Okay, full disclosure here. I'm not a vampire fanatic. I've never watched Buffy or True Blood and the extent of my undead readings have been (sigh) the Twilight series and Interview with a Vampire all those years ago. So these musings on why vampires are so darned screwable is not from hours of drooling over specific characters, but looking at the general feminine yearnings that are represented in our male, undead counterparts. While it could be argued that women want to have sex with vampires because actors such as Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise play these characters (forgive me for not being over the moon for whoever played Edward, I'm in my thirties after all,) but I really think it has more to do with masculine consciousness and habitual cultural attractions than anything else.
This article explores the characteristics of vampires as a metaphor for qualities of masculine energy and while we likely wouldn't swoon over a pasty white predator who will never die, a man with deep, penetrating consciousness, who's full hearted purpose leaves his lower impulses in the dust? Sign. Me. Up.
Back when the Twilight series first came out, like any self-respecting mother, I held back. I will not be sucked in to some adolescent fantasy, I thought. But then some friends, of similar age, similar life circumstances, were like "Why would you not read this book? Why would you deny yourself an adolescent fantasy?!" Oh dear friends, such wise words, perhaps I was taking myself too seriously. I was warned though, don't read it if you have anything you have to do. So when the flu swept my household, I was swept away by Twilight. Now, this is not a book review and let's not get all caught up in whether or not this is a good book, quality literature and all of that. But this sucker, like so many vampires, will certainly make you feel. But why?
That whole "Edward shimmers" thing...whatever. I get it, women like sparkly objects. That was too easy. I'd argue though that most of us don't want our men to sparkle. We want to sparkle, we want a man to be drawn to that sparkle...like a moth to a flame...or like a vampire to the scent of our blood.
Okay ladies, who doesn't want to be hunted? Let's be clear, I'm not talking about being stalked, attacked and raped here. But seen, zeroed in on, pursued, and claimed. The desire to be so radiant that we lure a man with our shine is expressed in metaphor as the vampire hunts its victim. The scent of the blood makes her irresistible and he's insatiable and going to hunt her and devour her until there's nothing left.
If feminine essence or energy is the ever moving, embodied chaos of life, masculine essence or energy is the unmoving, unchanging consciousness beyond death. He's not alive, yet he's not dead. He's unchanging and steady. This is polarizing and knee-weakening for the feminine. There's something about that which we can count on will never change, flutter or fluster that makes us able to relax, even if there's a threat that we'll be eaten. Perhaps because there's a threat that we'll be eaten.
The Bad Boy
Okay, maybe this one has nothing to do with masculine consciousness and more to do with the fact that women are ridiculous. The only thing that's sexier than the Bad Boy is a reformed Bad Boy. You know, he used to be all into hard-core stuff like sucking the blood and life-force out of humans. But now, he's transcended his badass ways and is a contributing member of society, which feels like a greater accomplishment than simply being a contributing member of society without a badass past because 'he's been through sooooo much.' Add to this that 'he changed and became a better man because of me' and we're all swooning aren't we? What could bolster up your womanly self image more than being the lady behind the legend? (barf)
My vampire boyfriend can totally kick your human boyfriend's ass. If a love story doesn't have a scene where the male protagonist defends and protects his woman, they totally missed an easy opportunity to make us get all gushy. The feminist in me hates this. But that wiring feels so deep, to choose a man that can lead and protect the tribe, ensuring the offspring thrive. Vampires are of course stronger, faster, and near impossible to kill. So if your vampire boyfriend can resist his urge to suck you dead, you're a shoo-in for survival. And looking like hot shit in front of your girlfriends with their dudes who can't lift cars in the air is alright too.
So when a vampire falls in love with you, now what? He also wants to suck your blood until you're dead. I'm not going to pretend I know what it's like to have the sexual impulse of a man, but rumour has it, that pretty much runs the show. As a woman, feeling a man's sexual desire is exciting (see being hunted) but if we disappear, if that sexual desire is in the forefront, if we could be any hot blooded woman, well that just feels gross. A man whose heart leads, whose deep care reaches further than his erection and can maintain that level of loving presence, even in the act of lovemaking is far more attractive, nourishing and honouring than a shallow ravenous impulse to get off. For the vampires who are hungry for blood, but keep their primal yearnings and needs in check for the sake of their love, well that creates some deep trust.
So what does this mean for us? Should men try to be more like vampires? Should women dump their dudes for fictional characters? As someone who loathes passing up a reflective opportunity, I find it fascinating to dig into why we're attracted to what we're attracted to. Can vampires as a metaphor for relationship tell us about what we want, need and ache for? Can it show us where our habits, kinks and compulsions are? Maybe it can lead us to become more curious and conscious about who we are as masculine and feminine beings. Or maybe we should just kick back in some sexy clothes, throw on True Blood and call it foreplay.