Stupid Advice About "Marrying Smart" in New Book
Last week, collegiate women everywhere were offered some advice that seemed to be sent via mimeograph directly from 1955. Author Susan Patton, who dubs herself "The Princeton Mom," released her book Marry Smart: Advice for Finding THE ONE (capitals hers). The book is a self-help guide, if you will, on how to bag a good man early on in life -- when young women are in college. Patton then goes into great detail, based on her own personal experience and that of people she knows, on why this is the best time for such an endeavor.
Some of the advice Patton offers is genuinely sound: Look for good boys because they make good men; don't date married men; if he cheats with you, he'll cheat on you. All of this is fair. The book is broken into parts based on age, college years, twenties, thirties and the differences in finding a "mate" (God, I hate that word) through these times in a woman's life. And despite what we want to say, finding a guy in your twenties is significantly different from finding one when you are 30. But very quickly, Patton's advice turns into a bad episode of The Donna Reed Show, except even Donna Reed wouldn't put herself down like Patton is suggesting young women everywhere start to do.
The crux of Patton's book is that young college women need to be intelligent and find a man while in school. If finding said man gets in the way of your studies or personal exploration, well, that's just fine by her. You'll have plenty of time to get a career going, but so many smart, capable and, most important, single men will never again surround you at once; the time for snagging one is nigh!
Patton is right on the one hand -- being in college is probably the last time you will be living among a plethora of college-age men, but smart? Capable? College guys? Hey, Susan Patton, when was the last time you were in college? That's right: a long, long time ago.
As someone who married late in life, relatively speaking, I can't disagree more with Patton's advice about finding the right guy in college, in addition to some of Patton's other advice.
"It is particularly off-putting when older women suggest that girls be almost reckless in whom they sleep with before marriage..."
Patton goes on to say that the old adage of kissing a few frogs before you find your prince is terrible advice. Date the good guys, she cries, and don't waste your time with the bad boys. While I agree that in the end, the good guy is the one you want, how do you know who's good and who's not until you know? You really can't, and it's not even so much about good guys versus bad boys. The way Patton describes the bad ones is that they are riding up to you on motorcycles in black leather jackets, and they cut class and carry switchblades and they all hate their moms. They are evil! But really, most guys aren't so black-and-white.
As someone who has dated enough frogs to start my own arboretum, I can fully attest that none of them seemed that way from the start (well, maybe that one guy). Bad boys are attractive often after the first few dates; that's how they get you! You have so much fun together, and then they don't call. And then they do and yippee! And then they don't again. You get the point.
Knowing is half the battle, and you can't know who's a catch before you know which ones you should have thrown back in the ocean or gutted with your fish hook.
"You'll never be more attractive than you are as a young woman."
It is very true that young women have skin unmarred by wrinkles and smile lines, their hair has a sheen to it that reflects the sun, their bodies have the uncanny ability to bounce back quickly after things like pregnancy and the freshman 15, and they wear attractive yet uncomfortable clothing and never complain abut their boobs hurting or how they wished they wore more sensible shoes out to dinner.
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