On Vampires

Unless you’ve totally got your head in some really deep sand, you might have noticed that vampires are currently all the rage. Now, I will be the first to admit that I have loved vampires and their associated myths for a long time, (well, at least since high school) but recently it’s like we are caught up in a vampire zeitgeist that is even affecting my 14 year old sister-in-law and late thirties cousin. Initially I was a little jealous…after all, vampires were my thing…or at least the thing of me and several high school friends. Hell, we even assigned each other names from Anne Rice’s books and I still am called mine at times.

Since I am a big girl, I am entirely willing to share vampires with everyone, but I’d like to understand more about how the modern mythos of vampires as sexy, charismatic, objects came into being. If you look at the old myths, vampires aren’t really meant to be sexy. They were examples of people not really understanding the decomposition process. They were explanations for various diseases and plagues. They were meant to strike fear into our collective hearts. I mean, what is hot about an old moldering revenant gnashing on your neck? Little.

I think our current fascination with vampires has to do with several things, sexuality, power and fear. Fear of not just our own mortality, but our fear of change. I’ve heard that vampires and more importantly, being bitten is symbolic of one loosing one’s virginity. I’m not actually sure that I agree with that. After all, most virgins will tell you that that first time, well, it isn’t really all that sexy. In fact, far from it. So, while I can buy the whole “but, the loss of virginity (especially for women) is painful etc, etc”, I really think it’s the aspect of a being caught in stasis, and usually a hot, young, stasis that excites me.

Think about it. Being preserved in your prime forever (notice that there aren’t really too many old vampires). All that time that you would have to learn languages, think deep philosophical thoughts, create angsty blogs, and watch compound interest work for you. The only small prices you would have to pay would be, staying out of the sunshine, logistical problems, oh, and watching everything and everyone one you love wither and die. See this is the part that we don’t really think through. The reality of the situation. Thankfully we have things like roleplaying that we can do to help determine if vampirism is really for us.

Yes, you just saw me admit it. I’ve played vampire roleplaying games. I’m a geek, but it was awesome, and I’d totally do it again. Just like all small animals learn through play, this is what I’ve learned about being a vampire that totally suck:

#1. If you are poor, you’re totally screwed. Vampires always seem to be rich and work out all these elaborate plans involving lawyers and accountants and whatnot. Good luck with that if you start out poor. “But, Arcana,” I hear you protest, “I can just get money from the people I kill. Or maybe kill someone who is bad and rich.” Yeah, good luck with that. Oh, and when you do get the loads of non-marked, non-consecutive bills, good luck finding a teller open during the evening hours.

#2. Immortality?! Ha! You are going to die…and it is going to be violent. Drifting into the arms of Death while you are sleeping? Nope, you can’t has. Not yours. Some other vampire or vampire hunters are going to be out to get you. Or you are going to get bored, or wracked with the guilt of the monstrosity that is you and will kill yourself by solar immolation. Whatever it is, it is guaranteed to hurt.

#3. You drink blood and there is going to be some weirdness involving sex. It’s probably going to involve a lot of blood. Think how often you will be washing your sheets. Even the undead don’t have that much free time.

That’s about all I can think of now. I’d also like to add that as a woman, I think that the idea of power is also very sexy. The freedom to be able to walk wherever I want at any time of night and kick ass with my preternatural strength/pointy teeth, that would be nice. Christopher Moore explains this well in his books Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck.

That being said, if you are a vampire and are reading this because you’d like to share your crappy fate with some new person to stimulate your dreadfully dull unexistence. Look no further, I may take you up on it, but only if you act before I’m out of my prime. Oh, and only if you give me a run down of the actualities of vampirism and give me a month’s notice so that I can lose these extra couple of pounds. Thanks <3

1 Comment

  1. Dynette said,

    July 6, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    There’s a postmodern theorist who says that vampires are all about miscegenation and the disruption of patriarchy. Maybe that’s why women feel empowered by the undead. Gonna send this to M and G.


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