“Find A Husband On Campus Before You Graduate:” Why Susan Patton’s Advice Didn’t Work For Me

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    Apparently, I did college all wrong.

    Instead of trying to find a husband, I was trying to convince my economics professor I deserved a passing grade. Instead of choosing from the pool of the Howard University men who surrounded me, I choose between being a vegetarian or a meat eater.

    I assure you, just like picking a life mate, that was not an easy choice to make.

    I had better things to do than think of who would make a suitable husband. I was trying to figure out how to create a suitable me. Was college not about finding yourself and exploring your options? Was it not about trying new foods and experiences and causes to protest and religions to practice? What have movies like Higher Learning and The Rules Of Attraction been teaching us this whole time!

    But alas, I, along with the other girls in my social circle, was doing it all wrong. According to Princeton University mom Susan Patton, I was this smart, well-rounded…but single-as hell woman because I didn’t find a husband in college like I was supposed to.

    Okay, maybe she didn’t say it like that, but her open letter to the Daily Princetonian went a little something like this…

    “I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. 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.”

    Oh, so that’s why my instagram is full of Pinterest-style weddings, “pic-stitch” posts of a high school friend’s cousin’s surprise engagement and trendy wedding cupcakes with elaborate fondant. 

    Now that I know I should have been looking for a husband the entire time I was in college, these screenshots I send to my lonely, single friends aren’t as funny as they used to be.

    Now we’re all mid-twenties and unmarried because we didn’t submit to the antiquated idea that we should have found a husband in college. Instead of ironing our husbands shirt’s the next day, we’re getting drunk on wine and watching reality television together before we iron our own clothes for a days work. And we shouldn’t feel bad about that.

    But Patton just doesn’t want us to be great. It gets even worse, she says.

    Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen?

    YIKES! Now that I’m a college graduate, my chances of even finding a man who might want my wrinkly lady parts is slim to none? I have literally passed on every chance I had to be with someone who is equally yoked with me! And I’ll end up a cat lady, drinking sangia from dusty bottles sold in a bodega and hating on those college friends that snagged a man back in 2005?

    Ok, enough of my scathing sarcasm…I’m not going to dismantle Patton’s argument (which she so passionately defends) with references from Mona Lisa Smile and “Lean In” commentary from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (although the little feminist running around in my head with her fist to the air seriously wants to).

    The fact is, Susan actually has some good points.

    After all, if I’m not working in the male-dominated world of tech or business or anything corporate, when will I ever be surrounded by that crop of educated, worthy men?

    And considering I didn’t go to ivy-league Princeton and instead the most prestigious black university in the nation, what are the odds that I’ll be in an environment that affords me the opportunity to fratenize with a concentrated amount of educated, black men ever again?

    The thought is scary, and it’s certainly a point to consider while in college. In fact, I chose an historically black college because I knew that opportunities of being surrounded with my peers in that inspiring, safe environment were slim outside of those four years.

    But no Susan, not because I needed to find a husband. As a freshman I shouldn’t have been worried about snagging the senior who was going to be starting medical school. I needed to be (and was) focused on how to successfully study with GlobalGrind’s loud music editor living next door in an all-girl’s dorm.

    While I don’t agree with her delivery…or even the way she basically dooms all us wonderfully single twenty somethings who missed the memo years ago, there is something to be said about surrounding yourself with like-minded, educated people…if that’s your thing.

    But college isnt’t the end all be all (Hello! Happy Hours and Homecomings…I’m halfway kidding).

    Let us worry about academics and how the hell we’re going to justify our $100,000 paper diploma with a minimum wage job before we start worrying about a got-damn man.

    Susan never got the memo? Boys are trouble. Grades come first.


    Christina Coleman 

    Christina Coleman is the News and Politics Editor at GlobalGrind. Prior to this she was a science writer. That explains her NASA obsession. She crushes on Anthony Bourdain. Nothing explains that.

    Follow her on Twitter @ChrissyCole 

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