Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Prisoner of Love

This post, from 2002, is reprinted here to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Charles Manson and his bride-to-be, Afton Elaine Burton (above), whose father, I'm sure, can't wait to give her away. Best wishes to the happy couple. And may all your troubles be little ones!

It is said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus


We’re not even from the same solar system.

This was driven home the other night as I watched Barbara Walters on 20/20 as she interviewed Tammi Menendez, the beautiful blonde bride of Erik Menendez.

Erik, as you will recall, is a convicted murderer, the youngest of the two Menendez brothers who mounted one of the most creative defenses in history.

At ages 18 and 20,  Erik and his brother, Lyle, according to their defense attorneys, suddenly realized their wealthy parents were child rapists and threatened to go public with this information. The parents, naturally, announced plans to kill their sons to keep them quiet. Fearing for their lives, the brothers snuck up with a shotgun on their parents as they were eating strawberries and cream in the family room of their Beverly Hills mansion and fired repeatedly. They then went on a shopping spree to forget their grief, buying Rolex watches, Porsches and other goodies with their parents’ millions.

Their first trial ended with a hung jury.

The second time around they got life with no possibility of parole.

Erik’s new bride told Barbara her inspiring story.

She said she was an ordinary Minnesota housewife, married to a man who wasn’t around for her emotionally when she needed him. Fascinated by the Menendez brothers’ trial on Court TV, Tammi began corresponding with Erik in prison.

After the death of her husband (she never said what he died of but I would imagine he died of embarrassment, knowing his wife was writing Erik), she started dating a wealthy doctor, but couldn’t stop thinking about Erik, with whom she was falling head over heels in love.

So, she told the doctor to take a hike and, using the proceeds from her dead husband’s insurance, moved to Sacramento to be near her Prince Charming, where she bought a house with a pool and a Mercedes.

Three years ago she married Erik in the prison visiting room. In lieu of a wedding cake, they shared a vending machine Twinkie.

Tammi now spends her days visiting Erik and, when they’re apart, reading his love letters and chatting with him on the phone about their favorite TV shows which she watches in her swell house and he watches in the Big House. She says she is deliriously happy and that he is her soul mate (not to mention her inmate). Why, he even reads stories to her six-year-old on visiting days!

I ask you, would a man ever do what she did? Specifically, if it had been the Menendez sisters – Erica and Lila – do you think there’s a man on earth who would have married one of them?

No way.

Men know that a woman incarcerated for life can’t make dinner or do laundry, nor can she perform her most important wifely duty – getting out of the car at gas stations and asking attendants for directions when her husband is hopelessly lost.*

A man wouldn’t put up with an imprisoned woman for one minute, much less marry one. But women marry male inmates all the time.

Ladies, I may be betraying my Martian species but here’s a tip. You want a man who will always be there for you? A man who will do whatever you want? Try this:

You: Darling, wanna go to the movies tonight?

Your husband: No thanks, I’m tired from getting up at five and working all day. Can’t we stay home?

You: Fine. Erik Menendez is taken but I’m going to start writing his brother, Lyle. You’ll die of humiliation. With your insurance money I’m going to take the kids and move to California where I’ll buy a Mercedes, so I can drive back and forth to the prison to visit him. Then I’m going on 20/20 and telling Barbara Walters you weren’t there for me when I needed you. What’s more, I’m going to give an interview to the local paper; it’ll appear on the front page along with a picture of Lyle and me eating a Ding-Dong.

Trust me when I say he’ll be your prisoner for life.

* This was written in 2002 before cars and cell phones came equipped with GPS. Women no longer have to ask directions for their husbands. Come to think of it, a lot about this post is out of date. Barbara Walters has retired. Lyle Menendez has now been married twice (most recently to his lawyer). And you'll be happy to know that Erik and Tammi Menendez are still married. 

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