I assume that most people, like me, secretly enjoy things they would be embarrassed to publicly discuss. These are some of mine:
1. Barry Manilow. I know he is cheesy and overdramatic. I realize that he puts three key changes in each song. Yes, his hair is awesomely feathered. I don't care. There is nothing more fun than singing along with Copa Cabana or Mandy.
2. Captain & Tennille, particularly Muskrat Love , for similar reasons as above.
3. The Pina Colada Song, by Rupert Holmes.
2. Romance novels. I have a feminist contempt for them in general, feel that they give women unreasonable expectations of men, can't help but noticing that they are generally very poorly written. Nevertheless, once every five or six months, I have an impulse to pick up a Harlequin and wallow in delusional romantic hogwash.
3. Shaun Cassidy. This isn't so much a current embarrassment as it is a part of my shameful past. At thirteen, I had a profound crush on the younger, more puppy-like half of The Hardy Boys. Of course, my friend who lived down the street was convinced that she would marry Leif Erickson someday, so I don't feel so foolish in comparison.
4. Hell Comes to Frogtown, starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Sandahl Bergman. This is a prime example of the utterly ridiculous late night B movies I enjoy, particularly if they involve science fiction.
5. Pictures of babies and adorable puppies. Not so much cats, really - I find them kind of creepy - but anything cute and cuddly gets an automatic aww from me now. This is a middle age development - when I was twenty, I was hard as nails. Having a baby turned me soft and squishy.
6. St. Elmo's Fire , a Brat Pack vehicle from 1985. Not a good movie by any standard, but intensely nostalgic for me. I love the performance by Mare Winningham, a fine actress who also appeared in Miracle Mile, an excellent movie with Anthony Edwards.
7. Speaking of Anthony Edwards, I secretly enjoy Gotcha, a fluffy teen movie he made the same year as he appeared in the much superior The Sure Thing. There was something irresistibly charming and cheerful about his performance that I always enjoy.
8. Slushies/Slurpees, those fluorescent, insulin coma-producing frozen minimart drinks. Haven't been able to actually drink one of these for 20 years, but remember them fondly.
9. Macaroni and cheese. No, not the kind with freshly homemade macaroni and aged cheddar cheese. I mean the kind in the box that comes with bright orange cheese powder. This is by no means delicious food, but something about it appeals to me, even though I rarely eat it for health reasons.
10. MMMBop, by Hanson. I know many people find this intensely irritating, and I can understand that point of view, but I can't hear this song on the radio without feeling instantly cheerful.
11. Advice columns. I am a junkie of other peoples' quandaries and troubles. I read Miss Manners, Dear Abby, Dear Prudence, Ask Amy, The Advice Goddess, Carolyn Hax and Cary Tennis nearly every day.
12. Zinnias. They are a supremely unsophisticated flower, frequently grown by children as a first gardening project because they are colorful, grow quickly, and are hard to kill. I love them for the same reasons. Publicly I like elegant bonsai and orchids, but zinnias have a private place in my gardening heart.
13. To round out the baker's dozen, donuts. Not freshly baked donuts from a specialty bakery (although I love those too). No, I'm talking about the powdered or old fashioned donuts that come in a box, sitting on a shelf next to the Wonder Bread. They are usually stale, and are full of preservatives and other chemicals. Once again, I can't eat them any more, but they are lodged in my memory as a rare and usually unattainable gastronomic prize of my youth. My mother was a vegetarian health enthusiast, so food like this was the Holy Grail of my childhood.