Hubby Hunting in College? -- More "Stellar" Advice From The Princeton Mom.
While waiting for my oldest child to get ready for school this morning, I sat down with a cup of coffee and turned on NBC's Today Show. One of the segments was a short interview with Savannah Guthrie and Susan Patton.
Last year, Patton made her presence known with an open letter titled, The Young Women of Princeton - The Daughters I Never Had which quickly went viral -- thus leading to her notoriety. Now she has done society the favor of imparting more of her womanly wisdom via her book -- Marry Smart. Regardless of whether or not I agreed with her advice, I thought I would be open-minded and hear her out during the short interview.
As I listened to Ms. Patton convey her strong opinions about how young women should spend 75% of their time in college focusing on their personal goals (finding a mate/tool to settle down with) and 25% of their time focusing on their career/educational goals, I found myself wanting to tell my children to cover their ears!
If raising daughters wasn't already challenging enough, I now have to contend with a woman known as “The Princeton Mom”, spouting out her "advice" to young girls who are departing their formative high school years and entering college. Great!
I sat in shock as Savannah Guthrie (a smart and attractive forty-something news anchor) did her best to keep her professional composure without laughing during the interview. At one point, I thought she was going to burst out, "You've got to be kidding me, Sue...," but Guthrie maintained her role and allowed Patton to elaborate.
In some aspects, I have to say Patton may be right on some of her points. IF a young woman’s primary aspiration is to find an equally intelligent man to share her life with, then perhaps college is the best place to do so. A young women might not get another chance in her life to swim in such a large pool of single young men -- and apparently educated ones to boot!
According to Patton, women will NEVER be more attractive and fertile then when they are in their college years. Therefore, this is the time to land that man. My response to her? "Speak for yourself, Lady!" Fertile, yes, attractive.....ummmm, that's a matter of opinion, SUSAN!
Let's review some of her imparted wisdom.
1) “Work will wait. Your fertility won’t. So yes, I’m saying double down. Spend 75 percent of time planning your personal happiness, putting in place the things you need to ensure you reach your personal goals.”
Sure, college is a prime place to find an equally ambitious and educated partner, but let’s remember folks, in college you are in your early twenties. How well do long-term partnerships really work out when you meet your spouse around the age that you just became legally allowed to drink?
2) "If you require major bodywork, get it done in high school."
Her explanation for that statement: “If you enter your college years not in your best form, not feeling as good as you can feel about yourself, you’ll hamper your own chances for personal happiness as well as professional success."
Yes, let’s add ONE more weight on the shoulders of adolescent girls -- get in shape, go to college, land a man and get your degree. Mom and Dad should also shell out thousands of dollars for plastic surgery and an additional $40K for you to go off to college to spend 75% of your time finding a man. Good plan!
3) Her last point in the interview in regards to young women partaking in college fun is a doozy:
"If a woman is too incapacitated to speak, and potentially unable to ward off someone's unwanted advances, then it's her own fault. Please spare me your ‘Blaming the victim’ outrage. You have to get up and leave. It’s all on women."
So, let me get this straight, Susan -- you want young girls to go off to college and find a suitable man, in what might potentially be a dangerous situation? They should hang around these boys and possibly marry one, but not get so drunk that they could possibly be taken advantage of?
There's more: "Well, you can count on men to act responsibly. Maybe they will. I hope they do — most men do — but at the end of the day, women have to bear complete and total control of themselves and responsibility for their safety.”
Yes, we need to educate our girls about being aware and responsible in social situations while drinking. BUT, we also need to educate our boys (especially those attending college to later become societal leaders) that regardless of how inebriated a young woman is, they are NEVER to take advantage or there WILL be consequences.
Women DO need to practice control of and responsibility for their safety. But, they also need to be supported by society in doing just that. Young women don't need contradictions, half-witted advice spawned from your regrets, or additional pressure to accomplish conventional goals as you see fit, Ms. Patton.
When women enter college, regardless of their attractiveness or fertility, they are still young. Most are trying to find themselves and define who they are and want to be. Primarily focusing on finding a mate within a short period of time whilst getting an education may be irresponsible. If it happens organically, great -- maybe it was meant to be! But a young woman's last priority should be strategically finding a husband in college, just because she wants a family later in life.
Let me say to young ladies out there, that I personally feel there are risks in hurrying into a relationship because it falls into some "plan." Perhaps you get caught up in the "plan" and don't even complete college, or ever use your degree. Instead, you find your husband, settle down, have some kids and later find that the man who was suitable at the age of twenty-two is no longer your cup of tea. Will you now find yourself as a single mother and possibly struggling to make ends meet because you only spent 25% of your time in college focusing on your career goals?
As a mother of two daughters, that is a FAR scarier thought for me than them having less mate options, or a shorter time frame in their thirties or forties to settle down and have children.
I find a formally-educated woman writing a book offering two-bit lifestyle advice for young and impressionable women disheartening. What's worse is that it seems to be spawned by Patton's inability to marry a man who, she believes, wasn't her intellectual equal.
She wrote in passing that perhaps if she had nailed down a more suitable (intelligent) partner in college, she wouldn't have ended up divorced. In her words, her marriage was still a "success" because she had two children from that union, and that was what she ultimately wanted.
For a smart woman, Patton is coming off quite dumb. Should she have met the "right" man in college, she may not have the same life or the same offspring she has today. On the bright side, if she had, we may have been spared her "wisdom."
In the meantime, I am doing my best to raise acclimated, confident and strong young women, who will grow up to be smart enough to see through the crap that occasionally comes down the pipeline in life. And Patton’s "advice" is utter B.S.
(un-formally educated, still very fertile, apparently attractive and happily married)