A good friend called me last week and asked if I could recommend a book. ”What are you reading right now?” she asked.
In fact, I was in the middle of a book at the time–one that I really liked.
But when I opened my mouth to tell her, the title stuck in my throat. Could I say it? Dare I admit the truth? Feelings of guilt and embarrassment rushed through me. I had the urge to lie.
Why? Because I was in the middle of a romance. This one, in particular, did not have a bare-chested man wearing a kilt on the cover, but don’t get me wrong–I love those, too. I was reading MATCH ME IF YOU CAN, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Light, funny, romantic, a bit unrealistic and a stretch of the imagination. But she tells a great story, and occasionally I just want to get lost in the lives of two people who I know are going to find a happily-ever-after.
So why is that so hard to admit? I suppose the snob in me who graduated from an MFA program feels that I should be reading literary fiction, or one of the classics I keep meaning to get around to, or something Russian and thick that I’ll feel important carrying around. I’m embarrassed, as if my IQ immediately drops 20 points every time I pick up a romance. As if others will judge me as shallow and low-minded–and then I’ll have to judge myself that way, too.
I think that’s the bottom line: I’m worried about the judgement of others. And maybe I’m not the only one because I’ve heard romance referred to as a “guilty pleasure” many times.
Well, I’m done feeling guilty and reading things to please others. I’ve just “outed” myself. I like to read romances, people, and I’m not going to stop. And in return– I grant you freedom from judgement to read whatever you like to read.
The really cool thing is just simply to read.
What about you? Any “guilty pleasures” you keep quiet?