Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Brief Analysis of Hybristophilia (You Know, For Valentine's Day)

My very first reaction to this list of insanely abhorrent reactions to Chris Brown at The Grammys was a curmudgeonly assessment that my mother is right, and women today are getting way the hell dumber about shit like this. I thought "This is like, the next logical step in the minds of women who insist they hate feminism in order to get some kind of dude approval gold star." Slippery slopes!

But then, then I remembered the Sweet Pea Girl. In 1895, a woman named Rosalind Bowers became something of a media sensation when, during the trial of Theodore "Demon of The Belfry" Durrant- the brother of actress, dancer and all around bad ass lady, Maud Allen. She brought the serial rapist and murderer a bouquet of sweet pea flowers every day and regularly attempted to see him in his cell.

This is nothing new at all. 

Hybristophiliacs are people who are sexually aroused by criminals- particularly especially violent criminals like serial killers. For every one serial killer out there, there are 100 women sending in fan mail by the bushel. I've written about the serial killer groupie phenomenon before in my post about Sondra London, but in light of recent events, I figure it's worth it to examine some other instances of women who love violent men.

I think, on some level, most people have a fascination with people who commit abhorrent acts. We all love a good horror movie. Hell, I freely admit to voraciously reading and watching nearly everything I can on serial killers, cannibals, cults and other disturbing phenomena. For me, I think it's like throwing spilled salt over my shoulder- it's a way of preventing something like that from ever happening to me. Like somehow, if I know everything about Ted Bundy, I can avoid a Ted Bundy- which, cognitively, I know is not true. Even if I avoid having long hair with a center part. I do not, however, want to bang Ted Bundy... but there were a lot of ladies who did.

In fact, Bundy got upwards of 200 "fan letters" a day during his trial, and he married his college girlfriend, Carole Anne Boone in the court room in the middle of the trial. He even had a kid with her. 

At Richard Ramirez's trial, ladies lined up around the block in funereal garb, clamoring for his attention. Even one of the jurors, Cindy Haden, claimed to have "fallen in love" with him during his trial and sent him a cupcake that said "I love you" on it. Although in the end, she reluctantly voted guilty along with the rest of the jury- which she later said she deeply regretted. She believed he was innocent on account of the fact that he was possessed by SATAN at the time. Amongst his many fangirls was 41 year old professed virgin, Doreen Lioy. Lioy was a freelance magazine editor with a B.A. in English Lit (just like YOU, probably.), and she claimed that she fell madly in love with Ramirez the very moment she saw his picture in the paper. She wrote him gads of letters and went to his trial every day and constantly told anyone who would listen how totally unfair the whole thing was. She even bought the clothes he wore. However, Ramirez had a ton of other admirers, including Haden, that wanted to marry him, and Doreen was crazy jealous of all of them. However, in the end, she won out and got to marry, um, a serial killer. And stay a virgin. Yay?

Veronica Compton (pictured above) was so smitten with Kenneth Bianchi (one of The Hillside Stranglers... who was actually from Rochester and I knew a woman who danced with him at a wedding one time. Her name was Peggy and she worked for my dad. Also, some of my friends claim that his mom was their lunch lady.)- that he successfully convinced her to try to commit a murder in the style of the stranglers in order to convince the cops that he and Angelo Buono were still innocent. He gave her a vial of his semen to plant on the woman, since, as Bianchi was a non-secreter, they would not be able to match the blood type to him from the semen (this was before DNA). She actually did attack a girl but ended up not being able to kill her, and he dumped her right after that, and went on to marry another lady named Shirlee Book. She went to jail and soon found herself being seduced by yet another serial killer. This time, it was Douglas Clark, one of the people responsible for the Sunset Strip Slayings. After he realized that Compton was in jail with his ex-girlfriend and former partner in crime, Carol Bundy (no relation to Ted), he set out to seduce her with flowery love letters... and valentines featuring drawings of a beheaded woman. The two passionately discussed their future plans to open a mortuary together in order to have access to dead bodies to bang, and he convinced her to testify in his trial that Carol had confessed to having done all the killings herself. Once again, Veronica totally failed under pressure and ended up pleading the 5th. 

