Maybe I’m too old—at the ripe ol’ age of twenty and too long out of high school—but I don’t recall any friends, acquaintances, or enemies with the ardent desire for blood. Apparently, times have changed, and this is today’s new trend. Teens in relationships have found a new medium for intimacy: drinking each others’ blood. What better way to promulgate the spread of disease—I mean, of love?
Inspired by popular culture like Stephanie Myers’ romanticized Twilight Saga and HBO’s graphic True Blood, the members of this subset of teens today bite each other, envisioning their human canines to be fangs, drawing blood and drinking the crimson fluid. Those involved in this phenomenon are adolescents likely struggling with acceptance, striving to find some semblance of community, as is the case with the students who were the subject of the vampire rumors that took hold of Boston Latin School in March 2009. Teens in relationships, seeking some deeper level of intimacy and connection according to Dr. Orly Avitzur, medical advisor to Consumers Union, are also active participants of this increasingly popular trend. One girl with the pseudonym, “GothicGirl10”—one of many teen-aged posters on vampire-related websites—even wrote, “Having that thick, warm copper-tasting blood in my mouth is the best thing I can think of!”
This is not only purely creepy, it is also highly concerning. Most urgently, this habit of drinking blood is dangerous on a medical level. Drinking blood causes foreign pathogens to flow freely into one’s own body, and this surely leads to a great health risk. Blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis are no walk in the park, and neither are the slew of infections likely to arise from an open wound—10 to 15 percent of human bite wounds become infected, especially as the human mouth is one of the dirtiest.
Additionally, as Dr. Avitzur points out, these teens seem to be under the influence of a deep delusion; they seem to think they are real vampires. The rest of GothicGirl10’s comment goes, “Sometimes my boyfriend lets me feed off him. I let him feed off me as well.” In March 2009, several female students at Boston Latin School were said to be carrying umbrellas to avoid the sun. Other students were said to be draining their blood to appear paler in complexion. And still others were said to be biting students. This level of hysteria is worrying; what dangerous vampire-based trend is next? Drinking the blood of small animals to spare humans—vegetarianism as inspired by Twilight?
While commenting on the situation, Susanna Toomaijan, president of the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association, says it is likely that the problem at hand is one of acceptance. If acceptance, and even, a need for intimacy, is the cause of this blood-lust, something ought to be done to alleviate these teens’ negative feelings—of rejection or otherwise. True, it is an age-old quest, that of the youth seeking acceptance, especially in odd, unique ways, and perhaps we ought to let these teenagers pave their own paths. It is likely that most of these teens will eventually retreat from this craze and grow up to become normal adults who look upon their vampire days as an eccentric folly of their youths. However, because of the medical risk, this blood-sucking trend is no normal fad. When the stakes are so high, as they are with blood-borne pathogens, letting this blood-lust get out of hand may not be the wisest plan of action. These reports should be a warning for liberal-minded parents and administrators: the vampir-ification stops here.
So for all the teenaged vampires out there: next time you want to feel that “thick, warm copper-tasting blood,” pick up a glass of tomato juice instead.
Ayse Baybars ’12, a Crimson editorial writer, is a chemistry concentrator in Lowell House.
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