Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – As a matter of fact, I can probably just say I think that’s a good idea for my daughters, the Church daughters, to find a husband, get married, have children and stay at home. “You want to deprive them of a life really lived.” Oh, so a life really lived doesn’t include rearing the next generation of people to live lives really lived? Really, seriously? Wow, I’d love to have that debate in a public forum somewhere. Why don’t we? Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: So you have friends who went to Princeton, so they may be yucking it up about Susan Patton’s letter. It’s a letter to the editor written on March 29, 2013, “Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had.” Mrs. Patton has sons apparently that are going to Princeton. The way that gal-qaeda reacted to her letter was, [mocking] “She’s just trying to hook her sons up with a date. She’s just trying to attract eligible, young, upwardly-mobile females to her sons.” I read the letter. I didn’t take that out of it, but maybe I’m just not cynical enough in my old age. Her letter starts off:
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.
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. 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.
Mike: Come on, AG, you mean to tell me you didn’t want little aristocratic young ladies roaming about the Trinity College countryside in search of you?
AG: Yeah, but I didn’t need the parents of one of the daughters telling the men to find the girl or wife-to-be.
Mike: What’s wrong with a little parental direction, a little parental enthusiasm, encouragement.
AG: If I knew her sons, the joking and the clowning on that they would get would be nonstop.
AG: They would be getting thoroughly joked upon as long as they stayed at Princeton.
Mike: Are they having basketballs thrown at their feet? I just have to pause here. You are a collegiate athlete so you know this. I was talking to someone two days ago about the Rutgers basketball coach that was fire. Our guess is they’re going after the athletic director. Who do they fire after they fire the athletic director? I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we just shut the whole school down?
AG: There are calls for the president’s firing as well because he knew about the videotape in November.
Mike: Let’s just Penn State the whole thing and shut the basketball program down for a decade, how about that? That’ll make Anderson Cooper — who else is yammering on about this on CNN every morning — Soledad O’Brien and the lot. That’ll make them happy, for a day. Anyway, I was talking to someone about this and he was telling me, because he played high school basketball, that the things that — it was Coach Price, right?
Mike: — the things that Coach Rice were yelling at the players are the same things the players yell at one another when the coach isn’t around. You’re out there playing ball with your buddies, just like you just said with Mrs. Patton’s sons, you’re cracking on them all the time. You’re calling them names. It’s all in good fun. Of course, Coach Rice wasn’t doing it in good fun. He was trying to motivate or whatever it was he was trying to do. I remember talking about this when the whole Don Imus thing with the female Rutgers basketball team went down, which I’m not going to repeat what Imus said. I will repeat and I will recall that the things that had so many people up in arms and ready to fine Don Imus and take him to that cliff in Weehawken, New Jersey where Aaron Burr pumped a 43-millimeter lead ball into the liver of Alexander Hamilton and do the same to Imus. I can remember putting together the, and I’m quoting here, “ho” montage of songs that I was easily able to find and string together from popular music of the time. I didn’t even have to go back a year or so. It was all playing on the radio at that time. Imus can’t say it but all these guys that rap about it can say it. There’s even women on the montage that were singing.
I think these things happen. It seems to me, and I don’t know if anyone has commented about this, but it seems to me that had there not been major broadcast media with multimedia capability, Coach Rice today would probably still be Coach Rice. If the parents and faculty at Rutgers University had found out about this and had there not been the transmission of videotape to every living soul on planet Earth, they probably could have dealt with this in a far more calm and deliberate manner. They probably could have saved themselves all the ire and scorn that has been thrown their way. Now there’s a black eye on the entire university. You could say [mocking] “No, Mike, it’s only on the coach.” No, it’s not. People are going to think Rutgers basketball and they’re going to go, [mocking] “What a bunch of demagoguing homophobes they’ve got running around there. Don’t send your kids there. Don’t go anywhere near there.” Some people are going to say, [mocking] “If you’d have kept that coach there, I’d have sent my entire family to go play basketball at Rutgers.”
I don’t know that Mrs. Patton has caused her sons that much grief that they weren’t already getting. It will certainly add to it. I don’t think her point is any less valid. Here’s what she writes, in part:
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.
Mike: Well, Mrs. Patton, it’s seen as heresy today. As a matter of fact, I can probably just say I think that’s a good idea for my daughters, the Church daughters, to find a husband, get married, have children and stay at home. [mocking] “You want to deprive them of a life really lived.” Oh, so a life really lived doesn’t include rearing the next generation of people to live lives really lived? Really, seriously? Wow, I’d love to have that debate in a public forum somewhere. Why don’t we?
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.
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. [Mike: I’m not cynical enough to read this to think that Mrs. Patton is using this forum to try and get her sons a hook-up. It seems like ubiquitous advice to me, not necessarily directed at just the women who may seek her sons out.] 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.
Mike: This is where the term “trophy wife” comes from. Do you ever watch any of the Housewives of shows? I don’t think they have Baltimore yet, but they have New Jersey, Atlanta, Beverly Hills. Have you ever seen them?
Mike: Just for social or for research, a good one to watch is the Housewives of Atlanta. Just watch and learn. You don’t have to like it. Just watch it for the sheer shock value. I guarantee you after one episode you will say to yourself: Maybe I should watch another episode just to find out if there are more broads on here that are as screwy as these. Yes, I went there.
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.
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.
Mike: Isn’t she really telling the girls: When you get out in the real world, there are a lot of dummies out there. You’re going to find all manner of dummies out there. You don’t want to settle for a dummy. You want to marry yourself someone who’s smart and can pass IQ exams with +130 scores.
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?
If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.
Signed Susan A. Patton, President of the Class of 1977
End Mike Church Show Transcript