They’ve sort of taken over the letter “V,” haven’t they?
There are as many kinds of vampires as there are people who write about vampires. Everyone tweaks Bram Stoker’s Dracula to fit their own story, their own need.
So I’m going to elaborate on my personal definition of vampires.
1. Expert Martial Artists: No. Why should re-animating a corpse give it super agility, super strength or levels of coordination it never had in real life? Do you mean to tell me if Barney Fife was bitten by a vampire, he’d come back slick and stealthy like a ninja? I don’t think so. That’s the one place Buffy the Vampire (TV series) lost me. New vampires would awaken ready to karate chop some poor slayer.
2. Ability to Become Bats or Other Small Creatures of the Night: No. I can’t get beyond the conservation of mass. A 200-pound man cannot turn into a 3-ounce bat and fly away. Where did the rest of him go? An entire flock of bats, or a large animal like a wolf, maybe. Otherwise, there’s a large puddle of wobbly ectoplasm sitting around somewhere just waiting for someone to step in it. Yuck.
3. Aversion to Garlic: Nope. Why garlic and not onions? Why not turmeric or nutmeg? Why not a lactose intolerant vampire, or one who is gluten-free? What happens when a vegan becomes a vampire? What could he or she possibly eat?
4. Hypnotic Eyes: Heck, yeah! Look one in the eyes and be completely mesmerized.
5. Retractable Fangs: Yes. I don’t care what the mechanism for extending or retracting the fangs, but they have to be able to pass for human. And smile without shredding their bottom lip. And talk without lisping. A lisping vampire is not a scary vampire.
6. Sexy: No. Ugh, no. They’re dead. They have no body heat. Without their heart pumping blood, can they feel arousal? Can the males get an erection? And why does anyone want to sleep with a cold, dead body? Isn’t that called necrophilia? It sounds very unsanitary to me.
7. Lacking a Soul: Undecided. I’m completely torn on this issue. I can’t decide whether their initial death should render them soulless, or the fact that they’re about to be reborn as vampires means the soul is still intact. Did we even worry about their souls before Buffy? I mean, if they’re chomping on necks, sucking down blood like a hot, red Slurpee and killing people, does it matter if they have a soul?
8. The Satanic Connection: No. Because that would mean that atheists, who don’t believe in God or Satan, would be immune to vampires. Or they’d reawaken and roam the earth in search of, what, a good cup of coffee? But since these are my rules for my vampires, I’m putting my foot down. Following Satan has to be an individual’s decision, not something thrust upon them in the night like a sexually transmitted disease. “Oh, no, I slept with Johnny last night, and now I have a painful red rash on my nether regions and the urge to sacrifice a goat.”
9. Sensitive to Sunlight: Yes. There’s a reason why we’re scared of things that go bump in the night and not things that go bump in the bright, breezy sunshine at high noon. I haven’t worked out the mechanics of the sensitivity, but I have no qualms about bowing to this tradition.
10. Inability to Cross Moving Water: No. What are we, 16th century peasants? I can see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to cross a bridge like everyone else.
11. Glowing Eyes: Conditional. Yes, but only when the light hits them right, like animals by the side of the road. They don’t just glow red or green or yellow as soon as the sun goes down.
12. Eating Regular Food: No. With apologies to one of my favorite vampire authors, Mario Acevedo, just no. Their internal organs aren’t working like they used to. If they chewed and swallowed, the meal would just sit in their stomach and putrefy. Talk about bad breath–this would knock a buzzard off a shit wagon. And think of the gas! I’m not sure they’d be able to pass gas, so they might just bloat and bloat and bloat until they exploded like seagulls who ate Alkaseltzer. (Which may be an urban legend–I’m not going to experiment and find out.) Drinking, on the other hand, I will allow. The plumbing for that is all down hill, so it should still work. Unless the planet loses gravity, and then we have bigger problems than whether vampires can still pee.
13. Impervious to Heat and Cold: Yes. I have no good reason. I just like the idea my vampire can walk barefoot through the snow. Or walk through a sultry summer night without sweating. Which means the vampire could just be a metaphor for menopause, but right now there’s hardly a subject on the planet I can’t bring around to menopause, given enough lead time.
14. Extraordinary Strength: Yes. But only if he’s not doing some Ninja shit with it. Again, I can’t explain the mechanics, it just feels right.
15. Stopped by Religious Artifacts (like crosses): Conditional. If the vampire isn’t inherently satanic, then it doesn’t make sense for religious icons to stop him. But if the religious icons were going to work, it would have to be any icon from any religion, and it would have to be wielded by a true believer. But I like to get all supernatural and evil and shit without getting into religion. I believe you can have good and evil, right and wrong, without deities directing you.
16. Inability to See Reflection in a Mirror: Yes. Because true misery is going through life without knowing if your hair is sticking up all funny on one side of your head, or whether you have a poppy-seed or wodge of spinach stuck between your teeth. And it just makes life that much more difficult.
17. Ability to Levitate: No. Why would they? If they want to bust into the bedroom of a sleeping virgin to drink her blood, let them scale the wall like everyone else.
18. Formal Wear and Capes: No. Come on. People wear cut-offs and flip-flops to the symphony. How is a vampire going to blend in if he’s wearing a cape and tuxedo to the Walmart? Plus his dry cleaning bills for the removal of blood stains would be astronomical, unless he took the precaution of having both his cape and his formal wear Scotchguarded. Can you even do that to a silk cape? Would it ruin the fabric or the way it flowed in the air behind him? And wouldn’t a cape be a huge pain in the ass? What if it got caught in a subway door? Or some homeless guy peed on it? It would trip him on the stairs and get stepped on in crowds.
19. Irresistable to the Opposite (or Same) Sex: No. Unless he’s using the hypnotic eyes. What about cold and dead is appealing? Cold, dead and gassy. I bet you won’t find that on Match.com.
No, I’m not planning to write a vampire novel. I’ve already written one. Whether or not it ever sees the light of day (ha! a pun!), I’ve given some thought to the parameters of a vampire’s existence. Oops, I forgot one thing.
20. Sparkly: No. Never.