You might think, from the title, that this is going to be another Twilight tirade. You’d be wrong, though Twilight will be factoring into the discussion at some point.
Rather, what I’m trying to work out in my head is the eating habits of some of the more modern vampires, and the psychological tolls and bizzare situations they lead to.
For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll be bringing up three basic kinds of vampires. Those to whom there is little to no distinction between blood taken “straight from the tap” and alternative sources (animal, reheated medical surplus, synthetic substitutes) beyond a flavor issue; this would include vampires from the Buffyverse or True Blood/Southern Vampire Mysteries. Sure, real human blood might taste better, but as far as nutritional value goes, they’re pretty close, and there’s no immediate danger to the “donor” if the vampire in question can behave themselves.
Second kind? Where there’s an explicit nutritional difference between human blood and other sources. Staying away from human blood may weaken the vampire, make them edgy or otherwise “off,” or cause them to feel as though they’re starving. Usually leading to losses of control or “accidents.” Vampires of this type can be found in the table top RPG Vampire: The Masquerade, or on Being Human or the Vampire Diaries. Note that there’s still little danger to the donor in feeding, if the vampire keeps themselves in check.
Third? The kind where, regardless of nutritional value, the bite is deadly or infectious to humans, regardless if anything else is done or even if the bite itself would have been fatal. This would include Twilight, since the “venom” is going to hit the victim either way, forcing the vampire to kill the donor or saddle themselves with a vampire baby to tend to, as well as the cinematic version of the Blade universe.
Since I like giving things dumb names, we’ll call group #1 the Taste Testers. #2 will be the Dietary Staplers. #3 will be the Toxic Avengers. Just go with it.
Now, Toxic Avengers, I understand the whole reluctant vampire “I shall not feed!” thing. There’s a moral and practical rationale behind it. Either you’re leaving bodies behind that are going to need explanation, or creating drains or competitors for your resource pool, or saddling the world with more monsters like yourself, that your poor little emo hairdo just can’t stand. Fine. I get it. So Twilight actually comes out the victor in this mental battle, because there seems to be a legitimate reason for the behavior of folks like the Cullens. They’re being at least somewhat smart, not just from the “safe for 17 year old girls to screw” viewpoint, but from a logical, thinking apex predator’s viewpoint.
Moving on to the Taste Testers, it becomes more of a personal choice. You don’t want to kill folks, or just find it tiresome? Fine. Pour yourself a glass of TruBlood O+. Disgusted by what you are and don’t want to admit it, even to yourself? That’s okay; mix a little otter with some wombat and add a drop or two of golden retriever, microwave for 2 minutes and put it in your “World’s Best Boss” mug and claim it’s hot cocoa. And if you somehow rationalize that stealing blood needed for transfusions is morally superior to either attacking muggers or finding a willing donor-slash-lover, then by all means, have on.
Note, that in the case of the Taste Testers, one individual stands out as not fitting in his paradigm; Angel of the Buffyverse. But he’s completely borked and broken in so many ways that make no sense – especially once they gave Spike a soul, thus showing that whatever’s wrong with Angel has everything to do with him being fucked in the head and not just because of his semi-unique status – that I feel it’s reasonably safe to ignore him. As a rule, while Spike, Bill or Eric would often prefer to chow down on certain delectable blondes in their vicinity, it doesn’t hurt them any or discomfort them too much to have a pint of wombat or a TruBlood instead.
Now the ones who make no sense at all are the Dietary Staplers. Because being the noble, I shall not kill type in these sorts of universes tends to cause way more messes and problems, and often on a far grander scale, than just being what you are and doing what you need to do. Abstaining from human blood makes them weaker, it makes them edgier, and when presented with a drop or two, tends to make them flip out and go berserker rage on the nearest walking, talking can of Clamato they can find. Meanwhile, the vampires who drink human blood usually have their shit together, are far better able to defend themselves, and frequently have figured out that taking a little from several people who agree or are unaware is better for business (and staying clear of hunters or other malcontents) than starving and then killing three people because your girlfriend got a papercut. Look at Damon versus Stefan on Vampire Diaries, or Bishop versus Aiden on Being Human. Which one in each pair is calm, collected, and less prone to screwing everything up due to simple hunger? Which one in each pair is liable to snap, screw up or flip out at precisely the wrong moment? Gee, is it the ones who accept what they are and keep properly fed? Why, yes it is.
I guess the point in this long, rambling bit of psychobabble is… “Why?” What sane individual amongst the Dietary Staplers seriously thinks starving themselves is a good thing? Does the Taste Testers category exist only so we, as a discering and picky-about-our-antiheroes-habits public can have “good” vampires? Is being a Toxic Avenger a good enough excuse to be a vegan vampy, or should more of them say “fuck it, there’s a ginger up the road who’s just dying to meet me!”
I’m off to ponder this topic further. Leave your own thoughts down below, if you’re of a mind.