Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

In general, I avoid the romance genre. I don’t have anything against it, exactly, but it really isn’t my thing. I like fantasy, science fiction, character studies, and procedurals. Maybe romance doesn’t appeal to me because I’m not generally a romantic person myself, or maybe I’m just a bit too cynical to really get into them. 

That all changes the moment I get sick.

sick 2In my early twenties, my roommate and I both came down with a terrible flu. She had a huge collection of feel-good romance novels, and since I had a lack of new reading material in that pre-Kindle age, I picked one up and started reading. During the week we were home sick, I read two of those books every day. When I recovered, I wasn’t really interested anymore. The next time I got sick, though, I dug into my roommate’s DVD collection and spent a couple days watching rom-coms. The pattern has continued-for some reason, when I’m really under the weather, romance becomes my guilty pleasure. This past week, I spent several days sick in bed (recovered now, thankfully). Partway through the illness, my friend Mike asked me how I was doing, and I responded by telling him what I was watching on Netflix (and because he knows me well, that told him all he needed to know about how I was doing). 

When I thought about it later, I considered the fact that I felt a need to justify the fact that I was watching, and enjoying, something outside of my norm. The subtext was clearly, “This is silly, but don’t make fun of me…it’s ok because I’m sick”. It’s strange, because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with romance; it’s just not something I’m into, and doesn’t fit into the way people usually see me, or the way I see myself. That got me thinking about the term “guilty pleasures”, informally defined by as “an activity or piece of media that someone enjoys but would be embarrassed by if other people found out about it”.

I think it’s time for a good hard look at guilty pleasures, and how we engage with them. Let’s start with:

Should you feel guilty?

Before you decide whether you are going to embrace your guilty pleasure, you should ask yourself if there is a good reason to feel guilty about it. Set aside the cultural or social baggage that comes with certain things and ask yourself a few key questions.  

  • Is it irresponsible? 
  • Is it hurting someone? 
  • Is it hurting you? 
  • Can you afford to spend the money or time on it?

video gameTo use an absolutely extreme example, if your guilty pleasure is drug abuse, that is a problem. You are harming yourself and others by taking an addictive substance, and odds are you are going to spend far too much money on it. For a less extreme example, let’s say your guilty pleasure is video games. Those have become pretty acceptable in recent years, so why do you feel guilty about it? Is it because you’re in a situation where you are overdoing it, to the neglect of family, friends, and work? If that’s the case, any guilt you feel makes sense, because you probably need to adjust how you spend your time until you’ve reached a balance.

If your guilty pleasure isn’t causing any harm, you should ask yourself…

Why am I embarrassed?

If there aren’t any problems associated with your interest or activity, why are you embarrassed by it? Usually that comes down to two problems: you feel it’s wasting time or there’s a negative perception. 

If it’s a matter of wasting time, ask yourself if there’s something you need to be doing during that time. If your guilty pleasure is taking time away from things that must get done, take another look at the previous section. If, on the other hand, you could spare the time, but keep thinking you could/should instead be doing non-critical productive things instead, give yourself a break. Rest, relaxation, and fun are all important parts of life.

beachThe other problem is negative perception. Perhaps your hobby is viewed as being immature, or not being serious enough. Maybe it’s low-brow entertainment, or, like in my case, it doesn’t fit into your ordinary life or self-concept. Maybe you, or others, see it as selfish. That last one might really trip you up, because you feel like you should have taken the two hundred dollars you spent on getting your hair done and donated it to charity, or maybe you think the two hours you spent watching a movie could have been better spent on upgrading your next presentation at work. However, there’s nothing wrong with spending time and money on something that makes you happy.

Of course, guilty pleasures get the name because of how people see them, which leads to the third question…

Should you talk about it? 

A lot of times we apply the term “guilty pleasures” because of how people respond when we talk about them. The first thing to realize is that you don’t have to tell anybody anything. The most important thing is accepting it for yourself, and then it’s your business if you want to talk about it. Being a person who usually really enjoys telling the world about how ridiculous I am, I tend to go with talk about them. 

couchMost of the time. I am the opposite of ashamed of my love of cheesy 80’s horror films. However, I’m very uncomfortable telling people how much money I spent on any kind of salon or spa treatment, and, as previously mentioned, I always feel like I have to justify a foray into the romance genre. Talking about your interests and activities is your call. If you do, try to avoid the knee-jerk reaction to include a de facto apology (something I’m going to be working on in the future). It’s possible that someone will tease you, but if they do so in a way that’s fun and not hurtful, enjoy the camaraderie. On the other hand, if you have legitimate reason to believe that someone will judge you, or diminish your pleasure or something, don’t tell them about it. 

