. I did not marry a Princeton man. I wish I had.
Isn’t that lovely – once again bashing her ex-husband because he didn’t go to her precious alma mater.
Also, guys who are intimidated by a woman’s academic credentials belong in the same decade as Ms. Patton (one that has been over for 80 years).
Now, before I come off as some self-righteous, bitter, hag (too late, you say? OOPS), let me be clear that I know and love numerous couples that met in college. What I take offense to is Ms. Patton passing that off as a necessity to a successful life and credible advice.
Which brings me to my next bitch, Julia Shaw, who wrote, “I married young. What are the rest of you waiting for?”
Again, my issue is not with people who get married young, it is with Shaw, and her seemingly pigeon-holed view that her way is the only way, and the rest of us are wasting away being single. Shaw writes:
I’m a married millennial. I walked down the aisle at 23. My husband, David, was 25. We hadn’t arrived. I had a job; he, a job offer and a year left in law school. But we couldn’t buy a house or even replace the car when it died a few months into our marriage. We lived in a small basement apartment, furnished with secondhand Ikea. We did not have Internet (checking email required a trip to the local coffee shop) or reliable heat.
I hate to break this to her, but that would have occurred whether she was married or not. For those of you not named Taylor Swift, who was rolling in money at age 23? I lived in a shitty apartment, had a shitty job and went out to the same shitty bars in the same shitty town. Oh, and shock of shocks, Shaw met her husband in college. She and Ms. Patton should write a book together! I imagine it would be called, “Dating in the 1920’s – why it’s the best!”
Anyway, Shaw goes on:
Marriage wasn’t something we did after we’d grown up—it was how we have grown up and grown together. We’ve endured the hardships of typical millennials: job searches, job losses, family deaths, family conflict, financial fears, and career concerns. The stability, companionship, and intimacy of marriage enabled us to overcome our challenges and develop as individuals and a couple. We learned how to be strong for one another, to comfort, to counsel, and to share our joys and not just our problems.
Okay, fine, and that’s great for you, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. Some people get married young and grow apart, rather than closer. Some grow with their friends, while being single, in a fun town, without having to answer to anyone, and you can make enough bad decisions to warrant writing a book. So there!
This next paragraph is gold. And by gold, of course my eyes almost ROLLED OUT OF MY HEAD WHILE READING IT:
What I did not realize was how thoroughly marriage would jump-start our independence. On paper, our unmarried peers looked more carefree. But many of them also relied on their parents to supplement their income, drove home for long weekends and holidays, or stayed on their parents’ health insurance and cellphone plans (even though they had decent jobs!). I put David on my health insurance. We bought our own family cellphone plan and Netflix account. When we visited our parents once a year, we paid for the plane tickets and still did our own laundry. We loved our parents and siblings, but marriage made us realize that we were now a separate family unit.
OH MY GOD, WOMAN. So you’re saying our options are either being married or totally dependent on our parents? I will have you know, LADY, that aside from the occasional emergency loan, I have not relied on my parents financially since college. And implying that people cannot do it themselves unless they’re married is just offensive and totally wrong.
Sometimes people delay marriage because they are searching for the perfect soul mate. But that view has it backward. Your spouse becomes your soul mate after you’ve made those vows to each other in front of God and the people who matter to you. You don’t marry someone because he’s your soul mate; he becomes your soul mate because you married him.
Wow, that’s deep. Thanks for that. That’s how people in arranged marriages probably feel. Is it so wrong to want to wait and meet the right person? Or not get married at ALL? JESUS.
Getting married young is great for some and disastrous to others.
One of my friends said to me once, “just so you know, you’ll probably be 35 and single.”
- He meant it as an insult
- He said this to me when I was 27 or 28
- Why is this still considered an insult?
Sure, I feel the need to battle against my impending spinster-status. I don’t know if my recent anti-marriage rants are genuine or if it’s me resigning myself to what I perceive as my fate to be single forever. But that’s my own issue. And I don’t appreciate these women and their gloating disguised as love advice.