Ditch Guilty Pleasures: If You Like Something, Then LIKE It

No More Guilty Pleasures: If You Like Something, Then LIKE It | Not Dressed As Lamb

This week I was really saddened to hear about the death of Glen Campbell, one of my favourite singers from my childhood – and whom I still love now – and it got me thinking about guilty pleasures.

‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ was one of those songs that I secretly loved all through my teens and twenties. A song that you sing at the top of your lungs in the car, safe in the knowledge that no one can hear how badly you’re singing it. And this week it also occurred to me that secretly was the operative word. When I was at school I would NEVER have admitted to my friends that I liked Glen Campbell. Or Doris Day. Or Andy Williams. Or The Carpenters. Or Neil Diamond.

Or anyone else that was considered “not cool” in the 80s or 90s.

But I have always loved all those artists, and I guess in the past they would have been what I would have described as my “guilty pleasures”.

But a few years back, probably around the time I lost my inhibitions about all sorts of things (like what I chose to wear, asking what words I didn’t know meant, asking questions at conferences – otherwise known as “getting older”), I also started to really, truly embrace all the things I liked.

No matter how “uncool” they were supposed to be.


Liking stuff that’s considered uncool (AKA “guilty pleasures”)

I had a bit of an epiphany where liking uncool stuff was concerned a few years ago whilst watching The One Show (for non-Brits: The One Show is a daily studio-based magazine programme on after the early evening news covering all sorts of topics from the very serious to the very fluffy).

They had a daily series for one week covering unusual hobbies that different people had, from (if memory serves) breeding rats to spotting and photographing electricity pylons.

I was watching it with Keith, and I knew instantly what he was thinking – it was the same as me, WHY would anyone want to do such a strange thing? – but as each interview progressed, it was clear what all these people had in common: An absolute passion for their hobby, and it brought them all true happiness. I seem to remember how well they were portrayed in the clips: No one was treated with ridicule. No one was presented as being a nutcase, or weird. Just people with an unusual (to most other people) hobby that brought utter joy into their lives.

At the end of the piece about electricity pylons, I turned to Keith and said, You know what, I was ready to say to you about this being such a weird thing to do, but did you see how much that couple were enjoying life, travelling the country and looking for pylons to photograph?

And he turned to me and said, I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing. Good for them for doing something they love, no matter what anyone else thinks. Who cares if WE think it’s unusual?

We then looked forward to the remaining parts of the series each day, desperate to see what other unusual things people got up to and loved doing. We learnt that these people loved what they loved, and without shame.

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Better to have a weird and wonderful passion in life than none at all.

This week I was reminded of the joy that just liking (or rather, being really really CRAZY about) something can bring when I saw this video on Twitter:

Just HOW happy was that lovely guy watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie? The joy that he exuded was infectious… it made me want to get my Footloose album out and start Kevin Baconing round the room. Or watch The Breakfast Club and dance like Molly Ringwald in the library scene (classic 80s dancing in both instances).

His life looked practically complete right there – he felt no shame at all in liking (loving!) Lizzie McGuire.

No More Guilty Pleasures: If You Like Something, Then LIKE It | Not Dressed As Lamb
Similar thing: The still above is a clip from one of Russell Brand’s Ponderland episodes (that link will start the video at the relevant moment) showing archive footage of ukulele players at a George Formby convention. Whether or not you like Mr Brand or not aside, he never treats anyone with contempt – no matter how they come across or what they do or say.

And of the ukulele players he says this:

Look at this bloke here in the woolly jumper, he’s my favourite: Look, I’ve never been that happy in my whole life, look at that! You’ll never be as happy as that man.

Look at the joy on his face… he’s having the time of his bloody life, playing his ukulele and watching George Formby. Who is ANYONE to take that away from him by deeming him uncool or weird?


The best quote in the world ever about guilty pleasures

I can’t write a post about guilty pleasures without quoting Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl – he said one of the best things ever about liking stuff. (And this is a man who was in ultimate 90s band Nirvana and is deemed to be a very cool rock star indeed.)

(BAD LANGUAGE WARNING: I don’t particularly warm to swearing on blogs, but there are so many expletives in this quote it would lose its impact if I put asterisks ** in everywhere…)

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It is cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.

– Dave Grohl

There you go – Dave Grohl says we should like whatever we want, and not feel guilty about it. Or ashamed about liking it.

From music to movies to clothes to hobbies, just OWN it. I’ll be listening to Glen Campbell and Neil Diamond, having a crush on Bill Hader, collecting glass paperweights and dancing like Molly Ringwald (knees permitting) till the day I die.

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  1. 16 August 2017 / 1:37 am

    Great post! Part of growing up uncool is that one develops a true appreciation for things instead of a grown into appreciation of things that were cool. Fly your freak flag, shout your nerdiness from the rooftops, and love what you love. Pleasure is never something to be guilty over. I've danced like an idiot to Footloose since it premiered and don't plan on stopping any time soon! In fact, I was just boogying to Let's Hear It For The Boy on Saturday past. The only thing I take exception to is that those songs are now played on the "Oldies" station. WTF? How did THAT happen??

