Monday, May 02, 2005

The Runaway Bride

Jennifer Wilbanks, 32 decided to do the unthinkable (well maybe some of us have thought of it) and hop on a bus to escape the coming wedding fest, which was one of gargantuan proportions. Everyone has focused on Jennifer, her deer caught in the headlights appearance in photographs, the fact that she was not a "mere slip of a girl" and should have known better, and the colossal waste of time and resources she caused by necessitating a manhunt for an abducted young woman.

And then there was the groom-to-be, how could she humiliate him like that? Why didn't she talk to someone, anything to avoid a stunt even Lucille Ball would never have pulled on I Love Lucy? (I used to get embarrassed just watching that show). Why I even heard an unknown Dr. Ruth like radio shrink pontificating on a radio news broadcast the yesterday regarding the fact that weddings can be so very stressful but that poor Mr. Mason can hardly be expected ever to reconcile with Ms. Wilbanks because she is likely to break under any stressful situation in the future, and that is hardly a recipe for a successful marriage.

I have a different take on all this. What kind of life had Jennifer or any woman led, to persuade her that this was the way out of this situation? How had she been raised? Had she never been able to confide in anyone? Was secretiveness part of her family culture? Was doing her duty to carry on with a society wedding and not shame the family so important that she would go to the extreme lengths to fake her own kidnapping to get out of it? Think about it...two prominent families, pressure for the union, look at how people turned on her as soon as it was confirmed that she was unharmed?

How do we know that Jennifer had not discovered that Mr. Mason was not the Prince Charming that he appeared to be? The answer is we don’t. Perhaps his family is so well connected that she could not have broken off the wedding at a late date without (in her thinking) shame to her and her family. Perhaps something had come to light that was so terrible in her mind, at least, that she had to go to desperate means to put a stop to the wedding. Perhaps she couldn't confide in anyone. This story has all the makings of a Dickensian tragedy, and I bet we have not heard the last of it.

Surely a 32 year old woman must have had some foresight to know that her escape plan would not have worked indefinitely. Perhaps there is a family situation which needs attention. Perhaps the husband to be is not the wonderful guy he has been made out to be. We don't know anything for certain nor is it really any of our business, but there is certainly more to this situation than meets the eye, and the knee jerk analysis of those who think they know the family dynamics from the outside looking in are fooling themselves.

Anyone who would draw national attention to herself in this way with a half hearted attempt at escape doomed to failure must of course have "issues". The fortunate piece of all this is that, no matter how inconvenient for everyone, no matter that 600 guests missed the "big party", a young woman is not starting out in a marriage that for whatever reason, was doomed to fail from the beginning. That would have been the worse tragedy for the couple, and perhaps for the children they may have brought into the world.


At 7:49 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

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At 4:31 PM, Blogger Owen said...

I think the most interesting point in all this is that he still wants to marry her. You're exactly right - how can this be a positive omen for the future of their marriage? Could a man truly be that desperate? That is a very sad story. But if it was done for publicity, they sure made out like bandits :)

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Still following this; I don't think it's publicity. I stick with my original thesis. It's fortunate for the world that this is ending the way it is. The court should consider some of the cost of her rehab as applied to the debt she owes for the search. Hopefully she will be helped. I am still looking at the whole family. Gotta be some skeletons there!


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