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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Convicts: cop-out on intimacy

    Romantic relationships in college are the ultimate sacrifice. Although being in love is a truly incredible and beautiful experience, it goes hand-in-hand with sacrificing time, energy and money. As college students these things are scarce.

    Is it possible to have an emotional, fulfilling, romantic bond with a lack of intimacy and commitment? Furthermore, how could such a bond exist? Inmatesforyou.com has a solution for those seeking the most perfect dysfunctional relationship.

    Inmatesforyou.com is a website where people can contact inmates who have a profile on the website. Although, dating is not the entire goal of the website, it’s often aluded to in personal profiles as well in the about section of the website which says “Some may even look to you as more than a friend and possible partner in a relationship. Either way there is someone out there for all of us.” The website is home to male and female inmates who are looking to correspond with people outside of the penitentiary. “The inmates within this site are looking for friends, pen pals, and even that love of their life,” says the welcoming statement on the site’s homepage. Non-inmates can access the site and search for an inmate based on age, sex, release date and a relationship blossoms. A classmate sparked my interest in this bizarre, unconventional relationship when she commented that her current romance of seven months began on the site.

    The initial reaction to hearing about a relationship between a young college student and a convict is one of shock and confusion. Thousands of eligible men and women roam campus daily who must be at least slightly more suitable for a romantic relationship than an inmate.

    Apparently, there is something devilishly appealing about inmates and it does not just have to do with physical attractiveness and “bad ass” charisma. For example, Scott Peterson has received massive amounts of love-mail, even marriage proposals during his stay on death row. Even serial killer Ted Bundy was in a “committed relationship” before being put to death. Dating an inmate is not as uncommon as it seems. According to Sharenator.com, more than 1,500 users a day visit inmatesforyou.com, and there are several similar sites dedicated to meeting inmates online. The high number of users tells me people are interested in such a different kind of relationship. Some may argue that there is no such thing as romance without intimacy. Others may define intimacy as an emotional connection rather than physical touch. Regardless of the relationship, romance can only be subjectively defined. Perhaps those in relationships with inmates feel an intimate satisfaction with a person behind bars that they have not found elsewhere.

    Romantic relations with convicts do not include the petty drama of a “normal” couple. The relationship’s basis can never be confused for one based solely on lust or physical dependence because so little physical contact can occur. Additionally, time spent together (during visits) is always cherished and never distracted considering how limited it must be. People who seek love with inmates want an emotional connection without all the hassle, explaining the high amount of usage of the bizarre inmate dating sites. Regardless, relationships with inmates can only go so far because eventually release dates will arrive and the relationship will be forced to become one with customary intimacy.

    Even if it begins behind bars, relationships are meant to have futures. “Dating” an inmate may give people a sense of comfort and meet emotional needs, however it cannot be compared to a relationship that involves true sacrifice and a committed bond in the day-to-day context.

    — Caroline Nachazel is a junior studying journalism and communication. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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