I’ve observed before that my life sometimes looks like a You might be a vampire survey. One aspect that keeps resurfacing is my stickler for consent.
Bunting is a regular client of The Golden Cat, he visits this time, as he often does, for a session of electrical play. When Corvo (the player) arrives, Bunting is already chaired and restrained and ready for his dom, but she’s being slow about it (probably on account of Corvo’s prior mischief), and Corvo serves him instead.
Corvo zaps Bunting until he safewords out. And this is where I ended up unable to continue. The game encourages Corvo to press Bunting with further electrocutions to force him to disclose a safe combination. I couldn’t do it. Well, I could, but only after I determined this was the only way to complete the mission without killing. As Corvo, I tortured Bunting, cringing all the way and ceased playing soon after. I still need to return to the game to complete it.
I could attribute my hesitation to my time in the kink community. Safewords are important to me. I suppose could also attribute my resistance to act to my distaste for torture, now that my nation’s official policy condones torture as an acceptable treatment for prisoners of war, it’s a serious, sensitive matter. But it was the safeword thing that hit me in my home.
Then there’s the threshold thing. I realized I really don’t like going into Miss Taz‘ room. Not because it is a Tasmanian mess — a recovering hoarder, myself, cluttery rooms are familiar, and I empathize with the struggle to clean them — no, rather I don’t want to enter her room because I haven’t been welcomed there. Miss Taz has made it clear enough that her room is private, and not to be entered lightly, if at all. So when she leaves stuff about the common areas, rather than taking them into her domain, I create a pile to take along with her.
As I am posting this from my inner sanctum I can empathize. To be fair, my HQ is walled off more to give Stimpy a sanctuary, especially from Ren. But also from young persons and anything else from which a cat might feel the need to retreat. This domain also contains my computer, and while I’m not super private about its contents, I wouldn’t want anyone mucking about with my settings. I do keep the system locked. Not to keep interlopers out, but to keep the contained mathematical eldritch horrors held within.
If you really don’t like crossing thresholds, uninvited, you might be a vampire.
I think the vampire threshold thing really applies to all things. It does for me. If the good Count is so concerned about being welcomed into a house, he’d probably be fastidious about the rules of hospitality entirely. That means he’d bring something to share. That means he’d respect the habitants and not bring any malice or hostility. That means he’d leave when it’s time to go.
That means he would bite only willing necks.
This highlights how the horror narrative of vampires is not from the immediate victims. The terror that Lucy and Mina are being turned from pure-of-heart marriage-minded Victorian-era ladies-in-waiting into depraved nymphomanic harlot concubines of the Beast is not from their own if they are willing subjects eager to take control of their own sexualities. No rather, the fright is from the perspective of their suitors, who regard Mina and Lucy as vulnerable charges. They don’t see the Count’s influences as dazzling dances and smooth sensuality and the opportunity to take personal agency, but supernatural powers of glamour and sorcery.
But this horror is multiplied if the ladies enter the Count’s clutches of their own informed free will. The horror isn’t from being turned into a thrall of the dark lord. The horror is from the abandonment by loved ones who left you to become thralls of the dark lord because they’d rather that than stay with you. It is worse still that you’re not wanted as well, and the Count doesn’t invite you to come along to his big sexy, druggy, rock-and-roll party. Even if he did so out of respect that it’s not really your scene.
If you respect that others have their own agency, if you acknowledge your loved ones are their own people, and adult enough to make their own life choices, then it’s not about the vampire, but about people you care about making risky life choices. That’s not about a vampire’s thrall. That’s just life.
Vampires are, metaphorically the new sex. The new music. The new drugs. The new apps and games and tech and fashion. It’s the new religion, the new politics. The new math. Vampires are new things that young people are into these days. They are the things that seduce innocent, inexperienced virgins away from the models and ideals of their own parents to, instead, develop their own identities and to take their own risks.
You can get eaten by Vampires. As in all things, there is risk. But there’s also a lot of disinformation regarding vampires. That’s why we recommend you read up on an internet vampire FAQ before starting a relationship with one.
Or ask your friends / doctor / pharmacist / minister / dealer which vampire is right for you.