Sometimes pop culture trends surprise me. I admit that the element of surprise may come from me occasionally having my head up my butt when it comes to "popular" things, but I think it's safe to say that no one really knows what's going to take the world by storm next. Every now and then, the trends actually seem to make sense. Other times, I'm left scratching my head, saying, "...buh?"
Back in the day, I went to a midnight screening of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie with my friends. I'd seen the first movie and liked it well enough, so I didn't kick up a fuss when this outing was planned (I'm not really a movie person). Women of all ages (and hell, men too) were going crazy for Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow, from buying posters to sleeping/making out with cardboard cutouts of him, and more.
I didn't get it. Pirates are cool from an action/adventure standpoint, I guess, but as sex symbols/love interests? Ergh. Perhaps it's just me being my overly-analytical Type-A personality self, but the hygiene alone is enough of a turnoff for me. Pirates were dirty (in the "unwashed" way, not the "naughty" way). Their hair was likely greasy. Let's not talk about their teeth. And if we're not talking about their teeth, then a conversation about their breath is RIGHT OUT. I know, I know, everything was cleaned up and romanticized for the Hollywood blockbusters, but my mind just refuses to go there. I know that in some circles, pirates are still quite popular, but regardless, there will be no pirate lovin' for me. Next!
As we sat in the theater waiting for the movie to start, we wondered if the next big thing to take off would be vikings. I mean, why not? Vikings are sort of just angrier fur-wearing pirates with blond hair, right? You could even throw some hot little mermaids in there for extra interest and sex appeal, and it would be a jolly good time.
We were wrong. To my knowledge, vikings have yet to experience the great surge in popularity that some other character types have seen. (I know there are romance books out there involving vikings, but as far as I know, none of them have really hit it big. Then again, I refer you to my previous statement of being blissfully ignorant to a lot of pop culture.) Even as I think about it now, I'm not really sure why. Many ladies out there seem to love an alpha male, and vikings do have the reputation for pillaging. I was going to say that maybe it was a question of geographic location, but that doesn't make sense. Sure, a pirate ship near a desert island may seem like the sexier setting on the surface, but after thinking about it some more, wouldn't you rather cuddle up to a burly viking to ward off the chill as you cruise around the icebergs?
Mark my words: Sooner or later, there's going to be a wildly popular viking book or movie going mainstream, and vikings will be all the rage. There's a lot of potential. (Me? I'm not going to write it. I'd have to actually do research and read about history and stuff, when I could just be making up shit as I go along while writing smut in outer space.)
After the pirates, there were the vampires, and I think we all know which series helped kick that into gear. From the limited research I've done, vampires have shown no signs of dying out just yet (har har har). On a purely logical level, I can understand the vampire craze, especially when compared to pirates. Vampires are clean and cultured. They're well-dressed, and when they're awake, they have access to showers and soap. Some of them even have sexy accents. And without divulging too much about my personal life, I can get behind the whole neck-biting thing.
I'm a little lukewarm about the whole undead thing, though. Sex should be hot, steamy, and sweaty (even if you're cuddling under a fur blanket on a viking ship near the coast of Greenland). Cold, clammy vampire flesh doesn't seem all that appealing. Drinking blood...eh. In the world of fiction, I am not morally opposed to it, especially if it's the only thing keeping your lover alive, but I can't really see how it's supposed to be a great turn-on.
While we're on the topic of the undead, zombies have always sort of been around. At the risk of sounding like a bigot, I sleep better at night due to not being aware of any sort of serious zombie romance (as in, a romance between a living human, and a zombie). I'm not even going to run a google search for "zombie romance novel", as the law of the internet demands it exist, and I'd really just prefer not to know. Let's not go there. Really. Call me a prude, but I can't think of a situation in which it would realistically be a charming love story and not just really gross. (Ghost sex, however? I am all over that.)
If a situation presented itself where I was forced to choose a sexual partner from one of these groups, I actually think the vampire would win out. So I guess I'm fine with vampires still being all the range these days. It does sort of make sense. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fire up the electric blanket.