Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Werewolves vs. Vampires

In this corner, fighting for the ultimate modern female dream lover, coming in at 180 pasty, bloodsucking pounds we have…The Vampire! [applause] And in the opposite corner, coming in at 200 snarling, hairy pounds is…The Werewolf! [applause] Who will win the hearts and libidos of millions of women? Only one way to find out. LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUUUMMMBBBLLLLEEE!

“I don’t get it.” This sentence has been uttered from quite a few of my male friends in recent years. Their wives, sisters, even daughters have all fallen under the spell of these mythical monsters, this writer included, and they can’t understand why. It is a decent question. In the past five or so years the Scoundrel Duke or Highlander have been replaced as women’s ideal romantic hero by a walking dead man and/or bi-polar man-dog. (Their words, not mine.) What is it about these creatures that we ladies find so sexy? And is there a place for both in our hearts? Can you be both Team Edward and Team Jacob? Let’s explore.

I’ve always loved monsters. I’ve seen so many horror movies and read so many books since childhood I couldn’t stop myself from writing a few. (Mind Over Monsters, out now!) In my book, the main character Beatrice Alexander finds herself caught between these two creatures as they both vie for her attention. My werewolf, Will, is shy, gruff, hates what he is, but is still responsible and a capable team leader. My vampire Oliver is playful, roguish, and though 500 years old suffers from a massive case of Peter Pan Syndrome. One is the kind you bring home to Mama, and the other you put behind you in your promiscuous twenties. Yet both hold equal room in Bea’s heart (as they do in their creator’s). Before I started writing I made a conscious decision to include these two monsters into my menagerie because I couldn’t chose which I, and in turn my readers, would have more fun falling in love with. Both spoke to different parts of what I want in a fantasy man (besides one who could take out the trash without being asked, but I can only fly so far from reality). But what are those parts?

Vampires weren’t always suave Counts or sparkly teenage heartthrobs. In folklore they were more akin to the zombie: mindless, flesh eating, decomposing. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula was more ghoul than sex machine. It wasn’t until the story “The Vampyre” in the early 1800s that the sexy vampire came to life. This “vampyre” was based on Lord Byron, the bi-sexual poet who slept with anything that moved (including his own sister), leaving destruction in his randy wake. Women were driven mad by him, and their standing in society was lost. It wasn’t until Bela Lugosi that the yummy vampire reached the zeitgeist and really never turned back. But through all its incarnations a few things have remained constant: they’re dead, and they eat us. So why would this be appealing to us ladies? It’s akin to necrophilia with a leech. The answer is because they’re dangerous. They play to our desire to change a man. That we alone can save him from his evil ways. That though he’s been alive for centuries, we’re the only woman who he’s loved because we’re unique and spectacular. He’s the Scoundrel Duke but with more magic and bite.

The werewolf is the same in most respects. Their legend hasn’t changed much through the ages: a man is cursed with this ailment that turns them into a savage beast at least once a month. In modern times they just have better abs. They’re a dark prince under a curse, and once again our love is the only thing that can tame their savage beast and free them from their turmoil. We can save him. And even still he’s manly, strong, in touch with his animal side, yet loyal to the woman he chooses as his mate. He’ll take care of you come what may. Who wouldn’t like that?

These creatures have a lot in common, but also seem to be polar opposites, always in opposition (at least in my books). Why can’t they get along? A vampire has no life, yet the werewolf has so much life he can’t seem to contain it in one form. The vampire always seems to have boundless charm and charisma, blending in with humans for survival, but the werewolf can’t seem to fit into normal society as he’s too untamed. They’re both alpha males who represent different things to us. Vampires are all about cold seduction, tempting us with their magic and beauty, convincing us to give into our sexual desires in spite of the danger. Werewolves on the other hand wouldn’t go to all that trouble. They’d just grab us, throw us on the bed, and take us with wild abandon. Hot or cold? Seduction or passion? Rock and a hard place, I know.

The battle rages on between these two alpha males. At least in my estimation, the vampire has a firm lead, at least in terms of books written and movies made about them. Bella ends up with Edward, Anita Blake’s boffing Jean-Claude more than Richard, and for every Ginger Snaps there are twelve Fright Nights. Maybe that will change, maybe not, but these rivals will continue to hold a place in our hearts and romantic imaginations for years to come. Now excuse me, I have to go buy my boyfriend a cape and fangs. J

So, are you a werewolf or vampire gal? Both? Do you agree with my assessment or am I seriously far off the mark? Are werewolves getting their equal share of the spotlight? Why not? Discuss.

Happy Holiday's!

Jennifer Harlow


Linda Hull said...

Great post and definitely vampire. Werewolves are simply too hairy and, I would suspect, sweaty!

Darrell James said...

When the voting is done, Jennifer, just let me know which one I need to be.

Deborah Sharp said...

Let's explore, indeed! Fun post, Jen. I'm a vampire gal from way back (old enough, sadly, to get a little shiver when I remember the pale, hunky Barnabas Collins (?) from ''Dark Shadows.''
Not sure what that says about me, and my passions, but I'd still take either a vampire or a werewolf over some of the other monsters (zombies? mummies? No.)

Kathleen Ernst said...

Oh my--I remember Barnabas Collins too. It's always interesting to see trends emerge. Interesting post--wishing you great success!

Jennifer Harlow said...

Vampires for the win!