"Princeton Mom" Susan Patton Was Wrong: Dudes Need To Find Wives In College

PRINCETON, NJ - APRIL 29: Princeton University students hold a Filibuster protest in front of the Frist Center April 29, 2005 in Princeton, New Jersey. The students have been protesting the Senate Republicans bid to end the Filibuster since April 26. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Source: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you’ll remember all the way back to March of last year, a stuffy “Princeton Mom” named Susan Patton made waves with a letter she wrote to the editor of The Daily Princetonian. The letter, which went viral in short order, admonished young women to nail down their future husbands before graduation. Patton was at it again last week with a similar piece for The Wall Street Journal.

Once young women graduate from college, according to Princeton Mom, they will see their romantic prospects dwindle greatly as all the handsome rich dudes got snapped up by younger successful women like piranha bait. But now Eliana Dockterman of Time is suggesting that Princeton Mom was giving her brilliant advice to the wrong gender.

Using a variety of economic markers, Dockterman makes the compelling case that a man’s stock drops dramatically after they’ve graduated college. Of course, this decline in desirability has nothing to do with their good looks or great personality — the young men of America’s “financial clocks” are ticking away as they inch toward their bachelor’s degree.

According to the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Product, men apparently make a lot more money over the course of their lifetime if they settle down with a wife in their 20s. Unfortunately for dudes everywhere, the picture doesn’t improve as they age. Dockerman writes, “The longer you wait, the worse your prospects are. If current trends continue, any woman you’re currently attending college with will be making more than you in 10 years. If you wait too long, she’ll be financially independent and and looking for a young, hot guy willing to be a stay-at-home dad while she conquers her field of choice.”

It seems as if the tables have turned, boys. Essentially, by bothering with that pesky equality thing, women are making it much more difficult for men to lock down a “traditional” wifey — one who stays home, or one who works but is certainly content to play second fiddle to her successful, rich husband.

There’s also “the alternative” — dudes could always marry a dumb girl. But, according to Dockerman, the young male Einsteins currently attending college are probably too smart to suffer through life with someone who doesn’t share their intellectual depth. “How long could you really stick with someone who doesn’t want to talk about Ibsen? And you’re not actually considering having children with someone who doesn’t know Ibsen, are you?!?”

For the record, I had to Google “Ibsen,” so I’m obviously not marriage material for any of these smart dudes. (Apparently he’s some 19th century Norwegian playwright for all you other airheads out there.) If only I had just managed to lock down that brooding-yet-dreamy business student who also enjoyed Foucault and Renaissance poetry when we were both cutting our teeth in freshman liberal arts classes. Oh well.

In a schadenfreude kind of way, it is kind of nice to see the same ridiculous expectations of settling down with a spouse, a house, and 2.5 kids immediately after getting your B.A. being applied to men. Either way, men and women should just stop listening to all of these ridiculous prescriptions about what life is “supposed” to be and just find a lady (or dude) that they can enjoy eating Cheetos on the couch with. 


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