Here is a letter sent to Veronica from Doug after things went sour. If there's one thing we can all learn from this, it is that "Thanks for the sex" is a great closer. 

She later escaped from prison at some point, but ended up going back and marrying an elderly professor who taught at the prison. Apparently she's out now and they have kids and she's a born-again. Shocking, I know.

There are a few things I remember knowing for sure growing up. One of them was that Phil Spector, while a genius who invented The Wall of Sound, was a very bad man who screwed over my idol Darlene Love and abused the hell out of Ronnie Spector. Another was that Mike Love was a douche, but let's save that one for another time. I first read Ronnie Spector's biography, "Be My Baby" when I was around ten years old, and thus have always been sort of haunted by the idea of the monster who kept one of my favorite singers locked in his creepy mansion for years. Apparently, this is not a lesson Rachelle Short learned.

When Phil Spector was arrested for the murder of Lana Clarkson, I was full of "I Told You So's". Rachelle Short, however, had stars in her eyes. She met Spector at a restaurant soon after he was arrested for the murder. During the three years he was out on bail, the two enjoyed a storybook romance as can only be had by a 28 year old "aspiring singer" and a 70 year old pop music icon/murderer/wife beater. They were soon married. He even produced her album, the hilariously titled "Out of My Chelle"- which he claims is far superior to anything he ever did with Tina Turner or The Beatles. I will let you be the judge of that.

HUH. So, you know, in case you were not totally sure that Phil Spector had lost his goddamned mind... 

Rachelle apparently insists that Spector is innocent, and believes that he will soon be released. She plans on releasing her own version of "A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector" in the near future, because that seems like a good idea. People will want to listen to that, I'm sure.

And these ladies are not alone. Both Menendez brothers were married while incarcerated, as were Manson Family members Tex Watson (also a born again now) and Susan Atkins. Apparently, Joren Van Der Sloot, who murdered Natalee Holloway has an astounding amount of admirers, including a radiologist who describes him as a beautiful person and even wrote him a song called "I Will Rescue You".

BUT WHY? Now, Veronica Compton was obviously batshit herself. And Rachelle was most likely trying to be a professional singer- but what about all the other ladies who so eagerly throw themselves at America's most notorious criminals? I mean, there are tons of websites dedicated to personal ads from prisoners, and hell, they are way more popular than you'd imagine

While in some cases, it may have something to do with the fact that someone who's locked in a prison is probably not going to be able to cheat on you, or an urge to nurture a "bad boy" (something we've all been through at some point or another), or just an urge to be famous yourself, I think there are other factors at work.

The thing that immediately comes to mind is the urge to be special. Like, if you were the one that was able to find the good in a terrible person, or to be the one, special, unique snowflake that was able to to "change" them, you'd feel pretty important, I suppose. This is probably the same deal with men who love women in prison.

The other thing though, and this is what I see most of in the case of "Team Breezy"- is that I think there's an evolutionary basis for this. 

See, violence is generally considered a masculine trait. Guns are phallic as hell and most wars are started by men. In a study done on orangutans, scientists discovered that when the male   orangutans had been in a fight, the winner of that fight was immediately besieged by lady orangutan admirers. Biologically speaking, women are supposed to have some instinct about super masculine men being able to have sperm that will most likely produce successful offspring capable of surviving. For the most part, our culture has moved beyond this. However, it is highly likely that women who grow up with an abusive father will enter into an abusive relationship themselves, simply because they associate violence with masculinity and virility.

I also think there is a biological reason for women being interested in artists. I mean, how many of us have thrown our arms up in the air insisting that we will never again fall for another musician, poet, painter, writer, etc. only to drop our panties in a hurry for the next wannabe rockstar we meet at a late night bar? On some level, I think it has to do with the very human urge for immortality. The idea that they could create something about you that could live forever. 

You put these two urges together and you get Team Breezy. I'm not making excuses for women who would gladly announce to the world that they'd let an idiot like Chris Brown punch them in the face, but I am interested in finding a reason.

Then again, like I said, I have always been fascinated by people who commit abhorrent acts. So, that's some stuff about killer groupies. You can talk about them at cocktail parties- over fava beans and a nice chianti.