Patton argues that spending the decade of one’s 20’s focused on career will leave a woman with few marriage prospects as they approach 30 because men reaching this milestone will look for younger women as partners. She exhorts future thirtysomethings not to put themselves in the precarious position of having to compete with girls much younger. But again, the problem with this argument lies in the facts. On average, men marry women two years younger. Two years, not ten years.
Next, Patton resorts to the lowest of all arguments, the one that kept girls from higher education for generations and to this day keeps women from asserting themselves in the classroom and the workplace in the same way that men do: Men don’t like women who are too smart, or too educated. Without resorting to facts, Patton asserts, “Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.” Can we just pause for a moment and recognize this as the monumental insult to men that it is? And then we can move on to the facts. Among college-educated married women, Pew found that only 36 percent were married to less-educated men.
Times have changed, and college-educated women are just as like to marry as women without degrees. As Pew found, “Young women with college degrees are now just as likely as less-educated women to marry, and the timing of their marriages are increasingly similar. This was not the case in 1990. Back then, less-educated women were more likely to marry than were better-educated women, and they tended to do so at a younger age.”
College, Patton argues, is the best place to find a husband because of the plentiful supply of well- educated like-minded men. The well-educated part is obvious, but like-minded might be harder to prove. College is a diverse place with people, luckily, of widely divergent views. But, nonetheless, the average age of marriage for college educated men is 28. The notion that they would be thinking about marriage, looking for a mate, or even a girlfriend for the very long haul, seems unlikely when, on average, their wedding date is still six to eight years away.
Finally, in perhaps the most offensive passage, Patton exhorts women to keep in touch with the smart men, particularly the super smart ones as they will be in demand. She presumes that marriage is an economic arrangement where women need to seek out the highest earner. First, college-educated women earn on their own, as Patton pointed out about herself, and do not necessarily need men in this role. Second, income prospects are not the criteria used in selecting a spouse. Research shows that among the reasons to get married, financial stability ranked fifth after more important reasons like love, lifelong commitment, companionship, and having children. Men and women are equally likely to rank love as their most important reason.