As a modern Sexologist you might expect me to be up in arms about the recent letter Susan Patton has written to the Editor in the Daily Princetonian, pushing girls to find a husband while at University. But this is where many of you might have me wrong. In a strange way I agree with some (not all) of what she says. As a Sexologist, I have been taught to look at everything and everyone with an open mind before I make up my own conclusions, and this is exactly what I have done with this Jewish Mother’s advice.
However, the below paragraphed did anger me,
“Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out … Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.”
After only giving an interview today about the rise in divorce rates and how we might be putting too much pressure on marriage being the ultimate happiness, this just made my argument even stronger. I am not against marriage at all, actually I’m quite a traditional person past all this Sexological chit chat, but I do maintain that we need a balance between family, career and a life for our selves in order to be truly happy, not just one of these things.
But then I saw her point,
“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.”
I didn’t go to Princeton but I do have three university degrees under my belt and a Dr at the front of my name. And I might just happen to be a expert in one subject that makes most people feel uncomfortable and makes most men either want to bed me out of sexual curiosity or run away in fear because I might know too much.
It really does amaze me how men are still attracted to uneducated, younger, good looking women. I’m not hating on anyone who falls into this category or the men that choose them, (there is a lid for every pot) but it seems as though from my experience and from the people around me, there are so many amazing, smart and successful women left on the shelf for qualities they are also praised for. In no way do I think women should dumb themselves down for the sake of a nice husband (we all remember the episode of SATC and Miranda posing as a Stewardess) but men need to see what a smart women can really offer and understand that it does not threaten who they are or their masculinity. Smart women also need to understand that a man needs to be a man. And women, you can be smart and strong but still leave space for a man to pursue you, after all it’s a biological instinct whether we agree with it or not.
My parents raised me to be intelligent and independent and those are qualities I will hold onto and keep teaching to other young women despite the consistence of men’s desire for possibly the opposite. I’ve never quite been into conforming anyway. I believe that smart, ambitious women are happier women within themselves and in turn make better partners because of this. Trust me, there are men out there who will love you for your brains, but sometimes it’s not easy and this is where Susan Potter might have a point.
When I studied Sexology it was not anything like Princeton, but I was in a room with people who shared not only a similar intellectual capability but also a similar interest and passion. These are people who became life long friends instantly. When you are put into a situation where people of a similar interest are around you, it’s only common sense that you will find people you click with. My school was mostly full of women and gay men (I did however find one straight one) so the odds were against me in the husband hunting department, but if things were different, I might have welcomed a romantic gesture from someone in this group out of a relief that they possibly understood me and could be my intellectual equal.
Knowing what I know now and the complications of being a strong, smart women in the dating world, if I had hypothetically attended Princeton, I might have gone hunting for not necessarily a husband but at least a boyfriend or lover. University is not for perusing a husband, but while you are getting an education, there is no harm in checking out what’s on offer while you are with a group of like minded people who might be good options to choose from ( wow, I make choosing a husband sound as easy as picking out a new outfit, if only).
I don’t entirely support Susan Potter’s advice, but I do understand it. Jewish Mothers (I have one too), have a tendency to have a good point somewhere along the line. But maybe her point needs a modern translation, so here it goes.
Dear Princeton Women,
It is not always easy being smart and intelligent in the dating world. The truth is some men will worship you for you brains and others will run away. But that’s the way life is, one quality someone desires is a turn off to another.
But to make life easier, whilst surrounded by men who could share your intellectual advantage and common interests, make friends, connect with classmates and know that the world you now live and study in is not a representation of what’s out there on offer. The real world of life and dating might come as a bit of a shock and as life goes on you might find the pool of potential partners diminishes.
If intellectual stimulation is what turns you on, Princeton might be a good place to look for someone who can do that for you. I’m not suggesting rushing into marriage, but getting to know someone smart of the opposite sex over a few dates can’t hurt. You never know what might happen in the future so it’s good to keep your eyes open now, just in case.
And while I’m writing letters to people I don’t know here is another one
Dear Men Who Find Smart Women Intimidating,
Please know that smart women are in no way a threat to you and can actually be very rewarding. A smart woman does not make a man any less of a man, exactly the opposite. Have you not heard the saying behind every great man there is a great woman? (Not a women whose only passions involve plastic surgery and shoes).
Instead of being attracted to you because of money or where you can get us in life, we appreciate you for qualities beyond your looks, your bank account or what nightclub you can get us into. We know what we want in life and where you might fit into that and hopefully because of this won’t jerk you around.
Please don’t find us scary, we might be smart but we will still like to be women who are worshiped and adored by a man. We still like to have a car door opened for us and to be asked out for a drink. Please come and just say hi, we won’t bite.
I only wish I could really change the world and how we viewed each other, but just like Susan, all I have is my words and hopefully for now that’s enough. I take pride in being an intelligent woman and have no time for those who are intimidated by me and what I do. I hope the girls at Princeton are not offended by Susan’s letter but see her point. It might be from an old fashioned point of view but this is a modern world and each bit of advice needs to translated into our own language and fit into our views of the way we see people and events. I hope I have been able to help out with my attempt to translate this one for you.