Everyone from teen-aged girls to single women to suburban mommies to grandmothers are going crazy over Jacob Black, hottie werewolf, and Edward Cullen, the drool-worthy vampire in the wildly popular new Eclipse movie.
Why are women everywhere lusting over Hollywood's latest bloodsucker? It isn't just the fact that the vampire Edward Cullen is played by the uber-yummy Robert Pattinson (although that helps). Twilight author Stephenie Meyer has created the perfect man in Edward: Smart, funny, handsome, and utterly possessed by the girl he loves.
Edward isn't our first vampire to turn our heads, and he certainly won't be the last. Who can forget Bill from HBO's popular First Blood, Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and of course, the vampire Lestat from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles?
Lit and Hollywood vampires have a stunning appeal to our most basic instincts: They are powerful, they are always devastatingly handsome, and they are more than a little bit dangerous. Vampires are the ultimate bad boys: They are self-assured, inherently sensual and hold the promise of eternal youth. And, um, there's always the possibility they might bite you in bed.
Not only that, falling for a vampire is the ultimate high stakes love affair -- if you win his love, it will be forever. (Although, if you don't, you'll probably wind up as his dinner.)
In the case of Edward Cullen, there's something so devastatingly tempting about a man who is so self-sacrificing -- so in love with us that he is willing to deny the most basic part of himself just to be with us. He'll endure the greatest pain and sacrifice he's ever known to love us, protect us, save us from the bad guy.
SWF Seeks Vampire .
This is the very reason why we find vampire characters so appealing -- they illustrate what we want for ourselves: passionate, once-in-a-lifetime, undying love. Someone who would do anything to be with us. Someone who would protect us from those who might harm us. Someone who's willing to commit to forever.
But all of those appealing traits come in a very dark package. Our minds know this, but sometimes the appeal of the bad boy (vampire or otherwise), is pretty difficult for our hearts to resist.
Why would any woman be willing to risk so much?
Certainly there are some women who like the curl-your-toes challenge of trying to get a leopard to change his spots. But most women who are attracted to such bad boys are suffering from low self-esteem. The only way you feel worthy of love, is if some man deems you so worthy he's willing to go to extraordinary lengths to win you. You're looking for someone who sees something in you that you can't see for yourself.
The problem with this is that dating a high-stakes guy means the odds are a lot higher that you're going to lose. So, instead of finding that amazing guy who finally makes you feel like you're worth something, you're way more likely to end up as roadkill -- your heart broken by yet another man to reinforce what you already believe -- that you aren't worth it after all.
And there's nothing more tragic than that. Because as steamy as Edward and his brethren might be, the truth is, we never find true love until we know we deserve it.