Monday, May 23, 2005

Mary Kay Le Tourneau Fualauuuu

Okay, so Mary Kay Le Tourneau, the teacher who went to prison for having sexual relations with her student when he was twelve or thirteen and she was married, has just married him (he's now twenty-two or three and they have two children together), and I don't know if it's just me, but I have a few questions. Maybe some of you have no questions, maybe it's obvious to most of you that this is just all kinds of wrong, but I'm only sure that it's some kinds of wrong. To be clear, let me just say that if I knew that my twelve-year-old (or any age) child's teacher was romantically interested in my kid, I would think violent thoughts and then call the police. This is a situation in which there is no doubt in my mind that the so-called adult in question is deeply troubled, and that regardless of whether or not the child thought he was a willing participant in the liaison, in my opinion, he was not. A kid of this age might have sexual feelings, but just does not have the ability to monitor what's appropriate in that regard.
But what to think now, ten years later, after MKLeTuFu has served her time in prison (seven years I think), when this pair is still a couple, with two children? Even if they'd just met, I'd think the age difference was an awfully big one (twenty years), and this is coming from a person in a relationship where there's a significant age difference in the same direction. (Yes, I'm older. Sigh.) It wouldn't be nearly as disturbing, of course. But I just wonder, has he been brainwashed for ten years, and is still under this woman's spell? Is it possible, just a question, but is it possible that there's actually something real between them? That he's especially mature and she's especially not? I don't really think so, what I really think is that this is a messed-up situation at best. MKLeTuFu is actually a very attractive woman, but it doesn't take a Freud to look into her eyes and see that she is at best, one very sad lady.
And I have to say, as much as anything, I wonder how in the name of anyone's god this comes under the heading of "entertainment." I say this because I was made aware of these nuptials not because of the news but because they have been featured on Entertainment Tonight for several nights in a row, each report prefaced by "Whatever you think of this union, they are getting married..." and then you see the reporter who gave this warning looking on at the wedding like any other weepy guest.
Tell me what to think and I'll think it.


teddy b boneman said...

Despite appearances, there are precisely no similarities between the relationship in question and your own. None. The MKLeTuFu situation is a sad, complex, and dysfunctional relationship that is being played out in pop culture because ET (and the like) can sell commercials around it. Is there real love between the two? That gets into philisophical questions that are far too complex for my poor brain to wrestle with. I always feel sad for people in these situations because I think they have years of pain left to go through, and I don't want people to be in pain (in general...and the super of my building is excluded from that wish). So I feel bad for them on some existential level, and then I get mad at society for embracing their pain for the benefit of entertainment and commercial time. Yuck.

I think that's why I can't watch these banal reality shows that are designed around creating a crisis and showing somebody breaking down in tears while the camera zooms in and the plaintive acoustic guitar chimes along with our heartstrings. Manipulative and mean, if you ask me.

I'd rather watch baseball.

DAM said...

This is really complex, but I'm going to look at it with my simple mind.

Clearly, what happened when he was a child was all kinds of wrong and her inability to understand that is indicative of her problems. However, many years have gone by and whatever dysfunctional relationship they have is intact.

I was once told that if a couple's neuroses complement each other, then it's all good.

A friend of mine married a man 20 years her senior. (I won't buy the somewhat conventional wisdom that it's different according to gender.) She needed a father figure and someone who would always see her as young and beautiful. He needed a woman who would look up to him and a woman to testify to his desirability. They're now married over 20 years and I know how happy they are.

MKLeTuFu is disturbed. She has a past that testifies to that. I don't know his, but it can't be filled with Disney days. He may need a mother figure and she may have a need to parent. Hey, if it works, who am I to say? That is "real" for them.

Want to ponder something? What's with the women who marry convicts with no chance of parole? Intimacy issues much???

