Over the last year or so, Forks (population 3,120) has morphed into a mecca for Twilighters, or Twihards as they are sometimes called. Visitors to this rainy town, whose main industries are logging and two correctional facilities, have more than tripled for the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to the local Chamber of Commerce. Lodging occupancy is up, and local merchants sell little-vampire pacifiers and Bella and Edward action figures.And a lot of the tourists are grown women:
“Women — traveling in packs, in pairs or on their own — make up a big part of those on the “Twilight” trail. Susan Englin, a retiree from Colbert, Wash., who has read the books seven times and has downloaded the movie to her iPod, was visiting stepchildren in the area recently and couldn’t resist an outing to Forks. “I get caught up in the characters,” she said.These women are staying in extra-expensive Twilight-themed hotel rooms, reliving Bella and Edward's first date in the nearby town of Port Angeles, and generally spreading the green on pretty thick for the sparkle of true love always that the series spins. via Cultured Traveler - Fans of ‘Twilight’ Book Series Put Forks, Wash., in the Spotlight - NYTimes.com. Why? Why are American women investing in romance and beauty during these tough economic times? The answers are complex, but surely they have to do with the everyday magic that romance offers us and the demand that we pay the price of beauty in order to achieve it. "If I just found (or kept) my prince in shining armor, then I will be safe and financially secure and happy" is a fairy tale that all of us, but particularly young (white, middle class) girls are raised on. Think Disney. Think Twilight- a book the premise of which should be familiar: a clumsy and awkward and ordinary young woman is transformed by the love of an insanely handsome and rich young vampire. All other concerns- school, career, family of origin, friends- disappear as this one relationship meets all of her needs: emotional, intellectual, spiritual, sexual, and financial. The magic of romance cannot, however, just happen to anyone. You must be beautiful, or at least transform into a beauty once you are removed from your ragged, impoverished existence as Cinderella or Bella or Belle or Snow White or ... you get the idea. Research shows that people who are highly invested in romance, who have what social psychologists like to call high levels of "attachment anxiety," are far more willing to do what is necessary to be "beautiful" in order to attract or keep a partner. Beauty work easily includes lipstick, but also plastic surgery, or in the case of Bella of Twilight, becoming undead. And so the real trick to creating recession proof businesses is to play on the promise of romance: a happily ever after life with no worries about financial or emotional or even sexual needs. Lipstick, boob jobs, and Forks, Washington. A foolproof formula for making money in tough times.