On the outside I look innocent and wholesome: I’m a hardworking copywriter. I’m devoted to family. I buy local, cook from scratch and recycle. I read David Foster Wallace.
But inside, I’m depraved.
I indulge in guilty pleasures.
No, I’m not cheating on my husband, shoplifting or betting on cockfights. It’s worse: It involves movie popcorn. And that’s just one of my guilty pleasures.
Likely you have your own. You know, those secret little indulgences you’d rather not admit to. Appetites that make you look lowbrow, lazy or unhip. Preferences that reveal your lack of taste, brains or will power.
I don’t know about you, but I need to fess up.
10 guilty pleasures of a New York copywriter
The following list is far from comprehensive. Email me if you want the real dirt. In the meantime, I red-facedly admit that I…
- Waste time on Twitter/Quora/Facebook. Of course social media isn’t always indulgent. On the contrary, it can be highly productive. If. If you use it with self-discipline. If you set—and keep—time limits. If you don’t let it steal from work, family and real, face-to-face social life. I’ve been guilty of all three abuses—and maybe you have too. Because social media is as addictive as heroin for freelancers and entrepreneurs. It touches on two hazards of our trade: social isolation and procrastination. Case in point: Just last week, my fellow copywriter, @TomCopy, tweeted, “I don’t want to do the next thing on my list, so maybe I need to come back on here and look at my @ messages again.” A few minutes later, his update informed us, “I even looked at my DMs. That’s some next-level procrastination right there.” I’m so with you, Tom.
- Edit copy in the bathtub. I won’t go into too much detail on this personal peccadillo. I confessed this weakness in an earlier post. Simply put, I crave the comfort of a hot bath, then rationalize my midday soak by sneaking in copy-related tasks like reading research and marking final edits.
- Drink classic cocktails made with hard liquor. Don’t get me wrong; I also enjoy politically correct, antioxidant-laden red wine. But with deadlines, work and life moving so fast, sometimes I just want to get there more quickly. “There” being a convivial alcoholic haze. Potent, ice-cold classic cocktails are the booze equivalent of an express train to oblivion. Full guilty-pleasure disclosure: I like sweet cocktails—Manhattans with extra Maraschino cherry juice or lime and liqueur-laced Mai Tais.
- Play single hit songs—over and over. I know I should expand my melodic horizons and listen to a musician’s entire oeuvre—or at least his whole album. But sometimes I just want to hear that one saccharin song. For hours on end. Some of my banal favorites include: Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, City of Blinding Lights by U2, Jolene by The White Stripes, Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez, Dela by Johnny Clegg, Welcome Home by Radical Face, Carry On by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Riders on the Storm—or really anything—by The Doors.
- Feast on full fat instead of “lite” food and drink. I eat triple fat cheese. I drink whole milk cappuccinos. I like full-fat yogurt. And I pour real, heavy cream into creamed soups. Sue me.
- Read fashion blogs instead of David Foster Wallace. I know, I know. I should finish Infinite Jest. It’s bookmarked at page 621. Since February. Just 458 pages to go! But (cue whining voice) I don’t wanna. After a long day of copywriting, I’d rather zone out with fashion blogs. I go to Sea of Shoes, Atlantis Home, The Sartorialist, Altamira and London Liberty Girl to see what pudgy, middle-aged copywriters will not be wearing this season. Just to set the record straight: Fashion blogs are not a guilty pleasure for Twitter pals who write fashion copy for a living. For @Angpang, @SheLovesToWrite and @CopyCreator, gloss and glamour are all part of a day’s work.
- Hoard. One is never enough: When I like something, I need it in multiples. Because I want one in every color. Because I may lose the item and need a spare. Because my children borrow, lose and break my things. Because the goods were a bargain. Among the items I’m currently hoarding:
- Barware—by-the-dozen wine glasses, stem-less Champagne flutes and brandy snifters, on-the-rocks tumblers. Hey, they’re glass: They break and need constant replacing.
- Muji umbrellas. These handled bumbershoots come in nice muted colors. I should know: I own every color they make.
- Lamy Safari fountain pens. I started with a silver Lamy Safari pen. Then I bought the white model. My children gave me a red one for Christmas. Now I want one in canary yellow. And blue. And black. And another white one—they’re hard to find and I “need” an extra. I think you see where this is going…
- Overbuy at vintage stores: Pucci suits, 70s print cocktail frocks, glass pen rests, hand-painted metal trays, cookbooks, demitasse spoons, costume jewelry, 50s frame handbags and coats of all styles and eras—that’s me in the fake fur number, left. If it’s under $10, it’s fair game. The only trick is sneaking the haul into the house when my husband isn’t around.
- Read paper. The New Yorker. The New York Times. New York Magazine. I like New York—but that’s not the problem. Vogue. Cookbooks. Best sellers, business tomes, good and bad literature. There’s nothing wrong with the matter—it’s the media. I like real finger-smudging, inky, glossy, crinkly paper, not cold, digitalized eReaders. I know paper is not green. I know it’s a dying medium. I know it’s last century. But I still like to read paper books, magazines, newsletters, catalogs, cards and letters. Sorry.
- Sate myself with movie popcorn and Diet Coke. Everyone knows movie popcorn is disgusting. Toothsome as styrafoam, mottled yellow and squirted with butter-flavored coconut oil, it’s…gross. And I really like to buy the biggest bucket possible and eat until I feel sick. I wash down the yellow puffs with a 48-ounce cup of Diet Coke. Because it makes sense to eat 1,500 calories worth of popcorn, then “watch my weight” with a diet soda.
Got a guilty pleasure? Go ahead and get it off your chest.
Please. No one is judging. Share.
Bathtub photo courtesy of Twodolla
Jim Morrison photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Cheese photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Record photo courtesy of Jo.Anne11
Fashion model courtesy of Cillian Storm
Popcorn photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass