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Princeton Mom Writes Book on Marriage

Group of people walking at a university campus, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Photograph by Getty Images/SuperStock RM

Can you say, "Smug"? Chances are you remember Susan Patton, who graduated from Princeton in 1977; her two sons attended this university, too. In March of this year, she wrote a letter in the school newspaper The Daily Princetonian doling out some advice that would quickly go viral—and for good reason.

"For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you,” she wrote. “Here's what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate.”

While some agreed this was wise advice, others blasted her as elitist and sexist. For instance, who’s to say that an “Ivy League” degree guarantees a guy will be nice? And why pressure women—who have their own bright futures and careers to tackle—to marry so young, as if that’s their only shot at happiness?

In spite of—or perhaps because of—the uproar, Patton will publish a whole book on this topic, called Smarten Up!: Words of Wisdom from the Princeton Mom. In this spring 2014 release by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Patton will offer “'uncomfortable truths” about what will happen if they wait too long to walk down the aisle. A woman in her 30s looking for a husband, Patton says, gives off “man repellent.” Really?

Elitist? Sexist? Ridiculous? Doesn’t matter—we’d bet good money the book will sell like hotcakes.

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