Men go to college for a lot of different reasons: education, professional advancement, they’re good at learning, they’re providers, they just plum like math and science, etc. Women, on the other hand, go primarily to sink their hooks into said men (after graduating, some even set up sperm IVs and begin pumping out lots of self-impressed little babies). Sure, there are some women who go to college for their own educations, but we shouldn’t let those shaggy-armpitted lesbians impede our quest for a well-to-do spouse. If you get into Princeton, for one, it’s extremely important to find a man as soon as you are able.
…Remarkably, this isn’t just a deeply lazy introduction to a blog post (nor is it the premise of a middling SNL sketch): Susan A Patton, class of 1977*, wrote an open letter to The Daily Princetonian last week, in which she urges female Princeton students to find a man as soon as possible. Nevermind the studying and all that:
Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out … Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.
Notice how that was a block quote and not, instead, particularly heavy-handed irony? She actually said those words.
She actually said this stuff too:
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. 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.
Wow. Wow. There’s… so much to parse here. New York Magazine has been all over Patton all weekend–even letting her answer for her article herself–but the Daily Princetonian is (predictably) down, so we have to borrow their selections. Here’s the last and, arguably, most absurd bit:
Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. 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?
“Nobody is talking” about how women aren’t allowed to date men a class down from them because Susan A Patton deems it so?
Perhaps what’s most remarkably facile about Patton’s open letter is she couches it all in the notion that she’s a straight shooter who tells it like it is–cutting through all the mainstream media hogwash which stresses that women should go to college and focus on being the intellectual equals of their male counterparts while sloughing off the obligations of traditional gender roles. You know, like Cosmo.
Of course, while Patton’s ideas about gender are breathtakingly barbaric and dim-witted, the real problem here is her unapologetic elitism. “As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market,” and, indeed, her whole awful article hinges on the awful premise that people who went to Ivy League schools are smarter than other people (as opposed to richer or had grandparents who went). This is not to say one can’t get an excellent education at an Ivy–plenty of people do–but the assumption that Princeton students are incontrovertibly smarter than others by virtue of their admittance to Princeton is not only intellectually unsound, it’s preposterous.
As for Patton, if we read between the lines a little, we may find more of herself than she intended. She apparently finalized her divorce last month, after 27 years of marriage, and pangs of regret permeate her apology to New York. When asked if she wishes she’d married a Princeton man, she says:
“Yes! Yes. Yes, I wish I married someone who went to Princeton. That way I could have embraced Princeton for the thirty years that I stayed away from it because my ex-husband had no respect for the hoopla, the traditions, the allegiance, the orange and black … It wasn’t until both of our sons became Princetonians, and my marriage ended, that I was able to again embrace the university, and I did so with both arms.”
“No respect for the hoopla, the traditions, the allegiance, the orange and black.” This guy sounds like a winner! Or, at least, one who thinks critically in the face of groveling devotion to academic pomp and circumstance.
Oh, and if you weren’t sure these were the solipsistic mutterings of a woman whose college days were the peak of her existence, we suggest following her on Twitter.
[UPDATE: Patton filed an explanation for HuffPO today, which begins, "I sincerely feel that too much focus has been placed on encouraging young women only to achieve professionally." ...LOL]
*But it might as well be 2013 because she hasn’t moved the fuck on
(Daily Princetonian via NYMag)