Monday, July 08, 2013

Bridge Lady

You might have seen the news item about an Australian woman marrying a bridge in the south of France.

She's an interesting mix of things this bridge lady, Jodi Rose. First, she represents an unfortunate trend, the idea of "art as therapy":
I also worked out fairly early on in life that if I wanted to avoid being locked away in an institution, I better find myself a context where whatever I did or said would be accepted, if not always totally acceptable. Which is why I chose  a career in the arts, the crazier you are as an artist, the better. Not that I have an actual mental disorder, more a tendency to melancholy and borderline depression, with an overactive imagination.

It ought to be the very opposite, it ought to be the most spiritually and psychologically "centred" who express what is best in the human experience through art.

The masculine husband: the historic Devil's bridge in the south of France

And what does Jodi Rose want in life? She wants incompatible things, a mix of modernity and tradition. She wants absolute freedom, but also love and security.

And this mix came out in her wedding ceremony. She values the bridge for having some advanced masculine qualities, whilst at the same time leaving her perfectly free to do whatever she wants:
The Devil’s Bridge is everything I could desire in a husband - sturdy, trustworthy, sensual, kind and handsome...This is not a decision I undertake lightly, just as our curves complement, we truly bring joy to each other, and the strength of his pylons will always carry me home. Bridgeland is love!

The story of our romance is a modern love fable...Although he is made of stone, the resonance of his being is very present, and I feel at peace in his strong embrace. He makes me feel connected to the earth and draws me to rest from my endless nomadic wanderings.

In his early years, women like me – educated, independent, unmarried - had an unfortunate tendency to end up in the hands of the inquisition, accused of being the Devil’s consorts and burned on the stake as witches. Women who exert too much independence, sexual knowledge or freedom may still be crucified on the stake of the mass media, while attitudes to those who remain unmarried, for whatever reason, are a combination of envy, speculation and pity, which although it may sting the ego, is preferable to being thrown onto a burning pyre or relegated to unpaid domestic labour.

While I respect those whose romantic and sexual feelings are oriented towards objects, mine is a symbolic affair, a pagan / animist view of the spiritual vibration in everything. He understands that I love other bridges – and men – ours is a love that embraces the vagaries of life, as materialised in the swirling currents of the river that flows beneath his magnificent body.

This is why I am marrying the bridge. He is fixed, stable, rooted to the ground, while I am nomadic, transient, ever on the road. He gives me a safe haven, brings me back to ground myself, and then lets me go again to follow my own path, without trying to keep me tied down or in thrall to his needs or desires. I am devoted to him. The perfect husband… strong and silent!

Interesting. On the one hand, she hasn't really bought into the liberal idea of gender sameness. She is clearly yearning for what is masculine, strong and protective. At the same time, she has bought into the liberal idea about female independence in a big way.

Jodi Rose with her bridge

So it's little wonder she's ended up with a bridge. She sees the job of a husband very traditionally as having the strength to protect. Her job, it seems, is to be independent and footloose. It's not exactly the basis for a successfully complementary relationship.

Someone needs to tell Jodi Rose that women need to embody something more than independence if they are going to offer something compellingly attractive to masculine men. She needs to think about what there is within femininity that is likely to inspire love, but to do this she will first have to liberate herself from political ideas which associate femininity negatively with oppression and thraldom.


  1. There must be a name for this female archetype... Traditional expectations of men, modern liberation for herself. It's not exactly uncommon.

  2. Seems like she wants a man that she can walk over.

  3. Off the top of my head, I think the bridge can do better.