THE BLOG
03/31/2014 05:13 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2014

Susan Patton's 'Marry Smart' -- An Idea Whose Time Has Passed

C'mon Susan. I grew up in the '50s and early '60s, when lots of women still believed the stuff in this book. Didn't work then, doesn't work now. Wanna know why?

Let me haul you into the New Millennium, sistah girl. Now, I admit that I got my info about this silly book from "The Daily Show" and articles I read afterwards in utter disbelief. And dismay.

But the gist of this silly book seems to be: Find a husband as early as possible. While you're in college is the best, but for sure while you're still young, gorgeous and desirable. Otherwise, you'll wind up a sad, lonely, childless cat lady.

And to that, I say... bull.

The two great loves of my life happened when I was 29 and 32. I married at 33. He was 23. And thought I was one sexy mama. In fact, as I recall, I had lots of suitors older and younger than me at the time.

I am now -- gasp -- 62. And I'm a big 'un -- haven't lost that weight yet, as Patton insists you must. Getting there, but I've got a ways to go.

And you know what? Guys still like me. A lot. All ages -- no joke. I just wouldn't get married again if you put a gun to my head. And Susan... I left him. In case you're wondering. And we're still the best of friends, too.

We wouldn't be, if we'd stayed married. Some women really don't want to be married. Especially if they've "...been to the puppet show and...seen the strings," as someone said in that Jerry Maguire movie that also promised your mate would "complete" you.

You have to complete yourself, is what I learned. And if you do, you may find that a husband isn't all that necessary. I regret not having one when the car gets cranky or the toilet backs up or something but otherwise... nah. I'm good.

Yes, that's just anecdotal evidence from one old independent woman who is really happy with her single life. And has no cats. So let's go at her main premise logically and statistically then. Starting with where and when she wants you to trap that man.

When I was comin' up, a college man had great prospects. One of my great loves got an incredible job right out of college. We moved to the Southwest and lived happily if not ever after because of that job. All moving expenses paid. Tons of overtime. Private jet at his disposal for business trips. Yeah -- I said incredible, right?

Today, most young people of both genders leave college without the promise of anything even remotely like that. And they have astronomical college loans to pay back -- I had scholarships and grants that covered everything. Even books. That is extremely hard to do today.

And back then, you didn't even need college to make a very good living. There were still those factory jobs with strong unions that kept the raises coming and the jobs secure. In fact, the first people in my Black, inner city neighborhood to be able to afford to move to Leave It To Beaverland -- the suburbs -- were people who worked in the steel mills, south of Chicago. Or other jobs that required only a strong back and maybe a connection at the plant.

That's not out there waiting right after high school or college today, either. In fact, it's tough to find a job that pays enough to let Mommy stay home and raise those kids -- another Patton rule. It's tough to find a job that doesn't require both Mommy and Daddy to take another job to make ends meet, kids or no. Even with an advanced degree.

Today, the National Center for Disease Control says only 44% of eligible white men, 32% of eligible black men and 43% of eligible Hispanic men are married. Our current economic situation may have something to do with that.

In fact, the KnotYet report, based on those same CDC stats, says, "No longer the foundation on which young adults build their prospects for future prosperity and happiness, marriage now comes only after they have moved toward financial and psychological independence."

But the stats for women are way down, too. So it may also be that we're all just not as interested in being married as we once were. In fact, the same report says,"The institution of marriage, and even the presence of two parents, are seen as nice but not necessary for raising children. Thus, even when a baby is coming, many young adults see no need to rush to the altar."

Whether we see that as a good thing or a bad thing -- and Susan must think it's very, very bad -- it's the way we do things in America today.

On to the second half of Patton's premise. Which seems to be that women who don't marry early enough will wind up sad, lonely cat ladies.

I won't crunch the numbers here-- you know this story. And the stats that go with it.

You see, Patton's right about at least one thing. Men can wait 'til late in life to have children. Men, in fact, can wait to have it all until very late in life.

But this is also where Patton's argument runs off the tracks, big time. Because men often leave the wives they met in college or... just earlier, when those wives were the cute young things Patton says should be out there looking for husbands.

They leave those college wives to marry another cute young thing, after their cutie gets old and starts to look like... well, Patton.

So, you may find that college catch, sweetie. But when you're older, he may go back to college, per se, looking for your replacement. Enter...cats. And lots of Ben & Jerry's.

But seriously, as I said earlier, the Patton formula didn't work even back when I was a kid and women really believed their prince would come sooner rather than later. And dressed for the kill.

A few of 'em did get Leave It To Beaver. Many got Revolutionary Road. And wound up kinda wishing it'd been cats instead.

Young women... take your time. Find yourself. Love yourself. If you bump into a great guy who loves you even half as much... consider committing. If you never do... you'll live.

Millions do -- happily ever after. With and without cats.

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