My parents were not the world’s best parents; I’ve sometimes said that their greatest gift to us kids was their steadfast honesty that they weren’t very good at the whole ‘parenting’ thing. But whatever their flaws, at least I will never be forced to admit a genetic relationship to Susan A. Patton, President of the Princeton University Class of 1977. Caity Weaver reports for Gawker on the current fooferaw at the Last Redoubt of the Gentleman’s C:
Attention: Women of Princeton.
If you are seeking your ideal life partner—and you are—you now know where to find him. He is the boy stretched out on the cool linoleum of a dusty back aisle in the library, quietly having a panic attack because his mother wrote a letter addressed to every girl he knows, trying to goad them into marrying him.
Susan A. Patton, President of the Princeton University Class of 1977 and proud Tiger Mom, is ready for you to be her daughter-in-law. Move fast, before some other lucky, lusty Tigress beats you to the prize.
On Friday, Princeton University’s student newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, published a page-and-a-half letter to the editor that might, in polite circles, be called “intriguing.” Everywhere else: batshit crazy and extremely offensive. Also, embarrassing!
Addressed to “the daughters I never had,” or, implicitly, the daughters she never ruined, the letter was penned by Susan A. Patton, proud Princeton alumna and mother of Princeton students…
What advice should Susan A. Patton, a successful businessperson and a member of the fifth class of women to graduate from what is undeniably the fanciest collection of buildings in New Jersey, pass down to the smart, driven young women who are her legacy? Should she advise them on selecting a career path? On the virtues of sisterhood? On the importance knowing and respecting yourself?…
Perhaps she should apprise them of the importance of spending the rest of their lives fucking one of her sons.
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. 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. 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.…
Perhaps it will surprise you that Susan A. Patton, President of the Princeton University Class of 1977, is no longer married. But only, she insists, because her ex “went to a school of almost no name recognition… A school that nobody has respect for, including him, really.”
Apart from being grateful, once again, that our embarrassment-rich post-adolescent years were mostly pre-internet, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?
I’m forwarding this to my mom along with a thank you note.
Funny. Just tonight I saw Admission, a surprisingly good comedy about relationships and … getting into Princeton. Recommended.
Then I spent the rest of the evening drinking champagne and playing old mix tapes with my college girlfriend, who has reappeared as a really good friend in my life. Kind of spooky/cool to hear stuff from 20/30 years ago for the first time in decades.
Great comment on the article
If the young man in question is lucky enough to be gay, he might come out of this okay. Otherwise, oh dear.
It would be a good time for his dad to step up and help him transfer to a “no-name” school where people have never heard of his family. Dad needs to rescue his son. Or an aunt or granny or somebody.
Susan A Patton may be divorced, but she gave him sons! I pity the poor women who get tangled up with them and the would-be mother-in-law from hell.
@NotMax: How long should snail mail from the east coast to you take?
4 to 5 days, fastest, sometimes more. Record for me is 11 days from NY to here, first class mail.
Hmm, wonder if this episode will lead to 24-hour, sensational Court TV coverage. Young Master Patton, in the living room, with the candlestick.
@MariedeGournay: No, no, no – DRAWING room, oh, wait, CONVERSATION AREA. Such a peasant. Now, where’s that maid with my martini …..
@NotMax: Ah, not to worry then! Thx
Yeah, her sons can marry anyone, but if the adage is true, they’ll marry someone who reminds them of their mother.
I think I’d like to call you Mom / ‘Cause you remind me of my Mom / I’m gonna go put on my sailor suit / And we’ll go out on the town….
Yesterday my neighbor mentioned that he and his son were going on a road trip to visit his mom. The wife is staying home because of work and the fact that his mom is mean to her. That’s a good spouse.
I have been blessed with lovely in-laws, as have Mr WereBear, but this was not always the case.
My first husband’s mother was infamous for turning an entire phone call into complaints that “you never call me!”
@JPL: I did the same thing with my husband. MIL wanted him to marry someone else, I was too smart, if you can believe that one. I think she wanted someone who was a push over.
She lived in NV and I, supposedly, “let him” go see her whenever he asked me to. I mean that’s what they all thought, that I was some controlling bitch and he could not move without my say so. She’d always thank me for “letting” her son visit.
