A long time ago in a jeans size far, far away, I vanquished the myth of a guilty pleasure when I realized women had been cast under a spell of believing that they were supposed to do for others first, themselves later. Or not at all.
So, one day, with nary a fairy godmother in sight…
The guilt was gone.
I realized that what was necessary for some to relax or unwind or just stay stable and sane where the same things that my friends and I considered guilty pleasures. Truly? What troll came up with that idea?
There are many things we could consider guilty pleasures if we allow ourselves. Why allow it?
Guilty pleasures of the past: manicure, pedicure, girls-night-out, chocolate, a glass of wine, a massage, a decadent meal, ordering in, a chick flick, a day off the treadmill, a new pair of (reasonably priced) earrings, dinner from the freezer or a box, a midday game of tennis, a drink with friends after work. Or whatever works. For you.
None of these things, if acquired, used, wanted or purchased by men would have been considered a guilty anything. They would have just been considered “a thing.”
Women have long been held accountable for the emotional and physical well-being of others, excluding themselves. And heaven forbid the well-being includes only emotional well-being, which can’t be seen. There’s no reason that something you enjoy and want that does not negatively impact anyone else, shouldn’t be on your to-do list. Not everything has to have a reason or a higher purpose or an appropriate calorie value.
I really consider guilt a pointless emotion. If I do something or not, it’s because I want to or I don’t. If there is guilt involved, chances are I’m not really following my gut or my heart or my brain. Chances are, I’m subscribing to someone else’s idea of what’s right. I’m not advocating ditching responsibilities or spending money you don’t have, but there’s no cost to a bubble bath with the door locked as long as there’s something around to keep an eye on the kids.
I watch General Hospital almost daily as I have done for almost 35 years. Guilty pleasure? No. Just something I like to do. After all, it’s always worse in Port Charles which can be reassuring. I often note that I’m an unapologetic chocoholic. True. I’m not sorry I prefer chocolate to chicken. It’s not a guilty pleasure, even if it’s Jacque Torres chocolate (dark chocolate covered cornflakes, anyone?OMG).
Doing or having something you think is special does not require feeling guilty about doing or having it. And why relegate it to once a year or only on holidays? You don’t deserve it? Hang onto your pumpkins, ladies. You do.
To me, guilt should reserved for when and if someone intentionally hurts someone else or even themselves. Then guilt is functional if it serves to change behavior. But frankly, the people who do those thing usually don’t have any guilt at all. About anything. And they probably have plenty of pleasures to go along with it.
You know what I’d like to do with them, don’t you?