A lot has been written about the motivation of vampires when they go for the jugular vein. Why the jugular? If the victim has been sleeping, wouldn’t a sharp bite on the neck tend to wake her up, causing an embarrassing incident? Why a vein altogether? The carotid artery is adjacent to the vein and just as accessible and actually pumps the blood out. A ruptured carotid could probably exsanguinate the subject before she knew enough to roll over. Otherwise a cleverly administered bite on the dorsum of the subject’s hand, while pretending to kiss it, would cause a dollop of blood to dribble over the vampire’s lips. Would not that be more delicate and refined?
It is a matter of psychology. Vampires grow up in a macho culture. Tenderness and ordinary human affection are considered weaknesses. They are trained from kindergarten to be unfeeling. During rest periods they are shown videos of mother lions picking up their cubs by biting them on the neck and tossing them around. (You get the neck connection?) That sort of thing is held out to them as an example of manly behavior (although, of course, the mother lion is female.) Toughness is everything to a young vampire. And the neck is where the rubber meets the road, in a matter of speaking. The vampire is a master of the hickey.
The neck has always had a special place in anatomy, going back to antiquity. When Zeus took on the form of a swan in order to rape somebody he was thinking of the slender, sinuous, and sensuous nature of the neck. It was the appeal of this extraordinary neck that caused Leda to submit to the rape. Otherwise, one might judge that rape by a bird would be difficult to effect. When Perseus cut off Medusa’s head, Pegasus sprang out from her neck. This was thought by certain psychoanalytic thinkers to represent the irrepressible allure of the bleeding neck, the Id come to life. Most vampires are unaware of these traditions. What matters to them is the here and now, being in the present-- with the result, that they never accomplish anything. They party all night and sleep all day, just like some people we know.
A lot of what is “known” about vampires is actually false. They avoid mirrors for the same reason the rest of us do: they do not like to be reminded that they are getting fat or getting old—and getting old is a sensitive point with vampires, which is why they keep track of their age in Roman numerals. No one knows what MDLCXXIV really means. If they could not see their reflection in mirrors they would be perfectly happy looking into them all night long. That would be more fun than watching reruns of Lucy at 3 A.M. Nor do they have a fetish about bats. Being well-educated and sophisticated, they know that bats, particularly the fruit bat, are useful; but that is as far as it goes. It is true they don’t like the smell of garlic, but who does? They are not fearful of the Cross or other religious icons since most of them are agnostic.
But it is true that vampires have trouble fitting in. They don’t even like other vampires all that much. You never hear of a fraternity of vampires. The problem dates back to early childhood when they are encouraged to bite each other for practice. This is called the Edible Stage. Also, they become embittered by being ostracized by their classmates. Because of their light-sensitive skin, they can never join in a hearty baseball game. Billiards in dark rooms is their game, but other children are too young to appreciate a good game of billiards. So, they suffer from loneliness.
Also, vampires picked up a bad rep by association with the historical Count Dracula, (Vlad. to his friends) who, although popular among his neighbors for his political stances, was not a nice man and was a terrible host, often impaling some of his guests half-way through dinner. In Eastern Europe, where the early vampires camped out with sympathetic bands of Gypsies, they shared in the general prejudice against Gypsies, Jews, and Chinese, causing them to turn inwards.
The Vampire Metabolic Syndrome
Of course, at the heart of the Vampire problem is their metabolic syndrome, often called The Vampire Metabolic Syndrome or V.M.S., for short. DNA analysis has discovered that V.M.S. is an odd kind of iron deficiency. They miss the Intrinsic Factor, which is secreted by the pancreas in the duodenum and which is necessary, along with Vitamin C, for absorbing Iron. They compensate by drinking whole blood, which they prefer warm. Also they suffer a severe Vitamin D deficiency since they never get enough sunshine, even in the summer, despite their having the right to bare arms guaranteed by the constitution. Their well-known appreciation of grapefruits is due to an accompanying Vitamin C deficiency. They never travel anywhere without a supply of grapefruits, which they keep in a long box that looks something like a coffin.
So, the remedy is two-fold: psychotherapy to deal with their social anxieties and vitamins to deal with their V.M.S. Specifically, cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found to be most effective. The vampire is inculcated with the idea that we are all special in some way. That is what makes us interesting. The desire to drink human blood is just one more human foible, like the tendency to fall asleep during an opera. If you accept yourself, they are told, others will accept you. It is a matter of affecting a positive point of view. Treatment may take some time; but vampires have plenty of time.
The vitamin regimen appropriate to V.M.S. is controversial. Some investigators say that if vampires were to eat a balanced diet, they would get all the vitamins they need. Ingesting excess Iron for those who do not have an iron-deficiency is unhealthy. But they miss the point. For whatever reason, vampires do not eat a healthy diet. For cultural reasons, they prefer pasta, like the Italians. You could talk to them from now to next year about giving up pasta, which causes a surge of insulin, but they will not.
So, this is what I recommend:
With proper treatment, the vampire can become a useful member of society and will learn to be proud of his/her heritage.
One more issue that has come up recently: Can the Constitution be read in such a way that it suggests the Founding Fathers felt that vampires have the right to marry, just like everyone else? Well, let me put it this way, the Constitution does not say explicitly that they do not have the right to marry. (c) Fredric Neuman Author of "The Wicked Son." Follow Dr. Neuman's blog at fredricneumanmd.com/blog/ or ask advice at fredricneumanmd.com/blog/ask-dr-neuman-advice-column/