Hello, friends. I don’t know who’s reading this, and maybe no one ever will. But I don’t care. It is my mission to write. My voice was meant to be heard and I have always known this. So, I’m back to blogging, and I intend to stick with it this time. Any and everything will happen here at wildflowerpastiche. I hope you’ll stay around.
First thing on deck is my response to one Ms. Susan Patton. In case you missed it, last week a Princeton alum wrote a piece entitled “Advice for the young women of Princeton” that got such an overwhelming response on the Daily Princetonian that it crashed their site. In her article, which broke to the public on April 1, Ms. Patton told this generation of Princeton women to find their husbands while still in school. If they don’t, she suggests that they probably aren’t going to have a good relationship with a man on their level. Ever. (If you’d like more details on what Ms. Patton actually said, you can read some of her thoughts on Madame Noire here or follow the link to the original CNN Money article here.) Well. That’s pretty disparaging advice. And while I can see where she’s coming from, I think there are some strong points she missed about the world of dating during and after college.
The POSITIVE of Post Grad Dating
I think Ms. Patton is forgetting a very large, modern exception to the rule: Online Dating. I have a female friend who is recently engaged to a man she met using an online dating site while in grad school. She is over-the-moon happy; they’re going to be great together ‘cause he’s a comparable, suitable match for her on every level; and her search barely interrupted her studies and career goals. Call that dumb luck if you want, but let’s not completely overlook online dating as an answer to the question of how to expand the limited post grad dating pool. And that’s to say nothing of finding people through things like shared hobbies, mutual friends, work, religious groups, or other community settings centered on common values. Yes, the game is way different after graduation. But if you are amazing, single, and looking with degree in hand, who’s to say your match isn’t out there doing the same?
The NEGATIVE of Post Grad Dating (from the female perspective)
On the flip side, I do have to agree with the author that it probably would be easier to find a like-minded partner with similar interests while still in school. I mean, that’s kind of a “duh” point, but still. A lot of my female counterparts aged 24-34 like myself are smart, self-sufficient, and pretty happy with where they are and what they’re doing. A lot of us are also more than a little anxious about our continued singleness. It is a truly bewildering experience to find a mature, well rounded, “manly man” who gets your personality and whose values and idiosyncrasies mesh with yours. For me the toughest case in this regard is a friend of mine who I frequently refer to as The Strongest Woman I Know. And she is. She is uncommonly intelligent, hardworking, tough as nails, wise, exciting to be around, strong in faith, loved by everyone she meets, a great mom, sexy, successful, focused on her goals, open and ready to love and to settle down … and still looking. She is the quintessential, Maya Angelou “Phenomenal Woman” and I can’t understand for the life of me why someone hasn’t snatched her up yet. Had she dated more in college, would she be married by now? There’s no guarantee on that. But maybe she would be.
On Men with College Degrees
It’s a piece of paper.
While earning a degree shows a certain level of follow through and ambition, it does not guarantee a man who is relationship ready at graduation. I’ve seen that first hand. College degrees don’t guarantee higher intelligence either. Two of the smartest men I know do not have degrees at all. They are self-taught, highly principled men who did not require formal education to be knowledgeable and cultured. Of the two of them, one is currently pursuing a bachelor’s, but he’s really only in it for the increased earning potential. What he’s studying isn’t as important to him as having the paper. And for the record, he and I met on a dating site online. And while we are good friends and I have my reasons for not dating him, I’m fairly confident that one of the reasons he is not dating me is that I – the one of the two of us with a degree – am not smart enough for HIM and I don’t have enough to offer HIM intellectually. How ‘bout them uneducated apples?
What I Believe at the End of the Day
You attract what you are. It’s a law of life. And the fact of the matter is that many of us, at 22, don’t know who we are and what we want. At least not completely. Because we’re not mature enough yet. So, yes, one could choose to leave college with a lifelong mate in tow. And it works well for some people. But it certainly isn’t for everyone. And let’s not forget that in 5 years at age 27, your wants and needs may be totally different. They could be even more different 5 years later at 32. As I grow, I believe more and more that personality brings people together, but character keeps them together. So while I agree with Ms. Patton that networking, dating, and finding a mate in college is easier than the post grad alternative, I wish she had been able to see that the easy way is not necessarily the best way. I wish she had told today’s graduates not to just arbitrarily make relationships, but rather to learn how to make good relationships work. And how to spot a person with strong character who knows how to do the same. That is the real skill. That is the real goal. Healthy relationships that balance healthy ambition are the real triumph. And if you can’t master that while you’re in college, fine. It’s really not a big deal at all. Live your life. Work on you. Have fun. Learn stuff. And, of course, keep going on dates. Your shelf life is longer than you think.