When it comes to romantic relationships, I, like others my age, was some what subliminally conditioned to desire toxic traited men. Now ironically, this adoption of falling for men who have blasted past the bad boy trope so they could essentially bathe in vats of toxic waste like a damn hot tub – didn’t come from our men in government… but it does occasionally and technically come from the historically archaic times that those men and their bills seem to live in.
Now before this gets out of hand… no this is not a piece that will make subtle jabs at middle aged white men who continue to assert their dominance by implying that a 6 week old embryo has more rights than a woman – no… this blog will be about men (and women) who suck in a different way, because today, we’re going to talk about the original (blood) suckers — vampires.
While boomers are generally known for sexualizing the word “baby” and more recent generations are known for sexualizing the word “daddy” – the early 2000’s could be easily identified as a time when media and pop-culture vastly sexualized the supernatural — and more specifically, Vampires.
Which come to think of it is probably why many of my friends also love serial killers but…. I digress.
Point is — At a young age I got accustomed to romanticizing relationships based on the ones I was seeing on tv. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if the men hadn’t been 25-30 playing 120+ year old teenagers… who also happened to be undead serial killers.
“Turn me” meant something entirely different in 2008-2009
See I’m a 90’s baby – but I didn’t grow up on sitcoms like FRIENDS, I grew up on Gossip Girl, Friday Night Lights, and The Vampire Diaries. I grew up on over sexualized, arguably toxic characters that were mostly just 20 somethings playing teenagers because that’s what was hot and that’s what was popular. And for the most part I’m not complaining because I loved it then and I still love it now – but it also messed with my head.
Look – I do get how crazy it sounds but you have to understand that at the time this was all happening I had no idea how toxic the relationships were because they were in love and I wanted so badly to feel what they had for myself. On the other hand however,I had no clue how they would and wouldn’t impact what I looked for in a relationship a decade later. And let me just say, that one hasn’t gone too well.
ANYWAY…. So picture this
In 2008 we were comfortably sitting in between the release of the fifth and sixth Harry Potter films. And most of us, at that point, had given up on becoming wizards so we were pretty used to just living for the films. Then Twilight hit theaters and s*** got real. And I mean, why wouldn’t it when Cedric Diggory was alive (technically) and sparkly and Taylor Lautner started flashing abs on 20 ft screens. The acting was definitely a pain point at the time but the on screen faces definitely were not.
And then from there it all kind of blasted off because a year later Elena Gilbert and the Salvatore brothers had us swooning even more.
So in other words, it’s no surprise that many of us wanted that kind of passion and excitement in our love lives but I think the harshest critique I could have about this genre was that there was this constant idea that the women had to transform themselves to fit into what the guy was. And that no matter how many times the guy tried to convince her she was enough as she was – that only made her want it and him more. Which is toxic at best and terrifying at worst.
If Toxic was a trope
If toxic were a trope it would look like 2000’s pop culture. I mean look, I get it, hindsight is 20/20 and knowing what I know now I’m able to work with myself to detox from thinking that what went on in these shows was sexy. And maybe that’s not the way to phrase it, because I think it’s allowed to still be iconic and hot and sexy without being something to realistically look for.
I mean I have spent years trying to be something I’m not to fit the mold that these shows designed because I wanted so badly to be a part of the twisted fairytale these love stories created. I wanted the guy and the danger and the fun and the forever. But I don’t think I really understood what that all meant.
And whether it’s chasing the wrong or bad guy because you think you can change him or changing yourself to fit into his world – I don’t know, it just seems like a lot to ask for love.
So yeah – if toxic was a type I think it would be mine. And I mean maybe labeling this bad is wrong because not all aspects of these genres and themes and tropes were. And while it’s not the best mindset to have going into dating I am grateful because having not been in relationships I do feel like I ended up learning a lot about what not to look for and what aspects I could keep. But at the end of the day it’s all a learning game and I may not have forever to figure it out – but at least I have some time.