I little while ago funny man Mr Shev tagged me in a post, asking me to write about my guilty pleasures. Mr Shev predicted mine would be “Listening to Gary Barlow’s back catalogue and eating Wispas washed down with Blue Nun”. How rude. As if I would listen to Gary Barlow. Since he first wrote the post, I have been slightly distracted talking about porn, (which isn’t one of my guilty pleasures), but now here I am, ready to confess.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot and it’s tricky. Not because I don’t occasionally like to spend an afternoon at home watching Jeremy Kyle whilst eating cereals straight out of the box, but because I struggle to feel guilty about it. I’m not very good at guilt. It’s one of those wasted emotions isn’t it? Like jealousy. It doesn’t really accomplish anything. (Except really of course I only pretend not to be a jealous type of person. Goodness, perhaps jealousy is a guilty pleasure? Except there’s no pleasure in it…)
Feeling guilty about things you enjoy is especially hard around Christmas. It’s an entire season set up to encourage excessive spending after all. And the replacement of normal meals with half a bottle of gin and a box of Elizabeth Shaw mints. There are plenty of things I don’t normally feel guilty about – like eating chocolates in bed, or drinking at lunchtime, or flirting with other people’s husbands – but not many things that actually make me feel bad. I thought hard though, and here are a few:
Ignoring the phone – when I was in my teens, before we had mobiles or MSN or the internet, I spent a lot of time on the phone. I would sit on the stairs in my hallway talking to my best friend Maddie about how much we loved Kurt Cobain, or at the top of the house in my mum’s study, telling my boyfriend how much I missed him, even though his Dad had only picked him up half an hour before.
Nowadays though I struggle with the phone. I have discovered that I am much more interesting and amusing when I have a few minutes to construct a witty response. Phones are so instant, I get scared, my mind goes blank. Either that or I get bored and distracted, and realise someone has been talking to me for five minutes and I’ve not even been listening.
So a lot of the time I just don’t answer. I listen to it ring and choose to ignore it. People who know me well and who really want to speak to me will phone a few times in a row until I pick up, but mostly I just think ‘if it’s important they’ll phone my mobile and then I can see who it is before I decide if I want to speak to them…’ I do feel bad about this, but there is also something secretly liberating about it.
Heat magazine – quite often when my friend Vicky comes round for dinner she will bring dirty magazines. We call them dirty magazines at least. We’re talking Heat, Closer, Reveal… all the celebrity gossip and ‘real life’ stories you could want, plus some you probably don’t. I rarely buy anything like this for myself, but sometimes, if I’m in a very particular mood, I will buy a copy of Heat magazine.
I’m not sure why I do it. Seeing pictures of Cheryl Cole with a loose false eyelash doesn’t make me gasp in horror, and I don’t actually care who wore which dress on which red carpet, but there is something about the absurdity of celebrity culture, the idea that there are people who care, that there is a whole industry built on it, (and yes I know I am fuelling it by buying the damn thing), that transports me temporarily from my own life to a parallel universe, where banishing cellulite is the secret to eternal happiness.
Television – In my head, grown-ups don’t watch television. Proper grown-ups sit casually at large wooden dining tables, drinking coffee out of deliberately mis-matched mugs, discussing politics and being clever and interesting. Or they lounge on scruffy velvet sofas, playing games, drinking wine and being incredibly witty and charming. They definitely don’t sit on their own under a duvet in their pyjamas watching Sex And The City and eating crisps. Proper parents discourage television too, preferring to spend afternoons with young children doing things involving glue and glitter and bits of pasta. *shudders*
I don’t think this is snobbery on my part. I don’t judge anyone else for watching television, I just judge myself. Again and again I’ve toyed with getting rid of the TV completely. When I lived with Belle’s Dad I even used to imagine that we only had a TV because he wanted it, that once he was gone, the television would be too. Oh how wrong I was. It is still here, and I watch more of it than ever.
It’s such easy, lazy entertainment though isn’t it? You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to talk, or move, or even think. There is no creativity involved, it accomplishes nothing. And that is what makes it so addictive.
I can’t think of any more. I’m sorry Mr Shev. What a lame post.