Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why feel guilty about it if it helps you cope?

I was outside chatting with friends as we watched our 5- and 3-year-olds carom around the playground, when one of them mentioned that she'd been watching the SciFi channel lately, and it was her guilty pleasure.

"Oh, that's not a guilty pleasure," I quipped. "A guilty pleasure is a 'Real Housewives of Where Ever" marathon or watching multiple episodes of 'The Girls Next Door.' While drunk. SciFi is science plus fiction. That's multitasking." We all laughed, and the conversation took a turn and went elsewhere. But still, the ridiculousness of my quip made me wonder: What makes a guilty pleasure a guilty pleasure?

Is it because you'd feel silly if someone else found out about it? (In which case, why admit it to anyone?) Or is it that you feel guilty about doing it, but can't bring yourself to stop?

Now, while I do have a predilection for really crappy television, even I -- bourbon aficionado that I am -- do not watch marathon sessions of pseudo-reality TV while drunk. Honestly, aside from "Iron Chef" (the original, not the American one), I can't take more than a couple of minutes of the stuff. My guilty pleasures are all about indulgence: rich desserts and good scotch and great books and hours-long bubble baths. And the guilt comes from all directions: I feel silly confessing that my guilt is over something so innocuous, the fact that I'm spending money on scotch, the way I should probably spend time knocking my to-do list down to size instead of soaking in the tub.

But I banish those guilty thoughts and indulge anyway, once in a while, becausefrankly, it helps me cope with the crazy amount of stuff on my plate. And there's never a reason to feel guilty about coping.

What's your guilty pleasure?

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