Until this weekend, I’d avoided all the Twilight hype. Robert Pattinson didn’t do anything for me and I don’t really like vampires and scary things – so I just maintained a polite distance. But, let’s be serious, it’s a little hard to escape it when you live online (and have a teeny tiny addiction to celebrity gossip. As I’ve said before, I don’t drink, smoke, drug or eat white sugar – give me just this one thing!)
My in-laws and my millions of nieces were here this weekend. (There are 13 of them). And, I just so happened to walk by one of their makeshift beds on Saturday morning and there was Twilight, just sitting there. I thought, I’ll just read the first couple of pages, see what this is all about.
Swear to god, it was like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole. I couldn’t stop reading. I had no sense of anything going on around me. I just read. My sister-in-law was sitting next to me studying (grad school) and then suddenly she was getting in the shower, and I asked her when she got up and why she was all sweaty; she said, “About two hours ago – I went for a run and down to the pond.” I had no idea, but she totally got it because she read all four books in one weekend, in Florida, with her boyfriend, who she wouldn’t talk to because he wasn’t Edward or in the book (the vampire, the god of Twilight, for those of you who are still abstaining). Apparently that story is not a rare one.
Long story short. I read the first book of 500+ pages in about 7 hours. Woke up the next morning, went to buy the second book and read that one in about the same amount of time. Down the the rabbit hole, like I said. I have a company to run, clients to write for and a family to love…so I’ll wait to get the 3rd and 4th book until next weekend. As I read voraciously, I was asked by a bewildered adult if it was like Harry Potter. “No,” I replied. “It’s like 90210 with vampires.”
So, why, oh, why did this happen to me? I’m a smart, mature, 36 year old woman! The writing is good, but it’s not the best thing I’ve ever set my eyes on. It’s meant for adolescents, after all and that’s obvious. So, WHY?
When I made mention of my guilty pleasure on Twitter, many (and by many, I mean a lot) of women and a few men readily joined in my excitement. And, then, someone simply tweeted, ‘You are not alone’ with a link to a blog post by Erin Gates called, Pop Culture Digression: The Twilight Phenomenon Explained that just laid it out, all crystal clear like. (And her blog normally has nothing to do with this foolishness either, which I loved, of course because it made me feel like less of a loser.) Erin wrote this:
“Edward causes such a stir because his character is the perfect man. He’s handsome, wealthy, romantic and devoted. The mysterious, brooding bad boy who writes lullabies on the piano for his girlfriend but also rips out the throats of bad guys in defense of her honor. He says things like “You’re my own personal brand of heroin” and “I don’t think I have the strength to stay away from you any longer” (cue knee buckling). He is the perfectly impossible combination of poet, athlete, intellectual and bad ass- the human(ish) equivalent of a unicorn…Every woman wants to feel coveted, craved, defended and protected and well, that’s just what we get from reading about this fictitious character who was crafted to feed that desire (because let’s face it, we don’t always get that from our real life men.)
But, the thing is that this isn’t just about women being unsatisfied by their men, or every woman wanting to be ‘coveted, craved, defended and protected’ – this is about every person wanting to be ‘coveted, craved, defended and protected’. Whether you’re in a romantic, familial, educational, professional, client/freelancer, parent/child relationship – it doesn’t matter. We all want to be those things. And, if you read the books or have a heartbeat (um, or not, in Edward’s vampire-case) you’ll realize that the one ‘giving it out’ also gets quite a lot from the deal.
I’m ghostwriting a book for a client right now – and it’s about using client relations as a main factor to building a successful career (in a very different kind of industry from mine) – his main point is that if you make your clients feel outstanding, if you build the relationship genuinely – it will feel good to both sides, and most importantly, it will stick.
Everyone wants to be loved. The client and the writer. The boyfriend and the girlfriend. The guy at the desk at your printer and you as you drop off your order. It’s completely basic, elemental. We are addicted to the books because we get to live that kind of love vicariously.
Erin Gates also wrote this: (after she compared Twilight for the 18+ female crowd to Internet porn for the entire male crowd)
“It’s an escapist fantasy that allows you forget all the bull going on in your life and just enjoy the pleasure of a hot, undead teenager who would kill people for you and then buy you a brand new Audi for your birthday.”
We want the love, but we also just want to feel like everything’s okay and hopeful and safe for awhile. We want our attention taken to a good place.
I’m not suggesting that you tell your client, or the kid at the drive thru window for that matter, that “You’re my own personal brand of heroin” – you can’t be Edward and Bella in real life. Seriously, don’t. You’ll get arrested.
But I am suggesting that you experiment by taking it down several notches. What if you treat your clients like they’re truly special, with total respect, letting them understand that their business is safe with you, that you always have their best interests at heart. What if you really hold their attention with the work that you do and the person that you are.
Would they become addicted to your work and to working with you? Would it bring them so much joy and good feeling that they would be clients for life?
I don’t think that acting this way could create Twilight hysteria around you and your business, but who am I to say? But, even if it doesn’t take you that far, I can’t imagine how it won’t lift you a bit higher on the food chain.
Image credit: Angie22Arts