Merriam-Webster defines guilty pleasure as “something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt.” Google states that a guilty pleasure is “something, such as a movie, television program or piece of music that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.” However we describe it, it seems we all have one (or two or three) things we love to do when nobody is watching.
– Do you secretly put on your Captain’s hat and binge watch old episodes of The Love Boat?
– Do you spend your free time perfecting your Mashed Potato, Macarena, or Stanky Leg dance moves? Perhaps Flossing is more your style?
– Do you shove potato chips in the middle of your tuna fish sandwich when nobody is looking and get pure enjoyment out of each and every crunchy bite?
If so, the verdict is in: Guilty as charged! Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, What Say You?
Amanda (30-Something Millennial):
A Diet Coke a day keeps the Doctor away! Oh wait, that’s not how it goes?! That’s my practically daily guilty pleasure. Yes, I know that a diet soda is just as bad as a regular one. Yes, I’m fully aware that it could be rotting my bones and that the fake sugar could be linked to cell mutations. I can’t stop. I justify that because it is legal, bought without an ID and readily available that it’s OK. C’mon, if a baby could buy it then it can’t be bad.
Even more shameful, as a part-time fitness instructor, I’m supposed to be representing all things healthy – yet it’s downright shameful that sometimes at 3pm, I need the caffeine and fizz to get me hyped for my evening class. Sure, I could make a smoothie full of natural ingredients and lots of spinach, but that takes time. A can of “DC” easily fits in any purse and can be ready to grab throughout the day. I blame this daily ritual on my parents.
Growing up there was always Diet Coke in the fridge. My Mom doesn’t drink coffee and starts her day with a soda instead. My Dad was the guy that’d order a Diet Coke at a restaurant and when the waitress said, “we only have Diet Pepsi,” he’d decline. At my grandparents, I’d always be the one running down to the basement fridge to carry up more sodas for everyone – and again, Diet Coke dominated.
Perhaps this isn’t necessarily a guilty pleasure but rather a daily indulgence that takes me back to my childhood and is a little nod to my family. Ditch the guilt, enjoy your pleasure!
Lindsay (Fabulous Forties):
I have many things I enjoy that I don’t advertise to all, but I don’t truly feel guilty about them. Indulging in one extra martini on Friday night….why feel guilty? It’s my liver, and I’m home so no one sees me stumble around and giggle out loud about something that is not even remotely funny.
I watch a lot of reality TV. No shame in that game. I’m clearly not the only one or Pauly D would not be worth $20M, no one would have a clue who any of the Kardashians are except for Robert Kardashian, and the Housewives of everywhere would not have make up, skin care, booze, clothing, shape wear and jewelry line.
I don’t feel guilty for on-line shopping….how else do you shop? Go out and be around people? Yikes! Stuff big packages of TP and paper towels into a cart the size of the packages, slapping them on a conveyor belt and juggling them into the parking lot while shoving it all in the trunk? Why? I’m not my grandmother that stuff just shows up on the doorstep.
My guilty pleasure is being a complete and utter reclusive loaf on the weekend. Un-showered till whenever (and that is optional), no make-up, wearing the most comfortable soft clothes I own (usually things from my Dad), eating breakfast at noon, cleaning up the DVR to make room for next week’s shows, watching a movie, laughing with my love about nothing special, all the while snuggled under a blanky is my guiltiest of pleasures. It is euphoric! While others are frantically driving their kids all over town, watching their sports games, grocery shopping, cleaning (get a service for that), taking a drive (what’s that about?) or just “acting” productive, I would prefer to be tucked away from all of humanity. I don’t need a great story to tell on Monday morning to prove I am a productive member of society. I don’t need to prove myself by telling everyone “how busy” my weekend was with a deep sigh and look of exhaustion. I do enough of that during the week.
Does being a relaxed, happy, rested individual mean I’m lazy? Nope! I’m productively chilling out, and yet society tells us we should feel guilty. So when people call and ask what we are doing at 11:30 AM on a Saturday morning, and the fact is we are still lying in bed watching reality TV, my first instinct is to make up something like organizing my closet. Can’t prove I didn’t. Who is going to look in my closet? and if they do, they certainly won’t admit it. That would be shameful!
While I do enjoy being with family and friends and love going out to dinner and having fun, I also enjoy not adulting, not having a single expectation of myself or others, not looking at a “to do” list, not setting an alarm, or checking the clock for when I have to be presentable for others to see, and not accomplishing one single thing others would find acceptable.
Karen (F’ing Fifties):
In order for it to be considered “guilty,” it must be something that I would be too embarrassed to admit, out loud, to other people, right? So perhaps that rules out my unapologetic fondness for boy bands as a select few of you have known this little secret of mine for years. Let’s be honest, I can’t be the only one who thinks those wide-eyed, extremely talented, 100% overly produced newcomers have “the right stuff,” can I? Am I the only one who tends to “stop, collaborate and listen” immediately upon hearing those first few iconic notes from Robert Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice (ok, technically not a band, but, he was only 16 when he wrote this classic).
My fascination with boy bands actually started one rainy day back in 1972, long before Maurice Starr coined the term, while watching The Jackson Five perform on The Sonny and Cher show on our 13” black and white RCA tube TV. I believe I was in the midst of negotiating a better deal for Barbie’s rent-controlled dream house and half-paying attention to the TV when I suddenly heard something that made me stop in my tracks and changed my life forever. It was the Jackson 5, choreographing their way across my tv screen and, through song, taught me such things as “I Before E, except after C,” and “ABC, Easy as 123.”
