The Verdict on Guilty Pleasures

If you happen to sit next to me on the subway, there's a very good chance you'll hear Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, or P!nk blasting from my headphones. Sometimes I prefer Oreos to fancy bakery cookies. I also like McDonald's - and not just to use their restroom on long car trips. One may infer then, that Taylor Swift and fast food are among my guilty pleasures. Well, you, my friend, are incorrect. I have no guilty pleasures. I do not believe in them. I was not born or raised this way; it’s a realization I have come to over time.

Having been the soap-opera-obsessed-film-student for several years, my taste and judgment were often questioned by my peers. “You like soaps?” “Soaps? My mom watches those.” “Once in a while, I would get the hushed, ‘Sometimes I like to watch General Hospital…” That’s when it hit me – they all think soap operas are my guilty pleasure; a side passion to supplement the award winning critically acclaimed films I was supposedly watching and loving 24/7, even in my sleep. However, that just wasn’t the case. I have never hidden my love of soap operas; I will defend the art and genre of the soap opera to the death. Now for the realization - If I feel that way about soap operas, why not feel that way about everything! Instead of saying, “I listen to a lot of classic rock,” why not just say, “I love classic rock ‘n’ roll and I know the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song” or “I enjoy novels from the late 19th century, current French literature, AND some good old chick-lit”?

The next time your roommate/spouse/partner/child walks into the room and you rush to turn off your music, I ask you to consider the following:

1. Don’t be embarrassed if no one else you know shares a passion for something you do. Everyone is different, and everyone has different tastes, likes, and interests. They all factor into what makes you YOU!

2. There’s really nothing to feel guilty about. Why waste time feeling bad about loving a catchy song or a book that’s far below your reading level? Stephenie Meyer and Henry James get equal love on my bookshelf.

3. Think about the guilty pleasures’ feelings! ‘A’ and ‘B’ are my real friends. I spend a lot of time with them. ‘C’ is my guilty-pleasure-friend that I hang out with when no one else is around and no one will ever find out. Do you want to be a ‘C’? Do you want to make someone your ‘C’? It’s just not nice.

With those in mind, here is my challenge to you:

1. Share one of your “guilty pleasures” with a friend, a coworker, a family member, a stranger. Who knows? They might love it, too!

2. Don't hunch over your Kindle or conceal your book if you’re reading in public. Read with pride!

3. When it comes to picking a movie this weekend, be HONEST about what you want to see and be CONFIDENT in your choice.

Try one of these things and trust me, you’ll find there’s no guilt, just happiness!


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