They say confession is good for the soul. So here goes…….yes, I just watched Twilight.
And then I watched Twilight: New Moon. I’m like a crazy person, and God help me apparently there is another one out there. But I felt a need to know more about this pop cultural phemonenon. I remember how much I admired an octogenarian who used to come to state 4-H camp and talk to the kids, and they actually listened. She had her own subscription to Seventeen magazine at age 80.
After I first shared my guilty secret in private, a friend sent me this YouTube video, which is just hilarious and is narrated by a guy who struggles mightily with,“Why do all females like this terrible, terrible formulaeic story line?” This question apparently torments a lot of people. I don’t think his little video is all wrong, but I do think it is missing the mark. He still doesn’t quite get what the crack cocaine element of the whole thing really is.
I’ve seen the first two of these movies, and one thing is abundantly clear: The most addictive and persistent element in the Twilight franchise is relentless wanting of the female lead in a range of ways by nearly every character in every scene.
Some want to kill her. Some want to be her friend. They want to be her lover, her confidante, her father figure, her mother. They want her to be their prom date, their sibling, their punching bag, their teacher, their student, their lunch. But no matter what it is, everyone wants her all the time. I’m talking all the time.
The pervasiveness of this theme might not have been so clear to me as the true addictive element if I hadn’t read an article in the New York Times several months ago titled simply What Do Women Want?. (This article is “not suitable for work” and may be offensive to some readers. Regardless, it spent a long time as one of The NYT’s most commented and emailed articles. It’s anything but dull.)
Sigmund Freud famously told a female student, “The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is, What does a woman want?” Deep into the 8-or-so page online article, one researcher suggests that what women want, above all else, is to be wanted. The brain chemicals that release in the female mind around stories, images, fantasies and realities around being the focus of desire apparently are quite powerful, and can be distinctly separated from what any individual woman may want in “real life.”
There is a whole lengthy and responsible discussion about the difference between arousal and desire that may very well be the Rosetta Stone long lost to Freud. Not shockingly, it seems female scientists are discovering important dynamics that tend to live in this huge male blind spot.
So sure……Robert Pattinson has a great truly romantic look. And yes, vampires pluck at some weird psyche strings and have for centuies. Add that the idea of undying love is very appealing, especially when the whole world seems hell-bent on squashing the devotion and fidelity out of every last human relationship — with glee, I might add — and you’ve got some nice icing for your cake.
But it’s just the icing. I’m pretty sure the cake is the wanting.