I’ve given up trying to be cool.
For a while there I was pretty focused on being on-trend, listening to the right bands (great, but not so great that everyone already knows about them), wearing the hottest shade of nail polish, eating at restaurants that refused to take reservations. You get the point.
Lately, however, I’ve decided to get over myself and embrace the fact that I’m not really all that hip. In fact, I actually like a lot of things that are pretty lame. I have a lengthy iPod playlist dedicated to Brit-pop from the early 2000s, enjoy eating Nutella sandwiches made with white-trash Wonderbread and spend an embarrassing amount time watching Say Yes To The Dress.
Once in a while I allow myself to purchase a trashy paperback housed in the young adult section of the bookstore. Every time I find myself hastily explaining to the cashier that my (non-existent) 14-year-old cousin just loves vampire-romance novels. At home, I hide my secret stash of tweentastic page-turners behind stacks of more acceptable reading material.
So why do I proudly display my collection of classic literature and cultural theory textbooks but conceal my worn-in copies of Harry Potter?
Scholarly pursuits, high art and fine cuisine are usually found at the top of the cultural hierarchy while reality television, monster truck rallies and Kraft Dinner fall to the bottom. Even lettuce is subject to the high-low divide — my preference for iceberg lettuce over spinach and other leafy greens has led to a number of grocery store debates with my significant other.
Are we right in feeling so ashamed for liking certain things but not others? Is it really all that bad if you don’t get modern art or if you have seen (and loved) every Vin Diesel movie ever made, including The Pacifier? So what if you’re a closet Nickleback fan — I can’t tell the difference between boxed wine and a $60 bottle and I’m OK with that.
Stop defending your bad taste by claiming you like watching Teen Mom “ironically.” There is no sense in denying the gratification that comes from our so-called lowbrow interests. Without guilty pleasures, celebrity gossip magazines would fold, personal-sized tubs of Ben and Jerry’s would go uneaten and the Kardashian empire would come crashing down. OK, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing
It’s terribly exhausting to be sophisticated all the time so why not put the pretention aside and allow yourself to indulge guilt-free.