Some of you, however, are still quite young. How you have managed to see the (wo)man behind the curtain, or indeed, how you ever even wondered if she might exist, is beyond me. When I was your age I was an oblivious introvert who just didn't "get" much of anything. I did follow the herd a bit, not because I wanted to be where they were going, but because it never occurred to me that there was a different way. I got so lucky. When I met my husband I was wavering between two drunks, and I cringed at the thought that sooner or later one of them would ask me to marry him. Since I didn't want to be married to either of them, I finally had to ask myself why the hell I was wasting my time with them. And then I met the real deal, and I kept him. I could have scored a wealthy "Beta Provider/Sucker," but the ones who grovelled at my feet were too Beta. (And back then such men were plentiful; I was pretty, but hardly beautiful.) I didn't realize it then, but I needed a man who could lead me, with a gentle, patient hand. An Alpha Beta, or maybe a Beta Alpha.
But this isn't about me, it's about you.
I'm sorry. I apologize for the world my generation has given you. I also apologize to your male peers, but there's a sad, sad irony here: those of your male peers who "get it" are pissed off, and rightfully so. But they actually have more options than you do. They can walk away, and they can handle the criticism they will face for it. They've been criticized their entire lives. They're used to it, and they haven't let it destroy them. The ugly truth is, they will do better without you than you will do without them. You, on the other hand, are Women. Your girlfriends are women. Your coworkers are women. Your emotional support networks are women. If you thumb your noses at them, they will eviscerate you, and you haven't been taught to be tough enough to take it. A few of you have learned on your own how to have thick skin, and I freely admit I am in awe of you; I never understood other women, so I didn't get very close to many of them, but I always thought there was something wrong with me, not them. Please take my advice: Escape. Make a clean break. Most of those women don't understand you and they either despise you or fear you. They have nothing to offer you except a wet blanket and a knife in your back.
Again, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you have been led to believe that you can borrow the price of two houses and spend four, six, or maybe eight years in college studying something fun and easy, and then graduate into an interesting middle class career.
Incidentally, read this book!!!
...To be fair, that might actually happen for a small minority of you, but chances are, many of those fun and easy careers are going to disappear in another decade or so. They produce little or nothing and our economy can no longer afford them. Educational institutions, K-post grad, will shrink, and those non-teaching "teachers" already in the field will have first dibs on the remaining jobs. HR departments will shrink as work forces shrink, and as employers look harder to find places to cut costs. Non-profits will shrink as government grants shrink, so your grant-application-writing skills will be useless. Municipal, state and federal clerical jobs will disappear or be cut to part-time/no benefits. I'm not sorry that you will have to work for you pay, because real work builds character and gives satisfaction. You might well end up happier, if poorer, than your elders. But I am sorry that we have deceived you. We told you it would be easy, because for us it was easy, but then we used up all the resources a long time ago and we've been borrowing from you for decades. (Who am I kidding? We've been borrowing from ME for decades!)
I'm sorry that we told you you'll be happy and fulfilled without a husband and children; only a few of you actually will. I'm sorry that nobody taught you how to become the kind of woman a good man would want to marry. We didn't teach you how to cook, manage a household, manage money, manage your desires, or mind your tongues. We didn't teach you how to sacrifice, for your husband, for your children, or for your own future. We've been telling you all your lives that you can have it all, right now, but we didn't tell you how to earn it. I'm also sorry we told you that you could be an outstanding career woman, wife and mother, all at the same time. You can't. Something always has to give, and it's usually the
You're on your own. If you're lucky enough to find and marry a good man, do not listen to your female friends' subtle hints that maybe you could do better. You probably can't, and the government will have a lot less money to give you and your kids between husbands. If you do find a marriageable AND MARRIAGE-MINDED man, you're going to have to do more than just show up. You're going to have to prove yourself worthy. Reliable. Responsible. Loyal. Compassionate. Feminine. You will not have the future you've been promised; you will have the future you earn. You might even end up happy.
If any of the above ramblings make the least bit of sense to you, then there's a good chance you really aren't Like That. Good luck to you as you re-invent the wheel, figuring out what your great grandmothers always knew. I admire your grit, and once again, I'm sorry.