Monday, July 5, 2010

Guilty As Charged?

Guilty Pleasure

From Merriam Webster:
Main Entry: guilty pleasure
Function: noun
Date: 1907
something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt.
From the time that we were able to like something and remember that we do like it, we have things that we like more than others. And always will. No matter how unpopular it may become. No matter how outdated it seems. No matter how unhealthy it is. There are things in our lives that define who we are: that instantly make us happy and comfortable. Things that when we see, hear, eat, or use, they calm us. Excite us. Enrapture us like a soft, familiar blanket. Yet for a lot of people, these things are hidden away from the public eye; taboo? Well, maybe not taboo, but for some, life would not be the same if their hidden pleasures were exposed. Are there really things that we are not supposed to enjoy without being ridiculed?
I'm talking about Guilty Pleasures.
Just this morning, I had a follow-up appointment with my General Physician. Very nice, mellow man; young, in his early fifties. His office is tiny, and painted bright sea green in the waiting room. Lots of tropical plants, and a huge coffee table sits in the middle of the room. On it, he has about 100 of the most interesting magazines. You could go see him everyday for a week and not get bored. All the artwork is done by folks he knows. It's homey. I do feel comfortable there. First doctor's office waiting room that plays a decent music, too. When was the last time you went to the doctor and heard Ben Harper playing?
Anyway, during my exam I asked about a pair of whimsical crayon drawings; framed, matted, in hues of blue, green and orange. Flowers. A pond. Lilly pads. Two similar next to each other. He told me an old colleague of his did them.
"My cheapo Monets. It's as if he was mocking Monet. I love stuff like that. My Guilty Pleasure; collecting tacky reproductions of famous art." I could almost see him squirm at this declaration. He didn't have to tell me any of that. He could have told me his nephew drew it and moved on. Maybe he wanted to let me into his world for a second or two. I figure, if he wanted to hide the fact that he collected cheap, tacky art, he would not display it to begin with.
So, when people answer with "Oh, well, that's one of my guilty pleasures..." What are we to think? Why is it so embarrassing to admit? Do we really need to justify why we enjoy something?
I have, I suppose, what I call my Guilty Pleasures; things I like that I just don't mention too much. Do I care if anyone found out about them? Not a bit. I don't feel I need to justify anything I like. DO, yes, perhaps, but to like... no way.
Some things make us happier than others. Some we've admired since the sandbox days. Like when I lived with my father two summers ago. He had this awesome "Retro" channel on cable. As soon as I discovered it, I set time aside an hour every late night to watch "Emergency!" One of my all-time favorites! A guilty pleasure? I don't think so, not to me, anyway.
Some are new. But why be scared to show them? Why be afraid to tell someone at work that you watch Tori & Dean on Oxygen? "You actually watch that crap?"
Chin up, shoulders back; "Yep... every Monday. 10:00PM."
Do I dare tell them about the Kraft Deluxe Sharp Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese that I used to enjoy while watching T&D? I know homemade is much better; I can make killer Mac n cheese. Still, there is something to that stuff; I cook the elbows for only a few minutes. Soft macaroni just ruins the sharpness
of this 'cheese.' Way before 'to the tooth'... it is just shy of a crunch. PERFECTION. Almost better than a backrub. Almost.
Why would I be embarrassed to tell people about this? It's not healthy? It's a waste of time? I could be doing something more constructive? They won't like it? They won't approve? Please.
Maybe it's because I do it to please nobody but myself? I suppose we have things about us that we just don't feel we have to share, but what bothers me is seeing someone cringe when they admit to having a liking for something. Is it so wrong for my husband to crank up Neil Diamond? What's wrong with admitting that you love Hostess Ho-Hos? If you enjoy collecting nude French postcards circa 1800, more power to you. Everything in moderation, folks!
Still, that's no reason to hide away the fact that I blast Shaun Cassidy when I clean.
"You what?"
You heard me right. Ask anyone that knows me who my Guilty Pleasure is. They'll tell you, and will most likely cringe. Ask me and I'll tell you; chin up, shoulders back and with a wide smile; "Shaun Cassidy." I plead not guilty.


  1. Fun read, Mary. I love Kraft Mac & Cheese---BUT, no way it's better than a good backrub! ;-) Sue


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