Guilty Pleasures.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria the Silver Fox, Padmum , Will knot,and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get eleven different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Anu.

“Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings.”
~Euripides

And that is the rub. The guilt is not because of the pleasure one derives, but because of the duration of the joy. Both feed off each other. One tends to get hooked on to the guilt and the joy that guilt itself begets, not what brought the pleasure about.

Anu is of the age where guilt about all kinds of pleasures is normal and I am not surprised that she has come up with this topic. On the other end of the age-spectrum, I being the second oldest in the LBC gang, on the other hand, cannot be expected to feel guilty about any pleasure that I may be able to squeeze out of life. And I feel guilty about that. I will be accused of being insensitive because I cannot feel guilty about any kind of pleasure now.

If I am asked about my experiences of guilty pleasures, I must confess that I have none. Drinking in the Indian equivalent of speakeasies and shebeens during prohibition days was very pleasurable, but I did not feel guilty about doing that. I enjoyed every moment, because it was prohibited. I enjoyed drinking then more than I enjoyed drinking after prohibition was lifted.

Other, ahem, prohibited pleasures were also more enjoyable because of the prohibition, and when I look back on those, I re-live those moments and feel a nice glow about what grand experiences they were. What is there to be guilty about? They are part of who I am today.

There is also the problem that pleasure itself is undesirable in some value systems. Guilt usually arises in such a value system and all kinds of adverse reactions take place and guilt gets replaced by shame. The difference is not in semantics. Guilt is telling oneself that one did some thing bad and shame is when one feels that one is bad. This in turn, can become the proverbial load one carries throughout one’s life, unless intervention is sought.

The way I look at it, I will feel guilty about pleasure if I try to be someone I am expected to be and not who I am; and I will feel ashamed when I cannot be that expected person. So, the solution to the conundrum, is to take the pleasure when it comes my way and enjoy it without hiding it. That means being authentic about myself. It is easier said than done, I admit, but what alternative is there really?

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