Personally, I think we should be thinking of these less as guilty pleasures but more like we think about anything we enjoy, period. I’ll get us started by admitting that even though I’m feeling better, I’m still going to finish the show I was binging while I was sick, because I’m legitimately invested in seeing the characters get their happily ever after. And I’m not ashamed of that.

let's discuss 2

How about you? What are your so-called guilty pleasures?

29 thoughts on “Celebrate Your Guilty Pleasures

  1. kagould17 says:

    I think the movies we watch give us an escape from everyday life, for sure. Rom-Coms are often what I call, movies that don’t make you think too hard, which gives us a chance to forget the problems of the world. It is even better if we get invested in a/the character(s). We watched Blast from the Past with Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone, last night. It was indeed a hoot. Stay well Amanda. Allan

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’ll have to look into that one. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. in says:

    This is like a report. You covered all bases/areas/sections. Interesting post!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. CARAMEL says:

    I love cheese – which is not a great choice of guilty pleasure for someone with a dairy intolerance!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I hope you enjoy your occasional indulgences. 🙂


      1. CARAMEL says:

        It’s weighing up if the pleasure is worth the pain!
        Occasionally I have a little cheese, because I don’t have any dairy ice-cream, yoghurt, cream or milk. That allows me to get away with the occasional bit of cheese, but it always has an undesirable effect!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel like guilty pleasures that are strictly feminine have those negative connotations, which is a result of society’s view on things that are feminine.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree. Since women often work

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Harder to gain respect, we hide what might be viewed as a weakness (feminine)

        Liked by 2 people

  5. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    My guilty pleasures are sweets. Pecan pie, cool whip, donuts, ice cream… I used to never care for sweets. But the older I get, the more I could devour these things with a vengeance. But then I have to work out as hard as I’ve indulged. Guts come easy…

    I’m fairly boring. I enjoy outdoor stuff. Guns, knives, and I’d rather make stuff in the woods than go shopping.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I can totally relate. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My guilty pleasure fast became cheesy teen movies. The biggest examples being She’s the Man and John Tucker Must Die.

    P.S. I’m curious to know what became your favorite guilty pleasure rom-com?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Cheesy teen movies can be fun. I’ve actually seen both of the ones you mentioned. I also love Mean Girls.
      My absolute favorite rom-com is Sliding Doors, but I don’t really feel guilty about that one because I think it’s a genuinely good movie. So for a more “guilty” favorite…I’ve seen How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days several times. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll have to check them out.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Simon says:

    There’s nothing wrong with any guilty pleasure really. I think we hide them to hide ourselves from ridicule really. Some of which is in out head and some of which is justified…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Do you mean justified fear or justified ridicule? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Simon says:

        I mean the fear of ridicule is justified, many people are quite cruel

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Shruba says:

    Watching kdramas was one of my guilty pleasures. But then I found a way to feel validated about it. I started learning the language and knowing a new language that very few around me did make me able to justify why I spent hours watching ridiculously long and often overtly dramatic historical shows in Korean. The what will everyone else think factor is pretty strong when it comesto disclosing your guilty pleasures to others. Thanks for writing about this!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      How are your language skills progressing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shruba says:

        Oh it’s been good so far. I can read and speak more or less. Learning anything by yourself does take a lot of patience and self discipline. So I’m glad with the progress I have made so far. ☺

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Kally says:

    I think everyone needs to have at least one guilty pleasure. To learn to live a little, reward yourself a little and love yourself a bit more. My guilty pleasure is my weekly massages.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Good for you! I’ve only had a few massages in my life, but each one was amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I always celebrate my guilty pleasures. Also by the way, have you ever checked out my Webcomic Site “Switcher’s Calamity”, I’m trying to spread the word?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. P.S. My guilty pleasure movie has always been Small Soldiers, which I watch almost every single year since I saw it in theaters as a child. There’s also Cats Don’t Dance, an animated movie I watch only every now and then and it has an infectious charm that always pulls me in!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Amanda Cade says:

      I had not…but now I have. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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