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Woman looking happy as red hearts float around her head.
Valentine's Day advice for women from a Wall Street Journal op-ed: "Men won't buy the cow if the milk is free." Yes, in 2014. The overall message to (highly educated, upper-middle-class) single women from Susan Patton, the "Princeton mom" who made a name for herself by arguing that these college girls today should stop being so picky and get with her awesome son, and who—surprise!—has a book coming out soon, is basically to be afraid. And snobby. Be very afraid and very snobby. First up, afraid:
Think about it: If you spend the first 10 years out of college focused entirely on building your career, when you finally get around to looking for a husband you'll be in your 30s, competing with women in their 20s. That's not a competition in which you're likely to fare well.
It's not just the perky breasts of the younger women, mind you. It's that "Those men who are as well educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women." And what every educated, successful woman wants is a man who's too insecure to share his life with an equal! If you want to be married, ladies, you should plan around appealing to men with that kind of insecurity. Because the alternative is too awful to contemplate:
Could you marry a man who isn't your intellectual or professional equal? Sure. But the likelihood is that it will be frustrating to be with someone who just can't keep up with you or your friends. When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky, you won't find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing.
Please read below the fold for more on Patton's mind-boggling advice.

Seriously, who sits around talking about these things? I'm not going to get into the gory details, but let me assure you that my fiance and I both have credentials that are well in order for almost any level of intellectual snobbery. Yet I don't believe that Jean Cocteau, Henrik Ibsen, or the Bayeux Tapestry has ever come up in our five-plus years together. Who talks like that???

But nevermind. Let's say you're totally that woman. Or the non-caricatured version of her. What should you do, according to Susan Patton, Relationship Expert Who Made The Mistake Of Marrying Down And Is Now Divorced? Obviously:

Start looking early and stop wasting time dating men who aren't good for you: bad boys, crazy guys and married men.
Like college early.
When you find a good man, take it slow.
Cows, milk, etc.

But for all the "don't put out and start looking in your infancy" hackneyed 1950s-style advice, the core of Patton's argument is really snobbery. The danger for the Ivy League women she's aiming her advice at is that the man they marry won't be "brilliant, marriageable," that "in the real world, you'll be stunned by how smart the men are not." And smartness, as we all know, is measured by interest in discussing the Bayeux Tapestry. That, perhaps, is why the one ray of hope Patton holds out from all the fearmongering is her closing: "If you fail to identify 'the one' while you're in college, don't worry—there's always graduate school."

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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