No Guilt At All

What Exactly Are Guilty Pleasures?

By Jeff Salter

It’s taken me a while to get a handle on this week’s topic — guilty pleasures. I’m not sure what I previously thought it meant, but I suppose I considered a guilty pleasure to be something that seems otherwise out of “character” – in the sense that we tend to stereotype people (and their tastes) – for a certain individual to enjoy. Along the lines of: “You wouldn’t probably expect this of me, but I really dig collecting skunk pelts.” A better example might be if a stereotypical, unmarried, elderly female librarian were a loud, rabid, obnoxious fan of pro wrestling. [And, yes, I can talk about librarians, because I was one for 30 years.]

According to Wiki, a guilty pleasure “is something, such as a film, a television program or a piece of music, that one enjoys despite understanding that it is not generally held in high regard, or is seen as unusual or weird. For example, a person may secretly like a movie but will admit that particular movie is poorly made and/or generally seen as ‘not good’. It can also be used to refer to one’s taste for foods that are considered to be advisable to avoid, especially for health reasons. Fashion, video games, music, theatre, television series, films, food and fetishes can be examples of guilty pleasures.”

I’m still not sure where the “guilt” part comes into play. If any of us love or enjoy something that’s a little weird, why should we feel guilty about it? To each his/her own… right?

I mean, I happen to enjoy chocolate (whether it’s ice cream, Hershey bars, or M&M Peanuts)… but I don’t have the slightest sense of guilt about it.

I still possess a few of my childhood toys from the 1950s… but don’t have a twinge of guilt.

I enjoy collecting books – in many different genres – but feel no fault.

I built up a fairly substantial collection of comic books several years ago… but don’t sense any guilt.

I’ve spent a few decades collecting and displaying military items from as far back as the Spanish-American War… but I don’t feel guilty.

Are those hobbies out-of-the-ordinary in any way? I’m not sure.

I know plenty of people who collect things that I might consider a bit off-the-wall, but I can’t see where they should feel guilty about it. I figure… to each his own. I recently read a story about a guy who collects very expensive masks from some of the big-time Hollywood horror movie franchises. That’s not my cup of tea, but there’s no reason for him to feel guilty about it… unless he’s not paying his other bills and obligations in order to buy those high-dollar masks.

So instead of classifying things that interest me as “guilty pleasures,” I think I’ll just consider them as collections / activities which give me a degree of pleasure. But to anyone who imagines my choices are more off-the-wall than their choices, I plead, “Not guilty!”


What about YOU? What are your pleasures that may not fit neatly into someone else’s mindset? Does that bring you any guilt?

[JLS # 513]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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13 Responses to No Guilt At All

  1. jbrayweber says:

    I believe the most common guilty pleasures are romance novels. For far too long, folks would claim that they were trashy books as opposed to literary. However, those who read them thoroughly but secretly enjoy them. Thus a guilty pleasure.

    Also, guilt could be seen as an admission rather than feeling bad about something. Like someone asking others “who likes heavy metal music?” and I would raise my hand and say “guilty!” Which is quite true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I think my perception of a guilty pleasure is something that prevents you from doing or having things that you need to do or have. None of the things you describe would qualify UNLESS the chocolate consumption is unhealthy, or your collections take up so much room that you can’t move, or you spend so much money that you can’t pay your bills. I think one of the things I really enjoy about retirement is having more time to indulge in things I want to do rather than things I have to do, so I feel less guilt about them!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think Jenn and Patty nailed it, Jeff, and you, too, when you said it was something that was unexpected or not particularly held in high regard.
    None of yours fits the bill, although the closest is the chocolate, yet you fee no remorse. LOL!
    It reminds me of the scene in Diary of a Country Priest, where he was taken to an old sailor who was dying. He tried to get the man’s soul in a good place and had him talk to him about his life. The sailor admitted to having a lot of women around the world.The priests asked him if he was sorry; the man said no, he was not. The priest asked him if he was sorry that he wasn’t sorry. The sailor said that he guessed that he was sorry that he wasn’t sorry. The priest settled for that and hoped for God’s mercy.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Merriam-Webster defines guilty pleasure as something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt. Technically, I see it as something you like, or have, that you probably shouldn’t because it’s not good for you. Dark chocolate doesn’t count, Jeff. It’s proven to be good for your health. Now M&Ms might fall into that category since they have that super sugary shell about them. 🙂

    You wouldn’t be referring to my castle collection as one of those off-the-wall collections, would you? LOL

    My own “guilty pleasure” could be that dessert I shouldn’t have on occasion because it spikes my blood sugar level. But it sure is a pleasure while I’m having it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My casltes are all over the house and outside, but maybe when I have some time, I’ll make a collage of them, and post them on the forum. Will that do? I don’t know how to add a picture here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I still do feel guilty about eating pork rinds.They can’t be good for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I completely agree with you. There is no reason for anyone to feel guilty about something that they enjoy just because others might see it at strange.


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