I have never been one for vampires.
There was that one class in college my senior year, when I needed a diversion from thesis writing and Honors seminars. It was memorable mostly for the professor, a youngish, spry fellow who you just knew would someday end up in bed with a student. One example of his questionable judgment: On the day that specs — i.e., high schoolers — were sitting in on the class, he showed us a long clip from an NC-17, campy Andy Warhol romp.
Anyway, I have no real complaints about that class. I ended up with an A and got to read Dracula for the first time, which I recommend as a perfect Victorian artifact.
Years before, as a young teenager, I read Memnoch the Devil, about which I only recall that two lovers bond when — spoiler alert! — the undead man laps up the woman’s menstrual blood. That would never fly in an age of AIDS education.
And so on. Vampires? Eh. They’re strong, I guess, generally European and high-class; they dress well. I remain unmoved.
Why then have I gotten so drawn into Buffy the Vampire Slayer over the last month? And how embarrassing is this to even admit? It’s a TV show (check) that aired on the WB (check) aimed at teenage girls (double check) featuring witches, vampires, and a sci-fi / fantasy plot (KILL ME NOW).
Even worse: I developed serious flutterings for one of the characters. You know which one. The one with the cheekbones and the (okay, fake, but still unfathomably sexy) British accent. Watching Spike — his name is Spike, for christ’s sake! what is he, a pit bull? — I felt like a 15 year old again unable to look away from Titanic.
I cried during Titanic. Then I went to the theater to cry through it again. Only on the third viewing, this time on HBO, did I notice how awful the script was. Sure, it was sad that the Irish moppets died, and the sweet old couple, and those noble musicians, but mostly I watched Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and I cried because I thought I would never have a love that pure.
Spike is a much darker protagonist than Jack, of course, more in the line of merry, amoral Rhett Butler for whom I also nursed a teenage devotion. When push came to shove, though, Rhett Butler was willing to walk away from a passion that was killing him. Spike and Jack, bless their tragic hearts, see it through like characters in Italian opera, expiring to save the woman they love.
I’ve been in a happy relationship for almost ten years now, and apparently, for some reason, that moony 15 year old lives on. I am no better than the girls participating in the endless “Spike or Angel?” debates. To which, btw, I say, Are you kidding? One of them stomps around looking sullen all the time. The other?
The other is a funny, lanky, sex-obsessed, cheerfully profane Brit. You hear me, out there in tween land? NO CONTEST.
And now I’m telling you about it, because I have not even a smidgen of pride left.