  2. 14 August 2017 / 11:29 pm

    Michael Jackson, loved him when he was in the Jackson 5 and loved him when he went solo. I recently purchased the Michael Jackson Number Ones CD and when my husband and kids leave the house, I've got that jamming in the background as I work (or dance) at my desk. I even have a white glove. A single one. Thank you for this post! It was therapeutic!

  3. 13 August 2017 / 9:01 pm

    Love ur blog. Can't believe I'm sharing this but I like Barry manilow, Neil diamond and collect corny snow globes!

  4. 13 August 2017 / 6:19 pm

    I so agree. Fortunately I ditched caring what people think of me and what I like a long time ago. Had to laugh over Dave's statement.
    Linking back to your Saturday link-up in my Sunday (today) post.

  5. 13 August 2017 / 8:22 am

    I use the term "guilty pleasure" but I don't feel the slightest guilty about any of it. From my early teens on I never hid the fact that I was geeky/nerdy. That I loved Fantasy & Sci-Fi way way before it became a main stream thing. That I crushed on cartoon chars … okay maybe that one wasn't so publically known …but imo Captain Harlock is as sexy as Captain Sparrow πŸ˜‰

    Alex – Funky Jungle

    • 22 August 2017 / 7:49 am

      I second that… I was a geek/nerd way before it became "cool" to be one, but still proud of it! The word nerd, which is also used in Italian now, was not a word back then and I had to explain it to people…

  6. 12 August 2017 / 11:32 pm

    I liked Glen Campbell and sad to see him pass. I pretty much just have no guilty pleasures, I pretty much keep all of my stuff in the open. That is just me.

    Thanks for hosting and have a great rest of the weekend.

  7. 12 August 2017 / 8:04 pm

    I couldn't agree more with this post. So what if something you like isn't cool, I don't care what anyone says about the things I'm interested in. If it makes you happy then I say go for it. My so called uncool thing is 80's music. I could listen to it all day. Some might say a lot the music is rubbish but I don't care.

  8. 12 August 2017 / 7:14 pm

    One of the best things I have found about getting older is I really don't care if the things I love are cool or not or who knows or not. Great post!

  9. 12 August 2017 / 6:55 pm

    I've always loved rock music so listening to pop was my guilty pleasure as a teenager. I don't believe in feeling guilty about stuff like that anymore though – I don't care what anyone else thinks! My husband takes the piss sometimes about how much I love AC/DC, he says I'm like a teenager but I've been listening to them nearly all my life (having a brother 11 years older than me started it all off) and I'm not going to stop now!

    Emma xxx

    • 13 August 2017 / 8:25 am

      Ahaha at least you actually do know the band that is so prominently featured on t-shirts from the teen and young adult section ;-P So really it cannot be uncool, they are all over again πŸ˜‰

  10. 12 August 2017 / 6:41 pm

    You never cease to amaze me woman. This is such a thought provoking yet simple topic that I can't believe I've haven't read it somewhere before! Of course it makes perfect sense! Makes me wonder why we listen to any of that rubbish about so called guilty pleasures. And I have to say I love Ann Lees comment above xx

  11. 12 August 2017 / 6:41 pm

    You never cease to amaze me woman. This is such a thought provoking yet simple topic that I can't believe I've haven't read it somewhere before! Of course it makes perfect sense! Makes me wonder why we listen to any of that rubbish about so called guilty pleasures. And I have to say I love Ann Lees comment above xx

  12. 12 August 2017 / 5:34 pm

    I love your post above. Fuck, yes! We should love what we love when we love it and show it. Life is one big long first take, with no rehearsals, do-overs or second takes. As Auntie Mame said, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

  13. 12 August 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Love, love, love this post…darn straight that we should totally enjoy what we like and skip the guilt πŸ™‚ If we all liked the same things or acted the same ways, life would be boring indeed, and no one would ever find a new passion. Thanks for a brilliant post πŸ™‚

  14. 12 August 2017 / 1:38 pm

    Yes to this girl, who defines value anyway! The epitome of cool is doing YOU x

  15. 12 August 2017 / 12:16 pm

    That quote is perfect!!

    • 12 August 2017 / 4:19 pm

      It's more than a *bit* sweary but it makes total sense doesn't it Pam πŸ˜€

  16. 12 August 2017 / 11:59 am

    Great post! I totally agree. I think this is a lesson we all learn late in life and it applies to all generations not just the generation Dave Grohl is referring too.

