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A Rose By Any Other Name; or, The Case for a New Name for Real Vampires

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by Hirudo
(Mirrored with permission from the author)

It's an old topic. And it circulates on a regular basis. It usually starts on a message board or newsgroup somewhere when someone bemoans being labelled a 'vampire', often in regards to trying to explain their hunger to a mundane. Everyone else joins in, complaining about the cultural baggage that comes attached to the name and the thread grows and grows. I've seen this debate many times and it is never resolved because nobody ever comes up with something better that everyone agrees with. And underlying the whole thing is a reluctance, never really voiced, to give up using the label. Because secretly most real vamps enjoy calling themselves vampires, because of the emotions the word inspires in others: awe, fear, lust, love, disgust, desire and myriad other base instincts.

So why bother trying to change people's minds?

Well, get comfy and I'll present my case to you....

What we need is a word that encompasses all the types of vamps that there are, further sub-catergories merely confuse the issue even more, especially for the newbies. It needs to mean the same thing as 'vampire' without actually saying it and thus preventing people from jumping to conclusions (as they so often do). The word I suggest is Moroii (prononced more-ROY). Sound familiar? That's because it's related to Strigoii, the Romanian word for the undead kind of vampire although they use the word in general for all types of vampires. Here's an excerpt about the Moroii:

"Moroii: A Romanian name for a kind of vampire, specifically a live vampire, as compared to the strigoii, or dead vampire. While strigoii is used by Romanians to refer to vampires of all types, moroii is considered a more appropriate term for the living variety. The moroii can be male or female. A male moroii is usually bald or balding; a female, red in the face." [Vampire the Encyclopaedia, Matthew Bunson.]

In Romanian folklore the Moroii would become Strigoii when they died.

As you can see, the name I propose merely means 'living vampire', which is an apt and succinct term for all of us. It still means vampire but the term itself is so unknown that it carries none of the baggage that popular culture has burdened vampire with. This, of course, can be helpful if you are ever trying to explain yourself to a mundane, especially if you are 'coming out' to a friend or somebody else close to you because you aren't using a label which invokes an instant stereotype and instead gives you a chance to explain yourself properly without having to wade an uphill struggle against someone else's preconcieved ideas of what you should be. It has also never been used (as far as I know) in any certain popular role-playing games so its use would immediately identify the real vamps from the RPGers and would also avoid the confusion which occurs between peoples use of vampire and vampyre.

Am I convincing you yet?

The biggest problem I find with the vampire community is trying to explain all the terms used to someone who is not involved in it. To them they see little difference between our use of vampire and vampire lifestyler; after all, isn't our vampirism our lifestyle, despite our differences in dress? And then there are the blood fetishists who also like to call themselves vampires. It all gets very confusing, even for me! The word is being used to death and it will only get worse as all the different scenes and cultures grow and the overlap continues. The vampire community/culture is still in its infancy, thrashing around like some primodial monster in its attempt at cohesion and coherence. The problem is that we've been around as individuals for quite some time but it's only been recently that we've all been able to communicate worldwide and begin forming some sort of community. Before then we lived alone or in small enclaves, using our own lingo which was heavily borrowed from folklore and fiction because there was nothing better and it didn't matter as we didn't have to defend our ways against critics. But now we're on the world stage, so to speak, and attracting increasing attention, both good and bad. What we have to say needs to be said more clearly. Perhaps it's time to evolve, time to ditch the old that has served its purpose and move onto something better?

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