Patton:There is no such thing as the absolute most perfect person. There’s no such thing. I know that in your 25-year-old world you believe that there is, but there just isn’t. … What you want in a mate and in a partner will change and evolve over time, and what might feel like the most absolute best perfect love of your life at 25 may not feel that way at 30, and what feels like the most perfect love of your life at 30 may not feel so wonderful at 40.
Fallon:But if we change so much throughout our 20s, why should we get married at the beginning of them?
Patton:Because the best you can do is to find yourself a husband or a life partner who shares your love of learning, shares your core values, shares your fundamental vision for a life plan and you grow and evolve through the decades together. It’s easier to do it together than do it alone alone, for most people.
Fallon:But that isn’t born out in the divorce statistics.
Patton:Well, divorce happens 50% of the time…
Fallon: And the risk goes down the longer you wait to marry.
Patton:No, I think that …
Fellow old people, can we please stop pretending that everybody who is not one of us olds is the same? There are 25-year-olds with vastly more life experience than I will ever have, so stop watching Girls and thinking this is what they’re all like. Most of the loathing of unmarried women just comes off as jealous old hags chiding young ladies for having the drinks and the sexing, and it’s so obnoxious.
What the hell is she even talking about here? “There’s no such thing as a perfect mate, so make a spreadsheet and tally up all the ways you and Prepster McChipperson are similar, and get hitched based on that?” This is somebody whose whole THING is about how young women need to find love. This sounds about as romantic as tongue-kissing your taxes.
Don’t get me wrong, I rail all the time against the idea that there is only one perfect mate for each and every person. If you build that shit up in your head you will be absolutely flabbergasted when you or your spouse is attracted to someone else after you’re married. What are these feelings? I thought I was finished now that I’ve found True Love (tm Kay Jewelers). And instead of correctly interpreting your sudden wild desire to bend the sandwich girl over the counter as human nature, and your feelings as feelings and not imperatives, you’ll fuck your life up flatter than hammered shit.
(I am not romantic. I am the person who watches Sleepless in Seattle and yells at Annie to stay with Walter. Walter is the only person in that movie who’s not an asshole.)
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to find someone you love to spend your life with. That doesn’t mean it’s naive or only exists in a “25-year-old world,” whatever that is. That doesn’t mean that by X age you need to marry somebody you’ve matched credit scores with.
That certainly doesn’t mean her unoriginal bullshit is worthy of every morning news program in the country:
It was now clear that, unlike the producers of the nation’s most highly rated news programs, Fallon and I had done a little research. Savannah Guthrie might have frowned when Patton said that high-school girls should consider cosmetic surgery before starting college and that women were responsible for preventing their own sexual assault, but she never challenged her on the facts. Patton was allowed to simply recite her talking points, piss off the peanut gallery and go home.
I honestly don’t have a problem with Patton herself. I think she sincerely believes her advice is beneficial to women. And like the kooky aunt at the wedding, she has the right to say what she likes.
My problem is with a culture that gives a megaphone to a woman with nothing to offer but retrograde opinions and no facts to support them. My problem is with national newspapersthat treat the statement “men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free” as an argument worthy of its op-ed page. My problem is with television news producers who can’t be bothered to do a quick Google search before inviting an anti-feminist boogie-woman on the air.
My blog post about Patton was entirely unoriginal, as it merely repeated information that had been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic.com, Salon, Forbes.com and Slate. The women in the audience at Princeton were fact-checking the event on their laptops in real time—why couldn’t anyone at NBC/Universal do the same?