While the temperatures may not have gotten the memo just yet, today is the first day of spring. Birds are chirping. People are buying iced coffees even though it has yet to reach 50 degrees. Love is in the air. And all that jazz.
For me, spring in New York City means flip-flops constantly glued to my feet, free outdoor movies, and stopping to pay a visit to Mister Softee on the daily. It also means that my impending graduation date is officially two months away. On top of fitting in time at Coney Island and the High Line over spring break, I will be sending out resumes via email, snail mail, and carrier pigeon if I have to. I will frequent LinkedIn like a middle school Facebook stalker. And according to Susan Patton, I should also use my valuable spring break time to accept resumes and cover letters of my own. Form an orderly line, gents, the position of my husband is apparently wide open for applications.
Patton, known as “Princeton Mom,” recently paid a visit to discuss her new book, Marry Smart: Advice for Finding the One. In it, Princeton alumna Patton shares her secrets and strategies for finding personal happiness as a young woman – one of which left some current female college students like myself dumbstruck.
“Find yourself a husband before you graduate,” Patton declared. “Where do you think you’re ever gonna have this concentration of amazing men to choose from? You think that once you graduate you’re gonna be surrounded by these kind of men who are age appropriate, single, brilliant, destined for wonderful futures – where do you think you’re gonna find men like this?…This is wasting your prime time… Make a choice: do you wanna be politically correct? Or do you want to actually get what you want?”
My Lena Dunham and Beyonce loving, Thought Catalog and Jezebel surfing senses were all in a tizzy when I initially heard Patton. I wanted to immediately hunt down this Princeton Mom and give her a few choice words: “I am a strong, pasty, somewhat financially independent college girl, and I don’t need no man.”
And in truth, I do respectfully disagree with Patton on a couple of counts. But it’s not for the reasons all my single ladies might think.
It would be too easy and frankly too overdone to say that Patton’s words are insulting to women; in fact, Patton’s words are truly critical of all of the successful men who do not happen to currently be enrolled in college or never had the privilege of attending school. If college attendance is the soul characteristic women hunger for in a successful partner, then James Franco would not be able to leave his house. Or swank apartment. Whichever.
In addition, Patton told Smerconish that she feels a woman can enter the working world at a later date in order to snatch up the guy who sits three seats over in Greed and Political Thought and start a family.
“Work can wait. You can make up lost time at work. But if you miss your opportunity to have your own children, that’s GONE, and you don’t get that back,” Patton warned.
What about the opportunity of a dream internship position that requires college credit or if a student lands a postgraduate summer program? Those opportunities can hardly be revisited later, and let’s face it, are experiences that are paramount to landing a job in one’s desired field. I am not going to argue with biological fact; women of a certain age can no longer produce their own offspring. The Earth is not flat. Blah blah blah. And if a woman truly wants nothing more than to graduate, marry their college sweetheart, and pop out some really cute babies to put on Instagram, who is going to hate on that?
Well, the truth is, and this is where Patton offers valuable insight, most women my age are going to “hate on that.” Young women are constantly told by their professional superiors and closest friends that a life dedicated to marriage and motherhood are threats to their endeavors, independence, and self esteem, all of which are essential to the idea of “having at all” that the modern woman is so fond of. “Having it all” is equated to happiness.
Nevertheless, what Patton, myself, and my fellow females would benefit from admitting is that personal happiness is just that: personal.