Constance June 29th, 2006
[Sidebar â€“ Last night Vaquero did a solo concert of his songs and music at the Bowery Poetry Club.Â When friends ask what I was doing this summer, my stock answer was, "I'm writing about vampires."Â Every single one of them responded, "Real ones?"Â This left me puzzled until a political journalist from one of the weekly's responded, "Good for you.Â Everybody should be writing about them."Â Lightbulb.Â Everyone thought I was writing about the inhabitants of that crypt called Washington, D.C.Â The ruling class characterized as vampires is a long tradition.Â See the political cartoons, for instance, of Stoker's era, depicting the Anglo-Irish landowners as vampires sucking the blood of the Irish people.Â There will be more about this later.]
Virgin’s Diary skips Harken’s journey and begins within what would be Stoker’s Chapter 5.Â Lucy Westenra (danced by Tara Birtwhistle) narrates that she’s received three proposals from three different men, all on the same day.Â Lucy wonders why things are such that she cannot have all three of her suitors.Â The title board says, “Why need I settle for one?”
In the novel she writes in her letter, “My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?Â Here was I almost making fun of this great-hearted, true gentleman.Â I burst into â€“ I am afraid, my dear, you will thnk this a very sloppy letter in more ways than one â€“ and I really felt very badly.Â Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her and save all this trouble?Â But this is heresy, and I must not say it ….”
A late Victorian, Edwardian era girl was not to think such a thing.Â Thus we see from the beginning that Lucy is Not Good.Â By her own admission in the letter to Mina, Lucy is sloppy, another behavior prohibited women â€“ that women are cleaners is one of their primary functions.Â A woman who is sloppy isÂ a slut, “a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman,”.
Sloppiness leads to worse. By Lucy’s own admission she’s willing to have more than one man in marriage, which means sexually, as marriage provides sexual access to the virgin.Â She is open to sex with more than one man.Â And thinking this before marriage â€“ when she is still to be unconscious of this part of marriage.Â Hers is faux purity.
Thus she is open to the lure of the Dark Lover.
When Dracula pierces Lucy, the experience is so exquisitely voluptuous (a favorite Stoker word to describe the vampire enthrallment) she levitates above her bed’s canopy pole.Â Within her gauzy gown she whirls in a virtual vortex of unbearable sensation â€“ a pattern of behavior that pole dancers around the world simulate.Â
Dracula’s puncture wounds in Lucy’s pure neck are voluptuously exhibited to us, woundsÂ like to those made the (phallic) serpent.Â She has been taken by the Dark Lover, by sex, by Eve’s Original Evil.Â She submitted, nor did sheÂ resist.Â Her levitation in Diary stands in for Lucy’s recollections of the psychedelic expansion of the the natural world Dracula’s bite imparts.Â The Stoker text is too long to quote in full here, but I will pull this: “…my soul seemed to go out from my body and float about in the air.”Â Lucy is a material girl, bred to attract the the suitors possessing the most goods, and thus is confined to her round of house and balls.Â The Dark Kiss opens the (yes, material) world to her, which her fiancee, the dull Holmwood (‘home’), does not.Â Â
The band of Good Manly True Men â€“ I gave up tracking the number of times these words are used by Van Helsing and Mina to describe the blood brotherhood — mingle their pure blood with her tainted blood via transfusion (penetration)Â in hopes of saving Lucy from herself.
But, having once broken the rules,Â Lucy is irredeemable.Â A vampire may not enter unless invited.Â A brave, good man’s blood is sucked out him by this fragile, needy, disobedient, helpless monster, who in turn gives his blood to another â€“ she’s the unfaithful, decorative, useless wife model here.Â No matter how much good men do, however much good men give these wives, it is never enough, for she will invite the vampire in, which Lucy does.Â She is no longer their Lucy.Â She’s a false Lucy, a false virigin.Â She a parasite woman, a vampire herself, even before Dracula bites her.
The irrefutable signs that a woman is badÂ are: she hurts children (Lucy now is a baby-eater, like Dracula’s harem trinity are baby eaters); she’sÂ a lousy housekeeper; she’s lazy.Â Lucy’s a parasite to be destroyed. Dead, she no longer feeds off the efforts of the True Men.
Van Helsing and his trinity of Good Men destroy Lucy in tandem, the way frats might gang rape a drugged sorority girl â€“ she asked for it,Â she deserved it, and man, did they give it to her.
Maddin films the destructionÂ in lascivious, lingering detail, in the same manner as Stoker’s text describes the scene of Arthur hammering, hammering, hammering the stake into her pure breast in a series of convulsive strokes strong as Thor’s beating an anvil, while she writhes and convulses under him. The title card announces, “Cuckhold’s counter blow!”Â Arthur keeps at it until he’s pulled off Lucy’s body by his friends.Â Van Helsing then asks permission to take his place, to take off Lucy’s head.Â They come in a pack,Â leaningÂ ’round her bleeding body, and whackÂ ….
The males, first joinedÂ in a blood brotherhood to save Lucy, join together to destroy the Lucy Monster, with her first “seducer” â€“ Dracula, then also a part of that brotherhood of destruction. They all — Van Helsing,Â Dr. John Seward,Â Quincy P. Morris from Texas and Sir Arthur Holmwood â€“ and Dracula, the Dark LoverÂ too –Â play their role in putting an end forever to Lucy, the girl who pouted that it was too bad that she couldn’t have more than one man in her life.Â See what you get?Â More than you bargained for!
DraculaÂ deserts her, as he’d previously deserted his vampiric harem for Lucy.Â A sloppy, useless baby eater can expect nothing else.
Mina, however, cleaves to one and one alone, Jonathan Harker.Â Â Nevertheless, she’s notÂ immune to the allure of the Dark Lover.