Romancing the Undead: Why Women Shouldn't Love Dead Things
by Christopher Peruzzi
Let's see how well this flies and then we can talk about a relationship.
I am fascinated yet disturbed by this perpetual trend of women who find vampires sexy. Something happens every generation after the release of a vampire movie or television show that makes women crazy for these immortal blood suckers. And I just can't figure it out.
Here's the scenario in most vampire movies.
A nice guy dates a sweet innocent girl. Things are going well enough, perhaps a tad on the hum drum side, when a "mysterious stranger" moves into town. Because this movie takes place in a town that has absolutely no social life outside of gossip and a few hot spots, people start talking about who bought the dark creepy mansion on the hill. Rumors fly and people hear things from the real estate agent that the house's owner is a quiet European gentleman who likes to spend time by himself alone.
Perhaps a week later, we hear about some mysterious deaths about some elderly people suddenly passing away from an anemia related disease as well as some missing pets from around the neighborhood combined with the news that the local supermarket's regular delivery of garlic has been waylaid.
There will be some kind of social event where the "mysterious stranger" makes his premiere appearance. This usually happens when the nice guy and the sweet innocent girl are at the event. And for some reason, the sweet innocent girl senses the forbidden fruit of this stranger and is immediately drawn to him.
From here the plot can take several different turns. However, typically, the stranger turns out of be a vampire who's staked a claim in the town and wants the sweet innocent girl to "end his loneliness" and tries to seduce her through the usual method of stalking, hypnosis, and just plain old fashioned preternatural style and coolness.
And they fall for it.
Now, my wife and almost every woman she knows has fallen in love with most of the vampire shows and books out there. Whether this is originating from Ann Rice's Vampire Chronicles, the Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, or the notorious Stephanie Meyers Twilight books, women still go crazy for vampires.
And because I have a "Y" chromosome in my body, I just don't understand it.
If you're a fan of vampire fiction, why do you like them?
If a vampire would offer to turn you immortal, knowing that you'd spend eternity at the same physical age, what age would you want that to be?
What age do you think a vampire would wish to keep you (what age would the vampire want you to be)?
Here's What I Don't Understand
Okay, I'm a guy. So you ladies will need to help me with this one.
I grew up with three sisters. I've dated women and I'm married. After a lifetime of hearing what's gross from all of you, you need to explain some of these things.
- They are dead things.
When watching The Walking Dead we can all agree that zombies are these dead stinkbags that eat people. While zombies are not strictly fascinated with sucking blood (or fascinated with anything for that matter), does even the concept of touching a walking corpse make you a bit queasy? Granted, vampires are not zombies. Vampires think and they have a way of keeping their bodies from decaying. Zombies are the ugly step sisters of vampires.
However, as vampires are still dead, wouldn't they be cold? Yes, I remember the Ann Rice explanation that a vampire that's just fed will have some color in his face and a bit of warm blood body temperature. But that can't last forever.
- They are shape changers.
Even in Bram Stoker's Dracula we know that the old count was quite capable of changing his shape. He didn't just transform into a bat or mist, but he changed his actual appearance to that of a young man (This was per Jonathan Harker's first account in the novel).
Every woman I've ever met has a thing about honesty and being up front about things. They still don't acknowledge that what they are seeing with the vampire is an illusion most of the time. If you were to see the vampire's true form, it would probably make you sick. One of the things that Harry Dresden (See The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher) knows about vampires is that their true forms are quite grotesque and the sexually attractive forms they wear are merely a disguise.
- You are food to them.
Yes, you finally fell for this walking cool stylish corpse and have decided to let him have his cold way with you (once again - EWWWW!). You are together spending a night of passion with him and the inevitable happens, HE BITES YOU. This is to take blood. Yes, yes, I know - some of the more romantic authors say that it's supposed to be a turn on. Somehow, through the imagination of a writer, they've transformed the puncturing of a jugular vein (or femoral artery if you listen to Bill Compton of True Blood) into an intoxicating sexual experience.
I call that post hypnotic suggestion and delirium due to blood loss. But hey, it's your funeral.
- If it were anyone else, you'd have them arrested
How many times do I have to have this argument with teen age girls who are Twilight fans? I hear how romantic Edward is for showing up in Bella's room and how he is always around just when Bella needs him. Do you know what that is? It's stalking - plain and simple. Throw in some "breaking and entering" and being a "peeping tom" and you have yourself a sexual deviant.
It's not romantic. It's actually kinda creepy.
Let's also remember that with every bite, that's a bit of sexual assault and mutilation thrown in. I always think of what Mina Harker's neck looks like when she takes off her scarf in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2. Alan Moore made sure that the reader knew it wasn't like how Hollywood portrayed it. Her neck was scarred.
Most ladies would have people like that arrested.
- You only have the night
Even as a home body, I go to bed at about 10:PM. My wife shuts down around the same time. It is only during the winter hours that it gets dark at around 5:PM. That gives most people who work a day job about five hours of fun. I know that after a few weeks of acclimating to a vampire's schedule, women can be a bear to live with, it's nice to know that vampires have the ultimate in "ending a relationship" maneuvers.
- They are contagious
All depending on the vampire lore you subscribe to, getting bitten by a vampire will make you a vampire. Some myths say that it's a virus. Get bit by a vampire a few times and in a couple of day, you die.
However, after getting bit, you're susceptible to a vampire's influence.
That brings up another thing - especially with 21st century women. Don't they enjoy having free will? Why would they want to be with anyone who would completely dominate them and risk being killed at any given moment.
It makes no sense.
To be fair, there are other myths that say a vampire has to go through a specific ritual in order to turn any mortal into a vampire - usually through the exchanging of blood combined with the vampire almost killing his lover and her taking his blood.
Still, I don't know many modern women who want that kind of commitment.
Vampires on Amazon
I got on this subject because I just finished Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett.
Initially, I was going to write an article on how the media is making vampires to be like superheroes rather than the monsters that they are. And for many reasons, I really wish people would stop viewing them as these misunderstood superpowered individuals and remember that they are blood sucking parasites.
When I think of proper vampire fiction, I think of Stephen King's Salem's Lot, I think of 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles, and The Lost Boys starring Kiefer Sutherland. These are monsters. The reason why they have so many powers is to make them more frightening. Yes, they hypnotize. Yes, they are much faster than we are. And yes, they can fly by turning into a bat. All of these things should make a person frightened out of their wits before they try to stake one.
What's worse, is that women find them sexy. I just don't understand why. How is it possible that every vampire looks like they just stepped off the cover of GQ? Is it possible that some guy who looks like John Belushi could get turned and have a problem seducing victims? It wouldn't happen. Why? Because women would see the extra fat or the wrinkled clothes and have nothing to do with them.
No, no, vampires have to be able to look attractive to lure their prey. What concerns me is that even knowing that all accounts are fictional, and even armed with this knowledge, there will always be a new crop of women who will think that everything about a sparkly vampire is sexy.