When the shit hit the fan, MIL became seriously ill and died (YEAH YEAH YEAH), the lot of them fell apart at the seams and the evil, mean, conniving, bitchy SIL (me) became the only one who could hold their collective shit together.
I am now spending her money with relish and abandon, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Revenge is a dish best served cold, with cash and lots of home remodeling!
This reminds me of that old saying, “You fuck Rutgers, but you marry Princeton.”
Actually, I just made that up.
And, sadly, no. Her son will probably get laid more often because of this. There is no such thing as bad publicity in some circles.
True story…I work work with a Susan Patton. Time to ask about her middle name.
My ex’es sister once mentioned that the relationship with my mil was my fault, since I didn’t teach her how to be a nice person.
I mentioned that I had never met such a mean person in my life, so didn’t have the qualifications necessary. My step mil was wonderful though.
Best Wingmom EVER!
@JPL: We laugh about it now and every time I pass by our home generator, I say “hi Charlotte”. We named it after her since she bought it.
@Gindy51: A friend just inherited a beautiful ring from her mil. It only fits on her middle finger.
My sis asked her MIL if she could have a cutting from a purplenrose she had growing in her yard. A cutting from a large healthy rose bush and her MIL told her no. She also expected my sis to make her a full dinner when she came to see my sis after my sis had given birth to my nephew.
All these MIL issues and no one is blaming Obama. What happened to this place?
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Baud: Perhaps we should blame his MIL this time?
@Baud: Milbank already did a hatchet job on Obama. Did you know that his speech on gun control was to little to late. Milbank lives under a rock obviously.
@Gindy51: Yea, that’s fucking hilarious.
Milbank has to meet his quota.
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
And have Michelle mad at me. No way, man.
O. M. F. G.
I just have no words.
@raven: I wish it could have been different. I really tried to like her and include her in everything when we lived close. She never bothered to return my phone calls when my husband was flying A6’s off air craft carriers, never wanted to talk with my daughter, and always acted like it hurt her to even be in the same room with me.
After her drunken outburst and fighting with my 5 year old about driving on the freeway at faster than 40 MPH, I gave up. I told my husband I would never visit her again and the situation was much better that way. Funny thing is, we could communicate beautifully in letters. Amazing, but she was a totally different person in print than in person.
She apologized to my husband on her death bed but never once bothered to do so to the one person who needed to hear it, me.
So after getting a new garage, generator, flooring on three levels, counter tops, windows, drapes, and paint, I think I deserve it for all her ill feeling over the 25 years she lived and I knew her.
I just read it. Firebaggery has apparently gone mainstream.
MILs can be a pain in the ass or they can be wonderful. This one is shaping up to be one from hell. What woman in her right mind would sing up for that?
My MIL is a bit of an eccentric. 77 years old, former child piano prodigy, owns and runs a blue collar bar, drives a spiffy green Camaro.
Her mother told her “Never marry an Irishman. You’ll always be sorry.”
In other hilarious Ivy news, someone just alerted me to the colossal stupidity of Brooks’s column yesterday. He’s teaching the kids at Yale to write like Friedman:
Shorter Princeton Mom: these men are the best you’ll ever meet and they ultimately want younger, dumber, and prettier, so act fast.
Michelle Obama went to Princeton. It seems waiting to marry worked out okay for her.
For Eric Burdon fans, his new album is incredibly awesome:
It has been sitting in my car’s CD player for two weeks now. Each morning I think, “I’ll listen to something else now? Naw.”
It’s not just Princeton. When I was at the University of Miami in the early 1970’s, it was “Girls, a ring by spring or your money back.”
Apparently, according to some Republicans, the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted for 145 years! Amazing!
The kind of mother who shows up at a meeting with one of her son’s high school teachers and says, “He has a B in your class? How could that happen? I have been warning him his whole life that he might as well kill himself if he doesn’t get into Princeton. This will destroy his future, you must be mistaken.”
@Mustang Bobby: The term my friends and I used to call it in college was “she’s majoring in an MRS degree”
Gosh, should a Princeton woman even consider marrying a man whose father went to school “of almost no name recognition?”
What, her ex is a Yalie? ;-)
@Princess: Yes, but she still has to suffer the humiliation of being married to someone who went to a lesser school. The horror.
I read this right after reading the New Yorker article on the mess at Horace Mann, where teachers created personality cults in order to rape students.
