Poor Kelly, the kick-ass prostitute (and, really, I prefer my prostitutes kick-ass, rather than simpering,  naïve or strung-out) who tries to make a new life for herself in The Naked Kiss.  In spite of the pimps and child molesters that she beats up, she never can escape her past, and even when she tries to do the right thing, it usually turns out wrong.  Except for shoving the money down the madam’s throat – that was pure genius.

But I can relate to her want for a fresh start, even though I approached it from the opposite direction.  Whereas Kelly tried to leave behind her checkered past, when I went to college, I wanted to shed my more recent history of – well, of nothing.  I had been a good boy, scrupulously good.  I remember being shocked at the realization that the other high school couples around me were having sex!  It wasn’t all tongue kissing and heavy petting.  I was a sophomore at the time, and I was playing the accompaniment for the production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  Our high school’s golden boy, playing Schroeder, had missed a rehearsal – and curiously, his girlfriend, had been conspicuously absent from choir practice.

“Oh, I said, they must have gotten each other sick,” I said.

The choir director and the musical director looked at one another.

“That must be it,” the choir director said, in a tone that wouldn’t have fooled even the most sarcasm-deaf.

Shocked, I tell you.  Shocked.

By the time freshman year of college had rolled around, I had concocted a new identity for myself.  Not only had I had a girlfriend, but I’d had a boyfriend too.  And we’d done – stuff!  And because this was a foreign environment – half a country away from Denver – who was there to say otherwise?  With those imaginary dalliances, I had become more worldly, more experienced, and whether or not this garnered respect among my newfound friends, I would never know, since they took me at my word.  If that’s who I said I was, that’s who I was.

But, as everyone knows, you can’t escape your identity that easily, not even if you’re in a David Lynch film.  The life I had created for myself collapsed towards the start of sophomore year.  I met my first boyfriend, Bill C., and I told him the truth about my virginal past, and he and my friends compared notes, and then there was a reckoning to be had.  I begged for forgiveness and somehow managed to keep both my friends and my boyfriend.  (Later, of course, I lost both the boyfriend and the friends, but I tell myself that had less to do with my fabricated identity and more to do with their all being sociopaths.  But that’s a story for another film.)

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