  17. 12 August 2017 / 10:51 am

    Yet another great post and a great message! And like you said, if Dave Grohl said there is no "uncool", then damn it, like what you like in all your own crazy coolness! I always called my complete fascination with American Idol and The Voice a "guilty pleasure", but I never really hid it from anyone. I suppose I was a little bit embarrassed that I loved these talent shows, but I will no longer be! I can't sing for sh*t and I admire those who can and who are novices and have the guts and nerve to pursue their dreams even in the face of much public ridicule! By the way, I am NOT ashamed to admit that I had to look up what an electricity pylon was! I do have a very large vocabulary, but pylon was not a word I knew before today. Ha.


  18. 12 August 2017 / 10:10 am

    Lovely memories of all these people and bands, we still enjoy Glen Campbell on the jukebox at parties – whoo hooing in the right places of Rhinestone Cowboy!! Thanks for sharing these memories, I try and stay true to myself and own up to what I believe in. Thanks for sharing Catherine. x Jacqui

    • 12 August 2017 / 3:13 pm

      My pleasure, Jacqui – Rhinestone Cowboy is SUCH a great singalong song, isn't it…?!! Thank you hon x

  19. 12 August 2017 / 9:22 am

    When I was a teenage/young twenty-something the bands we liked had to meet the approval of the rest of the 'group'. I'll never forget sitting in a room with my punk friends watching clips of Night Network I'd recorded (remember that show?). And straight after after The Damned I'd taped Level 42! My friends fell about because I wasn't 'supposed' to like them and my protests that Mark King was a fantastic bass player fell on deaf ears. It was bad enough that I'd seen AC/DC – and more than once!

    Come to think of it, I had to have two sets of friends – the punk ones and the metal crowd because neither tolerated the other lot's music or style. Friends would go through my record collection and tell me all the ones I shouldn't have and then another pal from the rival team would do the same. I could've done with a pal like Dave Grohl who was probably similarly conflicted about the bands he should like.

    DG was big pals from Lemmy of Motorhead (a band you were 'allowed' to like if you were a punk) and the late, great man himself shot someone down who insulted Abba, probably trying to impress him. Abba write great songs – how many have *you* written, he asked.

    As a consequence, I've only started listening to Duran Duran in the past three years. I decided to come clean about this 'guilty secret' and lots of friends admitted they'd liked them at the time. Now that's one of the great things about being older!

    • 12 August 2017 / 6:48 pm

      A fellow AC/DC fan Emerald! By absolute favourite band! πŸ™‚

  20. 12 August 2017 / 5:56 am

    What about weird the wrong way round? You know when everyone around you knows the name of the lead singer or top band name and all about them and you don't even know the name of the song… simply because your interests lie elsewhere… I could always talk fashion but never music – oops!

    LOL Yvonne xoxo

  21. 12 August 2017 / 12:49 am

    I love all the music you mentioned, too! In fact you inspired me to put on a Gordon Lightfoot song just now (I think because the name is similar to Glen Campbell, I kind of think of them together) — If You Could Read My Mind, you know that one? I have such a weakness for cheesy 70s songs. But there you go — I should not say weakness! Thanks for this great post.

    • 12 August 2017 / 2:52 pm

      Cheryl (I assume it's Cheryl?) – I ADORE Gordon Lightfoot!!!! One of my playlists has Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, Glen Campbell and more… it's my favourite. Country music isn't massive in the UK like it is in the US, but folk/country music was very popular in the 70s and still is today.

      So you're right – no not weaknesses!! They're simply awesome! x

    • 14 August 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Hi! I'm Ann, actually — I just have not figured out how to post with my name. Sorry! Anyway, your playlist sounds wonderful. That reminds me, just a few months ago I was telling some friends how happy I was to hear the song "Reverend Blue Jeans" while I was at the supermarket….my friends were completely puzzled, until we all figured out it was the song "Forever in Blue Jeans". For all these years I had had the name wrong in my mind!

      I'm not really into country at all, except for old stuff like Patsy Cline, but folk and folk/country music is another story….

  22. 11 August 2017 / 8:41 pm

    What a brilliant post, Catherine! I used to have a bit of a crush on Piers Morgan lol And I LOVE the original Footloose movie – I've watched it a million times, and I still get butterflies when I hear any of the music from the film! I love silly socks and knickers (yesterday I was wearing Harry Potter knickers, today I'm wearing ones that say, 'put your positive pants on' lol). I'm a HUGE fan of the Percy Jackson films and I love Hallmark flicks – the cheesier the better! And I'm not afraid to tell the world LOL!!
    Suzy xx
    Suzy Turner at Yogadocious

  23. 11 August 2017 / 8:05 pm

    I used to have a crush on james Martin! And I am Dutch!

    • 11 August 2017 / 8:25 pm

      Oh I get that, Nancy!! Though a lot of people wouldn't ;)) heehee

  24. 11 August 2017 / 7:32 pm

    I luv magazines—used to buy them all the time–bit of a guilty pleasure πŸ™‚

    • 11 August 2017 / 7:36 pm

      I don't anyone would think buying magazines was weird though, hon…! I'm talking things that are deemed uncool or strange πŸ˜‰

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