Some of the students are still psychologically messed up, decades later–even though they now realize that they were raped and abused, they can’t stop thinking that their English teacher who did it was really a genius and a great man.
I have to say, Susan Patton sounds like another victim of brainwashing and cult programming.
I’m really surprised that the Princeton student newspaper printed Ms. Patton’s letter with her name. Didn’t they know it would humiliate her son? Or is being a sociopath a prerequisite for entry at this institution with name recognition?
You may not have an actual aristocracy over there in America, Count Basie and Duke Ellington notwithstanding, but we see in Susan Patton a bone-deep aristocrat. And her aristocracy is based not on being able to say, “My ancestor was a feudal warlord” like those uncouth Europeans, but on something oh, so much more refined: “I went to a fancy university.”
Evidence continues to pile up that the high brand recognition Universities are clogged with brand-seekers instead of people worth the educating. The Princeton PR Repair Team should be kicking in her door and muzzling her with the best quality duct tape in seconds — but only in a sane world.
Maybe not a prerequisite, but it sure sounds like it doesn’t hurt. Or, possibly, it’s just that sociopaths are attracted to the Ivies.
Given the number of sociopathic douchebags with degrees from Ivy League universities, I’m leaning towards the latter scenario.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
That Patton women sounds like a character from Animal House. I think she was on the riser in the parade scene.
In all fairness to your MIL, if your 5 year old is going to drive on the freeway, she really should go faster than 40.
This is rich…will have to show my boss this (he’s a Princeton alum and way too proud about it) when Monday comes. As a Penn alum, just gives me a little extra delight
@Shalimar: We who work in Academia call them helicopter mothers. And regularly wish them in Hell.
The Fat Kate Middleton
@Shalimar: Oh yeah. When I was teaching AP English I could count on of these moms showing up at least two or three times a year. My favorite was the kid I failed because he handed in exactly one half page of an essay during the semester. When he was subsequently told he could no longer be on the football team, his mother informed me (very loudly) that I had ruined her son’s life, and was, furthermore, quite possibly the worst teacher she had ever known, and she would see to it that I was fired. Her son has been arrested twice since that memorable meeting, and is currently living at home. Guess it’s my fault. Oh well.
This entire letter absolutely cracked me up. I applied to Harvard and didn’t get accepted, but it was really more of a “let’s see if I can do it!” thing rather than real desire. I didn’t apply to any other Ivies, and I ended up accepting a full academic scholarship to the Univsersity of Arizona. In retrospect, I wish I had looked at some other places, like Rice or Berkeley or UT Austin.
But this letter made me SO FUCKING GLAD that I didn’t go anywhere in the Ivy League. Oh my God. Ten minutes around people like that would have me rethinking my position on gun control.
Meh. Woman’s a piker. REAL Tiger Moms wouldn’t bother with ads. They have the finances picked out and ready to go; all the son have to do is show up at the altar.
(Why no, I’m not speaking from personal experience at all…..)
@gogol’s wife: I heard Brooks say on NPR that the White House’s refusal to defend DOMA at SCOTUS was executive overreach on an unprecedented scale, ZOMG.
I shit you not.
The Fat Kate Middleton
@suzanne: I had the good fortune (?) to attend Oxford (I usually have to explain to people that it’s the one in the UK, since they really can’t believe I would have managed to be accepted there). I can’t properly compare that university to any of the Ivies, having never attended an ivy, but there was a substantial group of students at OU who were absolutely insufferable. Class consciousness is is built into their bones. I was quite happy to return to my little nothingburger midwestern college.
People like this make up a small portion of the population at an Ivy; they just happen to be loud alums. You will see greater concentrations of people like this at a school like SMU (e.g. Regional privates with a history of welthy alums).
Now now, this is what going to an Ivy league school was all about.
@The Fat Kate Middleton: Seriously, how awful. I was in the Honors program at UA, and it was okay. I would have preferred to be around a more intellectual and less sports-oriented student body (lots of smart people, mind you, just not the kind of people who really wanted to be educated for the sake of being educated), but at least I didn’t have to put up with THAT. I really hate pretentious assholes.
@Walker: Thanks for warning me about which places to have my daughters avoid.
