Monday, June 29, 2009

Week of 06/29/2009

The Secret of the Emo-Vamp
– by David Matthews 2

Vampires… the legendary creatures of the night that yearn for human blood.

The world of entertainment has had a love affair with vampires for quite some time. Novelist Anne Rice made her career writing books about vampires, from “Interview with a Vampire” to the whole “Vampire Chronicles” series. Young teenage girls fell in love with the “Twilight” series long before the 2008 movie was released, with a following that rivals the “Harry Potter” series.

It is almost an unwritten rule in television programming that you cannot have a season go by without at least ONE vampire-themed program. From “Dark Shadows” to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to its spin-off “Angel” to “Midnight” and “Forever Knight” and even to the HBO series “True Blood”, vampires seem to stick in the minds of producers and creators. And if it’s not vampires themselves, then it’s vampire-hunters and half-vampires. Anything to show prolonged fangs, moonlight, and blood.

But vampires weren’t always attractive. In fact vampires were originally seen as demonic creatures. Ripped from various European myths and stories, vampires would steal the bodies of the dead, and sometimes of the living. The spread of rabies and other diseases associated with animal bites were considered to be linked to vampirism. They were gruesome predators, stalking especially women.

One of the first visual representations of a vampire was Nosferatu, a bald-headed bug-eyed monstrosity with huge jaggedly-sharp teeth and pointed ears. Would any woman REALLY be yearning for that? Would they ever WANT to?

After that there was Dracula. Count Dracula to be precise. Operative word here is “COUNT”… as in a title of nobility. And it’s here that the seduction begins. Power, money, influence, a huge castle, and a man impeccably dressed with piercing hypnotic eyes. He is everything that a woman could ask for.

Well… ALMOST everything.

But then add to that the face of someone like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise, someone young and vital but with a seemingly old soul and you now have a literal lady-killer… someone that the ladies would eagerly DIE for!

Better still… put that young and vital-looking old soul in high school… and you have the young man of a hormone-fueled teenager’s fantasies. You don’t just have a vampire… you have an EMO-Vampire! The ultimate in lady-killers!

If there is anyone even remotely curious as to why the whole “Twilight” series or “True Blood” is so successful, then all you have to do is consider the following ingredients that go into such a character as an emo-vampire.

Emo-Vamps are ATTRACTIVE! Right off the bat (pun intended), you have to factor in the physical attractiveness of the emo-vamp. They’re young and flawless. They don’t have pimples. They don’t have bad breath (unless they’ve just feasted on blood). They’re skinny and young and fit, and they will STAY that way. They won’t develop beer guts or premature baldness. In fact, they’re often rather presentable. They’re the kind of guy a young girl could introduce to her parents… as long as the sun is down.

Emo-Vamps are mysterious! Emo-vamps are seen as brooding strangers that hang around after the sun goes down. They don’t hang around the normal social circles, and even if they have a circle of friends, they always seem to be a loner just looking for someone else to join in.

Emo-Vamps are DANGEROUS! Emo-vamps are the ultimate in bad boys, which is a turn-on for young women. Here’s someone who is dangerous… REALLY dangerous! As in suck-the-blood-from-your-body dangerous! And yet, the emo-vamp doesn’t want to suck HER blood. Anyone else would be fourthmeal, but not her! Most bad boys - the human ones anyway - end up doing things that will get them arrested or killed, and they usually bring the girls down with them. They end up getting hurt or betrayed. But not emo-vamps! Sure they’re killers, but they don’t want to kill HER!

Emo-Vamps are not A-list jocks! A-list jocks and other pretty-boy local superstars know what they want and usually GET what they want. They are considered to be unapproachable for most girls. After all, why have Plain Jane when they can have the head cheerleader? Emo-vamps, on the other hand, are not part of the usual social circles. They’re outsiders, which not only is how some teen girls see themselves, but they’re also considered to be far more approachable than those alpha-male jocks.

