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.”

courtesy of smh.com.au

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.


  • At 2013.04.03 15:22, Glowless said:

    I met my boyfriend at uni. He introduced me to his mate that I’d go on to marry. They were both younger than me AND I never finished my course. Whatever will she think of me?
    I know people with giant age gaps and some who are born the same year – I don’t think the gap has anything to do with the quality (or lack thereof) of their relationships.

    • At 2013.04.04 12:18, Maria said:

      And the course you were doing was feminism right? OMG!!!! But hang on, you got yourself a good man so all is right with the world 🙂

      Thanks for the visit.

      Love & stuff
      Mrs M

    • At 2013.04.03 21:39, Fi @ My Mummy Daze said:

      I have to admit I was hungry for boys when I started uni. Having been deprived of males at our all-girls school I couldn’t wait to be with boys at uni. I soon learned it wasn’t the be-all and end-all. My first boyfriend resulted in my getting kicked out of my course and downgraded to an arts degree. All that dating was very distracting and not conducive to study at all! P.S Your dad has a terrible knack of saying exactly the wrong thing and being completely unsupportive. I think you’re an amazing mum, and intelligent woman and have made great life choices. Fi xxx

      • At 2013.04.04 12:21, Maria said:

        Hey, I did an arts degree. Downgraded to an arts degree pffft! 😉

        My dad is pretty special. If you compared him to all the ‘how to raise confident, good, well adjusted kids’ books that are out there, he would be the ‘what not to do’ example. Yet here I am!!

        Thanks for your kind words. I’ve always trusted my instinct. It has never done me wrong.

        Love & stuff
        Mrs M

      • At 2013.04.04 03:16, Marie said:

        Although a few people have told me (in jest) that I’m doing everything in the wrong order, I’m hugely grateful for finding my husband Before I went to university. I seem to be freer and at the same time more focused than many of my peers, not having to assess whether the next person is up to being my life partner etc. which allows me to get knee deep in my course and the other great experiences Uni has to offer. I’m completely with you on feeling that university is more about finding oneself, but equally my husband is a rock that I keep a hold on if I feel like I’m getting lost amongst it all.

        • At 2013.04.04 12:29, Maria said:

          Well Marie you would have to be the exceptional to ALL the rules 😉

          And when I first met Mr M, if you had asked me if he would he be my life partner, I would have said no way. He was wayyy to different to me. 3 years later, we both changed and the rest is history.

          Love & stuff
          Mrs M

        • At 2013.04.04 08:23, Lachy said:

          It’s an interesting point she makes. It’d be an even better one of she was non gender specific, it works either way. Does give another powerful reason to want to send your kid to good schools though.

          • At 2013.04.04 12:33, Maria said:

            The gender and age difference should no longer be a talking point. If the women are meeting their husbands at uni then right there it’s obvious the men are meeting their wives.

            Attending a good school shouldn’t be the only prerequisite to choosing a life partner though. Even arseholes can be smart.

            And you and I did okay with who we found right???

            Love & stuff
            Mrs M

          (Required, will not be published)