When I was headed off to college, my mom says how great that you want to do engineering, you will meet a husband with an engineering degree as well, and you will do very well. I was to work at my engineering job long enough to amass a good downpayment on a house, and then I would stay home with my kids, while my husband the engineer provided for all. Also it would be something to “fall back on” when he left me, not only providing income but the opportunity to be in engineering offices meeting engineers for my next attempt.
I said it seemed like a waste of tuition money for my degree, perhaps I could just pick up engineering students at the bar instead? She said not because They won’t marry Those Girls. 1979 FFS. We always got a laugh out of her married initials literally being MRS.
And people say Michelle Obama doesn’t hate white people? Surprised they left her off the list of class conscious racist Princeton grads, as she is the greatest living example. /sarcasm
Full Metal Wingnut
@raven: I give it a hard time, but of the tippy top Ivies, Harvard seems to get the coolest, most creative and useful people. It seems less stuffy and country clubby than Yale and Princeton, although it certainly has many of the people that commenter complains about.
@muddy: I am an only child, but my mother and her sister were shunted to whatever the local college happened to be, regardless of their desires and the fact that they are both really smart, while their brother got all the money spent on him to go to Wesleyan. My grandfather wanted to do the same thing for me, so when I got the National Merit scholarship and none of my cousins did, I think it was a bit of a wake-up call. I didn’t really want to go to UA, but it’s difficult to argue with free coming from a pretty working-middle class background. Just being sent away from home to a major university was unheard of in my family for the girls.
I had always heard about living like a broke student while in college, and I was stunned by the amount of money my fellow students all had. Student loan checks would go out and three days later the girls would show up with designer sunglasses. It was seriously ludicrous. Even state schools are mostly filled with the children of the relatively well-off.
@Full Metal Wingnut:
The Ivies are not uniform and they each have their own culture. Some of that driven by mission statement and admissions policies. Some of that driven by the feedback loop of “like attracts like”.
I went to one Ivy and work at another (neither of them Yale or Princeton). The cultures at the two places are very, very different.
Full Metal Wingnut
@Walker: I went to Cornell and there were some obnoxious legacies (I had a class with the son of someone on the board of trustees-ugh). But mostly, it was a really fun, big school that felt more like a giant state school (not far off) with a shitload of things to do. I was a Harvard reject, but it seemed more tolerable than Yale or Princeton. Who am I kidding, I wouldn’ve gone to Princeton if I had the chance
All I can say is I got into both Stanford and Rice (but not Syracuse, go figure!) but ended up at Wazzu. What was really funny is the hard sell I got from Texas Christian. College admissions are funny.
Princeton is also responsible for Ted Cruz. Although in their defense he was like that when he got there.
The letter reads more like a spoof that got posted early instead of on 4/1.
KS in MA
@raven: Just for the record, Paul Robeson was born in the town of Princeton, but he went to Rutgers. PU didn’t admit its first black student until 1935.
jake the snake
MS. Patton can go fuck herself, and if there is any justice
she will be the only candidate to perform that onerous duty.
I don’t know who to feel more sorry for, her son, or any young woman unfortunate enough to marry him.
Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.)
I guess there’s just something about Princeton. When I was in college at the University of Pennsylvania, some tool Princeton guy wrote a looooong letter to our school newspaper laying out in the greatest detail why the University of Pennsylvania like totally sucked balls and Princeton was like, totally the most awesomest school EVAR!!! and his life was totally going to totally rock and all of our lives were going to totally suck!!!!!!11!!
I could never understand just what moved this poor guy to write this, much less send it, and I’m sure the school paper editors ran it so we could all laugh at this pathetic soul. It was so idiotic, and yet there was this undercurrent of tragedy. The only thing that really angered me was when he slammed the school for having a nursng school. That’s the only line that seared itself into my brain: “Come on, Penn, a nursing school?” It was just so hatefully disrespectful to the students who were going to be nurses someday, and who all too often don’t get the respect they should.
Anyway, this post just brought back that letter to my mind. I wonder what ever became of that guy…
@Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.): Was it Ted Cruz? I kid, I kid.
Out of my closest female college friends, only one of us married an Ivy leaguer. We all survived the “inequality” somehow. We did all marry smart dudes, however–women still have to have standards. I have given a stray thought that it might be nice to be Mrs. Jeff Bezos (as happened to one of my classmates), but aside from that, there are plenty of smart, ambitious non Princetonians out there for female tigers who don’t want to intermarry, as it were.