TODAY   |  March 11, 2014

‘Princeton Mom’: Work will wait, fertility won’t

Susan Patton, known as the “Princeton Mom,” joins TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie to chat about some of the controversial counsel she offers in her new book, “Marry Smart,” including that college is the best time for women to find an eligible mate and that high schoolers should consider plastic surgery.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> well, how should young women use the majority of their time in college? susan patton, so-called princeton mime, started a firestorm last year.

>> here's my advice for the young women of princeton , the young daughters i never had.

>> princeton alumnist and mother of two boys, susan patton, set off a huge debate with her provocative advice in the newspaper.

>> here's what nobody is telling you. find a husband on campus before you graduate. yes, i went there.

>> the letter went viral, with over 100 million hits around the world. and now she's written a book. when she enters college, your daughter will never again be as young, as beautiful, as attractive to men or as fertile, she wrote. encourage her to make the best use of this time.

>> what! oh, my god!

>> i'm an independent woman who don't need no man.

>> i plan on being successful, independent and finding a man.

>> a measure of self reliance and creativity is the ability to make it yourself. learn how to bake bread.

>> should be baking bread? wow, that's ridiculous.

>> until you find a spouse, i would advise you invest your effort in energy, at least 75%, in searching for a partner. and 25% in your professional development .

>> i teach "pride and prejudice" in high school and this woman is archa archaic. that was writing in the 1700s . next thing you know, she will want parents to give do you res for their kids.

>> good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>> fair warning, some people will be cheering you at the end of this segment, others will be throwing their eggs at the tv.

>> powdered eggs, that's fine.

>> basically doubling down on the thesis of your letter.

>> that's right.

>> basically, you think college-age women should spend the majority of their time looking for a husband.

>> i'm saying that college-age women should multitask while they're on campus. they have to start putting in place plans for their personal happiness, because they will never again have this concentration of extraordinary men to choose from.

>> but let me drill down a little bit. you actually write in the book --

>> yeah.

>> a woman should spend 75% of her time thinking about her personal life and finding a man.

>> yes.

>> and 25% on her professional development .

>> that's right.

>> that doesn't seem exactly balanced. that seems out of whack in the other direction.

>> the reason it's out of whack, work can wait. you can make up lost time at work. if you invest 10 or 12 years doing nothing but planning your career, you're going to find yourself in the mid to late 30s and opportunity to bury your children -- and you know my advice is not intended for everybody, but for young women who know they want to have children, you can't delay that. work will wait. your fertility won't. so, yes, i'm saying double down, spend 75% of your time planning your personal happiness, putting in place the things you need to ensure you reach your personal goals.

>> you advise people to be pretty aggressive about their pursuit.

>> yeah.

>> i wonder, are you sure that's not counter to the goal of finding a man? because some guys might not find it totally appealing a woman is so desperate to look for a man and find a husband and have kids.

>> well, i certainly understand that. and my advice clearly is for women , not for men. men have a whole different field. they can take their whole lives to get married and have children. but women just don't have that kind of time. so, again, my advice is for women who know that they want -- part of their life goal is to have children in a traditional marriage, you're not getting any younger. you have to get to this. you have to plan for it.

>> you've got some doozies in this book. here's a quote. prepare yourself to be as socially successful in college as possible. if you require major body work , get it done in high school . are you saying what i think you're saying?

>> yes, i am.

>> weight loss surgery.

>> if that's what it comes to.

>> or cosmetic surgery .

>> if that's what it comes to, yes. because if you enter your college years not in your best form, not feeling as good as you can feel about yourself, you'll hamper your own chances for personal happiness, as well as professional success.

>> okay. another one. if you are too drunk to speak, then you may be incapable of saying no or warding off unwanted advances.

>> that's right.

>> and then it's all on you. please spare me your blaming the victim outrage.

>> totally on women . and i think it's a mistake to say -- wait a minute. it's a mistake to say to young women , men shouldn't abuse you if it you are vulnerable. and i'm saying to young women , don't allow yourself to be vulnerable.

>> i think people understand women , don't put yourself in a bad position.

>> right.

>> but to say it's all on them if a man rapes them.

>> no, no, no. it's all on them to not put themselves in a position where they are vulnerable to being abused or mistreated by a man. you can't allow yourself to be so drunk or so stoned you can't get up and walk out if you feel like, whoa, this is going in a way i'm not happy with or if you're feeling threatened. you have to get up and leave. it's all on women and it's dangerous to say to women you can count on men to act responsibly. maybe they will. i hope they do. most men do. but at the end of the day , women have to bear complete and total control of themselves and responsibility for their safety.

>> very quickly. there are so many controversial things in this book. i started to wonder, did you write this for the sole purpose of being provocative?

>> never. i'm not a provocative person. i'm an honest person. i don't care so much about being politically correct. i care more about speaking the truth authentically. i don't care about popular opinion. doesn't matter to me. yes, i absolutely believe with all my heart that this is solid and good advice.

>> susan