It would only be fitting that I’m watching the newest season of “The Bachelorette” while writing this – curled up in a large comforter, getting sleepy from the burrito I just devoured. A year ago, I was introduced to this abhorrent television show, working on my first ever Guilty Pleasures column. Now, this will be my last.
What’s that Shakespeare quote? “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” “Romeo and Juliet” was never a pleasure of mine, let alone a guilty one – two lust-filled kids who get themselves killed is not up my alley. But, I know what Juliet means here. I’m graduating. On Sunday I walk and for the first time I will be done with school, maybe forever. The world is new and I can’t stop crying. Crying because this may very well be the last piece I ever write for 14 East. And maybe I’m feeling just a little bit of joy, a guilty joy to be done with college. So, to cope, I watch “The Bachelorette.”
I honestly cannot remember why I started writing this series. Maybe I thought it would be fun, silly. But, it has meant more to me than all that. Too often we push down the lowbrow, wanting to ignore it. It’s embarrassing we even like it. But, by embracing it I saw the world in a new way and learned about what makes us human. And that is the very essence of this magazine.
I think back to when we started the magazine and marvel at how much we have grown. It is a group of exceptional writers and editors who only get better because of their impassioned drive and work ethic. But mostly, it is a group of kids who care too much. I have often thought to myself, “I shouldn’t be working on this, I should be working on homework.” But, I can’t stop. It is the ultimate guilty pleasure. Something you love so much that you can’t put down. You will drop anything for it.
Now, the magazine is being placed into new hands, hands that aren’t mine. I’ve been there since the founding and it is hard to let go. I need something to distract myself with. I form new guilty pleasures every day. I watched all of the CW adaptation of the “Archie” comics – “Riverdale” – in one sitting. I’m obsessed with Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album and all the memes it has produced, and still read Tumblr theories on the final “Pretty Little Liars” mystery. All we can do is accept the lowbrow things that bring us joy to help cope with the bigger things that don’t. So we get through the day. And when life gives us joy that we aren’t embarrassed by, it is all the more sacred.
I plunge into adulthood, take a final sip of college-tinted coffee, and just enjoy life – trash and all. Embarrassment is foreign here. The bachelorette hands out a rose to another contestant. He gladly accepts. Maybe it is love, maybe it’s just lust. Does it matter?
Illustration courtesy of Sydney Kosgard.