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Embrace Me, Said the Maiden

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by Sarah Dorrance

I don't get many people writing me, begging me to turn them anymore. I suspect that's because I've let my views on the subject of "turning" be well known in all the lists and groups I've associated with.

To wit: I don't believe in it.

Yes, I am aware that there is a "viral theory" of vampirism -- okay, in that case, show me some studies of the virus. What? There aren't any? Why not? Given the way the general public reacts to anything that isn't "normal," you'd think that if a virus transmitted via blood, saliva, or sexual contact were on the loose, causing people to suddenly develop severe photosensitivity as well as an exhausted lassitude or a malaise that persisted until they drank blood (just a tiny bit), there would be a general panic. Studies would be done. A rush for the cure would ensue. Or, if this virus had the coincidental side effect of retarding the aging process, making people glamourous and sexually charismatic, enhancing the intellect and psychic powers, and conferring strength on the immune system, to hell with the negative side effects, everybody would be queuing up to get infected.

But it isn't happening. There are no studies being done. The only people who claim to develop such symptoms (after having been "embraced" of course) are a handful of young weirdoes. Gosh. Funny thing, that.

Then there's the less clinical view -- to "become" a vampire, one must be "turned." Given the Dark Gift. Crossed Over. Embraced. Which can either involve some sort of magical ceremony, a near death experience, or a sexually suggestive bite with or without bloodletting. Sometimes all three experiences are supposedly involved.

This can be quite sensual and mysterious, and it's a romantic concept, but to this notion I say: codswallop. There are plenty of vampires who always knew that they were vampires. There are others, like me, who engaged in energy vampirism from a young age without even having a name for it, and who later acquired a taste for blood after a surprisingly pleasant experience that was more of an awakening than a turning. I don't think we're "different," because vampires are vampires. Why should there be different "species" of vampire if we're all basically human anyway? (I won't go into the "what soul do you have" question, that's another philosophical debate altogether.)

Vampires who "became" vampires after an intimate experience probably discovered a new side to themselves that they had repressed for many years.

People who want to "become" vampires are either vampires already, or they suffer from a delusion of what vampirism involves and they want the side effects of it. It's only recently, you know, that the vampire in pop culture has been portrayed as sexy, romantic, tragic, beautiful, powerful, rich, strong, decadent, psychic, and all that -- including, oh yes, immortal (and ever-young). Vampires in folklore are undead ghouls. They're gross. They're really gross. Nobody found them at all attractive.

Talk of "the turning" or "the embrace" perpetuates an overly romanticized stereotype. Becoming a vampire will not suddenly make you gorgeous, powerful, and special. Vampires are no more gorgeous, powerful, or special than anybody else. There are pretty vampires, and there are plain vampires. There are vampires with a lot of social clout in the goth scene, and there are vampire geeks (like me!) There are vampires who are very psychic, and there are vampires who are about as psychic as a cement block. (More vampires are psychic than not, but that's probably because people in the occult circuit are more likely to come out to themselves as a vampire than "mundanes.") And ALL people are special. We're all the star of our own stories. Only a very few of us are ever going to be heroes, though. Most of these people will die in the process. Deal with it.

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