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
A man who cooks for a woman in his own kitchen wins every time.
...Yes, I found that to be true. Took cooking classes at a high end kitchen store, always 21 women and me. Learned to master Stroganoff and always was “tackled” at the end of the evening. Sharing food or preparation made for immediate intimacy and was always completely disarming... as well as cheaper than taking them out. And they always bragged to their girlfriends about the date, so I had a referral system in place that paid dividends when the relationship didn’t go anywhere. Ahhhh the old days...
This may be true; but if the man is able to make killer pizza pie and a consistently delicious chocolate chip cookie, and is available to lift heavy objects and give free hair cuts, well then his intellectual shortcomings might be tolerated?
“Liberal heads will explode when exposed to this type of thinking.”
But this column probably did more to undercut liberalism than anything us right-wing extremists could dream of.
The whole point of higher education, and the Ivy League, in particular, is (now) to get women to HATE men. Typically they do a great job of it...hence women voting Democrat in much higher numbers, particularly if their education was successful and they never married.
But this column now forces girls just out of high school, girls that may have liked boys in high school, to question the motives of the colleges they are attending.
That’s part of the reason for the visceral reaction.
bump for later...
“Wanted: women with boat and motor. Send picture of boat and motor.”
Please give me a break. What does this even mean---that the guys might not be up to snuff on Womyns' Studies?
throw in that he lets her go on thinking she's the smart one, and he's durn near irresistable!
Reading that woman's self-congratulatory egg-freezing article was saddening in so many ways. Here's one comment which spoke volumes:
I decided to freeze on the afternoon of my 36th birthday, when I did a fresh round of baby math on the back of a business card at Starbucks.
Taking a hard look at family prospects in one's latter 30s is indicative of personal priorities. Doing so on the back of a business card at Starbucks is almost a cliché adding to this indicator. And the author's solution of freezing her eggs smacks more of convenience than prudence.
Finally, this passage completes the picture:
In the future, a woman who registers for law or medical schooland knows ahead of time that she will spend her prime baby-making years in the trencheswould ask for loans for tuition and egg freezing at the same time.
There it is. The egg-freezing author still advocates having it all; equating motherhood with baby-making, and ignoring the human experience that raising a family is best accomplished using the energy, optimism, and creativity of young adulthood. Her use of "social freezing" as an elective medical procedure akin to casual cosmetic surgery and funded by loans in furtherance of career shows she is first and foremost married to her desires.
My advice to men encountering such a freezer-mom, pay the bill and leave. Because her definition of family is based on "me", not "us". And as sure as God made little green apples, the only thing lower than family on her list of importance is husband.
My grandmother gave me the best advice ever. She said the only way you will truly know a person is by meeting their families, and seeing how they treat each other. Of course being a traditional Catholic family meant marrying Catholic. I didn’t give my husband of 18 years, the father of my children a chance, until I met his sweet loving Catholic mother. She reminded me of my grandmother and I fell in love, and started liking my husband. Haha. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and I truly believe to this day the God planned for us to be together. Having the person that God plans for you, and the life that God plans for you, will bring true success. I would have made a lot of horrible decisions if I trusted my own judgement.
LOL - A friend of mine once told me the secret to marrying well: Never cook for a man. Once he finds out you can cook you’ll never go out to dinner again. Also, and very important, your dining room is one room away from the bedroom. You never, ever let him into your bedroom. Well, maybe not never ever. At least hold out for Bermuda!