Plus your typical alpha-male jocks and other pretty-boy superstars are too wrapped around THEMSELVES and see their girlfriends as nothing more than accessories. Not so for the emo-vamp! He’s there just FOR HER!

Emo-Vamps are considered SAFER than pretty boys! If our wide-eyed disillusioned young woman sees her emo-vamp “boyfriend” talking to some pretty young thing, she knows that he’s not cheating on her… he’s just getting ready to feast. It’s sort of like meeting the turkey before it becomes the next Thanksgiving meal.

Emo-Vamps offer the dream of eternal youth! Emo-vamps have an old soul because they’ve been UNDEAD for a long time. They are the only ones that can give you an eyewitness account of history instead of just reading about it in books. And they offer the fawning hormonally-challenged young woman-to-be the dream of being eternally young and eternally in love. She wouldn’t have to worry about growing up and growing old. She won’t have to worry about making babies. She won’t have to worry about body parts sagging with time. She won’t have to worry about menopause and wrinkles and osteoporosis, which the commercials make to be an absolute certainty for her. All she has to do is let him sire her and she’ll be his forever and ever.

Ain’t love grand how it just seems to turn out like that? Except for the fact that in every emo-vamp story there seems to be at least ONE former girlfriend that is now a bitch-vamp… but that’s different… right girls?

And finally, of course, there is the ultimate reason why girls are turned on to emo-vamps…

Emo-Vamps are looking for help! You see, in EVERY emo-vamp story, whether it is high-school or grown-up, the emo-vamp of the girl’s dreams is ALWAYS looking to not be a blood-sucking killer anymore. He WANTS to be normal again. That’s why he’s chosen HER to be with, because he believes that if he can be with her without wanting to snack on her or turn her into another bitch-vamp that maybe he can get back some of his humanity. And isn’t that what every fawning hormonally-challenged woman-to-be yearns for above anything else? A perpetual bad boy with a heart of gold looking at her to help change his ways?

Let’s get brutally honest here… the reason why emo-vamps appeal to women and especially to women-to-be is because they hit all of their physical and emotional needs as well as their secret desires and their dysfunctions. They are attractive without being narcissistic; confident without being arrogant; dangerous without being threatening; brooding without being whiny; knowledgeable without being nerdy; seductive without being a predator; and in-need without being needy. And she knows that those long and soft kisses on the nape of her neck are not a prelude to something further down her body.

Emo-vamps are also attractive to the world of entertainment because they create the best form of tease. They can have attractive girls fall in love with someone who is actually DEAD without the object of their affection being a sick, disgusting, and deteriorating zombie. And they know that it’s a love that can never really be followed through, because to do so would either mean that the girl would have to become a bitch-vamp, or the emo-vamp would have to find some way to become a human, and that would end the whole premise of the series or book or movie.

Plus emo-vamps don’t age, so they can appear in all sorts of historical scenes using the same actors wearing different costumes and staying pretty much in-character. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they’re always considered to be strong and can survive pretty much anything as long as it doesn’t involve the sun, holy water, garlic, or a splinter in the heart? Yeah, they’re pretty durable as long as they’re indoors or in the dark and away from anything made of wood.

If anything, the idea of an emo-vamp is an even worse model for women young and old than the centerfold models are for men. Because even if the image is airbrushed and photo-shopped and their biography is more fiction than fact, there is STILL a real woman behind that centerfold image. She DOES exist. You can actually point to the centerfold model and say that she is real. The emo-vamp, on the other hand, is the representation of something that does not and physically CANNOT exist in the real world. He is a myth wrapped up in fantasy and marketed to sell books and soap.

In truth, emo-vamps are a perversion of the ideal mate for women, originally based on medieval myths about diseases and burials, and romanticized by writers and entertainment executives to give women young and old the idea that they can have a non-sexual mate that will always be there just for them. It may sell books and soap, but it doesn’t help them deal with the kinds of prospective mates that exist in the real world.

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