MILWAUKEE, WI–The harsh light of morning fell on the terrible DVD collection of Marc Koenig Monday, when Traci Pearle discovered it upon waking up from their one-night stand.
"It was a wild night, and from what I can recall, I had a great time with Marc," said Pearle, 25. "But I wonder if I would've felt the same way had I known the guy is the proud owner of Rollerball."
Pearle, a Marquette University graduate student, and Koenig, a graphic designer, met Sunday during a party at the home of a mutual friend. Pearle and Koenig hit it off almost immediately, thanks largely to their mutual drunkenness. After a lengthy make-out session in a back room, the two departed for Koenig's nearby one-bedroom apartment, where they spent the night.
Her powers of observation impaired by alcohol and darkness, Pearle took little notice of Koenig's furnishings. It was not until 8 a.m. that the hung-over Pearle, en route to the bathroom, came across Koenig's disturbingly random, mediocrity-filled DVD collection.
"The glare from the living-room window made my eyes smart," Pearle said. "I rubbed them, and the first thing I saw was Narrow Margin sitting on Marc's sunlit coffee table."
A nearby DVD shelf revealed similarly banal choices, including Driven, Evolution, Swordfish, Tomcats, Point Break, Pushing Tin, Bedazzled, Flatliners, My Blue Heaven, and Proof Of Life.
While acknowledging that the majority of Koenig's movies were "not out-and-out horrible," Pearle wondered why anyone would own those particular titles.
"They're the sort of things you'd rent, not buy, if you watch them at all," Pearle said. "Out of the thousands of movies you could own, why would you spend your money on this stuff? Don't you buy a movie because you're somehow passionate about it and want to watch it again and again? Does this guy feel that way about Hard Rain?"
In spite of a wicked hangover, Pearle could not resist hypothesizing about Koenig based on his DVD choices.
"It struck me as weird that the same person would possess both Hellraiser 2 and Holy Man," Pearle said. "What did it mean? That he's a guy with eclectic tastes, and therefore tolerant and open-minded? Or is he just meek and wishy-washy, surrendering his tastes and imagination to arbitrary pop-culture dictates? He seemed like such a smart, cool guy."
Continued Pearle: "I slept with a guy who, at some point in his life, walked into a store and said to the cashier, 'Hi, I would like to purchase this copy of The Legend Of Bagger Vance.'"
Pearle admitted that her decision to leave Koenig's apartment around 8:20 a.m. was heavily influenced by the discovery of the DVD collection.
"As I got dressed, Marc sat up in bed and took my hand, telling me he had the day off from work if I wanted to stay in with him," Pearle said. "I considered it, but then I noticed the Vince Vaughn version of Psycho on the nightstand, so I made up something about having to meet my professor in half an hour."
Therapist and counselor Dr. Patricia Abel said the one-night stand did not come to a particularly unusual end.
"Often, casual sexual encounters between two people are not repeated because one of the parties has judged the other based on his or her personal effects," Abel said. "There exists a societal stigma against so-called 'one-night stands,' so Traci may have been subconsciously associating latent feelings of guilt and unfulfillment with Marc's ownership of several Ashley Judd thrillers."
Pearle herself has been the victim of possessions-based judgment following a one-night stand. On June 4, 2000, pizza-delivery driver James Gaines fled Pearle's apartment shortly after 6 a.m. when the morning light revealed a Toad The Wet Sprocket CD and a prescription bottle of Xanax.