I was watching the television a few nights ago when I saw a promo for something that made me stop and think. (Yes, yes, I know, television is evil, it rots your brain, etc... but like most things which are bad for you it's fun. And occasionally informative. More on that duality in a later entry, I think.) This one was for the "Vampire Diaries" which I gather is based on the YA series of the same name. Now, I could rail against the current trend of angsty vampires in high school - with or without sparkles - but if I was going to do that, which I might some day, I'd have to go back to Anne Rice. Because Louis had ANGST. Lestat less so, in the beginning, but then things just got weird. However, something else in the promo struck me and got the old gears in my head churning.
Namely, the unaddressed subtext of hebephilia, or if I'm going to be a little generous, ephebophilia. To get away from the technical terms (because they're hard to spell and way too big for me to keep typing over and over again), this is the kind of behavior for which society has such things as "age of consent" and statutory rape. It should not be confused with pedophilia, which is a somewhat different thing, though it's still creepy.
Think "Lolita," only 16 instead of 12. Or whatever she was in the original. Which I think was 12.
Here's the bit that got me thinking along these lines: once again, as in the sparkly vamp saga, there is a vampire. Who, for some insane reason, goes to high school. (You didn't see Kiefer Sutherland hanging out in high school. He was hanging upside down, sure, but who would voluntarily go back to high school to be a student?) And once again, falls in love with a human girl.
(Which begs the question, what happened to all those homo/bi-sexual vampires from Anne Rice? Or at least a little bromance vampage? Okay, I'll stop digressing now and try and stick to my point.)
Yet in the promo, they specifically mentioned this is a vampire who is a century old. As in 100 years. So regardless of how he looks, which, being a teen on television means he looks like he ought to be working on his Master's thesis instead of his diploma, he's had a century of experiences. Plenty of time to mature, develop, etc. This was a theme explored by Anne Rice with her child-like vampire, Claudia, who was a little girl but only on the outside.
The fact is, there's more to getting old than just numbers, and puberty. Which, considering they're posing as high schoolers, they've all been through anyway. There is the sum of our experiences, the things we do, the places we go, the things we see, and these more so than any biochemical processes are what shapes us into the adults we are. No matter how the vampire might look on the outside, on the inside he is, by all human definitions, old.
Which makes you wonder what he would see in a high-school aged girl. (Other than the obvious "Lolita" inferences. Or, if you've not read it, go listen to "Don't Stand So Close to Me" by the Police. Classic stuff.) I can understand liking them young - though not that young - so I have to ask, why not just go to college? Granted, it would still be somewhat creepy, but at least they'd all be over the age of consent. Not to mentioned more experienced in terms of their life.
I would think anyone of a mature enough age - and at a century you'd think that would qualify -would find the life and interests of a high school student to be rather mundane and trivial. Not that it's unimportant to them, but let's face it, even those who have an interest in the lives of high schoolers, such as teachers, don't socialize with them. They certainly don't date them, or at least they aren't supposed to and society gets very upset when they do. To have an interest, and more than that, an attraction, to someone so young and immature....
It's just creepy.