We all have them. If we’re caught indulging, we often will blame it “on the kids” or other vague explanation. Sometimes we actually fess up and sheepishly say, “It’s my one guilty pleasure!” Yeah, right… it’s never just one. If we have one, we have more. It’s the potato chip factor.
Why are they guilty? Because we have to hide them, of course! There’s shame attached for social reasons. But WHY? Maybe it’s because it’s something we were supposed to have outgrown at some arbitrary age or stage of life. Maybe it’s because someone down the line decided it was weird. Maybe it’s because someone in Authority has decided that it’s Very Bad For Us. Maybe it’s a pleasure that shines a spotlight on a flaw that we have.
There are just some things that aren’t acceptable when it comes to making us happy, so we keep it a secret until we’re caught or we’re in a sharing mood hoping others will share with us to help alleviate the guilt… or at least share in the guilt… or maybe let us know we’re not so weird in the things that we indulge in to make us happy.
We want so much for the world to see us as being perfect, or at least happy with our choices. We want people to think that we make nothing but good choices and if we make good choices then we’re Good People. Bad choices, or at least socially unacceptable ones, make us Bad People, right? If we’re not at least trying at all times to be healthy, popular, responsible, aka Socially Acceptable, then we ought to feel guilty. Guilt just permeates our culture.
So why do we classify something like reading the same book over and over again as a guilty pleasure? It brings a sense of comfort and peace, especially if it brings you back to a time in your childhood when you felt the same way. Is it because reading the same book over and over again is supposed to be intellectually lazy? Or is it because focusing on pleasure is selfish, and selfish is wrong? Or is it because it’s Anne Rice, even though she’s the one that made vampires, vampire angst, vampire brooding, vampire beauty, and vampire passion a genre all on its own?
Why would we feel like we have to hide (sign of guilt) that we find pleasure in eating the occasional cream cheese sandwich with sliced green olives? Or cream cheese and salami roll-ups? And when I say “we” I really mean “me.” Okay? Fine.
Why would we feel like we have to hide that we find pleasure in catching up on soaps that we used to watch with our moms when we were kids? DVR is a wonderful thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually think that some guilt is good. It’s what keeps us in check and taps our conscience. There’s a real purpose to guilt. Guilty Pleasures fly in the face of all of that and we don’t even realize that there’s probably someone out there that feels exactly the same way we do about what That Thing we’re guiltily enjoying. I’d like to keep guilt where it belongs: whispering in our ear making sure we don’t steal something without paying for it and refraining from saying something cruel and cutting to someone just because we can.
I much prefer fun guilty pleasures.
- Pink bathrobe with fuzzy slippers.
- Yes, Anne Rice, okay? All of the Mayfair Witches books. Every single one of them.
- Ice cold beer with Rosol’s hotdogs.
- Real ice cream from a dairy farm, especially if it’s “cheesecake” flavor anything.
- Going to the movies by myself.
- Watching Disney and Barbie movies with the girls… and singing along because I actually enjoy the songs.
- Italian stuffed shells.
- Sleeping in and then doing nothing on a weekend. Screw that productivity!
- Coffee. I love coffee. Especially chocolate cherry cordial coffee from Starbucks. I can’t seem to duplicate it at home (yet).
- Baking and cooking and seeing people enjoy what I make.