They're all over the news these days, these elusive creatures of the night. Whether you're a "Twilight" fan or you think Stephanie Meyer has neutered the vampire as a species, you have to admit-the woman's done great things for publicity! Vampires are now the supernatural community's worst kept secret, and everyone who's anyone is dying to be one.
That means there's more fake vamps than bottle blondes rolling around out there! (Although to be fair, if I believed the complete extinction of blondes was really going to take place before 2202 I'd probably be reaching for the bottle too…)
The question then becomes, how do you tell the difference between a phony vamp and a genuine, blood sucking fiend?
a) You're not going to find a vampire on the beach on a sunny day. Whether they spontaneously combust or sparkle and shine, the bottom line is that sunshine is NOT a vampire's new best friend! So the dude flashing fang from the towel next to you? Nothing more than a clever imposter with some great dental work.
b) Inconspicuous is the name of the game when you're trying not to get staked. The woman in black at the table next to yours making a big deal about how she's on a liquid diet? Not the one you need to worry about. It's the gentleman in the business suit in the back of the room that "eats" a full meal without taking a bite that you want to watch out for. Clever vamps have had centuries to learn how to blend in. (Darwin tends to weed out stupid vampires fairly quickly.) They're very, very good at appearing normal, and you're going to need a sharp eye if you're going to bust them in all their paranormal glory.
c) Have you ever bled onto a white shirt? It stains. Badly. Since most vamps don't have a day job (and contrary to popular belief, not all of them are filthy rich) replacing those shirts gets a little expensive. Flowing white shirts with ruffled collars and puffy sleeves that inevitably end up covered in wine and who knows what else by the end of the night? I don't think so.
d) You can't teach an old dog new tricks. If you're talking to someone and they don't speak jive, slang or street talk, you could be talking to a vampire. Those old world manners and middle aged mastery of English are hard to overcome. If they can recite the Urban Dictionary from A to zOMG, there's an excellent chance you're looking at a fraud.
e) Fangs. There's always been some debate about whether the vampire has retractable fangs or if they're just really, really good at not showing their teeth when they smile. My recommendation? If you happen to get a paper cut and the person you're with thuddenly tharts talking with a lithp, it's time to reach for the stake.
f) Finally, let's talk about blood. Most specifically, let's talk about your blood. It doesn't matter which version of vampire mythology you buy into, vampires crave blood the way a junkie craves a fix. They're also fascinated by arteries, surface veins and, of course, your luscious neck. So if your date seems to be more interested in your circulation and the results of your latest cardiac tests than your college education and dreams for the future, beware. You're either sitting with a vamp or the conversation has gotten really, really boring. Either way, without immediate intervention this date can only end in disaster.
The bottom line is, it's hard to tell whether you're hanging out with a vamp or not until they actually start chewing on your neck (which is actually a common misnomer, since vampires don't actually do flesh). If you're not sure if you're dealing with a real vamp or just another Gothic wannabe, err on the side of caution. Slip a cross around your neck and toss a clove of garlic in your pocket. Better to smell like yesterday's primavera than find yourself turned into a Happy Meal with legs for Count Dracula's newest apprentice!