Skip to comments.Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had [get married early]
Posted on 05/04/2013 10:06:29 PM PDT by grundle
Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out heres what you really need to know that nobody is telling you.
For years (decades, really) we have been bombarded with advice on professional advancement, breaking through that glass ceiling and achieving work-life balance. We can figure that out we are Princeton women. If anyone can overcome professional obstacles, it will be our brilliant, resourceful, very well-educated selves.
A few weeks ago, I attended the Women and Leadership conference on campus that featured a conversation between President Shirley Tilghman and Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and I participated in the breakout session afterward that allowed current undergraduate women to speak informally with older and presumably wiser alumnae. I attended the event with my best friend since our freshman year in 1973. You girls glazed over at preliminary comments about our professional accomplishments and the importance of networking. Then the conversation shifted in tone and interest level when one of you asked how have Kendall and I sustained a friendship for 40 years. You asked if we were ever jealous of each other. You asked about the value of our friendship, about our husbands and children. Clearly, you dont want any more career advice. At your core, you know that there are other things that you need that nobody is addressing. A lifelong friend is one of them. Finding the right man to marry is another.
When I was an undergraduate in the mid-seventies, the 200 pioneer women in my class would talk about navigating the virile plains of Princeton as a precursor to professional success. Never being one to shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion, I said that I wanted to get married and have children. It was seen as heresy.
For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
Heres what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.
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. Its amazing how forgiving men can be about a womans lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women cant (shouldnt) marry men who arent 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.
Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal just not that many of them. And, you could choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect. But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isnt as smart as you.
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?
If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.
Susan A. Patton 77
President of the Class of 1977
I think just about any woman would be happy with that.
I think your description of what would make a woman happy is much deeper and layered than the author's.
If they are hungry, feed them. If not, .....
Not sure if most Freepers realize it, but “Patton” is a Princeton legacy name. There is a “Patton Hall” at Princeton.
That the authoress’s two sons would matriculate at Princeton was probably a given.
However, in my view, she seems a bit stuck on herself, Princeton women, and Princeton men. Her sons, for instance.... were they admitted to Princeton based on their grades and other qualifications — or based on their surname?
If Princeton is so great, why does it employ — and perennially permit to pollute young minds — the following idiots? Cornel West, Paul Krugman, and Peter Singer.
That’s one of the coolest posts I’ve ever read.
Wow, wow, and wow.
Later my wife told me she said: "Max loves someone else."
Deborah and Maximilian
When you are seducing people, the kitchen is the place to be.
A man who cooks for a woman in his own kitchen wins every time. A woman who cooks for a man can own him for life, a woman in a kitchen wins the man, the children, the grand kids, the extended family, and in the old days, the boss of her man.
It is the center.
Your word “primal” is so accurate.
Totally bought into the Feminism trap. Waited until early 30’s to marry and try to have children. You know how they told us we coud have kids into our 40’s? Well, some of us couldn’t. I couldn’t be happier with the one child I was allowed to have, but couldn’t have any more, which upset my ‘perfectly planned’ life. Girls, start having your children in your 20’s. Life doesn’t always work out the way you, or the Famous Feminists say it will. I am happily married with a wonderful son and daughter-in-law, but I would have cherished another child.
I don’t know exactly why, but I can’t say how much I admire you for just flat resisting.
Scott Adams had it right-marry an engineer. They're happy to actually have sex and they can fix stuff.
The woman who wrote the article above could have benefitted from your wisdom I quoted. When I read the WSJ article yesterday, it immediately brought to mind this advice to Princeton women, written by a woman exactly my age. Your wise saying should have been part of her advice as it seems corollary to her own.
I regularly remind my wife about this fact after she's had a tough day with the grandchildren.
And if that isn't the most arrogant damned comment I've ever heard I don't know what it.
My husband and I joke that if I am more than ten feet from the bedroom or kitchen, consider me a runaway. I live to wait on my husband hand and foot. And he reciprocates unconditionally.
We give one hunderd percent to each other and have the utmost respect for each other. In discussing marriage with two of my coworkers, they asked what our nicknames were for each other. I said that I call my husband ‘Sir’ and they practically spontaneously combusted. Neither one of them is married, having a succession of failed relationships where they gave and gave and ended up empty handed, older and alone. This man is the one that I want to grow old with, to take care of and spend my time making sure he has the best of everything I can give him.
Feminism is one of the biggest crimes perpetrated on the human race.
There is nothing more beautiful or alluring to a man than an honest woman who needs him to believe in her and tell her how wonderful she really is! I know, I married her 30 years ago.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that saw that.
All brain and no heart and no soul?
“But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isnt as smart as you.”
I smell pride in that statement and a rather “Princetonian” style condescension. Compatibilities in terms of talents, interests, and spiritual outlooks are what is more important. While a reasonable match in IQ’s might be useful, the best relationships happen when one person’s strengths complement another’s weaknesses and vice-versa and when there is real love that cause both to show grace in the face of each other’s weaknesses.
An intelligent woman may do well with a WISE husband who, while not being as intelligent at the wife, is nevertheless competent in his profession and self assured. Such a man may not be able to program a computer like his wife but he may find the plug not plugged in when the wife is in a tizzy as to why the monitor won’t turn on.
Just stubborn I guess.
For me, the inflated 30000 dollars or so it will take to complete my bachelors degree(I have a 2 year RN degree and 4 years total college...it’s a long tedious story about wasted time and of once being a callow youth ) tends to stiffen my negativities regarding the completion of said degree at this time.
actually, far better advice to these young Princeton women would be.... do NOT marry a Princeton man!!
I agree with the message that “having it all” as career women has led many women to approach middle age with no children or a lot of frustration.
However, this idea that an intelligent woman (or man) should only marry someone of very equivalent “book smart” IQ is just silly, and wrong.
So many other qualities are more important than whether someone is a “Princeton man” or whatever.... pleaaaasssee.
Although I suppose it is true that if one’s values put that sort of thing first, that the more important thing in life is whether hubby or wifey is “Princeton material” then ofc it follows that one needs to marry that kind.
Seems like a very foolish, clubby way to approach life....
I would tell them, “ If you are really smart, go to MIT.”
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