Whenever the song by the Killers, ‘Mr Brightside,’ comes on, I am suddenly 18 again and waking up in my dorm room in Los Angeles as it plays on my radio alarm clock. I am not hungover – I didn’t drink my freshman year – but I am exhausted from refusing to turn down any social invitation in an effort to make new friends, to connect with people I’ve just met, to learn to love somewhere I feel desperately out of place.
And, as the song’s disjointed story unfolds, I am heartsick. The indie skater boy from Chicago who lives upstairs, to whom I have spoken maybe three times and with whom I am convinced I am desperately in love, is most certainly dating the petite girl with the hipster glasses who also lives upstairs and who I will later learn fits into the category of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the kind of girl I envy and want to emulate at that age. But tall girls can’t be MPDGs. It takes a couple years, but I am belatedly grateful for this, and for all the other reasons that I never fit into that box created by boys who are afraid of independent women who aren’t looking to save or be saved.