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April 23, 2004

The Bride with the Tattoo


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With a welcome nudge from Underlying Reality, I remembered that I was going to write about the bride with the tatoo. I just threw away her New York Times Wedding Section yesterday, and thought I would be able to find it for direct quotes before it hit recycling, I am sorry to report, a thorough search through the paper bin, has left me empty handed. I guess I was meant to write this myself.

(AN UNINVITED MESSAGE FROM THE UNIVERSE JUST FLASHED ACROSS MY SCREEN ENTITLED "ATTACHMENT" What did I do? read it? Of course not. I got annoyed by the interruption and ERASED it. Perhaps the headline was enough of a message, nonetheless.)

But I digress (this system is working, I haven't said that in a long time) --back to the bride. The bride had been engaged before. Her former fiance was one of the firefighters killed in 9/11. The bridgegroom (a slip worth revealing) was to have been their best man. The featured couple gave back-to-back eulogies at Fiance #1's funeral, and while supporting one another in their grief, began to do more than just support one another.

Here's the tatoo part. Last year, maybe on the anniversary of 9/11, definitely after the featured couple was engaged, the bride got a tattoo on her back. It says (what precisely does a tattoo do? display, depict, advertise?) the dead fiance's name under a Celtic cross. Now she is imprinted by her first love in more ways than one.

Imprinting, (as in duckling) is the reason that so many high school sweetheats, oops, sweethearts, are reuniting in their advanced age. Imprinting probably takes place in the in the more instinctual parts of the brain, while "mature love" also involves the frontal cortex and the limbic system. I bet those with "attachment disorders" from homes where the maternal/child bond is flawed, are more susceptible to imprinting on their first lovers. That imprinted kind of primitive attachment is a ferocious thing. It's primal, instinctual and latches onto the beloved object like a pitbull. Pitbulls are not easily shaken off. The movie "Fatal Attraction" depicts a good example of this kind of attachment.

Back to the featured couple. The bridegroom was supportive about the tatoo-- (it doesn't say whether he knew in advance). He seems to accept that there is another presence in their relationship. Maybe he even finds it an appealing part of the package. It may take the heat off him in some ways --fewer intimacy requirements, a chance to stay in relationship to his dead friend, perhaps the satisfaction of some homoerotic impulses.

In the movie, "Madly, Truly, Deeply", (which is not in evidence on the web, maybe it's at the video store) the heroine lost her lover suddenly in an accident. Their relationship is severed while they were falling in love , mid-idealization. She is so bereft that her unrelenting tears project horizontally. The dead lover sees from above that he has unfinished business. He returns as a ghost, bringing a few friends, and, by being his most obnoxious self, hustles her quickly through her idealization. As a consequence, she is able to move on. Maybe that's what happened to our bride. She lost her lover during the idealization period.

In any case, although the tatoo was not visible in the Times photo, the bride wore a strapless wedding gown. The tattoo must have been visible to all the guests as she walked down the aisle.

Photo note: Another gorgeous Providence wedding cake. Sorry for the ill placed reflections. If I were a Photoshop whiz, and a patient person, I could get rid of them, but you get the idea without all that.

Posted by Dakota at April 23, 2004 06:23 AM