Picture it as a well-worn phrase, threaded into conversations like a whispering ghost. Maybe you’ve even shaped it with your own lips.

It’s an elusive, slippery creature, slithering and curling around our daily lives. Habits, idiosyncrasies, thoughts, pastimes – a kaleidoscope of little indulgences and oddities. A friend once christened them as our “emotional chocolate.”

Let’s slice open this emotional chocolate. Inside, two flavors are melded. 

First, the naughty delights that seduce us, even as we recognize their bitter aftermath. Secondly, secret enjoyments, unspoken, hidden away from prying eyes. Maybe they contrast our self-image, or simply because we’d rather keep our indulgence shrouded. The dressing room of our guilty pleasures is often the context in which they are performed.

I took a dive into this ocean of thought, stirred by two words: Fear Factor.

I’m hopelessly reeled in. Since it tiptoed back into the syndicated screen, it has been a tug-of-war. Last weekend, I binged it four times. The adrenaline of stunts, the thrill, and the jolt of shock—the cocktail is irresistible. It’s my guilty pleasure, uncloaked. Sundays are for back-to-back episodes of Fear Factor, swallowed whole.

This revelation sparked an exploration. An excavation of hidden gems, my other guilty pleasures:

  • Luxurious naps. Not a quick doze above the blankets, but decadent hours cocooned under the sheets, particularly after my Fear Factor feast.
  • In my university days, I was a newspaper columnist. A guilty joy: leaving my column with my picture conspicuously near my desk, hoping someone might “stumble upon” it and recognize me. Guilt painted all over my face!
  • Unconventional, perhaps, but I shave my armpits. A fact now basking in the light.

So there you have it, my guilt-ridden delights, now stripped bare.

What about yours? Remember to keep it a family show. Keep the “joy of car theft,” “drunken driving escapades,” or “treasure troves of toenail clippings” off the table. If these are your delights, I suggest finding another platform to unpack them.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.