Susan Patton has some advice for the young women at her alma mater Princeton University: find a husband while you’re still there.
The letter printed in Friday’s Daily Princetonian to “the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had” details not only why it’s important to find a man while still in the ivy league school but also how women should consider choosing their mate.
“For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you,” Patton wrote in the guest op-ed. “Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.”
As a mother of two Princeton boys herself, Patton writes her elder son married a woman from the university. Her younger son is a junior at the school. For both the men, she writes, they could marry anyone. But this isn’t the case for women. Here’s what she means by this:
Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
What’s more, Patton shares another “truth” that no one is talking about.
“As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from,” she continued. “Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen?”
Patton acknowledges that women can meet husbands outside of college, but, as she’s stated twice, the pool of opportunity might be significantly less.
These are all things, she ends her piece, that she would be telling her daughters if she had them.
But Maureen O’Connor in New York Magazine’s The Cut got the inside scoop with more information from Patton. In an interview with the Princeton 1977 class president, O’Conner found the mother, who is recently divorced after 27 years of marriage, wished she married a Princeton grad herself.
Patton explained to O’Conner that she was surprised by the “extreme” reaction the op-ed received. Even with her divorce last month, she told O’Conner her own situation is not what spurred the letter.
“Honestly, I just thought this was some good advice from a Jewish mother,” she said.
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