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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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My mother tricked my father into sending me to an independent all women's college.

Sweet Briar.

Actually, both parents wouldn't let me apply to any other genre. I applied to Randolph Macon Women's College, Beaver College, Gaucher College. And I got into all of them.

1975. I was a senior at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. B-plus average. Impressive SAT scores.

My father had issues with control as far as allowing me to make my own decisions. It was oppressive and onerous. I hated it.

I got into Beaver first and I had the delusion that I could at least choose where I'd attend college out the small selection I was given.

Nope. Dad wanted to wait to see if Sweet Briar and/or Randolph Macon accepted me. They did. OK. I still chose Beaver simply because it was in metropolitan Philadelphia instead in the middle of Virginia, where the other colleges were located. Dad nixed Beaver, told me it was my "back-up" school.

I chose Sweet Briar as it was a pretty campus, it was 15 miles closer to home (honestly), and someone I really didn't like from high school was going to attend Randolph Macon.

The very first course I attended at Sweet Briar was Logic. It totally opened my mind with its mathematical analysis of arguments, proof, process of validity of facts. Each subsequent course I took, my intelligence increased, my critical thinking improved, my collection of principles and facts grew. I became independent through knowledge. This was the purpose of liberal arts.

You're asking, "How did your mother 'trick' your father?"

My mother attended Barnard and had a similar experience. She understood the family situation where my father was desperately trying to direct my life. Mom wanted me to escape her fate of a marriage with little or no independence. She was as oppressed as I was in our family. And she couldn't help me by advocating for me -- except to make the case that I should go to an "exclusive, all-girl college" -- to find a suitable husband. That's right. Not that she believed her premise, but Dad would believe that.

My father was a shameless social climber and was concerned about me both marrying the "wrong sort" and not enhancing his social climbing. By following Mom's premise that I could marry well at an exclusive all-girl's college, I'd be rubbing shoulders with girls from exclusive private schools, debutantes, etc. and meeting visiting male students from the equivalent background. And maybe, just maybe, the college could turn me into a "Lady".

I know, I know. It was 1975. Feminism had not yet hit its stride, especially in our household and Sweet Briar.

Mom knew my only escape was independence, being able to think for myself, support myself, etc. until I could find a like-minded partner. Obviously THAT premise wasn't the one to use on Dad. So she fell back on the 1950's marriage argument. And it worked.

I graduated. I went to get a Master's and a Juris Doctor. I never married and never missed getting married.

Honestly, I initially resented being sent to a school where I believed I would have to wear starched-white shirts and white gloves to pour tea on Sundays. Instead, I met some very interesting young women with intellect and spirit. Yes, there were the debutantes, who were marking time at Sweet Briar, waiting to get married. I even learned to make friends with them.

But my character and opportunities developed as a result of my mother doing me the biggest favor in my life.

P.S. Dad never caught on that he put me on a trajectory to autonomy and independence.
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