Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The MRs Degree

Blast From the Past  A definition of MRs degree from the Urban Dictionary.

Overheard at dinner last night in a room filled with recent graduates from pricey private schools and the parents who had financed their attendance:

“What did your daughters study in college?”

“Sociology and psychology,” the father said, and paused, shrugging. “Don’t get me wrong. We think it was important they got an education, but they were really after their MRs degrees.” His wife sat next to him, beautiful and inscrutable.

All sound fell away for me as if I’d been sucked back to 1976 where I first heard the very same comment from some burly guy with a ruddy complexion.  He swept his arms wide to include all the women sitting at the cafeteria table, in the dining hall, registered at the university, and on the planet earth, "They're just here to nab a husband."

One of my suite mates giggled, and said, “I want to graduate in June, and get married in July.” She batted her heavily mascaraed eyes at him, and he sat down and shut up. She didn’t even have a steady boyfriend, but seemed sure one would materialize within her time frame. Clearly, she was after her MRs degree and wasn’t shy about saying so.

He made me angry, and she made me feel dirty. I joined the ranks of the second wave on the spot.
But I thought all that had changed for younger women. Surely, they’d never say their sole goal in life was to marry. And what if that was their sole goal? I’m all about choice, and we all know elderly people, still married, still taking comfort from each other’s presence. Did they achieve that blessed state with each marching forward intent on their singular goals or did one subsume his/her path, realign it, walk behind or at least slow down in order to make it work?

Hell if I know.

If you can have that, what does personal achievement matter, and does personal achievement have to be defined by a career?

And more importantly, why am I so agitated over this subject?

1976 to 2011.  For many, the clock has stood still.


  1. I'm as shocked as you were - people still say that?

    I knew quite a few women who met their husbands in college, but I think that was more an added perk than the reason they were there.

    Seems like an awful lot of work just to meet a guy.

    Haven't these girls ever heard of bars?

  2. I never understood the "drive to be domesticated." But I knew girls in high school who were already pregnant and "happily" planning their weddings, so the only objective thing I can say is at least some of these women wait until college to begin the end, as I like to put it.

    I know there are types who that really is their big dream, but, to me, settling down too soon, (or at all, in my case), is just selling yourself short.

  3. other comments sent directly to me included those of a gentleman first expressing astonishment that someone would earn a degree and never use it. Then he advised me to relax and accept the validity of that choice.

    An earnest, but revealing response:

    ". . . MRS degree plays things right, that degree comes in handy when raising children. Bec the kids IQ and success depends on the mother's intelligence and knowledge. . .Thus, the degree is used by the MRS candidates."

    Must we always be the vessel of our beloved's success?

  4. Don't get me started.
    I admit among my friends that is rare, but i hear it still exists and I see v everywhere people looking for prince charming. I don't understand it.
    I like to think most girls go to college to get on with their lives, I fear that some still do not they feel they can't get on with their lives until their is a man it their life to complete it. I just never understood this.

  5. With the divorce rate being what it is, women choosing to do that are taking quite a risk. But people often look for all types of escapes from growing up; being a wife and mother sure won't protect you from that.

    Anyway, are there that many men wealthy enough to support his wife forever? It also seems that more women are (sadly) supporting men lately. It can go either way.

    My grandmother was very sheltered and traditional but had to take a job when her gambling husband went into hiding from loan sharks. She wound up loving it and worked until retirement, even after Grandpa had settled down.

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