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
Liberal heads will explode when exposed to this type of thinking.
Forget the BA and MS, get a Mrs?
Great advice for those intelligent enough to listen.
As I have told both my son and daughter, “NEVER MARRY OUTSIDE YOUR READING GROUP”. I do not have a college degree but have had the self discipline to learn any thing I find of interest and or use.
I married a woman with a doctorate in education and it always amazes her how much I know about a multitude of subjects and topics.
I do have enough college credits in the hard sciences and engineering to get a bachelors degree but for some strange reason I kept refusing to take the politically correct classes to qualify for a graduation.
Just stubborn I guess.
You’ve done a real service for young feminists. Now they can have a clear mental picture of the person they want to become.
Here's some more:
You can not have it all. No one can. So make up your mind now about what's truly important to you.
You can marry a man or a boy. A man will take care of you. You will take care of the boy.
Men and women are different. You can either understand and enjoy the difference, or deny it and be miserable.
Raising a family is best done in young adulthood. Planning to do so in middle age is a selfish fantasy.
Of course, there's much more. But those set the tone.
In the 1980’s, I was slaving away, sort of, as a bartender in a very hip, pricey Washington DC restaurant with other pretty, college-educated, young-but-aging, smarty-pants women who waited the wobbly, freesia’d, linen’d tables for tips while pursuing important artsy, intellectual interests by day. We were cool, smart, attractive and complete losers in the shark-infested, DC dating pool. Pretty faces, broken hearts, all of us. Over and over again.
One night, I noticed that the ordinary women in that hot restaurant kitchen that we all avoided, the women inventing new, seductive feasts every evening, were all happily married. Married to really nice men. Handsome, manly men. Could it be true? The way to a man’s heart...?
I started quizzing these patient women about how they dressed these delicious salads I’d been enjoying. What’s the sauce on the salmon? How did you prepare these steaks?
It’s true. Once I began cooking for the men in my life, anathema to most women of my stupid demographic, the long desired pronouncements of love and offers of marriage materialized. I enjoyed cooking and realized its primal value to myself and men. Yum!
Education occurs anywhere, everywhere. Screw college. Be nice and cook well.
The only exception I will take to this is the notion women must marry men who are as smart or smarter than they are. not true. If you can find a man who adores you, but who calls you on your crap, who supports you 100%, but won’t lie to you about your shortcomings is worth their weight in gold. Just choose the man who is right for YOU, not one who looks good on paper. People are always surprised when they meet my wonderful husband, who is 20 years older and retired from his career of backbreaking physical work. Everyone ends up falling in love with him. I was lucky he has put up with me all these years. I am really crazy!
these poor leftists. the foolishness literally oozes from every line of this arrogant letter. to talk about something as sacred and serious as marriage like it’s some sort of simple game to be played. to talk about a college education in the worthless ivy league as making one smarter or better than anyone else.
as far as marriage goes, these people have zero concept of what God’s marriage really entails. sadly, even when they marry, i don’t think they are really “married.” married as in having submerged one’s individuality to become one person. maybe that’s why divorce is so easy for them.
AMEN! If I had to deal with a screaming baby at 2AM, I'd get a rock, and rock her to sleep.
At 22, I was ok with it.
On the other hand... In deep middle age, I'm a fine grandpa. I don't show my face around without the grandbabies bursting out in grins.
They don't get away with anything, but my language isn't quite so harsh these days.
It is a nice thought, though.
Not all men need the same thing.
Education is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. You acquired wisdom!
The tuition for that is sometimes expensive.
Shared values correlates with successful marriages more than share intelligence.
That is why marrying someone who attends your church is a good option.
Education occurs anywhere, everywhere. Screw college. Be nice and cook well.
Words of wisdom.
Indeed. And it always must be paid.