This morning on Today, “Princeton Mom” Susan Patton promoted her new book Marry Smart: Advice for Finding the One by sharing some advice during her interview. She said college women should spend 75% of their time on finding a man to marry and 25% focusing on college/careers because work can wait but fertility cannot. Next, she mentioned that you shouldn’t get too drunk or too high at parties because if a man takes advantage of you, it’s your fault. She also said if you need body work to make you look better, get it done in high school.
Was I dreaming? Did I time travel? Was I in a Jane Austen novel? No, this interview was real and during it, I could have been awarded for achieving the biggest, most intense eye roll ever recorded in human history.
Look at this quote from a letter Patton published last year:
“Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent and less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition if she is exceptionally pretty.”
You probably get the point and understand why her opinions are angering and likely controversial on purpose (she says they aren’t), but if you need to read more, read this book review published by Wall Street Journal.
Susan Patton doesn’t have daughters and recently finalized her divorce from her husband. I could sit here and talk about how much more ridiculous that makes this situation, but instead I’ll give some better advice to young women who hope to marry and possibly have a family:
1. If you’re a college woman hoping to marry and start a family ASAP for whatever reason, try to balance out your studies and social time. Maybe you’ll meet a sexy dude and that’s awesome, but don’t fret if you don’t meet a sexy dude. It’s college, and a lot of guys aren’t exactly wearing their big boy pants yet anyway. Depending on your career choice, research shows that your sea of partner options does decrease after graduating from college, which means you may have to work a little harder to find a worthy guy on your intellectual level, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
2. While a woman’s chances of having a baby decreases as she ages, there are other options and you shouldn’t allow a “ticking clock” to rule your state of mind. Why? Because it may result in rushing into a marriage and life that doesn’t make you happy and may end in regret, a lot of yelling and way too much vodka consumption.
3. There is nothing wrong with you whether you choose to marry and have a family later in life or if you choose to start early. I know successful, highly educated, happily married women who didn’t marry until they were around 36-38 and all of those women have children. I also know women who chose to marry early, have a career and babies and they are also happy.
4. If you choose to advance your career before finding a dude, don’t worry that there aren’t “normal” men out there. There are, but you may meet a few complete duds first (or if you’re me, a lot of duds….and now I’m wanting some delicious Milk Duds).
5. Don’t get work done on your body in high school unless you actually need it for medical reasons. I can’t believe anyone would even consider that. Learn to respect your body first and be honest with yourself about body image (and yes, I know that isn’t easy). If you do choose to get body work that young, just remember that surgeries will not always (if at all) cover self-esteem issues.
6. Be responsible at parties and take care of yourself. If you get too drunk or too high, it can end very badly and no one wants you to get raped/hurt by some idiot, be stuck without Fritos when you get the extreme munchies or have a terrible hangover when it could be avoided.
7. Finally, don’t buy that woman’s book or her extremist views. While she feels it’s helpful and honest, not all young women can find happiness or “the one” by fitting a mold, not focusing on a career, looking a certain way or acting a certain way. We are all different (thank god), so deal with it already.