Movie Junkie

Movie Junkie

A Story by Darl1ng N1kk1

I wrote this in college, and I haven't looked at it in a while, but decided to post it. Also, I realize the spacing, font, etc. is messed up - I'll fix it at some point, just too lazy to do it now!

When I was a child, I was a junkie, and movies were my drug. While most little kids visited the Land of Make-Believe, I lived there. I was Aladdin stealing a loaf of bread and being chased by men armed with swords. I was Binx from Hocus Pocus, a boy transformed into a cat by evil witches hundreds of years ago. I was Basil of Baker Street, a mouse version of Sherlock Holmes.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself still trying to be someone else. While I don’t openly state that I’m pretending to be someone else, I still try to emulate film characters on occasion. I still live in the Land of Make-Believe. It gives me confidence and helps me escape my life. Once in a while it’s nice to shed your own skin and assume someone else’s. If I’m not feeling particularly pretty one day, I ignore the reflection in the mirror. Mallory disappears, Natalie Portman takes her place. Or if I’m feeling deeply sarcastic I can picture myself delivering my snarky comments from Zooey Deschanel’s lips.

Perhaps the reason I began imagining myself as fictional characters is because I was a very shy child. It was hard for me to make friends; I was very quiet and kept to myself. My imagination became a defense mechanism. I’d hole up in my room and read for hours on end. Then my parents got cable. And a VCR. Films became my new escape. All my boredom and loneliness disappeared. I was presented with a whole new variation of characters.

In middle and high school, I sat in front of the television for hours, absorbing film after film. Interview with the Vampire, Fight Club, Grease, Encino Man, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Porky’s, Animal House, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Leon: The Professional. When I realized that it was possible to declare a film minor at Mankato State University, I didn’t hesitate. Watching movies for homework? Yes please. I was introduced to a whole new spectrum of film " La Dolce Vita, His Girl Friday, Shadow of a Doubt, The Bicycle Thief. Foreign films were appealing for the first time. The party scenes in La Dolce Vita still resonate with me. While at times they were a bit disturbing and sad, they were always exciting. Pillows were ripped apart and strewn on guests, women performed stripteases, and people were constantly dancing. Everyone was attractive and interesting. Everything I want to be.

In His Girl Friday, Hildy is the woman that I wish I could be. She’s smart, beautiful, dresses well, is respected by her male colleagues, and has two men competing for her affections. I’ve always admired vintage clothing, and I wish I could dress like her without feeling self-conscious. I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard. I know I need to be myself, but so often I find that I like others more.

Even my facebook profile picture is currently from a movie. I have a picture of Gary Oldman as Dracula kissing Winona Ryder, who is Mina in the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A profile picture is supposed to capture and display the essence of you. Well, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know how to portray myself because I don’t know myself. I don’t particularly like any of the pictures I have of me, so I hide behind someone else’s image. If people can’t see me, they can’t judge me as easily.

Last year I decided to take another step. I would become Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction. It was to be my Halloween costume " I had it all planned out. I bought a black wig for $20 and I already had the black t-shirt and black ¾ length pants. I didn’t own a pair of black high heels, but I did have a purple checkered pair. Close enough. I planned on doing the Twist with my boyfriend, Andrew. He had long, black hair and figured he could be John Travolta. I was ecstatic. For one night, I would become one of my favorite movie characters. Minus the coke habit.

I waited the whole day to wear my costume. I’d left the wig at Andrew’s house, but I figured since he was hosting a party there later, and because it was Halloween, that I’d have plenty of time to embody Uma Thurman’s coolness. I had a few drinks and watched scary movies with my friends in the dorms beforehand, then rode my bike down the hill. When I reached Andrew’s door, I got a shock. Everyone was leaving.

“Where’s everyone going?” I watched as people piled out the door. Andrew stumbled downstairs and told me the party was over. “But it’s only midnight,” was all I could utter. Disappointment wrenched my guts like a hook. I ended up wearing my outfit, complete with wig, for a total of twenty minutes before Andrew passed out. The one night of the year when it’s ok to live out my fantasy of being someone else was over. Now I was stuck without a mask to hide behind.

“Happy Halloween,” I mumbled. Removing the wig, I ran the smooth black hair through my fingers. I wished my real hair was that color and style. I wished I had Mia’s porcelain skin. I wished I could possess her infallible coolness, her confidence, her ability to attract men.


As a senior living in the MSU dorms, I stick out. I’m a 23 year old living with kids fresh from high school. The maturity levels are, shall we say, a bit different. That’s not to say I don’t get along with those younger than myself. In fact, word quickly spread about my status as a “cougar.” A cougar is a woman who dates someone significantly younger than themselves. Both my roommate Lacy and I have earned this title, making our room the “Cougar Den.”

People are often surprised when I reveal my age. Apparently I look younger than I am. Fine by me. Maybe looking young and the fact that I’ve been branded a cougar explains what happened. It was completely unexpected and it wasn’t until Lacy pointed it out: the guys in the hall were attracted to me. I knew that one of them, who was very open about his affections for anything with b***s, was interested, but I thought nothing of it. He was just creepy and desperate, that’s all. Around Halloween, everything became more obvious. I was trying on my costume a few nights early and it attracted more attention than I was expecting. I knew that wearing a mini-skirt, fishnets, and a b**b-revealing shirt would get some attention, but it wasn’t until the next day that I realized the extent of the damage.

