Taking the Guilt Out of Guilty Pleasures
Before my cheeks turn red, I’m going to share with you a few things about me that many would call “guilty pleasures”. I swoon weekly for The Vampire Diaries. I will watch any kind of outrageous reality TV program (Storage Wars and Hardcore Pawn are a few recent favorites). I can never have too many shoes, purses, or freebie Kindle books. Oh, and I’m a huge Apple fangirl.
If you started your own list as you read mine, at this point if we were in-person there’s a good chance we’d be unable to meet each other’s eyes. At some point we were told things like that are bad for us or that we shouldn’t have them. So we covet, we yearn, and then we acquire in secret before anyone can see us. (You Fifty Shades of Grey folk- I’m looking at you!)
Ellie Coulter, my main character in the Shadows series, has a guilty pleasure. She’s a bit of a loner and although it’s difficult for her to admit even to herself, she’s a hopeless romantic. In Edge of Shadows (Shadows #1), she’s recently gotten divorced and is severely depressed. A friend of hers introduces her to paperback romance novels, and although she initially resists, eventually Ellie gives in (but doesn’t tell her friend). Deep down, she wants that “sweep you off your feet” kind of romance, and lucky for her, I delivered it in the form of Dr. David Mitchell.
I am fascinated by people who throw all of that societal pressure to the wind and say “I don’t care what you think. I’m going to do whatever the hell I want!” As I make an excuse to duck out of an appointment so I can get home and cuddle up with my DVR, I feel the desire to just be honest. But always I’m afraid that someone is going to judge me even though that guilty pleasure is probably irrelevant to anything that has to do with them.
For example, several years ago I could not look away from the train wreck that was the Flavor of Love reality show. I was so addicted that I watched two of the three following seasons and even the spin-off I Love New York. I was at a client meeting in Boston, at a very conservative financial institution, and one of the contacts mentioned something about reality TV. It spilled out of my mouth how much I loved watching Flavor of Love.
Did I forget to mention my boss was there too? She looked…mortified. Lucky for me, I had found a kindred spirit across the table. My client watched it too! That moment, I felt something release inside of me. I felt lighter, more relaxed and even confident. I had laid my guilty pleasure out there and escaped unscathed.
It’s that wild abandon and devil-may-care attitude that I gave to Lucy, who is a character that Ellie grows close to in Shadows Deep (Shadows #2). Lucy is loud, outspoken, and doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but her own. I am fairly certain that the term “guilty pleasures” doesn’t even exist in her vocabulary. For Lucy, there’s nothing but pleasures.
I’d say that I’m a blend of Ellie and Lucy’s attitudes. Given that I have chosen a career that inevitably puts me out in the public eye, just talking about writing and publishing all the time can get a bit stale. So bring on the 50 Shades of Grey discussion! Let’s let it all hang out a bit and take a lesson from Lucy; no more guilty pleasures because we’ll agree together that there is nothing we need to feel guilty about.