I’m all over the place on this one. Yesterday, I read a story about Susan Patton, otherwise dubbed, The Princeton Mom and I was 100% team Patton. She’s Princeton alum, who was on campus for a Women and Leadership conference discussing career, resume writing and interview techniques with a group of undergrads. During a breakout session, she asked the female undergrads if they wanted to get married and have children. Apparently, the girls were reluctant to answer and seemed worried about being critically judged for admitting that they wanted families. This interaction led Susan Patton to pen a letter to the Daily Princetonian, urging female grads to snatch up a husband before they graduate. In her letter, she states, “For most of you, the cornerstone of your future happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worth of you”. Her letter went viral and received over 100 million hits on Google in 3 days, creating a huge debate and infuriating women all across the globe. (I’ll still never understand how things go viral like that, but good for her).
I thought to myself, you do meet great guys at college (I did). In Texas, there’s a saying, “A fertile field for plowing”, and that’s what she’s saying – “Ladies, this is a great opportunity, don’t blow it”.
I was reminded of my girlfriends, who graduated college, moved to NY, got fantastic jobs on Wall Street, and worked their way up the corporate ladder. These girls would go to the gym at 9:00 p.m. and out to dinner at 11:00 pm. I thought their lifestyle was insane, but they all loved it and thought I was lame. Well, they loved it for the first few years, and then it got old and lonely. They wanted to meet a guy and have a family, but living in the city, working around the clock, and meeting guys at bars was not working out for them. It does get lonely coming back to your studio apartment, alone, cooking for yourself, and dating guys that never call you back. And some of these gals did find themselves in their early 30’s with no family. So, when I read the letter from The Princeton Mom to these undergrads, I agreed with her. In fact, I applauded her for stating the obvious.
Her article generated so much debate that she wrote a book entitled, “Marry Smart”. This is why it’s always good to do your research before publicly supporting someone. Let’s just say that after I read a few excerpts from the book, I’m no longer 100% team Patton. Here are just a few quotes: “Invest 75 percent of your energy on finding a partner and 25 percent on professional development. If you’ve struggled with obesity through most of your teen years, then maybe surgical intervention is a good idea for you. If you’re going to go the route of cosmetic surgery to ensure you are “as socially successful” in college as possible, do it early enough to feel comfortable in your new body before going away to school”. And finally, “When she enters college, your daughter will never again be as young, as beautiful, as attractive to men, or as fertile. Encourage her to make the best use of this time”. Huh?
Look, if you’re single, and you want to meet a great guy, then go out and live your life doing what you love. If you drink espresso at midnight, go to your local coffee house and someone else who likes to drink espresso at midnight might just be there too. This book completely de-values women and has them thinking that they will be old ugly spinsters if they don’t nail down a husband in college. I’m not sure how I didn’t get that the first time around but I was far off the mark. I believe that college is a place to grow-up, have fun, meet interesting people, get in a little trouble, work hard, and if you meet a great guy along the way, more power to you. I’d love to see Gloria Steinem’s face when she reads this book!
The Princeton Mom, sane or insane, what say you? email@example.com