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Tag Archives | guilt

Monday Listicles: Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures is this week’s Monday listicle topic–although, as Erica points out in her post, pleasures cannot themselves feel guilty. Erica likes “guilt-filled pleasures,” but I’m thinking it might be time to separate the two.

Is it particularly American to derive guilt out of pleasure or did Freud invent that particular relationship?  Should we blame the Puritans? The Jews? Catholics? It’s a long list… Add to that list of guilty parties the fact that I’m a mother, which, as Ado at the Momalog pointed out, means feeling twangs of guilt on a regular basis over just about everything.  Plus I’m an academic, which means that there are always, always students who want more attention, papers that need to be graded, articles that need to be written, lectures that need to be prepared…it’s a guilt-inducing profession.

Or maybe it’s just me in my own little vortex of guilt.  Who knows.

Therefore and forthwith, I am creating this list in rebellion against my own guilty impulses (yes, I know Erica, impulses can’t feel guilt. But the sentence doesn’t read as well if I write “guilt-filled impulses”).  What follows is a list, in no particular order, of pleasures.

1. Television. Glossy detective shows like “Burn Notice,” and “Leverage.” Singing along with “Glee,” caught up in the drama of “The Good Wife,” salivating at all the varieties of Top Chef… Love ’em.

2. Cookies. Pretty much any kind of cookie, with a general tilt towards the buttery, vanilla-y kind, not the chocolate kind.

3. Cheese. If left on my own, cheese is pretty much my favorite meal. The first time I went to Holland and my hostess pulled out the breakfast cheese-and-bread, I thought I’d gone to heaven.

4. VIggo Mortensen, in Aragorn mode. Although Viggo as the man who sells blouses,  in “Walk on the Moon,” isn’t half bad. Every woman I know who saw that movie wanted Diane Lane to leave home and go sell blouses with Viggo for the rest of her life.

5. Sunshine. Yes, yes, skin cancer, I know, blah blah blah. I have moisturizer with tons of SPF; I wear sunscreen at the beach. But let’s face it, the damage was done in high school and college, when we used to “lay out,” as we called it, in the hot summer sun, slathering ourselves with baby oil for optimum rays. In about ten years I’m going to look like the beef-jerky ladies who populate golf courses in Florida: wizened and swathed in Lily Pulitzer.  And you know what? I don’t care.

6. Dancing around to really loud music. Obviously this pleasure is best enjoyed alone, lest I scare the small children and Husband who share my apartment.

7. Jewelry. I love things that sparkle. Not diamonds, necessarily (although as I age, I’m thinking that diamonds are really always appropriate). My cousin designs beautiful jewelry and if you’re ever in Santa Fe, you should look her up.  I think jewelry should reflect the vision of the artisan (and the wearer) and not some mass-produced idea of “bling.”

8. Having someone clean my apartment. Oh how quickly have I given over to the joy of having a cleaning lady. I feel guilty, yes, it’s true, but walking into the apartment in the late afternoon after F. has worked her magic? Big pleasure.

9. Fiction. I love a good novel…and I love rereading, too. There are some books that I quite literally get homesick for–a passage or phrase will pop into my head and won’t go away until I re-read the entire thing. Sometimes it’s a high-minded re-read (Moby Dick, anything by Willa Cather).  Sometimes it’s…well, let’s just say that vampires, mockingjays, and other such creatures are not unfamiliar to me.

10. Gin-and-tonics. Really, it’s the perfect drink. Classic. Like a Chanel suit that you can drink. And that you can get two of without bankrupting yourself. If I were ever to find myself in a Chanel suit (which I won’t) and have my fingers wrapped around a chilled G&T at the same time? It might be almost as good as going to sell blouses with Viggo.


I’m doing a little “double-dipping” and adding this post over at Erica’s Lovelinks for this week. Click on over and visit…read the other posts there, then come back Thursday to vote!

Continue Reading · on October 17, 2011 in Monday Listicle

have you been infected?

My friend C. drove our kids to their soccer game in Queens today because her son said “you NEVER come to my games.”

Now I happen to know that Carolyn does go to games, and practices, because I’ve been there with her, in the freezing cold and the soaking wet and the steamy heat.  She’s schlepped my kid along with her kid to practices uptown, downtown, eastside, westside, and everywhere in between.

And yes, you’re absolutely right, I owe her big time, but that’s not what I’m writing about.  I’m writing about what infected C. this morning: guilt-inducing amnesia germs (GAG for short).  I’ve had bouts of this disease, and if you’re a parent, then you probably have too.  The infection spreads like this:

“You never let me stay up late.”
“My brother always gets what he wants and I never do.”
“Why can’t we ever take a taxi?”
“Nobody cares what I do, ever.”
“You always miss my concerts.”
“How come we never get to have pizza for dinner?”

There is a corollary medical condition here called miserari absolutis, in which the patient decides that the current unhappiness is in fact permanent—and actually, upon reflection, s/he has been miserable since birth.

GAG exists independently of actual fact. The patient may in fact have been up hours past bedtime the previous evening, been given all his brother’s toys, taken five taxis, spent the entire afternoon with one or the other parent, had every concert extensively videotaped, and eaten enough pizza to sink several battleships.

Logic has no effect on GAG, however, for either the patient or the parent.  The misery is so palpable, the pain so great, that the parent who has been infected can only react: administer later hours, taxis, pizzas, rides to Queens, whatever the case calls for.

Luckily GAG is not terminal, although under certain situations I can see that it might be. Nor has a permanent cure for GAG been discovered. Administering large doses of alcohol to the parent can sometimes help—but that may also exacerbate the disease, in that the parent wants the child only to be quiet so that mommy can enjoy her glass of pinot gris. (Speaking hypothetically, of course. I would never turn on the TV and order in a pizza just so I can start cocktail hour early.)

I’m also afraid that children do not grow out of the infectious stage.  As long as the host parent is alive, GAG thrives, seeking out education, housing, cars, perhaps eventually babysitting for grandchildren.  Grandchildren, in fact, are about the only solace, if by solace one means “payback:”   Try these phrases on for size: “we haven’t seen the grandkids in ages,” or “I’m sure you’re too busy to visit us,” or “I guess you have lots of better things to do these days than bother with me.”

Feels good, doesn’t it?

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Continue Reading · on March 12, 2011 in Children, family, NaBloPoMo, Parenting

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