Princeton Mom Susan Patton Urges Women to Snag Ivy League Hubby ASAP
As I sit here reading Susan Patton’s letter “Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had,” the latest in a series of advice from elite women to younger elite women, I can’t help but be amazed by how crappy the advice young women often get is.
Susan Patton, a Princeton alumna, wrote her letter, published in the Daily Princetonian, advising young Princeton women to essentially get to finding a husband STAT, while in college, as the pickings are plentiful—a reality that is not so much the case the higher the grade, or post-graduation. She currently has two sons who attend Princeton (poor guys), and is recently divorced from what she has pretty much made clear was a man not as smart as her. “I regret not marrying a Princeton man,” she confesses.
I know that this advice is well-intentioned, and reminds me so much of the advice I would get from my own grandmother and aunts. Of course, being an intellectual snob adds a bit more flair: “Look for your husband while still in school so that you meet someone at the same level of intellect and with similar interests as you.” And we all know that Ivy League men, especially, are the sh*t. A true catch.
I should know. I married a Princeton man. Granted, I totally infiltrated the pool of high-class effing awesomeness (I was a city university student) and snagged me one of those highly coveted Princeton boys.
At twentysomething he was exactly what I wanted: intellectual, professional, promising future and good on paper. It was an interesting match. And yes, I should’ve known it wasn’t going to work out when his arrogance got in the way of my feeling comfortable enough to bring him along when I hung out with my friends…or when he showed up excited about the fact that he had negotiated a street vendor into selling him a VCR (remember those?) for $20, only to open the box and find a bunch of bricks inside. Yes. The writing was on the wall. The guy was an idiot. But, he was a Princeton idiot, and that couldn’t have been too bad, right?
But a few years after I divorced him, when I set out to date again, the things I wanted in a man weren’t even close to what I wanted in my twenties. You see, I was over 30 now. I had grown, changed, had a child, and was done with the whole intellectual snob who was boring, insecure and bad in bed.
I wanted something completely different. I wanted someone who was kind and funny. Sexy, down to earth, creative and real. I wanted someone who would adore me as I was, with the stretch marks on my belly from pregnancy, and the chip on my shoulder. I wanted someone who adored my son too, and would step up to be the father my son was missing when his Princeton alumnus dad failed to be there, both physically and financially. I just wanted a nice guy.
When I found him, he came in the form of a thirtysomething newly arrived from Wisconsin. He had no money, no job. He was an artist and was racking up debt in grad school. We fell in love almost instantly, and 11 years later we are as madly in love as when we first met. I get giddy just writing this.
I often tell him that I am glad I met him when I did—when I was older, a bit more jaded, a bit more worn down. I never would’ve appreciated the man he is when I was in my twenties; I just wouldn’t have taken the time. I never would’ve taken the risk.
In my thirties, I was very much my own woman, more comfortable in my skin, more secure in my sexuality and in my voice. I met the man who embraced it all.
So, though I am sure Susan Patton means well when she advises all these young Princeton girls, I would advice them differently. Now, I know I’m just a girl from the wrong side of the tracks here, but take it from me, ladies: What you want in your twenties will change in 10 years. You will change. And yes, you will be older and the clock will be ticking, but if you’re lucky, you will have a better perspective on the things that make a good partner. If you happen to find him in your twenties, make sure he’s the guy who will embrace your spirit and give you the room to grow and flourish and change. He may come from Princeton, but if he doesn’t, that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes what’s good on paper isn’t always what’s good for the heart…and at the end of the day, what’s in his heart is all that matters. So take your time and spread your wings. Don’t settle for what’s close and risk missing out on what you deserve.