Why do so many of us, myself the first officer on that ship of fools, love stories about vampires? I'm currently on my third reading of the Twilight Saga, so I'm asking the question.
I have no crush on Bella Swan. She's seventeen for heaven's sake. Alice could bite me any time, but she looks seventeen. Personally I'm Team Edward rather than Team Jacob simply because vampires are cooler than werewolves, though I confess that the ability to change at will with total control, rather than the standard forced change at the full moon with no control, is pretty cool.
Werewolves would scare me off like Lon Chaney Jr. did on the Saturday afternoon horror show on television when I grew up in the 60s. Dracula on the other hand, like Bela Lugosi, could lure me in. Make no mistake, my heart would pound just as hard with Bela as it would with Lon, but I would proceed stealthily toward the vampire rather than turning and running.
Look at Barnabas Collins.
In my wayward youth most of the running exercise I took came while rushing home from school to catch Dark Shadows during the years 1966-1971. And I was always disappointed when Barnabas Collins wasn't on a particular episode. So cool to watch him bite. Whoa! So cool!
A testament to the coolness of vampires is that about this time my little brother asked Santa Claus for a coffin for Christmas because he loved Barnabas Collins.
A gothic writer named Marilyn Ross, a pen name of Canadian author Dan Ross, wrote 32 cheesy novels based on the characters from Dark Shadows. I still have them in a box somewhere, but I read them to pieces back in the day, sometimes all through the night ... vampire-like.
Without question the immortality factor plays a big role in the appeal of the vampire, but I think it takes second place to the eroticism. Some women friends of mine freely admit to being hopelessly attracted to "bad boys." Rather disconcerting to guys like me who are often referred to as "nice guys." More than ever, I understand Baseball Hall of Famer Leo Durocher's comment, "Nice guys finish last."
He's right. Particularly in this day and age where people's misbehaviors are celebrated rather than condemned, praised rather than admonished, and those who choose to play by the rules are laughed at as "goody two shoes." Remember the saying, "If you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'?"
But I digress. I'm not going to lie to you. I wouldn't mine being ravaged by a vampire like Jesse from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, Pam from the Southern Vampire Mysteries (see above photo) ... or Alice (see above comment). Bring me on over to the dark side, ladies.
Alas, it's a little late in the game for me to cultivate a bad boy image and expect people to accept it and not laugh their fool asses off. But maybe, just maybe, I can conjure up a vampiric gaze that can hint at a dark side. Just enough to intrigue.
Well, I can dream, can't I?
Of course the trouble is that, like everyone else, I do have a dark side, one that I shut the door on years ago, and only occasionally peek at what's inside. I'm not sure how much I want other people to see it. I'm afraid that if they do, they'll walk away ... or run.
I digress again.
Oh, yes, aside from the immortality factor and the erotic factor, there is something melancholy and fascinating about sucking the blood out of someone to live and knowing that you're doing exactly that. There is something satisfying but shadowed about doing wrong because you have no choice in the matter. Those somethings draws people closer and closer to them like an open door at the end of the hallway, my dark side door, if you will. We should turn and run, but the lure is too much.
Last year I dropped HBO because I only watched one show featured on this channel. Next Sunday, June 10th, that show starts its fifth season, and even though I knew I should have left well enough alone, I called and sighed up for HBO again.
And I'll be glued to the television for every episode of True Blood.
The lure was too much.