Everyone's favorite old-timey date rape denier Susan Patton — affectionately known to some as "Princeton Mom" — is not done sharing her thoughts with the world. She has a lot of them, after all.
Her newest platform for pontificating about love, marriage and Having It All is a surprisingly sympathetic profile in NY Mag, which offers an intimate little peek into Patton's curious existence. A lot of it is pretty predictable: as one might expect, she dwells in an ornate Princeton-themed lair, festooned with pictures of her grinning Princeton Sons and also inhabited by a Princeton-themed dog ("Lucille [the dog], Patton points out, has naturally orange fur"). As is Patton's wont, she take the opportunity to remind us that she doesn't believe in date rape — "Rape is rape," she states, adding that she prefers to refer to date rape as "mistake sex," a very James Taranto-esque turn of rape apologia.
She also goes on about how unhappy her incredibly-accomplished-but-woefully-unmarried friends were:
They come to me when they're in their mid- to late-30s and say, 'Susan you have got to get me out of here, I'm miserable.' I'm talking about women who are editors-in-chief, heads of marketing, publishers. They're making 400 or 500,000 a year. They have wardrobe budgets, salon budgets, T&E budgets. Endless budgets! They're on every A-list in town. And they are profoundly unhappy. The job is not the problem. They have very good jobs. But they go home to an empty apartment...
You've been so invested in your professional super-stardom that you took your eye off the ball. You have no husband and no children, but the ship has already sailed! It's too late. You don't get to have everything.
"You don't get to have everything" is a phrase Patton repeats, like the world's most depressing mantra. It's actually a fair point, an apt response to all the unattainable "having it all" blather that too often accompanies successful women — you don't get to have everything, because no one gets to have everything, so get over it. However, there's an unspoken but ever-present second half to the mantra that invalidates it completely; it goes something like, "Which means you need to find a husband quick before you shrivel up, you sad, desperate hag!!!"
On the subject of finding husbands, Patton divorced hers — whom she says she married at age 31 "because I was running out of time to have children." Instead of blaming her marital dissatisfaction on the fact that she settled for the only dude who could feasibly and promptly impregnate her and also stick around, she blames it on not finding a suitable mate when the suitable mates were abundant. (As everyone knows, suitable mates abound at college, an illustrious place where young men go to stand around holding beer funnels.) Instead of recognizing that "no one gets to have everything" means that it's important to find out what truly matters to you — be it a happy marriage, a successful career, intellectual fulfillment, whatever — and then pursue it passionately, Patton retreats into her traditional and demonstrably unfulfilling values.
Quite ironically, Princeton Mom is having a great time dating now that she's been absolved of the internalized pressure to marry and reproduce. As the profile's author, Maureen O'Connor, puts it:
Dating in her 50s has been a revelation. Now that she is no longer interviewing candidates for the potential father of her children, she is free to date men she finds "fun, funny, entertaining, sexy. It's wonderful, absolutely wonderful! I'm financially independent. I look great. I'm healthy. It's never been better!"
Um, same, Princeton Mom. Now stop haranguing us, please.