Elizabeth Crane said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, guys. (Ted, meet Debra, Debra, Ted.) I know, of course, that me and MKLeTuFu are not alike, what with the whole my not being sexually interested in children thing, I don't relate or empathise with her (plus when Ben was twelve, I was in the midst of my tortured actor phase, and when he was twenty I was in my tortured hipster phase, so by the time we met when he was twenty-eight, I was ready for my really great guy phase, which I'm happy to announce is my last one) it's more that I'm just kind of fascinated by what seems to be a tiny bit of gray area here. As you both say, she is disturbed, and at best, their relationship has a solid foundation in dysfunction. I wonder, having watched this special on Patty Hearst last night, if for Vili, there isn't an element of something akin to Stockholm Syndrome going on, where you identify with your captors. Dr. Ted, thoughts? BTW, you totally nailed it on the advertising thing. Now there's some evil. Debra, I have never understood that thing about women marrying convicts either. I think both of those heinous Menendez brothers are married now!

dr. t teddy b boneman said...

Your question or parallel hypothesis about Stockholm Syndrome is an awfully interesting one. It's so hard to say...dare I say really know what's going on from the distance of television and the fact that, you know, I've never met the woman (duh). If you work backwards, people would question the 42-year-old with a 22-year-old thing, but they would allow it. And probably rightfully so. But this obviously didn't start that way and it was born (literally) out of something that is worthy of deep, deep analysis. The Freudian/Oedipal overtones aren't too hard to see. Now could there be some identification with the "mother" following the Oedipal victory? Sure. But that, too, will have enormous and painful consequenses down the road, even if everybody is putting the happy happy joy joy on their faces right now. (The guilt that these people will feel one day will be debilitating, if you accept the Oedipal victory as fact...the superego won't allow the victory without a high price to be paid.)

Nobody that is that neurotic (dare I say there is some psychosis here? yeah.) is going to navigate this into a healthy relationship and a secure household for the two children. Like I said in my first post...plenty of pain on the way for all involved. They need a team of therapists. That said, they're not breaking any laws and there is nothing illegal about being so screwed up that you marry your former 6th grade student. Coupla screwed up kids on the way, though.

Deb, nice to meet you. I'm a pretend psychologist, in that I have a long, long way to go before I really know what I'm talking about. So disregard everything I type.

And Bets, are you telling me that if I were incarcerated I'd have a better chance at getting a date? about going to any lengths...

Elizabeth Crane said...

Yes, there has got to be a big Oedipal thing going on, and you really clarified things for me in your second paragraph. It may be legal, but without a team of therapists, they and their kids are a disaster in the making. Just thinking about how they're going to explain how they met when the kids get older... oy.
Ted, try to stay out of jail. Some of us hit our really great guy phase later than others. And I personally never had an incarcerated guy phase.
PS I think you should get your own blog! And that goes for you too, Ms. M!

ted said...

Maybe I'd call it Psychobabbleblog. Rolls off the tongue kinda nicely....

DAM said...

Hi Dr. Ted. Pleasure to "meet" you. Re: convicts, I would have to respectfully disagree with our most esteemed blog host.

Amy Fisher. The girl has an affair with a married man. She shoots the wife. OK, she does some time, but comes out of jail and marries. She gets a column in a newspaper. (Get's an award winning advice column!) She's living in a lovely home on Long Island, pool included, and has 2 children. Yep, gonna' find me a married man and shoot his wife. Nothing fatal, mind you. Maybe just a surface wound. That way, I could serve my time in a county facility. I hear the state ones are rough. (I've been called a bitch, but I don't care to be anyone's bitch.)

If you have issues with intimacy, and I'm not suggesting you do, take a look at all the married convicts. Find a nice girl and settle down. Well, if you're already a convict, I suppose you're pretty much settled in one place, but you get my drift.

No arguments about who takes out the trash or does the laundry. You never have to argue over dinner plans. The precious clicker is your own. No complaints about a sex life, other than the lack of it. Hey, you've got to admit it's the definition of a low maintenance relationship.

If you'll excuse me now, I must check out some convict sites (yes, they have them) and see who is available. Is it really that different from, for instance,

Ms. Crane, me blog? I'm having too much fun here.

Elizabeth Crane said...

Oh, I totally forgot about Amy Fisher. Oy.
I do have to admit I had an elaborate fantasy of romancing Robert Downey Jr. while he was jail. But I had a long-term preexisting crush on him at that point, and the truth is I preferred my dysfunctional relationships not to involve bars. Much easier to complete fulfilling obsession factor if I can picture them with other girls or wonder endlessly why they're not calling.

Anonymous said...

Have you forgotten that Mary has bipolar disorder? The whole situation is classic behavior for those with that condition. One of my family members also has it.