The Princeton Mom who last year explained to college women to skip all that pointless academic crap and focus on getting a husband is back! The Wall Street Journal in its continued quest to reduce one-half of humankind to barefoot and pregnant, happily provides a platform. While you can almost sense in the background of the article a “Why haven’t you given me grand-children?” style of thinking, the focus of the article is that women can only be fulfilled through a good man. It’s as if the worst stereotype of the television Jewish mother had mated with the ideological purity of the WSJ.
She doesn’t just say that catching a man is the most important thing to do while in college. She tells women that this requires careful planning. She sketches out a long term strategy where you not only target the men currently in school but collect their names so you can look them up later and see how economically successful they have become. You almost get a sense of a female black widow building an internet web while sensing prey.
This sounds suspiciously to me like putting giant $$ bulls eyes on male classmates. Of course, this puts a whole new spin on Women Who Run With the Wolves. According the Princeton Mom they’re not being strong or independent, they’re hunting men.
I don’t want to be hunted. I believe that I share the opinion of the vast majority of men, that this would flattering for a brief time but after that it would just be creepy.
Besides, I like smart women. I like independent women who don’t let me get away with sloppy thinking or overconfidence. I’m not perfect. I need a questioning partner to keep me on track. And I can’t help but think that if I was being pursued in Princeton Mom style, what I am as a person would take a very, very back seat to “How much money does he make?”
I freely admit that the Princeton Mom would consider me a wretched catch, too short, too old, too poor and too ugly.
So you see, I have a personal stake in all this. As a person who is in the process of becoming single again after a quarter century of marriage being considered on an economic basis and apparently in some way a fulfillment of a woman’s life strikes me as scary. I’m not going to become wealthy or even financially secure. I live pay-check to pay-check in a very similar fashion to my students.
But this is not the main problem. I don’t want to be the fulfillment of a woman’s life. That’s a responsibility that I can’t fulfill. I’m flawed and even I were not, I would not want to do it. I can’t make someone happy. I can’t make another person’s life worthwhile. I can love a woman and try to be there for her but I am as subject to death or injury as anyone else. Relying on me for fulfillment is bound to be a disappointment if only because I might die first.
And that is my main point here, men cannot fulfill women’s lives. If women are essentially useful containers for baby making then their only fulfillment is in men (and baby making). But women are not that. They are fellow human beings, and just like men, they find fulfillment by searching and suffering for it. Neither I nor the other men in this world can make a woman’s life worthwhile, they have to do that.
The reason colleges are not infested with desperate husband hunting women is simple. Women know better. They know that independence, intelligence and accomplishment are worthwhile goals. I like that. When I go to teach my classes in the morning, the intelligence and perceptiveness of my students is always a delight. I don’t perceive the women in my classes as being one whit less dedicated to becoming significant and powerful than the males.
The time where the Princeton Mom’s advice made sense is over. We live in a new era. There is a lot I don’t like about this time in American history but I do like the way women are challenging and complex. It makes talking to them fun. It must have been a very intellectually deficient world when they were just conveniences. Or when they were trained to smile and feign amusement when males talked.
It took us a long time to get to where women weren’t toys or fantasies. I like living here in this time where women can become more than what they could before. It’s better than how it used to be.
Princeton Mom is back: Susan Patton writes for the Wall Street Journal, annoys everybody.
Susan Patton, the mother who seared herself into our nightmares last March when she wrote a letter in the Daily Princetonian urging women to collect that MRS degree, stat, is back. This time she has taken her retrograde loonery to the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Her Valentine-themed opinion piece, about how college women need to “smarten up and start husband-hunting,” is full of the absurd generalizing, medieval gender roles, Ivy League snobbery, and general wrongheadedness you might expect. (There is also a delightfully cuckoo line about Noam Chomsky and the Bayeux tapestry.) But the question arises: Is Patton’s latest effort more insulting to men or to women? Below, a brief accounting:
Another Valentine’s Day. Another night spent ordering in sushi for one and mooning over “Downton Abbey” reruns. Smarten up, ladies.
Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry. But chances are that you haven’t been investing nearly as much energy in planning for your personal happiness as you are planning for your next promotion at work. What are you waiting for? You’re not getting any younger, but the competition for the men you’d be interested in marrying most definitely is.
From around the web.
From the web site, The Daily Jewish Forward.
Earlier this year, Patton sparked outrage and, we can only assume, mortifyingly embarrassed her two sons when she wrote in the newspaper of her beloved (I cannot stress that word enough) alma mater the Daily Princetonian. Her essay, “Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had,” had at its core one simple message: Ladies, grab a Princeton man (any fellow stumbling out of an eating club in a garish orange-and-black polo will do) and marry him! Quick! Marry him before you’re lost in a world of non-Princeton grads that will never fulfill you, neither intellectually nor romantically, and you die alone, yearning for Ivy League loving.
I exaggerate … but only slightly. Here are some keys pearls of wisdom from Ms. Patton:
You will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
Find a husband on campus before you graduate.
And, my personal favorite:
As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. 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?
I must concur with Ms. Patton that as I’ve reached the spinster age of 23, there’s nothing I regret more than not marrying the senior with Keystone-flavored breath the instant he dove at my freshman face at a house dance at my own fair, ivy-covered institution.