Let’s face it, we have guilty pleasures. We all have these niche interests or hobbies that make us happy and give us some serotonin. The difference, however, between “normal” hobbies and guilty pleasures is that the latter is accompanied by some sort of stigma. When we are participating in a guilty pleasure, we might feel embarrassed to an extent. We might keep it a secret from those around us. It’s a struggle that we bear every single day without even realizing it. With all the added stress and hassles of our lives, our little habits can sometimes be our only respite to the chaos outside our windows. But, it feels like even when we’re trying to get a break from everything, we bear a little stress because we feel ashamed about our interests. This all boils down to one question — should we feel bad about them?
I found this concept to be intriguing — I wanted to learn more and think critically about this question that had been plaguing me for several days since my sister had brought up the topic with me.
To find out more about guilty pleasures, I consulted my friends. I asked them this simple question — “What are your guilty pleasures and why?” To my surprise, I noticed a trend in their reactions — they cringed. Even before telling me what they secretly enjoy, they were embarrassed to reveal it. After a little coaxing, I was able to gather some information and it blew my mind.
Some of the answers I received included binging TV shows like “Friends” or watching ASMR videos on YouTube. A different friend told me they felt embarrassed about enjoying anime. Another explained her music taste, saying, “I feel embarrassed about listening to the soundtrack of ‘Hamilton’ every once in a while. I don’t know why, I just feel weird about it.” Someone else admitted that they even feel ashamed about dipping their fries into a Wendy’s Frosty.
The list goes on and on — watching Disney movies alone as an adult, staging arguments with themselves in the shower, eating the cookie that fell on the floor, popping a pimple, buying things they don’t need, obsessing over “The Bachelorette,” making up scenarios with their crush before bed and so many more.
So, what’s the problem?
I couldn’t find anything wrong with what my friends had told me — they were just hobbies, preferences and interests. But for some reason, they felt some sort of shame in admitting what they enjoy. They felt that because of their identity or what some people have said, they should hide it from the public eye.
As we reflect on these “guilty pleasures,” we should realize that there’s no point in feeling weird about it, or making other people feel bad about it — after all, we all have one. Even if you think you don’t, it would make the world a better place if each of us could do what we want without being judged prematurely. There’s so much else in the world that we could worry about — politics, climate change, the pandemic, grades and our careers — why then should we be upset if the girl next door likes to listen to K-pop?
There are thousands of people who like watching “Friends,” even if the scenes get cheesy sometimes. Let’s normalize dipping our fries into milkshakes — frankly, it’s delicious. It’s OK if you’re a “tough guy” but love watching rom-coms or listening to Taylor Swift ballads. It doesn’t matter what gender or age you are — you know you want to watch the latest happenings on “Say Yes to the Dress.”
Listen to Broadway musical soundtracks without a need to use headphones. It’s alright if you cry a little bit at the end of “Mamma Mia!” Reread the “Percy Jackson” series and geek over Greek mythology like you did in sixth grade. Log onto your Minecraft servers with your buddies or even by yourself — it can be a big stress reliever.
In tandem with the above, we should do our best to not judge others for their habits. Life would be less tiring if we could freely enjoy ourselves without worrying so much about what the other guy is doing. If it’s not hurting anyone, what’s the big deal? In the end, we’re all guilty of guilty pleasures. So, aren’t we all really innocent?
Cecy Juárez is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com.