Susan Patton earned the moniker Princeton Mom when she wrote an open letter to the young women of Princeton University, her alma mater: "Find a husband before you graduate," she said. The letter went viral and made the rounds on blogs that called it "extremely offensive" and "inane," but Patton embraced the firestorm and emerged with a deal for an advice book.
Patton admits in "Marry Smart: Advice for Finding the One” that she was “born without a ‘politically correct’ gene.” At a quiet bagel shop on New York’s Upper East Side, she proves just that. Dressed in a pink cardigan, pink silk scarf and a coiffed bouffant piled high on her head, Patton says to this reporter, “Come to temple with me. I’ll take you. Jewish men love Asian women.”
Patton hates the idea of political correctness so much, she devotes an entire chapter to disparaging it in her book.
“Even the term politically correct just doesn’t sound right,” writes Patton. “Correct is correct. … Politically correct means something else. It means wrong — cloaked in a tacit acceptance of these untruths by spineless people hoping to look benevolent, forward-thinking and progressive.”
To drive the point home, she says at the end of the chapter, “Correct needs no modifier. Politically correct means wrong.”
Most of Patton’s beliefs are politically incorrect — some shockingly so.
“I think date rape is a fallacy,” she says. “I really object to the concept of the words ‘date rape.’ … To refer to sex that a woman really didn’t feel like having but wound up having anyway because she didn’t know how to leave or regrets it — that’s not rape of any sort. That’s sex you wish you didn’t have. That’s mistake sex.” This idea is an expansion on a chapter in Patton’s book called “Behaving Badly.” Here’s a hint: She’s talking about women, not men.
It would be entirely inaccurate to say Patton puts her foot in her mouth. Instead, she says everything very deliberately and with conviction, and it is clear that she will say them again — and she does. Patton has a habit of repeating herself to make sure she is heard. She repeats the phrases “mistake sex” and “sex you didn’t feel like having” about half a dozen times after denying that date rape exists.
When asked about educating men not to pressure women into sex, she says, “Don’t tell women [that] men bear responsibility, because that’s dangerous.”
Instead, she says, women should not get drunk. “You better learn your own limits,” she says, pointing a finger in the air.
Given this rhetoric, it’s not surprising that Patton rejects modern feminism.
“I certainly am an early beneficiary of the good works of the feminist movement,” she allows. “I used to think a feminist was somebody who believed women should be afforded equal opportunities and rights to men. It might have started that way, but it’s gone to the dark side. It’s an extreme position of demanding independence from men and looking at them as unnecessary. This is terrible for women.”
Patton also blames feminists for the casual sex phenomenon.
“There’s nothing empowering about casual sex,” she says. “Women psychologically respond to sex differently. Casual sex for women is damaging to their mind; it’s damaging to their body; it’s damaging to their soul; it’s damaging to their heart.”
Patton has a theory about women who spend their youths experimenting and dallying in casual encounters: “It’s all fun and games until you wind up an old spinster with cats. Then it’s not fun and games.”
And Patton believes that, deep down, everyone agrees with her.
“They know it’s true,” she says. “They just don’t like hearing it. They know it’s true. It’s become unpopular to say it because of the feminist rhetoric, and women don’t want to incur the wrath of angry, bitter, vitriolic feminists.”
Oddly enough, some of the things Patton says are spoken like a true feminist.
“A man’s not going to make you happy,” she says. “You have to make yourself happy.”
For Patton, finding a husband is largely a means to an end — having a father for your child. She believes that it is imperative for young women to be just as calculating toward achieving this goal as they would be toward planning a career.
"Women have to be responsible for their own safety and plan for their personal happiness with at least the same commitment and dedication they’re planning for professional success,” she advises — personal happiness meaning having children.
Patton considers her own marriage a success because it produced her two sons (both Princeton Tigers), even though it ended in divorce after 27 years. But she says this may not be the case for all women.
“If you don’t want to have children or be married, then this book is probably not for you,” she says.
Patton even says if having children isn’t a top priority, then “take your time. Date however many men you want.”
But her advice to women who do want children?
“Be nice. Learn how to cook. Dress nicely. Learn how to be a good girlfriend. Be sweet. What’s wrong with any of that?” she shrugs.
Just don’t wait until you’re 32: “That’s absolutely time to settle for Mr. Good Enough.”
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark