Princeton Mom’s Dating Tips Anger Women of All Ages

Seeking savvy dating tips to find a husband? Don’t look to the Princeton Mom!

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Princeton Mom – Susan Patton

Last year, Susan Patton, alum and mother of two Princeton sons, shared her dating tips on finding a husband while still in college in the Daily Princetonian newspaper. Her opinion on how coeds should spend more time looking for love then working on career sent shock waves through women of all ages.

This year, the rewritten op ed piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Valentine’s Day. As a dating coach for women over 40, I can see what caused the fury.

Here are six of Susan’s most annoying points for college girls:

  1. Insinuates that women should marry early. Over 30, single gals will likely compete with younger women and fail to land a decent husband
  2. Don’t fall for the old P.C. feminist line that educated ambitious women can’t have it all – great jobs and a family
  3. You could marry a man who isn’t your intellectual equal if you wait, but what will you talk about if he doesn’t know Norwegian playwrights or medieval tapestries?
  4. Don’t have casual sex with a guy who could become your husband because men still don’t buy the cow if the milk is free.
  5. College is an environment teeming with like-minded, age appropriate single men and you’ll never find this concentration of single guys again
  6. Women invest more in planning for their careers than their personal happiness

Point #1 – Marry early or else. Huffington Post shared an angry rebuttal written by Emma Gray who at 26 says, “Thanks, but no thanks”. Like most of the response pieces, Emma’s hackles were raised by the idea that eating sushi and watching Downton Abby shouldn’t be enough for today’s young, career-minded women. Instead they should work on getting a husband.

Emma goes on to point out that young women like her are looking for love, working on careers that are not a waste of time, enjoying sex without preventing them from finding love, and still value marriage and motherhood. That is good to hear. Of course you can find love and marry after college! Women do not have an expiration date. See point #5 below.

Point #2 – Don’t fall for the feminist line. Slate.com did a post that listed quotes and determined whether men or women should be more insulted. Funny! Interestingly enough, the writer, Katy Waldman (who must be a youngster) did not know what the P.C. Feminist line is, even though Susan stated her version in the next sentence (You can’t have it all – a great job and a family) By the way, that’s incorrect!

This is evidence of how lost the old feminist ideas really are. The point was women CAN HAVE IT ALL. Peggy Lee sang the lyric, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let you forget you’re a man”  from I’m a Woman in the 60’s. I’ll put ignorance about women’s lib aside for now.

The Slate piece did point out how a Match.com study showed men aren’t at all turned off by smart women. And Salon.com quoted the New York Times piece which explained new research revealing “Women in the top 15% of earners are now more likely to be married than their lower-earning counterparts”. That pretty much pokes a big hole in Patton’s worries.

Point #3 – Marry your intellectual equal. Now it’s true, I didn’t go to an Ivy leagues school, but I do have an MBA. This may surprise you, but I actually have chatted about medieval tapestries with a group of women (from the book Woman with the Alabaster Jar), but not with men.

My husband is a mechanic and I would say we aren’t focused on intellectual conversation. Instead we like to laugh and I enjoy his sense of humor immensely. And when we play Trivial Pursuit – we are evenly matched, although not on the same topics, which makes us a formidable team. You can be plenty bright without college.

Point #4 – Don’t have casual sex. I have noticed the stigma about having sex outside of a monogamous relationship has shifted. Seems like everyone is doing it, at least from what I see on TV. Just look at Vanderpump Rules – they all sleep with each other even when in a supposed committed relationship.

Jeff Mac, author of Manslations, shared his point of view that men no longer hold it against a woman if she sleeps with him on the first date. He says the guy either likes her or he doesn’t, regardless of when she chose to sleep with him. (I interviewed Jeff Mac years ago.)

Not being in that younger generation, I can’t say for sure about when to get intimate. I tend to be more traditional. So I think that holding off to better understand a guy’s intentions is smart if you’re looking for lasting love. That might not be sage advice for 20 somethings, even if it makes sense for women dating over 40.

What I do know is that cows today have become really hip! Haven’t you seen those commercials for California Dairy Association? They sing in the shower and talk! Susan’s reference about not buying the cow when the milk is free is so dated, what college girl would listen?

Point #5 – College is teeming with single guys. OK, here’s where I start to agree with Mrs. Patton. College IS a place teeming with singles and there never will be an environment like this again in your life. That’s true. Of course it doesn’t mean you can’t find love after you graduate – how ridiculous!

As we age, the single men do get harder to find and many do want younger women. Yet, a study conducted by AARP discovered 30% of women aged 40 – 70 are dating younger men. That evidence disproves Susan’s theory that all men want younger women. Some must be attracted to older women or who are older women dating?

Keep in mind dating habits of the young have changed. Fewer date and have relationships in high school or college. I’m not sure why that is. Could it be due to the high rate of divorce and single parent households? Could it be a result of so many divorced mothers sacrificing their love lives to focus on the kids till graduation and not being a model for love and relationships?

I can’t say for sure, but things have changed. The birthrate in several European countries is very low, only 1.6% which means the population is not replacing itself. Good for population control, but troubling for many other social reasons. Statistically, people are not marrying and raising families the way they used to do. I wrote about this last year (Global Love Crisis).

Point #6 – Invest more in your love life. As a dating coach for women with 12 years experience, I know this is true. Women do invest way more in their careers than in their love lives and those proportions are probably smart in general speaking. An education is very expensive today and still needed.

However, no one teaches the young how to find love or a boyfriend, or how to maintain a healthy relationship. There is no formal training or education. For the most part, girls/women are on their own, having nothing more to learn from than their family, movies, TV and books and girlfriends. That might not be enough to improve marriage success or lasting love given the current 50% divorce rate.

let me ask you this thought provoking question, “What would your love life look like if you had invested more time and money to learn about love, how to find it and keep it going?” Being in this profession, I am biased. My hope is that you can consider the idea, realize it has some merit and makes sense when you think it through.

Who is Susan Patton really talking to?

Overall, the problem with Susan Patton’s dating tips is that she seems to be talking to older women in their late 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who might wish they started seeking love sooner. Get real Susan, no one can go back and fix that – you can only be present and move forward. The only people who will probably by her book will be women my age giving it to their college-aged daughters – like that will have an impact.

It’s Never Too Late!

As a dating coach for women over 40, I say – “It’s never too late!” I had a big career, and still found love and married for the first time at 43. Regardless of your love history, you can find love today. Stop worrying about controversial dating tips like Patton’s and how you don’t like it. Channel all that energy and invest instead in WHAT YOU DO WANT – whether that’s career or love or both – go for it.

2 responses on “Princeton Mom’s Dating Tips Anger Women of All Ages

  1. Ronnie Post author

    Thanks for your comment Cynthia. Yes, I agree about the fearmongering and it’s a shame really. Not very productive. For you, I recommend holding the vision of love. One of my clients just got married for the first time at 53 and another for the second at 54. Finding love is completely possible at any age and regardless of your romantic history!

  2. Cynthia

    Awesome take-down of the Princeton Mom, Ronnie! I agree with you 100%. Remember how much flack that Newsweek story got for saying women over 35 were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to get married? I feel like the esteemed Mrs. Patton has not learned from that lesson.

    I’m still single at 51, but it’s not for lack of trying when I was in college! The only advice I got when I was in my ’20s that now I wish I’d really listened to, was put money away for your retirement. And meeting the right man tomorrow won’t fix that!

    Thanks, Ronnie, for a thoughtful response to Patton’s terrifying display of fearmongering and condescension. Like Ann Coulter before her, saying ugly things in service of a book deal, it’s all about the attention.

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