The Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled 'A Little Valentine's Day Straight Talk' last Friday. And, of course, since love tips I glean from WSJ (written by women who look like this) are as good as gospel, I dove right in.
First of all, the author, Susan Patton, egregiously assumed that sad singles spent their Valentine’s watching “Downton Abbey.” Psh, obviously we were all glued to the highly anticipated, just-released “House of Cards.” Duh. Know your audience, come on lady.
In her article, Patton urges women my age (24 — in just a few days, woohoo!) to put down the sushi delivery menu, to turn off “Downton Abbey” (see: earlier point) and to “smarten up.” According to good ‘ole Suze, we have to stop investing our time and energy into our careers and start focusing on finding a husband. I'm not kidding — that's literally what she wrote.
She also kindly added that my biological clock is ticking, that I should abstain from promiscuity to up my chances for finding a mate (why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free — she actually wrote that, too) and that I should go ahead and be competitive with women who are younger than I am (like who — preteens?!) because they'll get all the good men while I'm left with the losers and the leftovers.
We — single women — are way too f*cking smart for Patton's antiquated drivel. We should absolutely not pay attention to the obnoxious threats of loneliness. We should know it's absurd and we should find it offensive. We're interesting and different and unique. Some of us want to be wives and mothers, some of us want to be CEOs, and plenty of us want to be both.
So, since it's so absurd, why even write a reaction? Because after I finally got to the end of this crazy lady’s ridiculous rant, I realized one glaring hole in her argument that left me even more annoyed: Where are the men?
She places the blame on women — that we need to find a husband, we need to stop working toward a fulfilling career, we have to get the men while they're hot! Men aren't responsible, men aren't culpable and from Patton’s point of view, it doesn't seem that men bear any of the burden of prioritizing this “ideal” relationship.
I ran the Wall Street Journal article by my 63-year-old dad and my 23-year-old male roommate. (My roommate is platonic — don't get your hopes up, Suze!) My dad has been happily married for 27 years, my roommate is quite the ladies man, who is sure to find a smart and beautiful wife.
Roommate: “This is literally the worst thing I've ever heard in my life.”
Dad: “That is truly weird… Just be who you are and don’t panic. You are a great catch just as you are.” Aw, thanks Dad.
In addition to the smart, amazing and sometimes insane generation of women creeping up in the ranks of today's society, there is also an interesting, quirky, impeccably-dressed, totally adorable gender counterpart growing up, too. Some want to be husbands and fathers, some want to be CEOs and plenty want to be both. Sound familiar?
According to Patton, men lose a huge chunk of their value after college, which is why she advises women to do husband-hunting around campus. Apologies to my alma mater, the University Of Maryland, but the guys in my classes were babies — so young and just seeking fun. The majority were averse to taking a girl on a date, much less asking for her hand in marriage (to be fair, the women were for the most part, on the same page as the men). Most dating at Maryland ended in heartbreak, in $5 pitchers of vodka-cranberry, or both.
Since graduation, many of these men have matured in exponential magnitudes. They're distinguished, smart and caring men who are capable of real relationships. Like a fine wine, men get better with age — amiright, ladies?!
Don’t discount the dudes, Susan. Your article, as evidenced by my strapping roommate’s reaction, terrified and offended them, too. You missed the mark; Millennial men are smart, fun, don’t want to be “hunted” and most certainly don’t need you to give their future wives any advice.
My generation is used to getting dissected and analyzed. People like Susan Patton try to tear us apart to “understand us” and then give us bullsh*t “advice” to better ourselves. They judge us by Tinder, Lena Dunham's nudity on “Girls,” Miley Cyrus twerking on Bill Clinton and by how much we love our iPhones and Netflix.
So let me educate you, old folks: We're the generation of the Great Recession. Our college experiences were marked by the downfall of Wall Street giants and a terrifying unemployment index. Excuse me if women my age aren't too quick to give up their careers — as if they need to do so to achieve the very specific kind of life you promote.
Many of us believe gay marriage is normal and that equal rights is unquestionable. Most of us don't flinch at the notion of a black or female president. And we most certainly don't give two f*cks if someone tries to tell us whom to marry and when.
Many of us see the ideal relationship as a partnership — a deep friendship full of love and respect and equality. There’s no hunting, no time limits, no social restrictions on who brings home more or less bacon. Most women don’t seek to rope men into speedy engagements. We want to get married when we’re ready and, more importantly, when we find someone with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives.
I hate to break it to you, Suze, but this is a changing world. Women and men my age don't really care when you think we should get hitched, and we think your “straight talk” is crap. We're just happy to have a job, a somewhat-functional apartment and friends with whom we can watch “House of Cards.”
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