Not at Princeton but at UWS Nepean. Not exactly an ivy league, top of the perch, ‘steeped in tradition’ type institution but still someone who is worthy of my intellect and can stimulate my brain equally as well.
On smh.com.au today I came across this article Advice to the ‘daughters I never had’.
In the letter to the editor titled Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had, former Princeton student Susan Patton said: “Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out – here’s what you really need to know that nobody is telling you … Find a husband on campus before you graduate.”
Other gems from her op-ed included:
“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.
“Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal.”
I can see why this would cause a stir. As it should. While I agree that future happiness is linked to the person you decide spend the rest of your life with, it isn’t the only thing that will bring you happiness. Or sadness for that matter.
And the point of marrying someone worthy of you; well that’s a given no matter what situation you find yourself in.
But why you can’t find an intellectual equal in a workplace, mutual friends, mutual interests, is a mystery to me.
My HR manager in my first full time job told me I needed to marry someone who was smarter than me. Not so I can be ‘looked after’ (after all I was about to go to uni to gain a qualification that would ensure I could look after myself); but so I would be intellectually stimulated for the rest of my days. And he’s right. I don’t care how good your ‘romantic relations’ are, if the conversation is dead then that’s going to be long hard life.
Thankfully Mr M thinks I’m smarter than him (maybe he confuses smarter with louder) but in any case it’s a win/win in this household.
Patton goes onto to say that women shouldn’t date younger men….well ahem…I guess I failed in her eyes. Surely my happy marriage should rate above the age gap right? Right?
I didn’t go to uni straight after high school. I went as a mature age student, 21. My father was upset that I didn’t go after high school; he thought I was throwing away a future.
So when I decided at 21 I would go his reaction was a little baffling. Well not really, not for him; but for normal people. You see by the time I was 21 it was all over. It was a waste of time for me now. Because rightly I would be married and having kids at about 25 so why waste time at uni now? Go and work, save some money, find that husband, buy the house, have the kid, be a good wife and for the love of God, shut up.
No-one was more surprised than me when I found myself walking down the aisle at 25, Mr M 22. And my mother has funny duddy ideas like Patton about women being with younger men.
The way I figure it, women have a longer life expectancy so maybe Mr M and I will go together. Buying that logic?
And even though I didn’t quite get my career going as much as I would have liked before I found out I was pregnant, not for one minute do I find my degree a waste of time like my father said it would be.
It made me smarter and my kids benefit from that. Finding my husband at uni was a happy coincidence not an achieved objective. And if women go in with a blinkered objective then you miss out on all the other experiences uni has to offer. The friendships you make, the groups you join, the heated debates in tutorials, the time pressure assignments and finally the blowing off steam with a beer at the pool table.
And all of those experiences and changes brought me happiness then and still bring a smile to my face to this day.
While Mr M was part of that entire experience my university days were not about finding him, they were about me finding me.