Friday, January 8, 2010

How far is too far?

I have some odd fixations.

There, I admitted it. Even if I didn’t want to admit it, my darling friends would be quick to rat me out, so it’s far easier to be forthcoming. Perhaps because of my own propensity for weird, I tend to afford others a great deal of slack in the area of peculiar obsessions and obsession manifestation. After all, when it comes to any trend, there are fans, there are super fans, and then there are those who go beyond even super fan territory into the land of “fanmania.”

Ever since vampires poked their pale little heads out of the coffin to become the next pop culture “it” creatures, vampire-centric tales of paranormal romance of been booming and the number of vampire fanmaniacs have been on the rise. These fanmaniacs have taken their passion for vamp love far beyond the normal books, movies, and TV shows. Clothing lines, furniture manufacturers, even energy drinks companies have all recently jumped on the bandwagon with bite, hoping to secure a bit of the vamp craze for themselves. A veritable vampire inspired culture has emerged and fanmaniacs are invited to take their obsession to the extreme with the aid of vampire contact lenses, piercings, tattoos, and even tooth modification procedures like fang implants.

So where do you draw the line? When does a healthy interest turn into something more sinister? Is there such a point and who gets to decide?

I don’t have any answers to these questions, I’m just interested in the opinions of those reading. If there is a line (and I'm sure there is), I’ve probably already crossed it. I’ve had a pair of vampire bats tattooed on my right shoulder for awhile now.

While this design horrifies my poor grandmother, it received nothing but compliments at the midnight release of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn at my local bookstore, so I guess obsession is all in the eye of the beholder. And I’m not the only one of my friends to sport a bat tattoo. I’m not even the first. My dear friend Kristen, who writes under the name Helena Sparrow over at the Vamps R Us blog, has a very colorful bat tattoo on the back of her neck mirrored after the cover of Lynsay Sands' Love Bites. It even has the red rose clasped in its little fangs. I think it's adorable. (Book cover pictured to the right, tattoo photo below).

At the same time, I tend to think the vampire bite piercings I’ve seen around a bit extreme. No, the hypocrisy of this is not lost on me, since piercings are temporary and tattoos, unless lasered, are not. Maybe it's just because they look so darn painful. Maybe it's because I've had a surface piercing before and can say for a fact that they are painful, at least until they heal. Don't even get me started about the fang implants. The concept of optional dental surgery is just not something I can wrap my head around. I'm only mildly okay with non-optional dental surgery, and not if it's being performed on me.

Although these practices just aren't from me, I'd love to hear from someone who's actually gotten the piercing or braved the dentist's chair for a little tooth lengthening procedure. What prompted you to take that step? Any regrets after the fact?

It looks like I've drawn my line at cutesy tattoos. No contacts, coffin couches, or energy drinks packaged in blood bags for this girl. Definitely no vampire bite piercings or fang implants (ouch!). Where is your line?

~Gretchen Stull

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