We Knights of the Stained Beermat (K. Musgrove 2008), were idly discussing our plans for Saturnalia down The Tethered Goat the other day when I noticed some Balkan lady colleagues drifting around a bottle of Chateau Lupescu, livid lips drawn back from tarry teeth.
"Divorcees of Dracula, if the old boy had any luck," I suggested.
There followed a debate as to whether vampires had divorce laws, given that they are not praised for their patience and Death doth them not part. We concluded that Transylvanian civil courts were out of the question, given Catholic Habsburg rule, so Dracula probably used some earthier legal code like the Pukhtunwali of the Pathan tribesmen.
(Lady readers ought to know that 90 per cent of male pub conversations run along these lines. We blunder like moths around such dim candles as "Who'd win in a fight, The Terminator or The Rock?" and "Can Manxmen feel pain?". I shall elaborate on this theme in my forthcoming book "Everything You Learned from 'Sex and The City' is Wrong".)
Even the BBC World Service has closed its Romanian Section, hitherto a chill nesting-place what with its dark corridors, evening schedules and proximity to Charing Cross Hospital.
The vampire loiters on in the American suburbs, baffled by soft rock, body piercings and hostile blonde teenagers, but still hankering for the woodcutter's demure and dark-eyed daughters high on the Borgo Pass.
Most disappointing of all are his new band of mourners. Once he brought Slovak and Gypsy together in bondage before his pallid will, adding the occasional deranged English lawyer for intellectual stimulation and insect control. Now the vampire must make do with pudgy creatures of the keyboard.
One such acolyte wrote to a colleague some time ago, complaining about a minor error in an article on Romania. My colleague corrected the mistake - about Vlad Ţepeş and his residence at Bran Castle - but resented the hectoring tone and advice to consult the Lonely Planet Guide to Romania for further information.
I can't help but think that Brad - our Californian pleintif - was not a genuine scholar of Mediæval Eastern Europe. His views on the Bulgaro-Byzantine wars at the time of the Frankish occupation of Constantinople, the rise of Protestantism in Hungary or the retreat of Turkish influence on the Adriatic littoral would most likely provide little illumination.
Moreover, I had a suspicion that Brad is probably not interested in Vlad Ţepeş the Wallachian dynast but Vlad Ţepeş the alleged vampire. And then I don't mean the folkloric revenant of Balkan myth but rather the B-movie sexual predator and his bevvy of wan, sluttish brides.
Brad most likely thinks he's a bit of an expert on vampirism. After one Miller Lite too many he may try to impress girls down the college bar with his esoteric knowledge and alluring air of mystery. But when he gets back to the table with some drinks they've gone.
Their laughter echoes as he lopes back to his room to hope that his reflection in the mirror is fading, or that his canine teeth are a little longer and sharper than when he returned from computer science class that afternoon.
So he opens another tab of soda, puts on a favourite video - George Romero's "Martin", or perhaps a toothsome Jean Rollin lesbian flick - slips his tear-moistened palm down the front of his Levis, and waits for the bedroom window to blow open and for long, pale arms to embrace and claim him as their own.
The Frankensteins never had this problem. All they did was turn up in the ancestral hamlet and an authenic hunchback would be there ready and waiting to rebuild the castle, thaw out the monster and point the way to the nearest windmill.
All the vampire has these days are German provincial cannibals, yoghurt-fed Home Counties drabs and fat lads with more bandwidth than friends. "Maudite, maudite sois-tu!"