As evidenced by the wave of shrieks moving across our nation's Hot Topics, Twilight, the teen vampire romance that has captured the hearts, minds, and vocal cords of teenage girls, lonely moms, and inappropriate underwear manufacturers everywhere, opens on Friday.
Exactly how popular is
Twilight? So popular that the actors who are playing the vampires and vampire lovers in the film are clearly too frightened to refuse all the fresh, young lifeblood fans keep offering them:
Just the other day, Robert Pattinson, who plays sexy vampire Edward, realized, "there were some girls who had scratched … the side of their necks so [they were] freshly bleeding when they came up to get a signature.
"They were like, 'We did this for you.' I didn't know what to say. 'Um, thanks guys?'"
Twilight the movie is based on a rabidly popular young adult book series–but most rabidly popular young adult book series don't inspire fans to turn to self-mutilation to show their devotion. What makes the Twilight books so different? An old-fashioned, hands-off vampire-mortal romance.
One avid fan of the series sums up the most tantalizing part of the Bella-Edward romance in five words: "Lips brushed against her neck." That description, it turns out, is about as far as the physical intimacy goes. "When my editor wanted premarital sex in my story, I explained that I won't write that," [author Stephanie] Meyer has said. In fact, Bella and Edward don't even kiss very often - partly because makeout sessions only increase his urge to chow on her jugular. While a chaste vampire may sound boring to some, for others it renders the books excruciatingly suspenseful literary foreplay, a quality that Time magazine dubbed "the erotics of abstinence."
An abstinent vampire! Of course. A character who is part monster part parent-friendly trend? Why didn't someone think of this before? Edward is basically a Lost Boy who is fine with just holding hands. He's a bad boy but mom-approved at the same time! Best of both worlds! Naturally, both teenage girls and their moms would swoon over these books and this movie.
So the formula for fervent teenage girl/mom of teenage girl fandom is a romance involving someone who is part scary creature, part parent-friendly trend. What will be the next abstinence vampire? A few ideas (You're welcome, movie industry):
Purity Ring Werewolf: It's been twenty-one years since Teen Wolf Too. Clearly it's time for another high school student by day, werewolf by night story. And just think of the delicious tension created by having a werewolf go against his wolf tendencies because he made a promise to himself to wait until marriage to have sex…and to tell his girlfriend he's a werewolf. How will he take her to the Purity dance, which happens to fall on the night of a full moon? What if the new purity ring she gives him is, gulp, silver? Elevator pitch: What if the Jonas Brothers were werewolves? Done.
100-Calorie-Pack Wild Centaur: A strong, virile half-man half-horse who also believes in treating yourself—in moderation? Hello, perfect boyfriend. Is there a more beautiful, romantic image than a caring centaur boyfriend galloping across lava fields (it takes place near lava fields) to bring his love a 100-calorie-pack of Oreo crisps so she can indulge guilt free? No, no there isn't. Am I right, ladies?
Anti-Reality-Show Warlock: Moms hate reality shows. Teenage girls love non-threatening teen warlocks (see Harry Potter). This character would combine the adventure of dating someone with magical powers with the excitement of anti-Real Chance At Love tirades. Finally: someone who can fly and help you help your mom with her passionate, futile "Get This Crap Off The Air" letter-writing campaign.
Community Service Mummy: A sexy, mysterious (what's beneath all those old tattered bandages?) mummy who believes in giving back to the community: Every teenage girl's mother-approved dream.
Straight Edge Merman: What does a young, sturdily torsoed Merman want with alcohol or drugs? He lives in a spectacular underwater sea cave, and can swim faster than a barracuda. He's high on life and the fresh, bracing sea air. And once you've dated a Merman, you'll find that getting wasted on romance and magical sea water, is much more thrilling than swiping a few bottles of your parents' pumpkin ale.