Here’s an article from Newsweek that I thought was great!
There are three things that Kendra Porter of Cleveland looks for in a man. She likes them smart, funny, and tall. Warm, conscious, and breathing are givens. That’s why Porter, 27, says she’s more than a little bewildered about her latest crush: a 1,000-year-old hunk of vampire Viking eye candy named Eric, just one of the incredibly beautiful creatures populating the HBO series True Blood, based on the bestselling “Southern Vampire Mysteries” of Charlaine Harris. “This is so embarrassing,” says Porter, an interior designer, who plans her Sunday nights around the show. “I was never into that whole vampire thing. Now I’m like vampire central. I want to say, ‘Bite me.’ But, you know, in that really good way.”
Poor Ms. Porter. She’s missed out on years of the undead’s appeal. But vampires have never been as hot as they are now—in a steamy, let’s-step-in-the-shower-together way. Women are now so sexually attracted to vampires, advertisers are even getting in on the action. (And who wouldn’t want a little vampire action on the side, especially if it involved Alexander Skarsgård?) In a new Gillette billboard that ties into True Blood, a vampire hunk caresses his cleanly shaven face next to the phrase “Dead Sexy.” In another ad, for Marc Ecko cologne, a male vampire nibbles at a naked woman’s neck with the line “Attract a Human.” As if they needed any help.
Unless you’ve been sleeping in a coffin for the last few months—and if you have, lucky you!—you’ll know that the hottest genre around is the bloodletter, with vampire-based movies, fan clubs, and, of course, the ever-popular vampire-based paranormal romance literature all competing for our attention. In the fall, the CW debuts Vampire Diaries, a teen soap opera that will make the Gossip Girl crowd want someone other than Chace Crawford to bite them. Next week’s Comic-Con International, a celebration of all things pop culture held in San Diego, offers up a heavy dose of vampire-themed events, including a panel discussion with members of the True Blood cast and executive producer Alan Ball. And Southern California will see yet another vampire frenzy next month, with Vampire-Con. Billed as the first vampire-centric convention, the two-day Hollywood event includes a vampire-film festival, panel discussions, and a danse macabre featuring “vampirerotica” go-go girls and boys. “People are really excited about this,” says Heidi Johnson, Vampire-Con’s PR director. “Even my grandmother is into vampires now.”
Vampires and sex have been inexorably intertwined since Bram Stoker’s iconic sexual predator Count Dracula took a little nip of Mina and Lucy back in 1897. And well before Robert Pattinson (Twilight‘s Edward Cullen) or Stephen Moyer and Skarsgård (True Blood‘s vampire duo of Bill Compton and Eric Northman) set the female heart aflutter, a young, virile Frank Langella did the same thing with his sly portrayal of the count in John Badham’s 1979 big-screen adaptation of the story. So did an oddly sexy, bespectacled Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 Dracula, and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt when they bared their fangs in the movie version of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire in 1994. But there’s something about the modern-day vampire that’s even more alluring than any of these. It’s not just that they’re sexy. It’s that every girl wants to have sex with them.
In some ways, these new vamps have been defanged—a few wear condoms and others sparkle in the sun like Abercrombie & Fitch models (OK, that’s just the Twilight vampires). But these changes in the vampire myth also have helped to humanize the characters, turning them into modern-day Romeos for all the angsty Juliets in the tweenage world. True Blood‘s Ball says that his vampires are part of a “story of people trying to assimilate, trying to find a way in the world. The notion that a group like the vampire is feared and misunderstood, that they’re outsiders, it’s really very interesting.” The hypersexuality, coupled with the potential for danger, makes some of the most unlikely women yearn for the vampire embrace.
But the current vampire obsession isn’t all about the fangs. It may be an excellent balm for bigger issues, says Donovan Gwinner, assistant professor of English at Aurora University. In Gwinner’s class “Got Blood? Vampires in Literature, Film and Popular Culture,” students were required to read several vampire-related books, including Stoker’s Dracula and popular literature by Rice, Harris, and Stephenie Meyer. “We talked a lot about how things suck,” jokes Gwinner. “But in times of economic contraction, fear of job loss, and war, the vampire myth really speaks to people. What’s so bad about being powerful, almost immortal, always in control, and incredibly desirable?”
Very little, as contemporary writers of vampire fiction can attest. The imagery has always been sledgehammer-subtle, says Laurell K. Hamilton, bestselling author of the “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” series. “It’s fang, penetration, ecstasy,” she says. “Our readers know that vampire sex is somehow going to be the very best sex a woman has ever had.”
And why shouldn’t it be? After all, “they’ve generally had centuries to practice,” says author Charlaine Harris. Plus, her bloodsuckers are out, proud, and mainstreaming with humans due to a blood substitute they can buy at the corner store. But their appeal, she believes, is eternal youth. “We’re obsessed with staying young,” she says. “And vampires never worry about Social Security or knee replacements. That’s almost irresistible to us.”
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