Suzanne Fields

These were matters for great debates in the first stages of contemporary feminism, and until now they've survived only underground. Nobody can assume or easily discover what's expected of anyone. Standards for romantic behavior were sent packing on the wind.

Fans of the "Twilight" series, and hence the movie, are less into the supernatural than what comes naturally even if they fall to the usual temptation to confuse actor with character. At personal appearances, the actor Robert Pattinson is treated as a superstar. The fictional character, tempted by bare necks instead of plunging necklines, is a modern vampire and doesn't drink human blood, only that of animals, and constantly shows restraint lest his biological antecedents loose his incisors and his girlfriend suffers the consequences. It's the restraint that captivates, the leash that allures.

When "hook-ups" replaced hookers in what the young call a "Menaissance," males in the dating cohort changed strategies. "We can be slovenly from the start," one troglodyte tells the dating columnist for the New York Observer. No one who observes the passing scene can doubt it. But some surveys suggest that young men, especially young black men, are beginning to look to Barack Obama, who played it straight, courted a beautiful, educated woman to be his wife and gives expanded meaning to family values in the photographs of Michelle, Malia and Sasha.

The president-elect didn't get there with dreadlocks, sagging prison britches, foul language and coarse attitudes. But vampires, no matter how dapper and well behaved they appear in fiction, are still the stuff of legend. Men of real flesh can be inspired by blood without having to drink it.

Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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