Do you ever find yourself wanting to watch a movie that nobody you are acquainted with would ever watch, or that they would rip you mercilessly for liking?
Do you ever want to eat something that would make everyone you know gag?
Do you ever mark out to a song in the privacy of your own car that, if in a public place, you would pretend not to notice?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions congratulations — you are guilty of indulging in a guilty pleasure.
This topic came to mind a few days ago as I sat at my dining room table munching on tuna casserole — a dish I had not indulged in for more than 5 years.
It was creamy, it was chock full of tuna-y goodness (I’m aware tuna-y isn’t a word, but this is my blog so shut it), and I enjoyed the living hell out of it. I’ve always loved it.
So why did I wait 5 years to have it again if I love it so much? One simple reason.
Nobody else I know likes it.
I suppose I could have prepared it for a solo dinner, but I either didn’t have many of those in the past 5 years, or it just slipped my mind when I did. Regardless, while I slowly became deliciously reacquainted with its awesomeness, it got me to thinking: how often do we push things we like into the background just to avoid admitting that we like them, or for the benefit of others?
It’s kind of funny that we do this (keep secret our guilty pleasures), because I would bet money that there is no more common thread that exists among people. Human beings are an extremely self-conscious species, after all. Not all humans are equal in that regard, but if you’ve ever looked in a mirror to make sure your hair is perfect, or used cologne/perfume/body spray, you are guilty as sin of it (yes, doing it for your own sake still makes you self-conscious).
Having said the above, not all guilty pleasures stay secret because you think they will make you look foolish or open you up to ridicule. Sometimes, you keep them secret because you just don’t feel like explaining your reasoning behind them.
For example, I love liquor bottles. Specifically brandy and cognac.
Now for what makes this guilty pleasure so bizarre: I don’t drink. Not a damn drop.
Do you realize I would spend buku bucks assembling a liquor cabinet of these bottles and never drink a single f*cking sip?!
I honestly don’t know how to explain why this guilty pleasure makes sense to me — which is why I tend not to mention things like this to the important people in my real life.
As if on a mission, I have found myself diving into even more guilty pleasures after my rendezvous with “Madame Casserole”.
For instance, I watched a guilty pleasure film of mine called Ninja Wars (Iga Ninpocho) again for the first time in about 15 years.
Ok, now it is important to note that this movie is not as bad as the trailer suggests. It’s not Oscar-worthy material, but it’s not garbage. The original Japanese movie was much better — it’s that ass awful dub track that does this film in as an enjoyable film to watch with friends and family.
When I watch the dub of this film, I am trying desperately NOT to laugh my ass off at the dialogue; if I watched this film with friends, that would be nigh impossible. The whole plot is also a bit too ripe for ridicule to watch it with others. *SPOILERS (like it matters…)* It’s foretold that whoever marries this woman named Ukio will rule the world, which predictably makes her a very attractive bride for all the power hungry warlords in Japan as the flavor text under that trailer suggests.
This movie tends to stay in the “secret guilty pleasures” pile because, there is no way for me to take this film… seriously (as difficult as that is anyway…) … while listening to people rip its flaws to shreds. This same mindset could apply to almost all the guilty pleasure sword & sorcery/martial arts/science fiction B movies that I enjoy when I’m on my own.
Don’t take the above as a statement that my guilty pleasure mentality is tied only to B movies from niche genres — I also enjoy some guilty pleasures from more universally accepted genres, like comedy.
The above clips are from a little ’90s guilty pleasure film of mine called Surf Ninjas. This little comedy film from 1993 was mindless, juvenile, a little too silly at times — and, you know, FUN.
Heaven help me if I actually don’t want to watch something with a profound message 24-7. I guess I don’t have a pretentious stick up my ass all the time — sue me. This movie has no redeeming intellectual qualities, and damn it, that’s why I love it. That said, once again this movie falls into the secret guilty pleasures pile. I’m not sure my best friend would be cool with sitting through 1 1/2 hours of a film that has slacker humor and not savvy humor, and the same goes for most of my friends and family (save my homegirl — you’re awesome!).
Music is another story, entirely. When you are friends with people who absolutely love rock and metal, it makes for a hilarious situation when you try to expose them to the immortal genius of Pac, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, etc. Not just the thought provoking joints, either. Greats like Pac may have had a message to convey. But for every Brenda’s Got a Baby, or Gotta Keep Ya Head Up, there was always an I Get Around just for a little bit of guilty pleasure fun. Luckily for those of us who don’t hate hip hop, Pac wasn’t afraid to scream his guilty pleasures out for everyone to hear.
It occurs to me now that I didn’t really have a set conclusion for this piece when I started writing. That’s sort of typical of me. I am more of an off-the-cuff writer. Over thinking is a very present danger for me, and can easily sap out all of the fun of writing.
I guess if there has to be a point, it would be that you should make time to enjoy the guilty pleasures — whether or not you do it out in the open is up to you. Do them alone if you don’t feel like explaining them to others. Just don’t deprive yourself of them simply because you don’t think your friends and family would understand.
If you want to watch that movie that the critics gave 1* and everyone else absolutely hates, hell, go watch it.
If you want to eat something nobody else likes, fix it and tell them to make their own damn food if they don’t like it.
If you like a song and you want to mark out to it, go nuts.
These are all just friendly suggestions.
However you choose to indulge in your guilty pleasures is your choice. But find a way that is right for you. Sweeping them under the rug is not a fulfilling option. All you are doing is denying yourself some satisfaction. When the time is right, take a cue from Pac and share them with others — but make sure to let them know that this is your guilty pleasure. You showing it to them doesn’t mean they have to subscribe.
Indulging in the guilty pleasures of life can even have some unexpected benefits.
Just look what a plate of tuna casserole did for me.