The basic gist of what Patton says is that for educated women, their best shot at finding a husband of equal smarts is while in college. The reason being that they’ll never be in a concentrated pool of educated like those undergrad years ever in life. Sure a woman will meet other eligible bachelors after graduation, but the selections get watered down the more time goes by and the older a woman gets.
Here’s a snippet of what Patton wrote:
Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t 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 isn’t as smart as you. CLICK HERE to read the full open letter.
Now if a man had written these things it would quickly be labeled sexist. But just because a woman authored these words doesn’t mean it’s any less sexist. That not withstanding, Patton raises some interesting points. Men often date or marry “down” in terms of education and social stature. For those that want a trophy wife all they need is a woman who looks good and can bear their children and they’re content. But superficial unions have expiration dates because time always erodes good looks, leaving nothing but an empty shell and newer more appealing distractions to grab their partner’s attention.
On the flip side, many men are intimidated by women who are smarter than them or have achieved more. The male ego is a fragile thing and some—both men and women—are stuck on caveman ideologies that people with penises should be the breadwinners—end of story. Anything that throws that line of thinking out of wack is viewed as an abomination to the “natural” order of things. You know, the order where women are viewed as less than their male counterparts.
Now I doubt that that’s what Patton was getting at but it’s an underlining element of what she’s saying, IMHO. The fact of the matter is the more a woman has going on for herself the more competition she is to herself. There’s nothing wrong with being independent—in fact, it can be quite an attractive quality—but even a man wants to feel needed.
Education may not play into things as much as Patton suggests but any smart woman is going to want to have an equal partner in her life (and bed). This isn’t a matter of blue collar vs. white collar, but women are (slightly) less superficial than men and want someone they can see eye to eye with or, at the very least, learn from. The key to any relationship is to grow together. But that can be difficult when one partner is several steps ahead of the other. Someone winds up feeling like they’re carrying or being dragged down by the other depending on how you look at it.
So what’s an Ivy League-educated girl to do? Date “down” like some men? Throw herself into her career and continuing to climb the corporate ladder in hopes of meeting a man near the top wrong who’s interested in an older model when he likely has the pick of the perky litter? Sounds like bit of a crap shoot to me. But is college is the answer?
I hope not.
I know I’m only a year into marriage but I know for a fact the man I was in college was not husband material. I may have been educated enough but I hadn’t even lived enough life or had the brainpower to make a lifelong union last.
I get what Patton is saying that a woman has better odds at locking down a like-minded partner at that stage, but we all can’t be Barack and Michelle who met at a time when both were on the come up. But some could argue that Michelle Robinson, a Princeton and Harvard educated woman, took more of a risk giving the skinny guy with the funny name a shot.
On second thought, maybe Patton is (partly) on to something. Finding true love when you have nothing can be more pure than when you have everything and never know if people love you for you or what you have. But I’d still suggest both men and women not put a time frame on true love and finding a life partner, it comes when it’s darn well ready and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it.
And that’s my advice for young women and men of the school of hard knocks…
What do you think of Patton’s open letter? Does she have any valid points or just sound like a jaded woman? Do you think you could have found your soul mate in college? Does Patton’s letter speak to all women or just those in Ivy League colleges? Are educated women doomed to be single longer than their bubblehead counterparts? Or does education play no role in that at all?
Speak your piece…