I was watching The Daily Show recently, and one of the segments was on Susan Patton’s Marry Smart. There is quite a lot that bothers me when it comes to women’s rights, but few bother me as much as “The Princeton Mom”. I will say I have not read the book because I refuse to pay any money for such a despicable book. However, after watching Jon Stewart, I did a bit of research on my own. What I found made me angry. Patton is taking women back to the 1950s and demanding that women’s sole priority should be finding a husband before we all turn into hags. As a wife who married at 25, perhaps I am not the best person to write about this issue. However, I did not marry out of a need for a man. I enjoyed being single, dating around, and living alone when I could afford it. I married my husband because he was the one for me. I do not regret marrying my husband at 25, but I was fine waiting until the right man came along.
Despite the plethora of horrible “advice” given, one of the things that bothered me the most in this book (or at least from the articles I’ve read about it) is the following advice: “When she enters college, your daughter will never again be as young, as beautiful, as attractive to men, or as fertile. Encourage her to make the best use of this time.” WTF?! A woman is NOT defined by her age; thinking that she is defined by age is the reason so many women lie about age and bemoan birthdays. Age is not what makes a woman attractive. I believe confidence is the main aspect that makes a woman more attractive than others, and living life – and a lot of it – is what leads to confidence in any person. If we’re to take Patton seriously (yeah, right!), most women should be married by age 22 if you take into account that most collegiate programs can be completed in four years. Heaven forbid a woman get more schooling than the first four years. After all, men should be the bread winners, not women; women only go to college to find a mate. I realize some of my friends did marry young, and to this I write, what is right for one person is not right for all. These friends were blessed to find such great partners in life in their collegiate days, but they didn’t marry because their hormonal clock was ticking or because they couldn’t define themselves until they were married. They married – as I did at age 25 – because they found that person to complement them.
As a woman with her Masters, I can honestly say that during my college years finding a husband was not on my mind. Papers, exams, and getting the grades were the stress-consumers, and alcohol and partying were my stress relievers. But believe it or not, there were always more guys in the bars than girls. I guess according to Mrs. Patton, these fine, upstanding beer-chuggers are where it’s at! Darn, I can’t believe I missed out on that golden opportunity. While I did have relationships in college, I thank God that none of them resulted in marriage and also thank God for these experiences. I was too immature to make a good partner for someone else, and the guys I knew in college were too immature to make good husbands. We grew and learned from our relationships. College was a time of discovery, in which you shaped who you were becoming and were discovering who you were, romantically and otherwise. It was the place to make mistakes and to be free.
Patton explains further that women will not be surrounded by so many “worthy” men as they are in college. Where else will women find such a concentration of men that are just as smart or smarter than themselves than at college? I’m calling “bullshit” on this one as well. For one, please see my above comment on the oh-so-outstanding beer-chuggers. Secondly, I did have issues finding men as smart as me in college. I graduated Cum Laude in my undergraduate program in three and a half years. As far as finding someone who was as focused on academics, who was as smart or smarter than me, who could still function socially, and who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, the pool was not just shallow but almost dried up. Men didn’t have the intellectual market cornered. There were quite a few females that could outrun many men in that Brainy 5K.
According to Patton, I should be thanking my lucky stars that I was even able to find a functioning, single male to marry after I graduated college who was willing to put up with this dried-up husk of a woman compared to the glory I once was. I should be even more thankful to find an intelligent man whom I can respect as a person, and, to be fair, my husband is one-in-a-million. However, there are many men whom I am friends with now that match my intelligence or even surpass it. These men are confident in who they are and what they do and show a maturity that few men, and women, do in college. We’re all better adjusted once we leave the safe haven of college. We’re all closer to shaping our identity. We’re all more confident.
So the moral of this blog would be to celebrate your age and stop complaining about it. Celebrate every wrinkle, every age spot, and even our changing metabolisms. Life doesn’t end after college for women. We may not be as young as we once were, but we’re still worth a gander, dammit. Don’t complain about your birthday or stress about what life achievements you haven’t checked off your list yet. Celebrate another year of wisdom gained and confidence earned. Be thankful that you’ve made it this far; some haven’t.
And with that, I will step off my soapbox, grab a margarita, and celebrate my 28 years, looking forward to the future years to come.