As a reality star on Lifetime’s Prison Wives Club, LaQuisha Benjamin has become an inspiration to many women across the country, specifically prison wives. Along with her costars, LaQuisha revealed to viewers that women who fall in love with “bad boys” are just regular people. It could be your sister, your best friend, or you. Even Destiny’s Child sang about their love of bay boys in their song, “Soldier:”
“If his status ain’t hood, I ain’t checkin’ for him, Betta be street if he lookin’ at me, I need a soldier”
What is about bad boys? Why are so many women attracted to these type of men? I spoke with LaQuisha and asked for her thoughts on her own relationship as well as the allure of men who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
What initially attracted you to your husband?
LB: My husband first saw me at the TCC transit center (the bus stop!). The way he approached didn’t at all match how he looked. I was initially attracted to his physicality light skin, cornrows, clothes looking like the latest and greatest, tall, muscular build. When he spoke to me, it was with such respect and admiration. No whack game. He was very articulate. Of course, I was like, ‘Yes! I’m winning! He’s fine as hell and clearly intelligent.’
Would you consider your husband a “thug”?
LB: No, I don’t consider him a thug, more like he’s a product of his environment. All that he did illegally initially was a means to survive. As he grew older, it became a lifestyle; it was all he knew to do.
How long is your husband’s sentence?
LB: My husband was sentenced to 75 years total in Washington state. They add your juvenile record in with any adult sentence. The crime he’s in for now was his first major charge as an adult.
Can you describe your daily life as a prison wife?
LB: My daily life consists of working full time, visitation on weekends, and being there for my two kids that are very active in school, sports and church. I also budget my finances and deal with lawyers and their fees. [Like all relationships,] my husband and I have a real relationship with real marital issues, on top of his absence, limited communication and days we can see each other…
How does society perceive a prison wife and how does that differ from the women that you’ve met?
LB: Society looks at us as stupid, dumb, desperate, ghetto, [with a] low self-esteem, [that we are] welfare recipients: every negative stereotype you can think of. After being on the show [Lifetime’s Prison Wives Club], I’ve met women all over the US and have found that the majority are very successful, educated, motivated, inspirational, and open-minded individuals. What many fail to realize is not all of the women that are in relationships with men incarcerated MWI (met or married while incarcerated). There was an established history prior to the men being locked up. For those women who did MWI, they [may have] found their soul mates.
Do you think that women overall are more attracted to “thugs”?
LB:: At a certain phase in our lives, women are attracted to the “thug” or “bad boy” image because it’s exciting. For example, in the 1950s, Elvis Presley and James Dean were rebels, the bad boys of their time. The female fans would literally swoon at the sight of them and do things they wouldn’t normally do. They [often] went against how they conducted themselves as young ladies. The same concept applies to today. It’s the excitement of potential danger and how [bad boys and thugs] challenge society. They go against the grain, they’re different. Its as if being with them triggers a pheromone – you just can’t help it. Then you get to learn [about] who they are as people…the softer, vulnerable man inside of the hard exterior. That’s where the thrill stops and love begins…
Do you have any advice for women who are currently pursuing a relationship with a “thug” out here on the streets?
LB: [When partaking in criminal behavior,] the one committing the act isn’t thinking about the ones they love in that moment. Anything that happens is due to a series of events that led to that moment; most of the time [the criminal act is] NOT premeditated. She should know his reckless behavior will eventually lead him to prison. If this should happen, is she ready for what that entails? From financially to emotionally to physically, all of it will be sacrificed while he’s [incarcerated]. If she believes that her love will see her through a time such as this, ride it out. If she doesn’t, she should cut ties now. Consider all of this when making the decision to stay or leave.