I'm a real vampire. Call me Switch. This is a catalogue of my journey and experiences. You can ask me stuff, I'm pretty friendly.
Go find a group on any social networking site where vampires congregate.
Pretty easy, wasn’t it? That probably took, like, a single broad search. Now scroll down and read what’s been posted for about thirty seconds. Do you notice a recurrent theme?
No no, I’m not talking about the roleplaying, the ego-boosting flame wars, or the odd person claiming to be a five hundred year old descendent of Dracula. The state of the modern vampire community is another concern entirely. I’m talking about the names being used by those posting. Most are obviously not the real-life identities of the vampires in question.
Well, I don’t know anyone named Raven Nightsky, anyway.
This often seems comical to the outsider — and, indeed, even to myself sometimes. It seems an added layer of the annoying but common vampire mindset, where being a vampire, inherently unrelated to (though often seen within) the Victorian-inspired or Goth lifestyles, is worn as a mantle to make the afflicted person feel as if they are a dark lord of the night. While that is often a facet of the exact wording of the name itself, there is a real, very practical reasoning behind it. Using a pseudonym when posting online, or even when involving oneself with the community in real life, is often a necessity for the very survival of the vampire.
Now, I’m not talking about “slayers” or anything, because they don’t exist. I’m talking about more practical concerns for the mature, self-reliant members of the community, primarily related to their financial well-being.
Most vampires have a life and a livelihood, and as anybody who has any experience in the job market will tell you, it’s rough going. Unemployment is high, and whenever a position opens up in a workplace, it is sure to have more than one applicant, all of them probably more desperate and qualified than you.
When the person in charge of hiring is going through potential employees, they will invariably do background checks. The pervasiveness of computers and the internet has made it very easy to find out exactly what kind of person someone is, no matter how well they dress for the interview.
I go by Switch, because when potential employers are doing background checks on me, I just want them to see my “daytime life”. I want them to see my previous good grades and recognition in school, my volunteer work, my solid references and my clean criminal record that, as the trope goes, doesn’t even including a parking ticket.
What I do not want them to see is that I run a blog called Endless Hunger and drink people’s blood. I don’t think I have to tell you that, to mundane people outside of the community, that sounds dually ridiculous and terrifying. While I’m a vampire 24/7, expressing it under the name Switch is my “nighttime life”, and if I want to continue being an independent adult, my day and night lives must be kept separate.
When people are fired for things as trivial as posts on Facebook, having something tied to you that is a serious threat to the reputation of the hiring business is pretty much a guarantee that you won’t be getting a call back.
That is why using pseudonyms is and will likely continue to be a necessity to the responsible vampire. Some of us can get away with going by our real name and having our faces attached to our affliction; those of us who work for a living cannot.
So, yeah, going by Vladimir Vampire might feel a little ridiculous, but if it’s the difference between me being employed, and living with my mom…just call me Vlad.