A recent published letter by Susan Patton, a human-resource consultant and alumnae of Princeton university, offering her advice to Princeton women students to “find a husband on campus before you graduate,” has sparked waves of heated discussions on the web.
The idea that collegeis a place to get your Mrs. degree is pretty archaic. Even back when I went to a mostly male college, I was appalled that there were a small group of women–mostly from the neighboring women’s junior college–whose sole objective was to find a spouse. And, believe me, they did. Now 30 years later, I’m not sure how that worked out for them.
To hear someone in a position of influence at one of the most prestigious Ivy League colleges come right out and say it, however, is kind of shocking. She went on to say, in an attempt to qualify her outlandish statement, “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 guess the only smart men are at Princeton.
In a blog interview posted the other day, Patton explained she was merely giving advice to the women she was speaking to, much as she would her own daughters. “I’m saying ‘increase your chances of getting everything you want. Get your world-class education, find your best friends for life, play in the school orchestra. While you’re doing all those things look around and see if you can find a man you want to spend the rest of your life with.”
My son goes to an excellent, top-notch university, filled with brilliant young men and women. Never once has it occurred to me to say to him, “Oh, son, and before you graduate, look around and see if you can someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.” My goodness. He can’t even decide what he wants to do when he graduates, much less pick a life partner.