In praise of the Guilty Pleasure

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Guilty pleasures – we all have them. Whether it be a lame song we secretly belt out whilst driving our car, a ‘chav meal’ we secretly love, or an unusual looking celebrity we secretly fancy.

But where did the concept originate from? After all, it would be a very dull world indeed if we all liked the same things, so why is it OK to openly appreciate certain music, films, food, celebrities and TV shows, whilst others make us feel ashamed – like there is something wrong with us if we enjoy these things.

And who decides what’s cool to like and what isn’t?

Sometimes I feel so far outside of the mainstream that I feel like an alien. I don’t understand the value of so much popular culture and subsequently, I don’t feel like anyone gets me. But in a society that thinks Ke$ha and Pitbull ‘Timber’ should be number one in the UK charts, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

No pleasure in these two whatsoever
No pleasure in these two whatsoever
I’m guilty of judging people for their musical tastes (see above) and what they watch on TV, even for what they eat. And I judge myself even more harshly. We all do. But there are oodles of tacky, lame and ugly things that we all hold dear to our hearts. And I think it’s time we all fly our freak flags proudly. I’ll start…

Food

Oooooh. Where to begin? I am a massive (not literally) foodie. I abhor a fussy eater and will try anything once, whether it be raw eel or a super hot chili. If it’s exotic with an unpronounceable name, so much the better. I try and buy all organic, and am fascinated by superfoods, but every now and then…

… Fish finger sandwiches happen. The fish fingers have to be decent, but it’s all down hill after that, I’m afraid. The bread – it must be super cheap, white, squidgy – with any trace of nutrients processed out of it. And so much ketchup it runs down the sides when I bite into it. Some people try and posh up a fish finger sandwich, which is a bit like polishing a turd. Nope – you can take your tartar sauce and fresh baked bloomer bread – and don’t even think about adding any salad. If there’s even a trace mineral in this bad boy I’ll sense it, and the experience will be ruined.

Also worth an honourable mention: chicken kievs with mash and baked beans, banana-flavoured Yazoo and butterscotch Angel Delight with chocolate sprinkles on top.

Just like granny used to make
Just like granny used to make
People

Maybe I’m a bit strange, but while most girls are lusting after a Brad Pitt or a David Beckham, I find myself strangely drawn to famous men with a bit of personality. I’ve raised the subject of guilty pleasure crushes numerous times in group situations, and truly no one seems to get the concept. My guilty pleasure is rotund with weird teeth. But he has something about him that appeals to me way more than a perfectly honed chest, or micro-managed facial hair. We’re talking Jack Black folks, and apparently it’s not OK to fancy him.

Music

This is the one I struggle with the most, because I am so judgemental myself. But this is meant to be a respite from all that, so even though ABBA brings me out in a rash and Professor Green, Example and the like make me so angry my teeth nearly crumble in my head…

…Secretly, I love The Carpenters. I know every lyric to every song on their Singles album, which I used to listen to with my mum on long drives when I was a little girl. I am much better known as someone who’s into credible music, and I am very vocal about my distaste of crappy pop music, so I keep that little fact to myself.

carp
Don’t be fooled – The Carpenters aren’t cool
TV

“I don’t watch TV!” is something I proclaim loudly when I am being particularly smug and obnoxious. I can’t stand soaps or chat shows or talent shows, and I can’t bear Channel 4 for it’s exploitative content and rabble rousing.

But something strange happens to me when anything comes on TV with Jersey in the title. Jersey Shores, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jersey Girls.. If it contains women with so much fake tan on that they look like tribal Namibians, chewing gum and ripping each other’s weaves out. If there are men so full of steroids and their own sense of self importance that their string-vested bodies resemble bread rising round wire, I’m there. Box set style.

I want my very own Snooki to keep in my handbag.
Maybe I should stop taking myself so seriously. Maybe we all need to stop buying into the myth of cool, and just like what we like.

If you’re already one of those people who is unashamed of their love of the Backstreet Boy’s Greatest Hits album or proud of your taste for pickled onion flavoured Monster Munch sandwiches, then I salute you! We should all try and be a bit more honest and less ashamed if our tastes are a little kooky.

And I promise – if you like Jason DeRulo, I won’t mock you. After all, who died and made me queen? But if anyone comes round here with an ABBA album, it’s game over.
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4 thoughts on “In praise of the Guilty Pleasure

  1. I regularly head bang to Def Leppard on the way to a hiking trail that I inch down while meditating and then return home to a tub of Kaukana Port Wine Cheese Spread and a marathon of bizarre You Tube documentaries in my stretched out yoga pants. Because awesome. And vodka.

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  2. I fancy Jack Black too. You’re not the only one. I also had a thing for Jeanine Garafalo for a long time, which a lot of people seem to find weird. Iron Man 2/ Expendables 1 Mickey Rourke gets my blood pumping too.

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