Felons Need Love, Too
Maybe you've seen some of these ads lately for online dating. They try to make them seem so inclusive and inviting, using amiable grandfatherly types to give you a sense of togetherness, that everyone meets on match.com or some such site. That isn't the only type of ad for online dating, though. I saw another one online the other day that sent a railroad spike through my heart:
"We screen for felons!"
Forgive this vulgarity and any that may come after it, but what the skullcracking fucking ripping guts is that about? As a felon, I take offense to the insinuation that I am unsuitable for matchmaking. I was convicted of a crime against society, not romance! I was taken off the streets for 17 years for violating a man-made law, not breaking the valuable code of Cupid! In the eyes of love, I am just as eligible as anyone else. These matchmakers do not seem to realize this.
Yet even as I imagine a shive wrenching through the old grandpappy's rib cage and spilling his separatist blood all over the floor, I can also understand his point-of-view. Some people could be frightened at the prospect of dating a felon, I admit. The media creates a lot of illusions and smoke and mirrors about what a felon actually is: some kind of madman who wants to take over the world or light things on fire.
In reality, people would do well to imagine a Hannibal Lecter type of person when thinking of a felon: a smart, cultured man who just made a mistake or two in his life. And, now that the mistake has been made and gotten over with, so what? Shouldn't he have a chance for love? I would like to see a new Hannibal Lecter movie made: "Hannibal In Love". It would be about him trying his hardest to find the right girl, all while eating bits and pieces of that bitch Starling who stood between him and his freedom of love. His new girlfriend would understand. "Honey," she'd say, "I realize you have a little problem with eating and anger, but they don't put anorexics in jail! And they have support groups for rageaholics! Why should you be any different?"
Mr. Llib and I are working on a script for this movie right now. He says don't try and fucking take it from us, you fucking frogs.
I'm not blind, and I'm not dumb. I see the reaction I get when people find out I'm a felon. I don't intentionally tell them, of course; it comes out naturally in the flow of conversation. Someone will mention spending last summer on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and I will share my own story of graphic anal sex in my prison cell while being smacked in the face by my second-favorite guard. "Really," I joke, "our vacations were very similar!" The joke usually doesn't work, of course. The other person will stop, confused, and that's when I invariably have to tell them about the whole "felon" thing, and put a screwdriver through their brain for not having a motherfucking sense of humor.
Still, perhaps the cycle is self-perpetuating; if online dating services would not place such a stigma on felons, maybe people would not react so strongly when I share my stories of cutting new eye holes in people so that they can see what's really happening in this fucking world. We live in a country where cultural diversity is celebrated, but what about my culture? Why can an African native tell his date stories about dancing around a fire and chanting tribal rituals, but I can't relay my memory of ripping up a notebook into 467,025 pieces because my dead mother was telling me to? There is some serious discrimination going on here, but I and other members of my culture are almost powerless to stop it.
I have constructed a dating situation in my home to practice for the day when dating services get the fucking eye socket raping they deserve, and felons like myself are free to connect to date whomever we please. My "date" is a model I constructed with some wood and bits of hair from my freezer, but she'll suffice until the real thing comes along. "Have some peas, honey," I say, emptying the pot onto her plate. "I cooked them for you, because you are so fucking beautiful." Then I cut a layer of her face off, because her beauty needs to remain pure. None of you motherfuckers understands that.