I don’t call them “guilty” pleasures (Weekly Geeks 2009-20)

This week’s task was sent in by Maree of Just Add Books, who’s been thinking about those things that we do when we’re not reading or blogging. Here’s what Maree has to say:

The comments on this post of mine got me thinking about guilty pleasures. Non-reading guilty pleasures.

Mine at the time the post was written was American Idol. Particularly one contestant, as you can see. By now, the show is over, and the results are in, one way or another.

But my inappropriate addiction to Idol got me thinking about the things we do that we love but that we don’t like to admit to–our guilty pleasures. Mine is reality TV, which scratches that small, dark place that we all have.
So. Weekly Geeks, we’re going into the confessional this week. What’s your non-reading guilty pleasure?

I have a complicated relationship with the concept of guilt thanks to my Catholic background, and the confessional is one place I never liked going. But I’ll save the genuine guilt for bigger things that really warrant it – assuming that I can’t just do the right thing, which would let me avoid it all together.

In any case, I don’t like to call them “guilty pleasures.” I may feel guilty about the time and money that these “pleasures” consume at the expense of more “worthwhile” activities, but the activities themselves? Not terribly guilty… and although I don’t often talk about them, I think that’s more self-consciousness and fear of judgment than true guilt. For that reason, I’d rather consider them “embarrassing entertainments” or “indiscreet indulgences.”

For me, the indulgences are things that pamper the body and/or the senses:

  • The day spa. In the last couple of years, I’ve gone from someone who couldn’t bear to have her feet touched to one who considers The Essential Pedicure a favorite relaxing treat, and one who has a “regular” esthetician that she sees for facials every couple of months. I love the skin-care products they use there too, and have been known to bring some of them home.
  • Clothes and shoes that I really like, but really don’t need. The right combination of style, color, and material will get my attention, and if it’s on sale, that’s even better. I don’t care much about manufacturers or designer labels, but I do care about finding a good bargain – that does help with the “money” guilt.
  • Desserts. My weakness is anything chocolatey and cake-like, especially when served with a warm sauce or a chilled mousse (also chocolate, of course). My second-biggest weakness is cheesecake. Combine them into something like the Cheesecake Factory’s 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, and I’ll be quite satisfied – but a Cream Cheese Brownie from the Corner Bakery Cafe is a trip to heaven.

And the entertainments are things that betray my less-than-sophisticated tastes:

  • Television. While watching TV – on DVD, DVR, or live – has been claimed as a guilty pleasure by quite a few Weekly Geeks, I don’t feel that way about it in general. I almost never have the TV on just for background; I have specific shows I intend to watch, and otherwise it’s turned off. However, I will admit that there are a few shows that I enjoy in secret (well, secret from most people other than my husband), and Smallville is on the top of that list these days.
  • Movie Musicals. Granted, my favorite musicals include some genuine classics – The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Singin’ in the Rain. But the musicals I’d mention here are classically cheesyGrease, Hairspray, and Little Shop of Horrors, and the strange concoction that is Moulin Rouge – and I love them at least as much.
  • Chick-lit. (Yes, I realize this is a reading-related item.) I don’t read a lot of it (unless it’s written by Jennifer Weiner or Emily Giffin), but sometimes it’s exactly what I want – just like dessert.

Don’t feel guilty about it – I’d love to hear about one of your guilty pleasures!

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  1. Nicole – It’s funny; when a lot of people talk about their addiction to chocolate, they mean candy. Not me – I’m all about the baked goods. And I LOVE those molten chocolate cakes! Thanks – now I’m hungry :-).

  2. April – I'm supposed to be reading Certain Girls this month as sort of a blog-book-club thing – looking forward to it! I subscribe to Jennifer Weiner's blog, too.

    Gautami – That's another favorite of mine, too – sleep without guilt :-)!

  3. I've written about this before–one of my guilty pleasures is the romance novel I keep under my car seat for anytime I'm caught without something to read. Sometimes I can put it back under the car seat after 5-10 minutes, but sometimes I bring it in the house and finish it like a tasty little piece of book candy.

  4. Jess and Jeanne – Even those of us who get genuine pleasure from reading have our little book-related secrets, it seems :-). I do like the idea of keeping a reserve book in the car, though.

  5. Laura (L.A. Story) – Glad to know the books arrived. Hope you enjoy it!

    Did you know that this Friday is National Donut Day? Go out and celebrate :-)!