On Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Sex and the Single Slayer
The Mating Game
Buffy Buffy Buffy! Honestly, girlfriend, for a while there, those of us in cableland thought you’d never get laid! Oh, admit it: it took you forever to hit the sheets! Of course, with you being a kind of virgin huntress a la that ancient Roman deity Diana, seasons were bound to come and go before a good-enough guy flew into your sights.
Now, season one everybody felt hopeful. I mean, here’s a snapshot: you and Angel lip-locked. Kissing is normal for a teenager, and obviously being normal is the driving force in a girl hardwired to slay. But as the entire world is no doubt aware, Angel is, alas, a vampire. The undead. The unclean. You knew it, we knew it, and while vampires surely don’t fall into the truly “normal” realm–I mean, fantasies aside, did you ever really believe you two would end up in the ’burbs with 2.5 of anything?– still, there’s something about those preternatural guys who live out their dark side that make them simply irresistible. And all things said, a kiss is still a kiss, right? Who knew where this kiss could go? Well, we all did! And hope springs eternal, the perfect time frame for vamping the vamp. A nosferatu returning to a mortal state isn’t unheard of, which means anything was possible. Mutual attraction built and I think we all experienced a sense of relief that at least something erotic was happening for our modern-day Artemis, she of strong limbs, she who cuts up, queen of transformation, and all that.
In retrospect, the relationship with Angel seemed to be going well. What a perfect boyfriend! Sexy, honest, true blue. Just that little glitchy thing, him being a bloodsucking killer and all. Of course, somewhere in there you had fleeting thoughts about that Billy “Ford” Fordham– yes, your continuous-loop longing to be normal. But he had his own nasty agenda, and certainly became a good example of what-you-see-is-not-necessarily-what-you-get. And, of course, Xander has always (more or less) been waiting in the wings, the proverbial nice guy who finishes last. Solid. Dependable. In his case, a little klutzy. In short, boring. Not in the running. Face it, a girl in your line of work needs a guy who can keep up with her, and Xander, endearing as he is, could never compete with Angel, either in the realm of the flesh, or by engaging the imagination. Sad but true, a Slayer wants a little fire in the belly of her demon lovers.
So, it had to happen. All of us sat out here week by week, eating low-fat potato chips, peering intently at the great two-dimensional window of imagination, wondering along with you just what it would be like to have sex with a prince of darkness. Angel so handsome! Not to mention charming. Mysterious . . . You more than get my drift. That night at his apartment, well, it was inevitable, and when the lights faded to black, we voyeurs let our fantasies run rampant. We died (so to speak) and went to heaven!
When Good Boyfriends Go Bad
Now, as almost every female knows only too well, a night of bliss doesn’t always lead to happily-ever-after. And girl, sad to say, I have to tell you that what happened to you next isn’t all that uncommon, metaphorically speaking. Many of us have had a loving partner by night who, by the next night, has turned into something “other.” It’s bloody scary! Not every XY can tolerate humanization! History is full of stories about guys who abstained in order to retain lofty philosophical or spiritual ideals that precluded earthly desires to the point of violence, and others who refused to consummate with the ladies so that they had testosterone in abundance for warlike or sportslike destruction of their fellow man. It’s a fact, girlfriend–males have a hard time with intimacy. Like I’m telling you anything you haven’t thought about! It puts them in touch with themselves, and that might not be a person whose hand they want to be shaking. That they so often negate the good things that happened and reduce what was a powerful emotional experience to “It didn’t mean anything at all,” well, there’s the rub! All of us out here were shocked on your behalf, but not surprised.
What followed was the inevitable d©j vu: tears, guilt, anger, sadness. Oh girlfriend! Been there! Done that. Burned the Kubler-Ross T-shirt! Nothing heals a wound but time, which surely must have seemed eternal as you danced your way to the end of love.
Angel was running amok. What could you do but let yourself flow down the only waterway that made any sense, the River Styx. The guy became history in the making. Everything you loved about him seemed to have vanished like a mist burned away by the sun, leaving a killing machine, hell-bent on revenge, and determined to cause you grief at every turn. The worst for you was the emotional coldness, as though the love never happened. What’s left but out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new? You had to try to erase him from your psyche. Never shunning the tough decisions, that’s what you did, Slayer girl, and yes, it was heartbreaking to watch your internal struggle.
Sometimes people understand, sometimes they don’t. It’s hard if they don’t, especially when it’s those we’re close to. Sometimes the only way to cope with all this is to just leave town. Get away for a while. Find a new place. Make a fresh start. Even a temporary change is as good as a rest. Sow the seeds in a virgin field, and see if the love flower can blossom again. And hey! Maybe in your time of grief you could even meet somebody who offers a bit of comfort, if you know what I mean.
Destined to Die
Let’s see . . . season three brought the possibility of change in the boyfriend arena. Scott, but that didn’t go anywhere. None of us thought it would; he was a wimp. How could he compete with Angelus?
