AUTHOR: Stephen Marche in Esquire
LENGTH: 995 words
THESIS: Vampire stories are popular because women secretly desire gay men
SUPPORTING EVIDENCE OF VARYING RELEVANCE:
- Twilight character Bella likes vampire Edward at first because he is "repulsed by her"
- This reminds Marche of his high school
- HBO series True Blood features a road sign "GOD HATES FANGS"
- Lord Byron's memoirs were destroyed
- Cocaine use spiked around the time Dracula was published
- Recent "boom in vampire movies ... coincided exactly with the rise of AIDS"
ANOTHER POINT: Teenage girls are awkward
WHAT MARCHE THINKS WOMEN WANT: "the equivalent of lesbian porn for men"
WHAT MARCHE THINKS UPON SEEING 'A FAMILY-VALUES ORATOR': "I wonder if he's into meth-fueled orgies with male hookers?"
THE LAST WORD:
The craving for vampire fiction is not a matter of taste but of urges; one does not read or watch it so much as inject it through the eyes, and like any epidemic, it's symptomatic of something much larger: a quiet but profound sexual revolution and a new acceptance of freakiness in mainstream American life ...
Edward, the romantic hero of the Twilight series, is a sweet, screwed-up high school kid, and at the beginning of his relationship with Bella, she is attracted to him because he is strange, beautiful, and seemingly repulsed by her. This exact scenario happened several times in my high school between straight girls and gay guys who either hadn't figured out they were gay or were still in the closet. Twilight's fantasy is that the gorgeous gay guy can be your boyfriend, and for the slightly awkward teenage girls who consume the books and movies, that's the clincher. Vampire fiction for young women is the equivalent of lesbian porn for men: Both create an atmosphere of sexual abandon that is nonthreatening. That's what everybody wants, isn't it? Sex that's dangerous and safe at the same time, risky but comfortable, gooey and violent but also traditional and loving. In the bedroom, we want to have one foot in the twenty-first century and another in the nineteenth ...
True Blood contrasts its vampires' desires for normalcy with humans who are extreme drug users, shape-shifters, and orgiastic maenads, and it's a perfect encapsulation of the American bedroom at this moment: Everyone is a freak, even the people who claim to rail against freakiness.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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