In the mid-seventies, Susan A. Patton was among the "200 pioneer women" to join Princeton University's previously all-male student body. As president of her alumni class, she recently attended an Anne-Marie Slaughter–endorsed "Women and Leadership" event that "allowed current undergraduate women to speak informally with older and presumably wiser alumnae." But the "girls" in attendance "glazed over" discussing careerism, she found. So today she wrote an open letter to The Daily Princetonian telling "the daughters I never had" what she wished she'd said:
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.
Oh no. She continues,
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.
Well, this will definitely be awkward for any future non-Princeton girlfriends of that younger son. But back to Susan A. Patton! What an excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships she has. If men are happy with bimbos, but women aren't happy with "men who aren't at least their intellectual equal," then the conclusion is that a successful heterosexual relationship requires the man to be smarter than the woman. This is the same logic used by teen girls who feign stupidity to attract dates for the homecoming dance.
As for Patton's elitist assumption that finding an "intellectual equal" outside of an Ivy League campus is next to impossible? Ugh. I'm not even going to unpack that one, but it's worth noting that this embarrassing window into how Ivy Leaguers talk to each other should be as cringe-inducing to modern audiences as Patton's take on gender relations is. Some of the dumbest and most intellectually incurious people I've known were in my class at Princeton. And some of the smartest I've known went to state schools, or community colleges, or didn't go to college. I even dated a few of them. But back to Patton:
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?
By the time you are a senior, you are an old crone who cannot be loved. It is physically impossible for a younger man to date an older woman. Touching the flesh of an older woman will actually cause a man to wither and disintegrate into dust, like sipping from the wrong chalice in Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade.
Now, some will argue that Patton is merely offering advice for women navigating an already-sexist world. But she's doing it by pushing women — and women alone — to define themselves by their spouses and to make life choices according to an outmoded understanding of romantic attraction. A woman's mind doesn't matter to a man, only her age and looks do; thus, if a woman wants to use her mind later in life, she must capture a male intellectual superior before she loses her age and looks. Princeton is but a high-end dating service for clever women with sharp wits. What a depressing world view. Not to mention luddite--doesn't she know that Internet dating provides a a cornucopia of elitist options, all more efficient than freshman-year dorm parties?
Most Viewed Stories
Josh Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s Brother-in-Law, Was Reportedly Spotted at the Women’s March
A Scene from the D.C. Women’s March
Calvin Klein Quietly Unveils First Raf Simons Collection
Why the Election of 9 Black Female Judges in Alabama Matters
Bernie Sanders Wore the Only Appropriate Outfit to Trump’s Inauguration
Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Marchers Came Face-to-Face at the Women’s March
Museums Across the World Are Collecting Women’s March Signs
The Lawyer Who Argued Roe v. Wade Sees Frightening Parallels Between Now and When Abortion Was Illegal
The Former Hillary Clinton Campaign Fellow Who Organized in Wyoming
46 Signs From the Women’s March on Washington
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesA Holiday Season Weekend Through London
A good guide for avid The Crown fans.It’s About Time You Learned Tove Lo’s Name
The singer has crafted pop hits you’ve heard a thousand times by now.Marina Abramovic Has Outlasted Her Lovers and, She Hopes, Her Critics
The world's most famous performance artist at 70.The Wing: Do Women Still Need a Space of Their Own?
This exclusive social club for women, is part sorority, part start-up.In Virtual Reality, Women Run the World
A new generation of female artists is making VR the most diverse corner of the male-dominated tech space.The Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.Unknown NFL Player Tries to Get Attention by Asking Aly Raisman Out in Video
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.