Fluency Files #62: Guilty pleasure  

What are your guilty pleasures? That’s the question that I’m going to talk about and answer in this Fluency Files episode. So, a guilty pleasure is something that you enjoy doing, and makes you feel good, but at the same time, also causes you to feel bad, or ashamed, or guilty, or embarrassed. The thing about guilty pleasures is that we usually like to keep them a secret, because if other people find out about them, we fear that they might judge us or think less of us. There are all sorts of different things that can be guilty pleasures, and according to an article on the AP website, by the way, the AP is the Associated Press, but almost everybody just calls it the AP. The AP is an American news organization, and according to them, 84% of Americans admit to having a guilty pleasure. And when surveyed, many Americans admitted to having a guilty pleasure related to either eating food, or just generally vegging out and being lazy. For example, when asked the question, “What’s your guilty pleasure?” The second most popular answer was falling asleep with the TV on. The fourth most popular was procrastinating. The seventh was staying in your pajamas all day, and the ninth and tenth were binge watching TV and watching TV all day. So clearly, many Americans love relaxing at home and spending some time in front of the TV. But at the same time, many obviously feel guilty about doing this.

The remaining items on the top 10 list of responses to that guilty pleasure question were about eating, for example, ordering delivery food, treating yourself to a snack like candy or a chocolate bar, eating fast food, or binge eating ice cream. I think many of us, myself included, sometimes feel guilty about eating food. And maybe that’s because the food that is usually the most unhealthy is also some of the tastiest. It’s sad, but true.

I have two guilty pleasures that I’m willing to share with you. At least when I thought about this question, these are some of the first two things that popped into my head. One of them, it just so happens, is related to food. So, this is perfect.

OK, so my first guilty pleasure is eating peanut butter. Peanuts are one of my all-time favorite foods. I love almost any kind of food that has peanuts in it as an ingredient. I especially love peanut butter, though. There are all kinds of peanut butter. But my favorite is the kind that is all natural made from 100% peanuts only, with no extra added ingredients like sugar or syrup, or anything like that. Thankfully, for me, this is almost impossible to find in Korea where I live. And I say thankfully, because if it were easy to find here, I’d probably eat way too much of it. You see, peanut butter is supposed to be eaten in small quantities. Maybe you spread a little bit on a piece of toast or add a little bit to a smoothie or a shake, something like that. But my guilty pleasure is just to grab a spoon and to eat it right from the jar. The problem with doing this is that peanuts are very calorie dense, they’re high in calories and snacking on peanut butter is a great way to gain weight. So, even though I’m totally aware of how unhealthy it is to snack on peanut butter, sometimes I just can’t help myself. And I love to chow down on it. And for this reason, I can say that peanut butter is one of my guilty pleasures. I enjoy it, but it makes me feel bad at the same time.

My second guilty pleasure is slightly more embarrassing, and it is listening to Taylor Swift. You know the American pop singer, Taylor Swift, right? I like Taylor Swift. I’m a fan. But I guess you could say I’m not one of her usual fans. According to a website called Audisense, most of T Swift’s fans. Oh, by the way, that’s her nickname, Taylor Swift’s nickname T Swift. So, most of T Swift’s fans are young women. Over 55% of her listeners are women and 70% of her listeners are younger than 24 years old. So, as a 38-year-old guy, I’m not her typical fan, right? But regardless of that, I think her music is really catchy. And I have many of her songs on the playlist that I listen to when I go running. And I’ll admit that sometimes her lyrics can be kind of cheesy, but I think she and her songwriting team do a really nice job at writing some fantastic pop songs. And for that reason, I consider myself a fan. In fact, she recently released a new record called Midnights, and I’ve already listened to it several times, and I think there are some pretty good songs on the album. The reason that being a Taylor Swift fan is a guilty pleasure for me, is because some of my music nerd friends like to joke around and poke fun at me for liking her. But like I said, even though T Swift may not be the hippest singer, with the best lyrics, her songs just do it for me, even if I have to listen to her somewhat secretly.

So, those are my two guilty pleasures. But what about you? Do you have a guilty pleasure that you enjoy partaking in, but at the same time, makes you feel a little embarrassed or ashamed? Maybe you like reading sappy romance novels or spending too much time snooping on social media. Or maybe you like ordering expensive delivery food instead of cooking at home. Or maybe you just prefer to lie around all day on your day off instead of going outside to get some fresh air. Whatever your guilty pleasure may be, it’s probably OK to indulge in every once in a while. There’s a famous quote by an Irish writer named Oscar Wilde, and I think this quote is appropriate here. It is, we should enjoy “everything in moderation, including moderation itself.”

  1. To veg out → To lie in bed or on the sofa and relax by reading, watching TV, etc.
  2. To binge → To consume a large amount of something in a short amount of time
  3. To chow down on (a food) → To eat (informal, idiomatic expression)
  4. Cheesy → So bad that it causes you to feel embarrassed
  5. To partake → To eat or drink something; to participate in something
  6. Sappy → Silly and overly emotional
  7. To indulge in (something) → To do something as much as you like, even if it’s bad for you

1- To think less of (someone)

Meaning: If someone thinks less of you, they do not have as much respect for you now as they did in the past. Or, they do not think as highly of you now as they did before.

In this episode, Andrew says that it can be embarrassing to admit your guilty pleasures to other people. When someone learns about what your guilty pleasure is, they might think less of you. When someone thinks less of you, it means that they do not respect or value you as much as they did in the past.

Example sentences:

  1. I really think a lot less of Mike after learning about how he feels about homeless people.
  2. You can tell me your guilty pleasure, don’t worry, I won’t think any less of you.
  3. I hate this government so much, I don’t think I could think less of them than I already do. (This sentence means that the speaker really hates the government. So much so that he can’t imagine hating them any more than he already does).

2- To do it for you

Meaning:  If something does it for you, it means you really like it or find it attractive.

In this episode, Andrew says that Taylor Swift’s songs just do it for him. This means that he really likes and enjoys her music. This is a very casual expression and is often used when talking about something you find attractive in a romantic partner. For example, his big brown eyes really do it for me or her long hair really does it for me.  However, it’s also used to talk about things we like, just like how Andrew used the expression to communicate his appreciation for Taylor Swift’s songs.

Example sentences:

  1. These shoes really do it for me. (Meaning: I love these shoes!).
  2. There’s something about her accent that just does it for me. (Meaning: The speaker finds the woman’s voice attractive).
  3. His older movies do it for me, but I found his latest movie to be boring (Meaning: The speaker likes the directors earlier movies but doesn’t like the most recent one).
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Fluency Files #62: Guilty pleasure