Friday, 11 April 2014

Are single female graduates doomed to die alone - or worse, settle? - Telegraph

Are single female graduates doomed to die alone - or worse, settle? - Telegraph

Controversial author, Susan Patton, aka 'The Princeton Mom' thinks girls
should find The One at university, or they'll be stuck with a poor calibre
of single men. A single Rebecca Holman has been mulling her words and
puts forward the case against being a 'power couple' 

"She's clearly wrong, men are queuing up to marry obese, bossy know-it-alls"

Rebecca Holman didn't find a man at uni, but is now wondering if she should have

Rebecca Holman didn't find a man at uni, but is now wondering if she should have 

The internet got really cross this Valentine’s Day, when Wall Street Journal published
a thought piece from Susan Patton
, as a preview to her new book Marry
Smart: Advice For Finding THE ONE.
In her article, and subsequent book,
Patton says that young women need to get onto it and find a husband at
college, if they want to marry someone who’s their intellectual and
financial equal.

The basic premise is, once you leave university, you will meet these men, just
not as many. And anyway, men are more likely to marry women who are younger,
less intelligent and less educated. Those degrees you’ve been lugging around
with you? Incredibly unattractive to the opposite sex.

Do you wish you'd found 'The One' at uni?

The internet has disagreed with Patton (also known as The
Princeton Mom
) voraciously, not least because 98.7 per cent of what
she says is ridiculous - including suggesting that young women with weight
issues should resolve these with surgery before going to university; that
until you meet a husband, women should spend 75 per cent of their time
focusing on that and 25 per cent on their actual job, and the biggest
clanger of them all, that if a woman is sexually assaulted after getting too
drunk to consent ‘then it’s all on you’.

Clearly she’s mad, but what if, as with all mad tomes written by mad people,
there’s a grain of truth in her basic argument? What if university was the
best possible opportunity to meet someone and I squandered it through a
combination of poor romantic choices, poor drinking choices and poor haircut
choices? I've been mulling her thesis ever since.

I’ve always subscribed to the
theory that the first round of divorcees
(i.e. those 35-39 year olds
who are statistically more likely to split from their first spouse in the
first decade of marriage) are my target audience. You know - those chaps who
emerge from their first marriage in their early thirties, blinking into the
sunshine, ready for me to swoop in while they’re momentarily

But what if I’ve been wrong all this time? On my course at university, 80 per
cent of the students were male. Having since gone on to work in a
female-dominated industry where a man in the office isn’t quite a novelty,
but is certainly a talking point, I’ve never again had that same captive
audience. I spent every day for three years with 60 men, lets say 50 per
cent of whom went on to be interesting/eligible adults (broadly speaking).
Did I capitalise on it? What do you think?

And even if Patton is insane, new research by the National
Bureau For Economic Research
has shown that ‘power couples’ are
increasingly hooking up at university (or ‘mating factories’), going for
partners with similar academic, professional and economic potential. So is
that it for me? Did I miss my chance at 21, on account of the fact that I
was 21 and had no idea who I wanted to be, let alone who I wanted my partner
to be?

How different would I be and my life be if, at 20, I’d had the wherewithal to
become part of a ‘power couple’? Presumably I’d have had to go with someone
who bought wealth and success to the equation – to compliment my monstrous
levels of charisma and slightly higher than average pie-making skills. Would
I now live in a house with stairs, own pasta dishes and spend my weekends on
a constant rotating wheel, visiting in-laws, friends with children and Ikea?
Would I go on couple’s holidays and suddenly get invited to 60 percent more
dinner parties? Probably.

But it’s not all good news (ha!). Having spent the last decade in a power
partnership, I’d probably only ever be referred to as one half of a pair.
When talking about my partner, I’d refer to them as my ‘other half’ -
because by now I’d have ceased to exist in my own right - I’d be 50 per cent
of one entity.

Relationships take hard work and compromise, and as an adult (again, ha!) I
recognise that you have to give away a certain amount of yourself to make it
work. I’m not sure if I want to do it, but if I do, I’ve spent enough time
on my own, as a fully-fledged grown up, to know which bits of myself are
important to hold on to and which bits could go. I already know who I am,
which bits of myself I like, and which bits I’m not so keen on. At 20, when
I should have been scouring the halls at uni for a future mate, I didn’t
have a clue.

So, I can see why meeting your future ‘other half’ when you’re at uni might
seem so beguiling - Ikea! Pasta Dishes! Never having to go on Tinder! But
fast forward the fantasy by 30 years and I’d emerge from that particular
union, aged 50 with no idea who I was, what I wanted or how to change a
fuse, only to embark on a middle aged pseudo-spiritual shag fest like a
Denise Welch/Elizabeth Gilbert Hybrid. Far more sensible to get all of that
'finding yourself' mumbo-jumbo out of the way now, I say.