Thursday, September 30, 2010


I’m a big fan of vampire stuff: vampire movies, vampire tv shows, vampire books. Whatever it is, if it’s done well, I’ll get sucked in (pun intended). There’s one thing that’s been getting to me lately though, a minor detail that centers around vampires and the young adult market: The AGE Gap!

I know I’m not the first to notice this and frankly it’s not something that would turn me off of watching shows like Vampire Diaries but every once in a while I get a moment of ewwwww, icky, he’s like a hundred and thirty years older than her. In the real world that’s considered so taboo, sometimes illegal and definitely bordering on inappropriate (or even statutory rape in some cases!) What could a worldly hundred and fifty year old possibly find appealing about a teenager? (Other than the obvious, you sickos ;)

Why is it that this kind of relationship is so appealing to teenagers these days? The Twilight Saga is another example where old vampire falls for young teenager and no one really blinks at that…which I find kind of weird since we crucify anyone who even hints that that’s okay in the real world. Maybe that’s the answer, like all paranormal media, it’s not happening in the real world. It’s fantasy, therefore it’s safe. But is it? What’s the message here? What does this trend say about our current generation of teens? Of adults writing for teens?

I don’t have the answers, I’m actually hoping someone out there might be able to enlighten me. What I do know is while I’m watching those shows or reading those books I get just as caught up in them as the teens do. I gobble them up and wait impatiently for the next installment. It’s only once in a while that I get a jolt of reality and think, gosh that’s kind of gross.


  1. It's the ultimate older man/woman: Looks like a teenage heartthrob, has the life experience to make those first experiences what you always dream of, rather than the awkward, groping, how-do-you-kiss-without-breaking-your-noses misadventure you get in reality. For the vamp, who is jaded and bored, they get someone who helps them see the world anew. Or something like that.
    There's a high squick factor to the situation, when examined too close, so I just suspend my disbelief and enjoy. :)

  2. Surprisingly I haven't thought of it in that way although you're absolutely right! Because they are 'frozen' as a teen (let's say 18), we look at 150 year old vamps as a 150 year old soul trapped in an 18 year old body, frozen for eternity. That's the only way I can see anybody look at it without being 'grossed out'. LOL Great post Angela. It clearly has me thinking differently. :)

  3. I was just thinking about this the other day. I just finished the Mortal Instruments series and there's a relationship between a teenage boy and a 700 year old vampire and I thought, "ewww." But it's the same with Twilight. I think it has to do with the age the vampire was turned. If he/she was a teenager, he/she will always look like a teenager and our society would frown on them dating an adult, just by appearances, so it would be icky to do it that way too.

    Basically, we're all fascinated by vampires, teenagers and adults alike, and we all want to be the heroine that changes his eternal life forever. :)

  4. Here's my thoughts, and I'll use Vampire Diaries as an example. Stephan and Damon were both turned when they were, what? 17/18 and maybe 19/20 respectively? And, since they don't physically age, I'll go with the concept that they may become more intelligent, but not necessarily do they mature to that of a full-fledged adult. They're stuck in time. With that in mind, why not? To me, it makes them more tragic. And, lets say Stephan and Elena stay together. At some point, to quote Caroline, Elena will be ninety and wearing adult diapers and Stephan will still be young and hot.
    That definitely gave me an eeeewwww moment.
    Let's go one step further with sci-fi. What if a teen is frozen and brought back to life 50 years later. Should they only date 70 year olds? And, if they dated another teen, isn't that the same as the vampire thing?

    Why I think teens like vampires: the same reasons we adults do, I imagine. They're sexy, dangerous, powerful, mysterious, and tragic.

    I'll also ditto Jax: it's fiction, so I'll suspend disbelief and go with it.

  5. I remember even as a teenager finding Buffy/Angel a little creepy because he was so much older than her. I have less issues with Sookie/Eric in the Sookie Stackhouse books because she's an adult, in her mid-twenties, not a teenager. I think there's a lot of life experience difference between teens and 20s and that's a huge factor for me. Though, I agree that the reason people don't find it so creepy is because vampires are frozen in perpetual youth, so at least it doesn't look wrong.

  6. Interesting post. I've wondered about this myself, although I have to admit it doesn't bother me that much. However, when my husband and I went to see Twilight, his first comment after the film was that Edward was a pedophile.

    I like relationships that break barriers- whether it's age differences, interracial, or interspecies (I'm talking sff here, like humans and elves or Vulcans and Klingons), or whatever, I think it adds a little something forbidden to the story and that makes me want it to work that much more.

    There's also that idea that the love interst is so special that even a centuries old vampire can't help falling for that one person. I think this is also why "bad boy" heroes are so popular in romance for some readers- the idea that they can straighten up and at least behave themselves for that one woman, but no one else.

    And of course, it's already been mentioned that because vampires don't "look" older, it's okay. Michelle mentioned the idea that the vampire might be stuck in time and might not mature past the age they were when they were turned. If that's the case, I'd have to wonder if at some point the human might get tired of the vampire and "outgrow" him.

    For young readers, I think the immortality aspect is also a factor. I know when I was a kid (8 to 10 years old) I first became fascinated with vampires and it was all because they live forever, never worrying about dying.