But old loves never really die, they just alter form. Angel’s resurrection left you between a rock and a hard place. It’s tough being friends after shared intimacy; all the old pulls are there, and it’s so easy to end up melding. But embedded deep in your awareness was the vibrating pain of knowing just how ugly it could, would, turn out. We’re all two-legged Pavlovian dogs when it comes to associating pain and pleasure from the past with the present. Anything more than a kiss with Angel would bring out his Demon Within. You settled for a working relationship. Or so you tried to tell yourself. But love never dies, apparently, even when we know it is in the terminal ward, and picking at old wounds keeps those protective scars from forming. The dead-end relationship just keeps going, and going, and going… Nowhere. You’re his girl. Always. But gee, isn’t that impossible? One of you had to make the break. And between you and me, honey, there’s nobody out here who does not hold to the belief that Angel truly loves you, enough to leave you, or something like that. It’s confusing. One of those paradoxes no woman ever really is completely sure of.
Rebound “R” US!
So, onward. And you did battle on, romance-wise. But face it, Buffster, Parker was only a distraction. He was not the guy for you. Oh sure, you bumped into him at the right place, and the perfect time, and indeed he helped you, if not to forget at least to gain a bit of perspective on Angel, and maybe a touch of your slinkster confidence back. But Parker was high maintenance. Basically, another wimp.
Riley. Well, I think we were all amazed when you got involved with soldier boy. Especially with Angel still lurking. Still, Riley was no normal guy. And frankly, despite your love affair with the conventional, it’s obvious to most of us who know you better than you know yourself that you’ll never be able to maintain a relationship with someone who isn’t strange. At least the guy could keep up with you!
Somehow, though, Riley never seemed like “Mr. Right.” Okay, he had that long-term potential, even though he was way reluctant at first, and not really accepting of your career choice. But ultimately, you worked well together. Here at last was a guy you could actually talk with, who understood you, and vice versa. Your own species, even. Yet underneath it all was this sense of something missing. He just did not inspire the great passion in you that Angel did, that was obvious. So nobody was truly surprised when you let comfort zone get away. Think of him as a good starter marriage, although it sure must have grated when he committed conceptual bigamy by showing up with a wife!
And then there was Ben. Enough said.
Then finally, Spike, and what was with that? Aren’t you a bit young for Alzheimer’s? You made it with one vampire, and look what happened! Spike appeared to be a reform waiting to happen but to my mind he was always more of a full-blown catastrophe. No matter how much he might have wanted you, and vice versa, this would never have worked. He didn’t have the integrity, the substance, even if he did possess a soul he could feel in the end, or so they say.
Spike gave his life for you, for all of us, and for that we thank him. But a hero does not a good husband make, and fate, it seems, saved you from what would have been a huge mistake. Do not be fooled by a guy addicted to peroxide again!
No, girl, I’m afraid to tell you that it seems you are destined to be alone. A Boadicea of your time, warrior queen, too strong for any potential mate. The only one who can meet you is Angel. He’s still there. He came to your mom’s funeral. He’s always been there for you, helping you, listening to you, working things out with you, loving you, rescuing you on occasion. And yet a relationship with him that involves actualized physical love and all that it entails is a treacherous maze with no way out. What’s a vampire hunter to do?
Slayers Just Wanna Have Fun
Dismal as it seems, you’ve got to look at the half-full glass. Consider yourself lucky. I mean, at least you didn’t end up preggers by some sexy vampire dude. Now that would be a conundrum!
Want some advice? Even if you don’t, here it is: Get over yourself, girl! Release yourself from that tragic notion of normalcy, do not pass GO, do not collect $200. It’s a myth anyway. Who do you know who is normal? Accept the fact that you will always have a hard time finding a guy in his right mind who will pair up with a girl who kills vampires and other assorted supernatural entities every night of the week. I mean, lesser girls than you can’t find a decent boyfriend!
You’re in that same grim boat as every female throughout history who has been strong of mind, firm of body, and more or less pure of spirit. She Who Knows Herself. Who line dances to her own rockabilly band. And now that you’ve dispersed your power to any girl who wants it, well, things can only get tougher for all of us. You don’t seem to have lesbo tendencies, so for you there’s pretty well only one real option: Wait for the guy who can live with you being the way you are. It’s the only road to happiness. Admittedly, those guys are few and far between. Rarer than a vampire who doesn’t drink blood. But they’re out there, just not lingering at every cemetery gate.
In the meantime, don’t take any of the dudes sniffing their way across your path too seriously. Just play the proverbial field. And while you do, don’t expend one freckle’s worth of energy worrying about what people say, because most of them are sheep anyway, hardly worthy of saving, but you seem compelled. Look, girlfriend, we on the bleachers have your best interests at heart. Just because a girl is cheerleader-cute, and WWF sexy doesn’t mean she has to shag every pimply nerd who passes her door, with or without blood running through his veins, in the hopes that he is The One. Maintain your standards! Like the virgin goddesses of old, only give yourself to He Who Is Worthy Of You!
Remember, Buffy, you are not alone. You come from a long line of chicks with a mission, whose agenda is first and foremost to rid the world of malevolence. Xena and Wonder Woman are role models. But honey, you’ve got to ease up a little. And now’s the perfect time, what with Hellmouth having been cleaned out, and all your new sister-slayers the world over working overtime on evil, and now that you’re not fighting monsters 24/7, give a nod toward partying. Have some fun. Let the universe provide you with a bit of lighthearted meaning. That’s the Zen approach, which is part of your training, or do I stand corrected? Don’t worry about the future, just live your life, and as you’re doing that, that’s when the impossible not only becomes possible, but probable. As Angel said, he’s not getting any older. And to quote Mr. J. Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Party on, Buffy!