Sunday, August 28, 2005

There's no explaining some women's choices . . .

Remember when Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, got married in prison? (I'll post links later, maybe. Please send me some if you know of good ones off the top of your head.) And everyone was like "what the heck is she thinking?"? And then the courts ruled that whether he's married or not, the prisons don't have to allow him to have "conjugal visits" with her? And still, the question plaguing me was "what the heck is she thinking?"?

Well, now that they can't have conjugal visits, the assassin and his psychobride are applying for the right to IVF treatments, so she can bear his child, sex or no sex.

What the heck is she thinking????

And now, look, the New York Times is wondering the same thing about American women who seek eligible men, not in bars, but behind bars:

Whatever the reasons behind Mrs. Hyatte's perplexing behavior [of shooting prison guards to try to free her husband --CS] -- a rescue fantasy, a need to nurture, the sexual excitement of being with a violent person (also known as hybristophilia), a wish for attention, a sense of low self-esteem, a grandiose us-against-them scheme -- she is far from alone in her seemingly lunatic infatuation with a man behind bars. Indeed, she is part of what has been recognized as a growing phenomemon, one common enough to have spawned Web sites like and as well as psychological studies with titles like ''Women Who Love Men Who Kill.'' This is the phenomenon of women who are attracted to the scent of demonic males -- fatally dangerous guys like Erik and Lyle Menendez, Robert Chambers and Scott Peterson. (Both Menendez brothers married in prison; Chambers was reportedly so besieged by transfixed females vying to smuggle him contraband that he had to be transferred to another jail; and Peterson has received at least two marriage proposals). The indubitably handsome and unlamented Ted Bundy was perhaps the archetypal demonic male, one who successfully posed as the dreamboat next door time and again, with the charm and verbal facility to knock the socks off any young woman unlucky enough to meet up with him when he was out cruising for prey. But while it would make for a simpler hypothesis if we could attribute the allure of inmates to their brute physical appeal, the truth is that even a one-eyed serial killer like Henry Lee Lucas had women panting after him, while John Wayne Gacy -- no one's idea of attractive and gay to boot (he killed 33 young men during homosexual encounters) -- became involved with a woman in prison.

I suppose we who believe in an unconscious life should understand by now that if it's difficult to figure out the rationale for your friends' marriages and love affairs, it's well nigh impossible to figure out why some women fall for miscreants. The apparent emotional illogic of killer cachet may make for a sweet lyric in a Waylon Jennings song -- ''Ladies love outlaws like babies love stray dogs'' -- but it has left cultural observers scrambling for answers. These range from assigning blame to Western culture as a whole for adulating male violence to blaming a particular family background for creating the sort of vulnerable female who is looking to have some power in a world that has granted her none by hooking up with a man who is both dependent on her and has exhibited his dominance over others.

The first-person article doesn't really offer any concrete answers. But anyhow, the whole thing leaves me feeling that I'd rather be stuck at a 4-day singles' Shabbaton at the Dead Sea in August than be a Scott Peterson groupie. That is just sick.

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