I Finally Read Twilight and Now I Hate Myself

by jillst

grumpy cat

I have this theory that nearly all love triangles written for women boil down to two choices. Would you rather:

a) A sexy rando who is head over heels in love with you for no reason

b) Your hot friend

My theory is that you should always choose the hot friend – because he’s more likely to call you out on your bullshit and ensure you develop into an interesting character. Also, duh, he’s a babe – and you know he’s really a babe because he’s your friend, and you’d have noticed if he had weird giant nipples, terrible breath or a festy skin rash.

This theory obviously has an exception (Peeta Mellark, because baking) but as a rule it’s definitely not my worst. Despite my genius, most books encourage the creepy new guy choice, because he’s a rando, and it’s heaps easier to build the entire story around him and then just add a Mary Sue in place of yourself. Plus, who doesn’t vicariously want to bang their hot teacher (Divergent), a kinky billionaire (50 Shades) or a ginger to see what it’s like (Harry Potter).

I’ve always considered Edward Cullen basically the defining creepy rando, and have literally used him as the cornerstone of this theory for years. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always hated Twilight – and I mean really hated it. I wrote a whole article about it for a uni paper, and my husband wooed me with an sarcastic birthday card featuring Robert Pattinson’s sparkly face.

I had never actually read Twilight, obviously, because I’m too cool and the only romances I read are Austen. But after poo-pooing the Hunger Games (it’s just Battle Royale, you guys) and doing an about-face after buying it for 99c, I figured maybe I’d been wrong about old Pale Plainface and Bitey McFangs. Besides, my sister had a copy and I had too many library fines to borrow a new book. Easydone.

I already knew Twilight was as addictive as crack, because I’d read one single chapter when my sister lent it to me on holiday. I wanted more, but I dutifully turned back to Eleanor and her Edward instead (can we just admit S&S is not Austen’s best? 400 pages worth of mucking around for an old guy and the dude she liked 20 pages in? Snore.)

Now, I know what being addicted to crack is like, because this place near my work does this insane avocado toast that should be banned under federal legislation. It’s so delicious you’ll cry, and it costs $9.50 – a price whose legality I also question. Twilight is something like this. For example, it is now 1:10am and I have just finished reading a chapter, I want to keep going, but more than that I want to cling to some thread of sanity and good taste. Because like crack, Twilight is bad for you. It is so bad I want to cry. But I also really want to turn the page and read more poorly written blood-sucking as sex metaphors, because they really are weirdly hot

I hate that I want to keep reading – but I’m entranced by how many tropes Meyer can work into the plot, how clearly and unnecessarily she explains the title, how shockingly vulnerable and stereotypical a heroine she can create. She is truly a Goddess of awful, a genius of the mundane, master of the cardboard cut-out character. Her leading man literally wants to eat his girlfriend, is moodier than Mr Darcy with PMS and cannot even keep Boring Triestodie warm through the endless, endless descriptions of rain and snow. To call Bella a Mary Sue would be unkind – she is THE projection of the everygirl, displaying literally no evolution, good sense or plausible personality traits apart from clumsiness – which is of course told rather than shown.

But I keep going back, page after page, as though I’m stumbling out of the elevator on a Monday morning, dreaming of soy and linseed bread topped with perfectly mashed green goodness, fresh cut tomatoes and a drizzle of oil (I figure I get one laboured metaphor of my own – I’ve ploughed through more than one of Meyer’s). I really do want to meet the extended Cullen family, even though Mr Sparkles has already outlined for me each of their single defining traits during an extended monologue included seemingly only to break up descriptions of intense hand-holding.

I can finally see why good, honest, right-thinking people paid good money, then spent valuable time reading a description of bed-breaking vampire sex, culminating in a half-blood child created seemingly as a consolation prize for Werewolf Cantfindashirt. I am ashamed. I require an intervention. I know it’s wrong but it feels so right. Like finally agreeing to go out with a pale stranger who follows you to each of your classes, there’s a certain relief, a kind of lazy go-alongness.

So please, leave me alone. I don’t want you to see this side of me. Just cos I’ve posted my thoughts on the internet and begged you to read them, then followed you to class and given you my leather jacket doesn’t mean I need you here right now. I’m one of them now, a sparkly monster…it’s better if you stay away.