For every girl, there is a perfect guy. Somewhere. The tricky bit is in trying to hunt him down. The majority of the ‘single and seeking’ members of today’s public tend to find themselves being chatted up in bars – a couple of tequilas, grab your coat, you’ve pulled. Well, what if your Prince Charming is the one behind the bars? Not the tanned bartender with the stomach flipping smile, but the sinister one in the jump-suit with a life sentence for murder.
Maybe falling in love with a prisoner isn’t such a big deal. Au contraire, in many ways, this could be fantastic. You have a guy that is reliable: you’ll have no doubt as to where he is and chances are he won’t be running around with other women. Moreover, he definitely won’t be afraid of commitment: “Till death do us part” doesn’t cause great apprehension to someone whose armchair will be electric.
‘Nightstalker’ Richard Ramirez had no trouble finding a bride after his thirteen murders and dismembers back in 1980. Neither did Ted Bundy, the infamous rapist and murderer suspected of killing thirty-five young women. Even John Wayne Gacy – not the kinda guy you want to bring home to your mother, with a history of drugging, raping and slaughtering thirty young men in Chicago – ended up marrying a woman he met whilst awaiting the death penalty.
Increasingly, there seems to be more and more women that have become frustrated with dating and have turned to the penal system in search for Monsieur Right. And why not? Prison relationships retain the intoxicating elements present in every romance: you have limited contact and need never go beyond the courting stage. The thrill is in the chase. And the relationship always remains a chase. It never reaches the stage where it starts to become routine, boring and mundane; where you start to take each other for granted. You tend to hold a certain amount of control over the relationship – many women contact a number of prisoners before making a final connection, you don’t have to see him on a regular basis, and it’s you that can choose how much commitment to put into the partnership. For some, this is an adventurous, exciting experience – you can either fulfil the thrill seeking fantasies of having a totally committed man under your thumb for, what could be, an awfully long time, or, you get to ride the moral high ground and appear as the rehabilitator: Forgive and forget, people change, you’re in love. And then of course, there’s the shock value – you’d be the centre of attention and the topic of conversation of your highly incredulous social circle. Are you mad? Or just bad?
Prison weddings too, seem to bring with them a set of obstacles extremely different to the white-gowned, frosty-glassed extravaganza we are all used to: no stress about choosing the perfect church or reception hall, no arguments about which special theme or style will make it mega memorable – remember, marrying an inmate is such a scandalous thing of its own accord that its likely friends and family will be talking about it for years to come anyway.
Across America, more than 100 men on death row are arranged to be married and a British survey last year showed that up to 80% of marriages between English women and inmates were successful. By comparison, it’s generally accepted that half of all ‘normal’ marriages outside prison will fail. With this outlook it’s not surprising that women are looking for life long partners behind bars – after all, essentially, they all seem to pass the Cosmo Quiz for potential husband material. Who cares about the tanned, stomach-flipping bartender? You want the sinister, committed guy behind the bars, in the jumpsuit and reeking of thrill.