Do you know what really grinds my gears?
The phrase ‘guilty pleasure’.
I’ve always instinctively recoiled whenever I’ve heard it.
Started a little side thought about why – as a distraction from the more pressing thoughts – and found myself in a really ranty place.
Fucking furious actually.
“Why?” I hear no one ask.
“I will tell you.” I reply to the void.
But seriously folks. Why do people compete over what they like?
It’s the implicit moral evaluation that ranks some activities as more valuable than others that I really can’t stand.
Asking ‘what’s your guilty pleasure?’ is never answered with:
- “Listening to Pink Floyd/Mozart/jazz.” Or any other music deemed ‘proper’ or ‘skilful’ in some way.
- “Watching Shakespeare live on stage, I’m such an RSC follower.”
- “Reading Dickens/ Joyce/other critically acclaimed author.”
If you like any of these, as I do (well, not Joyce), that’s great. Everyone thinks it’s great. There’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. These are all fine and dandy things to be doing with your spare time.
BUT, should you like musicals, pop music and ‘Chick Lit’ (there’s a whole other rant just ready to burst out of me about that one phrase) – feel guilty.
Feel very guilty indeed.
Tell only those close to you in hushed tones that you’ve loved Take That and Kylie from the start. That you actually really like reading books that *shock* have a whole variety of different female characters. That musicals can lift your spirits with their ridiculous, breaking into song every 5 minutes, communal joyfulness.
And for the love of God don’t pick and choose from the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ lists of recreational stuff!
You can’t like Shakespeare AND Marian Keyes equally.
You may not love Beethoven and Rick Astley with the same level of passion. Teenage me was very clear on that front.
Heads will explode! Society’s fabric will irreparably rip!
Haven’t we left school?
You’d think this all ends with adolescence, wouldn’t you? But apparently not!
Massive snobbery at the highest level is involved in these ‘cultural’ attitudes. The old ‘make yourself feel superior by putting others down’ tactic of the truly sad and/or spiteful.
And this can just take a big fuck off to itself.
I’ve also noticed that there are little snobbery side-lines in other fields of recreation.
What I see (in general terms) is, it’s fine to like men’s football and boxing. If you’re a boy. As a girl, you’re patronisingly tolerated as a fan.
If you like tennis, rugby and/or cricket, you’re probably a bit posh and/or getting ideas above you’re station.
You can be into strange sports – archery, synchronised swimming, athletics, fencing, wrestling etc. – during the Olympics or other international event. There, you can mask your enthusiasm for the more unusual under a layer of national pride. Outside of these sporting events, it is not acceptable to like, follow or participate in any of them.
What’s that all about?!
Oh, and women’s football, rugby, boxing, anything, isn’t even important enough to rank as a ‘guilty pleasure’.
(My suggested tagline for the Sex Olympics. This must be thing by now?!)
But let’s just pause to consider the whole ‘guilty pleasure’ thing in relation to sex.
I get that there are lots of fetishes and niche sexual activities that I genuinely didn’t know existed before the internet was born. I get that not everything’s for everyone. But do we really need to make others ashamed to enjoy what they enjoy?
I don’t want to see any more intrusive ‘documentaries’ (cheap TV) based on particular fetishes. I fear that these ‘real life’ shows are simply our 21st century version of the travelling freak show. And I don’t like it.
Historically (and currently, depending on who you’re talking to), women’s pleasure was/is something to be denied, hidden, punishable by eternal pits of fire. FGM is still a thing. Women are still told that masturbation is a sin. Am going to stop there. I can feel myself heading off down the road of a whole other, much more serious rant. You know.
When it comes to sex, as long as no animals or humans are harmed – orgasm away!
No need to feel guilty about it. Unless guilt is your thing.
And for fuck’s sake, can we all just let everyone else get off however they want without feeling the need to comment.
AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON FOOD AND DRINK ‘GUILTY PLEASURE’ CRAP.
Seriously, this rant is long enough.
Basically, like what you like and let others like what they like.
Life’s too short for anything else.
Do whatever floats your boat.
Whatever tickles your fancy.
Whatever rocks your world.
- Anything else…
…however or whatever you want to!
It’s no one else’s business. You don’t have to justify or defend your pleasures to anyone.
Ranting is good for the soul. And the blood pressure. I feel much better now. Thank you.