“Tim likes you,” Lacy informed me.

“What? No he doesn’t. Besides, he has a girlfriend.”

I brushed off her comment as what it was, so much fluff. Or so I thought. Until she told me that another mutual friend had had a crush on me for a while. Turns out that at least three others had crushes on me. Looking back on it, it made a lot of sense. They came over a lot, hovered in doorways, forced small talk, and used any excuse to touch me. I just never put two and two together. I’ve always been surprised when someone wants to date me. I got crushes, not the other way around. I didn’t even date until I was nineteen. Even more astounding is when someone compliments my looks. Sure, people have said nice things over the years, but I never took them seriously, thinking they were just being nice. It’s only been recently that I’ve started to believe them.

A few nights before Halloween I was dared to wear my costume to a hall meeting. I was told I’d receive five dollars in exchange for wearing the daring get-up in front of everyone on my co-ed floor. Because I’m willing to do pretty much anything short of prostitution for money, I accepted. As I entered the lounge, I looked, let’s be honest, s****y. Some people gave me funny looks, but instead of feeling self-conscious, I thought it was funny. I didn’t care what the others thought. Then realization hit. I hadn’t achieved this feeling by playing a role. I was finally beginning to be comfortable in my own skin.

I never did get that five bucks.

Halloween night, my costume reflected the real me instead of a fictional character. Or rather, it presented a cartoonish version of the real me. The short skirt, high heels, and exaggerated makeup made me a “sexy librarian,” something I’ve been referred to as more than once in my 8 year stint working the library scene. My new boyfriend, we’ll call him Trevor, was drowning in an oversized plaid vest. The golden locks of his mullet wig flowed luxuriously down his back. We looked ridiculous together - His Royal Hickness and the Book Queen. I loved it.

When we got back to his place, we crawled out of our costumes. I pulled on a pair of his oversized pajama pants and a baggy t-shirt.

“Did you notice my fake eyelashes?” Walking over to Trevor, I looked him straight in the eyes. They weren’t very dramatic so he had to come close to see them. He pulled my face closer to his.

“Oh yeah, they are quite a bit longer.” He smiled as I pulled away. I placed them on his dresser next to my keys. With no makeup I felt bare, but with Trevor, that was ok. He made me feel beautiful. Other men have told me I don’t need makeup, but I’ve always felt like they were just feeding me a line. When Trevor had said it, so sincere and a little shy, I believed it.

As we lay together on his bed, starting to doze, I noticed him looking at me. Blushing, I asked, “What?” Did I have something in my teeth? A bat in the cave? I curled closer to him, hiding my face in his shoulder. As I looked back up at him, however, it occurred to me not to be embarrassed. This wasn’t a mocking, ha ha, look at you face. Nor was it a hungry, come hither look. His was a look of mild fascination, like a botanist examining a newly discovered flower. When he didn’t stop, I playfully punched him on the chest. “What are you staring at?”

He shook himself, as if from a dream. “Sorry.” Grinning like a thirteen year old, he looked down, then back up at me with that goofy gaze.

What is wrong with him?

Just as I was starting to doubt his sanity, he cut off my thoughts. “I was just noticing something,” he started awkwardly, and then broke off, looking embarrassed.

I stared at him incredulously. Barely suppressing a giggle, I muttered, “Go on.”

He scratched the back of his neck, something I’ve come to recognize as a nervous motion. Looking away, he started again. “Well, I’ve wanted to say something for a while, but I didn’t know what you’d say. It sounds kinda cheesy.”

“That’s ok, I like cheese.”

He laughed. “All right.” Turning back at me, he returned my gaze. Taking a deep breath, he said, “You have really pretty eyes.” As he said it his face told me he half expected to be laughed at.

Grinning like an idiot, I probably looked the way he had a minute ago. “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me.” I kissed his lips, which had formed a relieved smile.

“I didn’t know if it was a good thing to say or not…”

“Are you kidding? It’s a much better compliment than ‘you’ve got great tits’ or ‘your a*s is fantastic!’”

Laughing, he cupped my chin in his hand and kissed my forehead. We looked into each others’ eyes. This time no awkwardness, no embarrassment. His hazel eyes reflected my green ones. I felt comfortable, content. With him I don’t need a mask, or fake eyelashes for that matter.

While I’m still shy at times, I’ve been slowly emerging from my shell throughout my college years. It’s much easier for me to socialize and make friends. Movies are no longer a crutch. Though I often prefer fictional characters to people, I’ve found a few I can tolerate. Loneliness levels are down, confidence levels are up. Outlook is good. My defense mechanism hasn’t quite been tossed aside yet, but most of the time, it lies dormant. Instead of looking through someone else’s eyes, I use my own. When I look in the mirror, I only see myself smiling back.

© 2012 Darl1ng N1kk1

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Added on July 7, 2012
Last Updated on July 7, 2012