Whenever I feel guilty or ashamed about liking something, my coping strategy goes like this: casually mention it in a way disassociated from myself. Bring it up again, with a little humor added. Talk about it ALL THE TIME ALWAYS until people beg me to shut up. Write a blog post about it.
Although I have grown in self-confidence and I don’t quite care as much what people think about me or my opinions, my guilty pleasures are still pleasures that make me feel guilty, as though I am too old, too mature, too whatever to like the things that I like. I will probably always have the spectre of Other People’s Judgments hanging over my head, but today I’m saying “I don’t care!” by fangirling real hard about the dumb things that I love.
I mean, I did write an entire One Direction Manifesto, but still, I’m a little bit ashamed of my fascination with these five (ALWAYS FIVE, my heart has still not acknowledged Zayn’s leaving the band) English-Irish boybanders. I’m about ten years too old for this kind of obsession, but whatever! Cute boys! Happy songs that make me smile even though they are not, like, musically genius! Did I mention the cute boys? That fall all over each other and the stage, being gorgeous idiots? That is literally my favorite thing in the whole world. I am beginning to understand that I will someday be 75, squealing delightedly at whatever boy band is currently holding my granddaughter’s interest.
When I was eleven years old, I stumbled across Digimon on TV. Cartoon people with adorable blobs that transformed into heroic monsters? I was so into it, and this was a massive problem. Every Saturday morning I would lock myself in my parent’s room with their awful television to watch the latest episode. My age and secrecy probably looked like I was watching pornography, but no. Anime!! As an adult, my anime love has led to obsessions with Ouran High School Host Club and especially Fruits Basket (and the not-quite-anime Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra TV shows). I just love it! The animation that can switch from cartoonishness to epic realism in a split second. The plotlines that spiral between hilarity and heartbreaking! They have everything, and I love it!
There are a lot of dumb things about women and the way we feel about our bodies. But I think the dumbest is how sometimes I love the way I look, and then I feel ashamed. What an idiotic reaction to something wonderful! Every day I look in the mirror and think, “I’m killing it! I’m adorable! Look at my awesome face!” should be celebrated. And here’s the thing: I do! But secretly, in the hidden depths of my iPhone data, where I have taken and deleted hundreds of selfies. Parked in the carpool lane where a sunbeam is lighting my face perfectly? Selfie! Hair falling just right when I hold my head at this angle? Selfie! Liquid eyeliner actually where I wanted it to go? Selfie! Very occasionally I’ll share those pictures on Facebook or Instagram, but with some ulterior motive of showing whatever is behind me. But that’s dumb! I want to get better at loudly and proudly proclaiming that I love my face and I’ll take an enormous amount of selfies to prove it.
Oh gosh, this one’s the worst. As far as my life history suggests, the Internet exists for fandom. Ever since my house got dial-up, I have spent hours every week in fandom. What began with Final Fantasy and Harry Potter fanfiction has reached a fever pitch with tumblr, a website that makes fandom instantly accessible 24/7. Want the latest Avengers movie trailer made into a handy gif set? Tumblr has you covered within five minutes of the release. Want pictures of your favorite boy band (*coughAlreadyCoveredThatInTopic#1cough*)? Tumblr! Want a dissertation-level analysis of Captain America’s depressive tendencies or Harry Potter’s themes of anti-racism? You’ll find it on tumblr. All of which is why….I spend probably two hours every day on the site. AGH. Maybe not? No, it’s probably definitely that much. It’s just that fandom is the safe place where everyone has guilty pleasures–and it’s okay! They are celebrated! So excuse me…I’m off to tumblr to see what creative and intelligent nerdy things are going on.
What are your guilty pleasures (that you feel comfortable enough admitting)? What do you think the difference is between a genuine pleasure and a guilty pleasure? Leave a comment and let me know!