What was this? I had never heard more profound lyrics in all of my five years on this earth. Sure, I would sing along to Rubber Duckie by Ernie (of Bert & Ernie fame) or duet with my mom to Elvis’ Hound Dog but, let’s face it, those songs were child’s play. I had clearly stumbled upon something much more deep and meaningful, this was music I could relate to! I had found my people!
As I grew and matured, I graduated to the more sophisticated sounds of The Osmonds, New Edition and Menudo. During the 80s, I faced a dilemma as I was starting to surpass the average age of the next phase of boy bands and this is when, unbeknownst to me at the time, my guilty pleasure began.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the music of the 80s and 90s, the bubble-gum pop, chick-rock, techno, hair bands, grunge, arena rock and power ballads. I have fond memories of rushing home from school, parking myself in front of MTV back when MTV used to play music videos (fun fact: we had since upgraded to a Sony Trinitron 19” Color TV, life was good)! I would wait in anticipation for Kasey Kasem’s American Top 40 Countdown every Sunday to see who would have the #1 song, would Prince stay in the top spot? Would a steadily climbing Madonna finally break the top 10? I would, simultaneously, also have my own internal teen struggle… should I include Menudo and New Edition on my Top 40 mix tapes or keep a separate stash for use only during my Jane Fonda workouts?
My mixtapes are long gone, but I still have (and continue to add to) my boy band playlists. Although I typically no longer grab my hairbrush or miniature souvenir baseball bat to use as a pseudo microphone, I will still “Fight For My Right” along with The Beastie Boys at the top of my lungs every time I hear it (well, only if nobody else is around).
With all of the recent resurgence of former boy bands like The Backstreet Boys and ‘NSYNC getting back together and going on tour (yes, I have my tickets), are we still supposed to refer to them as Boy Bands? I mean, “Man Bands” sounds kinda creepy or, perhaps, more like an “As Seen On TV” hair accessory.
Whatever they’re called, in the words of Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, “I’m a Believer” or , dare I say, Belieber?
To all of my fellow boy band fans, “say it loud and sing it proud,” after all, “that’s what makes you beautiful!” And, to all you nay sayers who think this is “the end of the road” for boy bands, I only have one thing left to say: “Bye, Bye, Bye!”
Brooke (60-Something Baby Boomer):
I’m betting this topic has gotten you all thinking ”Krispy Kremes! Real Housewives! Creeping on Facebook!” Pffft! Amateurs.
While all of the above are indeed pleasurable, I feel zero guilt indulging in any of them. If we use this line of thinking, my whole life is one big guilty pleasure. If the operative word is “guilty,” I have to point to one all-encompassing word that is one of my greatest pleasures about which I feel kinda bad – but not bad enough to stop:
Yep, I admit to feeling unbridled glee over the downfall, destruction and discomfiture of the rich and/or famous. And while guilt might be overstating it, my unmitigated schadenfreude is hardly my finest attribute. Note, please, that I said “the rich and famous.” I am not one of those common banana peel schadenfreudiacs, not me! I reserve my G.P. for the fine folk gracing the pages of People or hiding their Botoxed faces from the very cameras they’ve spent a lifetime courting.
Fame is fickle, my friends. Ingenues once touted as the next big thing find themselves on second tier reality TV, half drunk and debauched (don’t look away, Lindsay Lohan). Rock stars who once filled arenas with frenzied fangirls spend the summer working the corndog circuit, playing the “main stage” at Kishwaukee Pioneer Days before boarding the refitted Greyhound, bound for the next Midwest burg. Politicians, walking like a boss down the yellow brick road to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., are now walking like a perp after video evidence of their predilection for BDSM hits social media like a tsunami.
My Schandenfreude monster is easily fed. One need look no further than the nearest supermarket checkout rack. Just a few examples of stories that delighted me:
–The Great College Admissions Scandal – Bwahahahaha!!! I’m torn here – did Lori Loughlin get gouged by paying a half million dollar twofer for her “rowing crew” darlings? Just where do you go to complain about extortion in racketeering? Or, was Felicity Huffman’s sweet Sofia a mere discount darling? Imaging her chagrin at only costing $15k! Well, Sofia, it’s a brutal world out there. If you want to maximize your brand, thus increasing your worth in the next scandal, maybe you should consider becoming an Instagram Influencer.
–Kathy Griffin – a quick check under the “Tour” tab on her website showed…..well, nothing. She went from The D List to the B+ List back to D, all because of one ill-advised pic. Hubris is a capricious companion, Kath. But I guess you know that now, huh?
–Jussie Smollett – my Schadenfreude gets supercharged when I watch the luminaries who flocked to support this chucklehead distance themselves faster than R. Kelly’s duet partners when it looks like he’s not going down alone and you might get caught in the drain-circling eddy that is Jussie’s career.
I feel like my Guilty Pleasure will resonate with our dear followers more than whatever my fellow bloggers admit to. Am I right? Yeah! Vote for me! I promise to keep my ego and superior status in check, thus avoiding becoming my own GP target. But seriously, I’m right, right?
Are you shaking your head in agreement or silently judging our dirty little secrets?
Care to share? What are your guilty pleasures?
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