Who says America isn’t a class ridden, snobbish country built on thinly disguised elitism? Former Princeton alumni and mother of two Princeton sons Susan A. Patton wrote a brilliantly unselfconscious letter to the women of Princeton begging them to sleep with her son in order to further her dreams of spawning more generations of Princetonians.
As a product of English upper middle class schooling, I’m all to familiar with this socially acceptable form of eugenics, so I’ve provided a translation of the letter Patton published at the universities student news website, TheDailyPrincetonian:
By SUSAN A. PATTON
Published: Friday, March 29th, 2013
Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had
Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out — here’s what you really need to know that nobody is telling you.
For years (decades, really) we have been bombarded with advice on professional advancement, breaking through that glass ceiling and achieving work-life balance. We can figure that out — we are Princeton women. If anyone can overcome professional obstacles, it will be our brilliant, resourceful, very well-educated selves.
Translation: I went to Princeton, I’m a woman, and I’m very, very clever.
A few weeks ago, I attended the Women and Leadership conference on campus that featured a conversation between President Shirley Tilghman and Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and I participated in the breakout session afterward that allowed current undergraduate women to speak informally with older and presumably wiser alumnae.
Translation: I’m an overachiever and like being around other overachievers. And did I mention I’m a woman and very, very clever?
I attended the event with my best friend since our freshman year in 1973. You girls glazed over at preliminary comments about our professional accomplishments and the importance of networking. Then the conversation shifted in tone and interest level when one of you asked how have Kendall and I sustained a friendship for 40 years. You asked if we were ever jealous of each other. You asked about the value of our friendship, about our husbands and children. Clearly, you don’t want any more career advice. At your core, you know that there are other things that you need that nobody is addressing. A lifelong friend is one of them. Finding the right man to marry is another.
Translation: Princeton women are so clever they don’t need career advice, that’s why they only asked me for relationship advice.
When I was an undergraduate in the mid-seventies, the 200 pioneer women in my class would talk about navigating the virile plains of Princeton as a precursor to professional success. Never being one to shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion, I said that I wanted to get married and have children. It was seen as heresy.
Translation: What an extraordinarily brave (and clever) woman I was to mention I wanted to get married and have children 35 years ago in a very conservative university!
For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.
Translation: I married a loser from a no-name university and got divorced. [NB. This actually happened]
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.
Translation: I spawned Princetonians, and their mission in life is to spawn more Princetonians. They could marry anyone they want, but please check out my younger one, because he can’t get laid.
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.
Translation: I’m not pretty, but I’m very, very clever.
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.
Translation: I’m saying it again but in a different way: If you go Princeton, you’re much smarter than everyone else.
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.
Translation: I’m repeating myself here….
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?
Translation: Please, please consider my younger son….
If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.
Translation: Your mothers should be telling you to marry my younger son.
Susan A. Patton ’77
President of the Class of 1977
New York, N.Y.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.