I was scrolling through my Twitter feed today, when I came across this tweet:
— Christian Heilmann (@codepo8) February 14, 2014
I was intrigued, to say the least, and had to read it for myself. Part of me wishes I hadn’t.
Susan Patton apparently felt the need to give all the young, unmarried women out there a bit of “straight talk.” And the Wall Street Journal, in what I can only imagine was a moment of temporary insanity, decided to publish her bit of nonsense.
Ms. Patton’s article is filled with real gems of wisdom (I need a sarcasm font…), such as:
“Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.”
So I need to hide my intelligence, play the dumb-blonde to find my husband? Didn’t we stop teaching that malarkey to women decades ago? What happens when 5 years into the marriage, I can’t pretend anymore? How long am I supposed to hide my true self from “the man of my dreams?” And why on Earth would I want a man who wasn’t attracted to me for all that I am, including my intelligence?
“You may not be ready for marriage in your early 20s (or maybe you are), but keep in touch with the men that you meet in college, especially the super smart ones. They’ll probably do very well for themselves, and their desirability will only increase after graduation. “
So, you’re encouraging young women to play dumb AND be gold-diggers? Excellent…
Are you giving this same advice to college-aged males? Or is it only women that go to college looking for mates? And, if you are giving them the same advice, shouldn’t these college women be focusing on their studies so that their male counterparts find them just as desirable? Oh, sorry, I forgot!
Oh, sorry, I forgot! According to you, intelligent, well-educated men are only interested in women who are “less challenging” and smart women can only be considered a challenge.
Of all the “advice” she gives, there was one especially offensive tidbit that stood out to me:
Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry.
The cornerstone of my future happiness is the man I marry? Really?
I don’t know about you, but I AM the cornerstone of my happiness.
Not a man! Not my family, not my friends, not my job – all of which I love!
Now, Ms. Patton would probably like to tell you that I am just one of the evil feminist that she references with thinly veiled disgust.
Yes, Ms. Patton, I am a feminist, but not in the man-hating, bra-burning, unshaved way that you probably imagine.
I believe in equal rights for men and women, blacks and whites, cats and dogs.
I believe in equal pay for equal work and the right to choose my career, whether it be in the home or out of it.
I believe that men have just as much right to be the stay-at-home parent as women do.
But my definition of “feminist” is a rant for another post!
And, no, I’m not married. Again, not because I’m a man-hating feminist; I just haven’t found the man for me.
When I do find him, however, I expect to share my life with him. I do not expect him (or want him) to be my life.
What it comes down to is this: People (and life) are going to disappoint you.
If you base your entire happiness on one person (man or woman), you are setting yourself up to be hurt and setting them up for failure.
Let’s forget for a moment that people are, well, human and are bound to mess up at some point and concentrate on the fact that life doesn’t always go as planned.
While I am not married myself, I was fortunate to grow up with a wonderful example of marriage.
My parents were married for 28 years when my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He died shortly before their 30th wedding anniversary.
Now, on top of dealing with my own grief, I was worried about my mom. I was worried that she would follow the path of her mother.
My grandmother was a woman that Ms. Patton would be proud of: my grandfather was the cornerstone of her happiness.
After he died, my grandmother changed. Whereas before she was the grandmother that every kid dreams of, she became withdrawn and distant, even bitter after my Papa’s death. Before, if we rang the doorbell and ran, she’d have locked us out of the house and made faces at us through the window, sprayed us with the water hose or otherwise retaliated in some fun way. Now she yelled at us.
The only time I saw remnants of the Mema I knew, was early in the morning when it would be just the two of us and a bowl of Cheerios (which contained more sugar than actual Cheerios).
My grandmother only survived my grandfather by about 3 years. The doctor said it was her heart, and he was right, but not in the way he thought.
So when my dad died, I was worried about my mom following that path.
Thankfully, I’m not the only person to realize that their happiness can’t be based on someone else!
Mom was heartbroken when my dad died and, even six years after his death, I know she misses him every day. She would do anything to have him back in her life.
But because she is the cornerstone of her own happiness, she continues to live a happy and full life. She has family, friends, work, church…all of which adds to her happiness, but does not create it.
This is what we should be teaching young people, women and men alike:
Learn to be happy with yourself, for only you can make yourself truly happy!
For shame, Ms. Patton, for shame…I certainly hope you never have daughters!