Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!
Dear Dr. Eldritch,
I'm graduating from high school this spring, and my parents want me to go to state university, which is two hundred miles away. Trey, my boyfriend for two years, lives here and works for his uncle's construction company, and we'd hardly get to see each other. We've talked about getting married, but we can't afford it. Trey said that if the two of us become vampires, we can do whatever we want and live together forever. It sounds really romantic, but I'm not sure. I mean, we'd have to drink blood, wouldn't we? That's just too gross, I don't think I could do that. I love him so much, and I really love the idea of being with him forever, especially always being young. Is there another way we could have eternal youth without the blood and stuff?
-- Tiffinee in Alabama
Oh please. This is such a bad idea on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. I bet Trey's told you that vampires are just misunderstood, gothic romantics, hiding from the sun is only a minor inconvenience, and every night is Prom Night. This is the biggest load in the world, and I'm amazed that anybody falls for it. Being a vampire sucks. (Ha ha! I never get tired of that joke!)
Seriously, let me enumerate on the many problems with this plan. For example, immortality. Vampires aren't truly immortal, since they can be killed. While some vampires "live" for a very long time, most get dusted in the first few weeks. To be a successful bloodsucker, you need to be smart about it. Truthfully, most people that end up vampired aren't very smart. Being undead brings out one's worst qualities, such as arrogance and stupidity, so they start believing they're invincible. Well, it doesn't take too many drained corpses in the neighborhood for the locals to figure things out and call the exterminator. Fights between a veteran vampire hunter and a novice vampire tend to be brief. There are many more old vampire hunters than old vampires, if you get my drift.
Second, you don't know what it's like to be with the same person for decades, let alone centuries. Sure you love him now, but a hundred years down the line, his constant humming of show tunes or that way he scratches himself will JUST DRIVE YOU CRAZY! A vampire divorce is usually served as a wooden stake to the heart.
Even beyond all that, eternal love by being undead has a big, gnarly flaw. When one goes vampire, your blood is drained from you, and you die. Dead. Really. If the blood of a "living" vampire is introduced to your system (usually by drinking, but it doesn't have to be), as you flutter on the cusp between this world and the next, a supernatural transformation takes place. Your soul shuffles off to Purgatory, awaiting the final transition of your still-animate body before it takes the last train to the Hereafter. A vampiric life-force permeates your body, animating it. Scholars continually debate whether the vampire is "you," since your soul has vacated the premises, or an undead entity that can access your memories and some of your personality. With your soul gone, "Vampire You" is missing traits like kindness, empathy, generosity, and yes, love. So the love the two of you share today will be history when you're undead. Yes, lots of vampires bond with each other and act like they're in love, but that's just habit. Vampires wouldn't be able to commit the atrocities that they do if they still felt human emotion.
Interesting that you worry about one of the most minor problems; drinking blood. What you find disgusting now becomes mighty appealing to an after-death citizen. "Gross" all depends on what you're used to (for example, baby birds get excited about eating regurgitated worms and insects; drinking blood sounds tasty compared to that, and I'm not undead). A lack of human emotion helps. The craving for blood makes it palatable, and the sense of detached superiority makes it seem justified. If you were foolish enough to choose becoming "Metabolically Disadvantaged," drinking blood would seem as natural as wearing black and sleeping in a coffin.
One of the things that annoys me the most about vampires is their arrogant conviction that they're superior to mortal humans. Granted, they can live eternally, stay youthful, and have unnatural strength. They even believe their lack of emotion is an improvement. Because they live off of humans, they think they're higher up the food chain and somehow better than us. Well, lice and leeches drink blood too, and it doesn't make them superior beings. Vampires are just night-walking parasites, hollow shells of the people they once were, resentful of the living, and driven insane by constant, insatiable cravings.
Sorry to give you the soapbox lecture, but it really annoys me when people describe vampirism as glamorous, sexy, or desirable. Like the way everyone wants to be a movie star because they see the parties, popularity, and riches, and ignore the long hours, loss of privacy, and warped personalities. You focus on the things you gain, but ignore what you lose. Undoubtedly, shallow or miserable humans would think that becoming soulless and insensate is a worthwhile trade, but vampires aren't happy. Their existence is torment, a constant pursuit of blood and violence to fill the incessant craving for joy, which can never be fulfilled without a soul. They tell themselves they're proud and free and superior, but that's only to cover the constant unspoken yearning for what they've lost and can never regain. The big secret is that most vampires go insane and do themselves in, preferring to face their final accounting in the Great Beyond rather than continue the centuries of anguish.
Not what you pictured, is it? It's really not what you want. Devote your energy to being fully alive with your boyfriend, celebrating the joys, working through the problems, and committing yourself to a life of growth and change. Growing old together is actually one of the joys of a human relationship (okay, as a teenager that may be totally beyond your comprehension, but trust me). If he can't get past this adolescent fantasy of eternal bloodsucking existence, move on. You'll do better with someone who wants to live with you than someone who wants to die with you.
Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!
-- Dr. Eldritch