Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tall, Dark and Handsome Men... whatever happened to them?

The year was 1982 when I first came across this description- Tall, Dark and Handsome ( hence forth to be referred as TDH) . These were adjectives used to describe the central male charachters in the romances that we used to devour through our teens. All these romances  brought out by a publication house called "Mills and Boon" played an important part in the shaping of our growing female dreams and fantasies. We used to have a TDH scale on which we graded film stars that we swooned over (being in an all girls school we had limited opportunities to meet real males worthy of being rated on the TDH meter!). Later in college, when we did meet guys, we found  many of them modelling themselves around these charachters- some successfully and some disastrously unsuccessfully!!

Today nearly nearly quarter of a century  later  I was curious to know what or who fueled my nearly thirteen year old daughter and her peers' fantasies. So began my journey into the world of what is called the "Twilight saga". Written by someone called Stephenie Meyer these books have interesting names like " Twilight", "Eclipse", "Breaking Dawn". The central charachter in this book is a person called Edward Cullen who is .. hold your breath- A VAMPIRE !!! Being a vampire he is immortal and is frozen at the age of seventeen though he is in reality about a hundred years older. So who falls in love with him? An eighteen year old girl called Bella who longs for him to bite her and turn her into another vampire...!!! There is also a small love triangle in this folks- another guy called Jacob who is a werewolf...!!!! Vampires and Werewolves apparently dont get along ...!!! All these charachters study in some American High School...! Bella wants to marry Edward and become an immortal vampire like him. Her parents ( who are divorced) are surprised but agree because she is eighteen and can anyway get married with or without their blessings. There are other interesting parts of this love story- a baby who is part human, part vampire and apparently part werewolf. It has to be fed on donated blood ( formula does not agree with them)... and so life goes on..

These books throw up an interesting question about teenagers today. Is "normal"  so boring? Are S&M fantasies going to shape their sexuality? How then would they relate to a real person? As a mom I am a little concerned. Though my daughter is a late entrant into this world of vampires she has read four books in a matter of four weeks just so she could relate to her peers and join in the discussions around Bella and Edward.

Going back to my school days I wonder if our thinking about TDH  males was considered abnormal by our parents? Though I dont think we actually allowed them to know that we were reading such books as they were carefully covered in newspapers ( to guard prying eyes from looking at those lurid covers), people like my father who were naturally nosy did find them and I think even read a couple of them finally pronouncing them as "trash"!! He also felt that the only real kind of person(s) who might actually meet up to the description of the central male charachter would be the rickshaw wallahs of Kolkata- his way of dealing with   discomfort about his daughter's growing female sexuality!!

But seriously folks.. I wonder what is so attractive about a thin, white and cold vampire who longs to suck blood? Are we talking about a future where men might start modelling themselves along these lines or are Haemophlic men going to be the icons of the future?

I (and I am sure a hundred other moms ) certainly do not want a vampire for a son-in-law...nor do we want grandchildren who have to be fed on donated blood..!!!

5 comments:

Deepa said...

Here is some feminist commentary about the Twilight series. http://www.msmagazine.com/spring2009/Twilight.asp

meerasrajan said...

Interesting. I agree Deepa. With all the usual threat of violence lurking around in the lives of women all we need is a masochist like Bella to complete the picture

anindita said...

interesting need...now i really need to read two or three of this series.....BEFORE MY KID IS A TEENAGER..

Tomz said...

Interesting writing, we have to seriously think about this ...

simple girl..... said...

I could not read through the first book..Too boring ..And not only teenagers, I found people in final year in college, freshers in office discussing about it and revelling in the series.. Do not know the reason..

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