Twilight: Taking a bite out of real romance

By Corinne Love / Opinions Editor

By Corinne Love / Opinions Editor

Does your boyfriend sparkle? Probably not. If he can’t, then he really can’t compete with 108 year old vampire, and all around fictional Renaissance man, Edward Cullen.

 

Cullen is the swarthy lothario of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling, pro-abstinence vampire saga “Twilight.” In case by sheer chance of pop culture nonchalance you did not know, “Twilight” is not only a cultural phenomenon but a determinant in ruining non-fictional relationships.

 

As reported in an article for the UK’s Sci-fi Web site, and Esquire magazine, women aged 12-29 are confessing to experiencing the “Edward Cullen Effect.”

 

What exactly is the Edward Cullen effect?

 

It’s the effect that is cast on relationships, in which average Joe Schmoes can not compete with a sparkling, literate, all-encompassing love of an immortal vampire blessed (or cursed) with the looks of a smug Englishman.

 

There is a Facebook group where users have commented in support group fashion that “Twilight” has ruined any chance of them having a realistic relationship.

 

Like a modern day Romeo, women are falling at their feet in love with Cullen. He inspires fervent passion that women in their twenties, thirties and forties have latched onto.

 

These Twilight wives are vicariously living through the romantic life of “Twilight’s” Bella Swan.

 

The women attest to wishing that their real live husbands were more like Edward.

In the series, Edward’s eternal life basically revolves around Bella’s, every action, every decision he makes is directly related to his love for her.

 

Young women love Edward for a myriad of reasons, but all the reasons hark back to the typical “girl falls for the angst-ridden boy,” it’s definitely a cliché. This cliché is played to the hilt, in the latest installment of the series “New Moon.”

 

“New Moon” draws its viewers in with one of the more tried and true devices in most romances, the love triangle.

 

The love triangle involves Werewolf Jacob Black and of course, Mr. Deathly Parlor himself, Edward.

 

What has these women so tied into a story though?

 

“Twilight,” is not going to be rewarded for any groundbreaking awards in prose anytime soon, but as a phenomenon, it’s boggling. The prose is simplistic, yet, heightens emotions with lines such as “You are my life now.”

 

Within the story, Edward is clearly more defined as a character than his lover, Bella. Bella’s lack of concrete identity is able to allow readers to project themselves onto the character. This is where the effect takes place. Readers want to experience a love the way it is portrayed in the novel. The readers want someone to love them that much and to that certain degree of intensity.

 

Yet, for men in the real world, they cannot compete with a male character written by a woman. In a nutshell, Edward is the “ideal” boyfriend. Although some of his character traits, are less than appealing.

 

In society, men have been conditioned to being emotionally reluctant and more interested in machismo behavior rather than reading sonnets and playing the piano.

 

Furthermore, the idea of “romance” has kind of morphed into something looked at with cheesiness, think Michael Bolton and roses.

 

“Twilight” arrived at a time, where many female readers were looking for romance outside the scope of a Harlequin novel.

 

But, “Twilight” to a degree, is a Harlequin novel, just add teenagers, abstinence and vampires.

 

It’s the kind of material that makes women swoon, and perhaps makes the men gag.

If men aren’t dealing with the physical competition in the vein of alpha male David Beckham, then they have to deal with a fictional character who downplays his innate ability to rip someone to shreds, but won’t.

 

What a predicament.

 

It seems like momentarily that men may have to alter their romancing methods in hopes of keeping their mates.

 

While the Twilight craze may anger and even offend certain people, there is no mistaking the lasting impression it leaves on relationships, fictional or not.