Creatures of the trite
Women have the potential for very active and intricate sexual fantasies; I readily argue that they are more inventive than most men are inclined to entertain. They can be so complex to the point where they are near impossible to choreograph in reality. Making love in a rainstorm is easy to replicate. But, can you plan the clap of thunder to be in synchrony with the rip of your negligee as it is torn in half and pulled from your drenched but flawless skin in the throes of passion? Oh yes, and, the lightning should illuminate the sky and cast the perfectly pulchritudinous lovers in a chiarascuro of sensual artistic display. While a beautiful, poetic symphony of primal lust, chances are good: it ain’t gonna happen just like that. Being female, I admit that I have stopped mid-daydream and wondered outloud “What the hell am I thinking?” before I continue with my elaborately scripted internal drama. Why? Because it is fun and takes me away to a better place than Calgon ever can. We need that stress-relieving escape on occasion. Plus, it is the cheapest form of entertainment. It costs nothing to let one’s mind wander for a spell. Not to be guilty of solopsism, but I am quite confident that no other woman with a pulse can cook up what I have going in my prurient little mind.
Then, there are more base fantasies that are appealing to many. Okay, I will just come out and say it: the rape fantasy. Admit it ladies, you’ve considered it and chances are good that you have asked for it. How many have actually enjoyed it, though? I suspect that for the majority it has gone anywhere from disappointment to a traumatic experience. Losing control is good to explore, to a point. The fantasy allows us to forgive ourselves for enjoying it like the little whores we are. We have no choice because we are forced to do so. But, “rape lite” isn’t all fun and games, even when consensual. “I don’t care that I said you shouldn’t take no for an answer, when I say no I mean NO!” Objectively, I can picture myself crying my way out of that bag. So, I am content just imagining that there are men out there who want me so badly they will take me by force if need be. Preferably, on a beach with the backdrop of a gibbous moon.
But, this isn’t about me. Because, the fantasy I am honing in on for this post is not one shared by yours truly. Try as I might, I have no desire to be saddled with the burden of being the object of obsession of not one mythical monster, but two of them. Not only that, a war to the death is waged in my honor. Yes, I am talking about a vampire and a werewolf. In the unlikely event that this would happen to me, I’d torch the first with the cross he made me bear with his creepy, undead love, and impale the other with that same cross—silver, of course. Hey, it’s my world and I can MacGuffin it as I damn well please.
There are a host of contemporary female authors I suspect fancy the idea that deadly monsters would lust after them. They fulfill that wish via the characters they create in their books. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, Stephanie Meyer’s Bella Swan (you can look, but don’t touch), and the lesser known Richelle Mead’s Eugenie Markham of her Dark Swan series. In all fairness to the last one, the mythical men who are insane with lust for the heroine are not monsters, per se. They are a faerie king and a supernatural dude who can turn into a fox at will.
What stands out about all these characters is that none of them are particularly remarkable. While they all have a supernatural power, it does not extend to their attractiveness and desirability to justify such insane desires from creatures that don’t exist in the first place. Anita Blake dresses down in black jeans and Nike sneakers, and she sleeps with stuffed penguins. Sookie is a virginal waitress from a small town in Louisiana. Okay, Bella Swan has no power outside of apparently having scrumptuous blood and a great rockstar name. As for Eugenie, she is on the path towards obesity and heart disease with her daily breakfast of Poptarts.
Only two of the book series mentioned have been brought to film. This gives the viewer (meaning me) the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about with these characters. Alas, I am left more confused than before. While both Kirsten Stewart of the Twilight movies and Anna Paquin of Sookie’s True Blood are very good actresses and were cast well according to the authors’ descriptions, I fail to see the mind-scrambling allure. Yes, they both are cute. There are a lot of cute girls in this world, thus, there are plenty in the pool of potential conquests from which vampires and werewolves may choose. Why them? I’m just not feeling it. I am having to work hard enough to suspend disbelief that monsters exist and want to copulate with us mere mortals; don’t make my job more difficult by making said mortal of choice the naïve girl next door.
If I were a vampire, while recognizing time is on my side, I wouldn’t be wasting it with a wide-eyed country boy or an angst-filled teenager with a droning inner dialogue and a maddening tendency towards dramatic, ellipses-filled pauses; I would be glamouring the glamorous. If I had the power, I’d use it to full advantage. Jude Law would be my pet, and I am pretty confident I’d grow tired of him fairly quickly (relatively speaking considering we are talking about vampire years). I can think of an extensive list of hot bodies that I could plow through. I can imagine that your average red-blooded male, given the opportunity to become a sexy monster, would be hitting it with Jessica Biel. I’m just saying.
This is not me being shallow, it is reality (again, relatively speaking) and just plain objectivity. After years on this earth spanning centuries, I do believe there would be a “been there, done that” attitude. What stopped a journey of two lifetimes in its tracks to focus on these inexperienced girls? I suppose it could be argued that they opened themselves up to otherwise ostracized characters and accepted them for who they are. Maybe monsters crave some normalcy. Should we have to think that hard about it, though?
As for the other two book series, if they are brought to film, I cannot fathom any actress filling those shoes. It would be impossible to pull off. Laurell K. Hamilton’s writing has gotten spectacularly bad, and her character is reduced to an impulsively murderous nymphomaniac. Yeah, that’s hot. While I enjoy Richelle Mead’s writing for what it is, and the Dark Swan series is a page-turner, I hit a speedbump every time Eugenie takes a break from her artery-clogging diet and fighting otherwordly demons to have wildly passionate sex with one of the many creatures obsessed with her.
As for why the subject matter involves mythical monsters, it is simply because that is what sells. We never get enough of that stuff. They are sexy, and apparently these women find them very sexy.
All kidding aside, this is what could happen when the female psyche collides face-first with reality. Another way to put it is that a woman’s desire to be viewed as a sexual being is marred by society’s standards of what is attractive. I do admit that I suggested that a woman would have to be a 10 in order to attract the attentions of Dracula and Wolfman. That said, I do not think that society is right in putting the burden on women to be sexy. I am attacking the ludicrous level that some women will go to in order to cope with the low self esteem that can result. Writers are at an advantage. They are given a convenient and marketable means for that wish-fulfillment. As I implied in the beginning of this post, fantasy is healthy for everyone and can enhance creativity. It should not be damaging personally or professionally. It can get in the way of the quality of life or what comes out of it. In these cases, the work suffers. I cannot speak to their personal life, but I suspect it is a challenge for these authors to compartmentalize and not get carried away with the fantasy.
With Stephanie Meyer’s work, this is what happens when one uses her “art” to preach the benefits of abstinence. Her vampires sparkle beautifully when exposed to the sun, and the wolves go shirtless to make it easier to change form. Yeah, right. But what about those tight jeans? Where did they go? At least the Hulk kept his on, albeit torn to shreds and disproportionately shorter. It just makes no sense.
But oh, how romantic. This small town girl living in a lonely world is embraced whole-heartedly by men who must resist the urge to literally eat her alive.