My guilty pleasures

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.



  1. Tom
    23 December, 2010 / 8:50 am

    Listening to Pet Shop Boys.

    And I’m not gay…


    • 23 December, 2010 / 9:52 am

      Yet? Something you’re considering then Tom? It’s alright to be gay you know, if you want to use my blog as a platform for coming out…

  2. june seghni
    23 December, 2010 / 9:29 am

    I consider myself an educated woman;read improving books,watch french films,even listen to radio 4..but I ADORE Coronation Street..(.blushing and hunching over the screen as I type) I live in young, hip Brighton, but my northern roots will out..

    • 23 December, 2010 / 9:57 am

      I think that’s probably better than my SATC habit. At least it is vaguely related to real life. Do you rush home from gallery openings and poetry readings with excuses about having to read some Russian literature and finish some etchings you’ve been working on? That would be funny :-)

  3. Lisbeth
    23 December, 2010 / 9:31 am

    I read the Daily Mail website.


    • 23 December, 2010 / 9:51 am

      That’s it. Get off my blog.

      It could be worse, you could have written for them.

    • Kerry
      23 December, 2010 / 8:31 pm

      Me too! *blush* :) Its addictive!! Am I banished now? ;)
      Congratultions on making the top 100 british parenting blogs of 2010 Miss Slummy Mummy! :)

      • 24 December, 2010 / 2:55 pm

        It IS addictive isn’t it? Especially the women’s section. We should all be ashamed of ourselves :-)

  4. 23 December, 2010 / 2:44 pm

    Jo Jo Jo Jo Jo… I love you! I haven’t been tagged in ages, and I lurrrrrrrrrve doing tags almost as much as I love you. Do you remember when bloggy interner-knitting first began, and everyone was at a ‘meme’? No? Ok. Well. It’s been a long time. And I’m afraid it’ll be even longer afore I get round to doing it – BUT I WILL! I promise. And if I haven’t, please remind me. Only I’ve scheduled posts for the next god knows how long while we sit and watch our Braxton Hicks and wait for a ‘show’. And I don’t mean one of those interminable repeats on the moving television viewer.

    So, thanks for throwing down the gauntlet. And in the words of Jesus, I’ll be back! (Is that right?)

    • 24 December, 2010 / 2:57 pm

      Ahhh! I’m so pleased I tagged you now – I love you too Tim :-)

      Yes I’m sure it was Jesus that said that. Definitely. Good luck with everything! xxx

  5. 23 December, 2010 / 3:01 pm

    Yeah I have been struggling with Mr Shev’s tag – ooh er missus – because I don’t feel guilty about anything either. I love celebrity mags too goes without saying.

    • 24 December, 2010 / 2:56 pm

      We clearly have no morals. Or a very healthy attitude to our own pleasure. One or the other I’m sure…

  6. 23 December, 2010 / 8:56 pm

    Oh gosh i feel guilty about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! in fact i bore myself to death with it. So, not surprisingly, i also feel guilty about not answering the phone (i hate talking on it), and i watch a ridiculous amount of crap tv. I don’t read heat though, not anymore. I think i’ve grown up a bit. :P

    • 24 December, 2010 / 2:58 pm

      Really? You struck me as a bit more hedonistic… It’s motherhood, it brings out the guilt gene, it’s just that I’ve been doing it so long now the effect has worn off :-)

  7. 27 December, 2010 / 12:01 am

    I live in a constant state of guilt. I don’t why and always get told that I am being stupid but still feel it. I totally get the phone thing, I always do that and I too think they will call my mobile if they want me. xx

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