A small disclaimer: I’m not that into Twilight. I’ve seen the first movie and read the first book, but the sort of frenetic fandom that surrounds the hyping of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series is a total turn-off for me. You can barely look at a magazine or read a blog without running into Robert Pattinson‘s smug face, or Kristen Stewart‘s sullen one. And Team Edward? Give me a break.
But maybe I protest too much. You see, I’m obsessed with all other things vampire: I loved Buffy, am totally into True Blood, and even recently saw that new Ethan Hawke /Sam Neill vampire scientist film Daybreakers that I’m secretly convinced no one else watched. I fantasize sometimes about getting rabies because some of the symptoms (hyper-sensitivity to sunlight, nocturnal habits, and a ramped up sex drive) mimic that of vampirism. Yes, for fictional creatures they are totally overplayed, and we should all move on to caring more about the zombie apocalypse. But I can’t help it, vampires are sexy. But I’d never let you know it. Because to be into the whole pro-vampire subculture is to drink the Kool-Aid that I make fun of on a daily basis: The Twi-hards, the screaming fan girls, the obsessed moms. I live in Williamsburg, for christ. It’s not cool to like anything.
So in the spirit of a cathartic psychological exercise (or just to torture me), my editors came up with a way to force me to confront my inner neck-biter: Walk around for a day dressed as the world’s biggest Twilight fan. Pink makeup, an “I love sparkly vampires” T-shirt (and loads of body glitter-sparkles to match) and a copy of New Moon tucked under my arm. I was not to wear my iPod, I was not to scowl or look uncomfortable…I was going to (at least for a day) be the happiest, proudest Twilight fan in history. Oh, and then see if I could get a guy to talk to me.
I was convinced that this would be an entirely impossible feat. After all, a girl reading a Twilight book at a bar on Cinco De Mayo would be a big red flag for “psycho.” Also, as my friend Rex pointed out, between the sparkles and the shirt, “You look like you just f*cked a third grader.”
Despite the fact that I was mortified to be out in daylight dressed like vampy Tinkerbell, it barely registered on people’s radar. I smiled to people on the street, and some would gawk (or in one case mutter “crazy”), but for the most part they’d smile back. A guy lit my cigarette and remarked “I like your headband.” (I guess he had to find one article of non-weird clothing to comment on.) I went to a sports bar, and started reading New Moon. You know, not half bad. I asked the guy next to me to take a picture to prove to my friends that I did it, and he said “What, sneak into a bar?” First lesson: Dressing like a Twilight fan will take 10 years off your age. We chatted for a couple moments before his girlfriend came over. “Oh, man, you’re reading New Moon?” she said, “That’s like the best one of the series.” Turns out most people aren’t afraid to discuss their Twilight love openly, even if they won’t literally wear it on their sleeve.
At the second party I went to, I hit a problem: Cinco de Mayo. It was like Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day rolled into one. Everyone was wasted and dressed crazy. I was worried (and slightly relieved) that I’d barely register as a weirdo. I asked two of my male friends if they’d ever, hypothetically, hit on a chick alone at a bar reading Twilight. “Sure, if she was hot,” was the consensus. Turns out that in Guyland looks still trump crazy, at least in terms of picking up one-night stands. And most people, even if I was holding the book in my hand, didn’t get what sparkly vampires had to do with anything (or wouldn’t admit it).
Just as I thought the whole night would end up in a failed experiment of glitter, one guy read my shirt and “got it.” He wasn’t into Twilight, he explained, but was part of a comedy group that had recently done a Twilight parody. He had me at “comedy group.” Also, this dude looked like Zachary Quinto but with a better chin, so it wasn’t long before I was back-peddling, trying to explain that I don’t normally dress like this, or dump tons of glitter in my hair. “I think it’s cute,” he said. Although to be fair, he’s probably going to feel different at work today, once he realizes that those tiny pieces of glitter can transfer from face to face really easily…and are almost impossible to get rid of once they’re stuck on you (there’s a vampire parallel in there to be sure).
In the end, it wasn’t really about what I was wearing or reading. All it took was a little bit of confidence in doing something that was outside my comfort zone. What had started the day making me feel like a reject from the sad vampire clown parade had, by the end of the night, become a conversation starter and led to meeting a really cute, funny guy. So ladies, wear your Mrs. Edward Cullen shirt and Twilight engagement ring with pride. Turns out, guys are less scared off by your quirky obsessions than you are.