Guilty Pleasures

Written by: Emily Yao, Zoe Weisner, Leon Cheong and Lucy Oyer

Yes, I watch girly Japanese cartoons 

During the lazy summer mornings, I found myself being a couch potato, flipping through the channels of trashy American television. Jersey Shore. Honey Boo-Boo Child. The X-Factor. I could feel my stomach churning; I had the urge to purge. Disgusted by the modern state of American entertainment, I shut off the tube to go online. Feeling nostalgic, I hit YouTube to catch up with some old Japanese anime I used to watch. As I settled in to watch an episode of “Death Note,” I noticed a video in the “Related Videos” bar. It was the pilot to an anime I had never heard of before. Of course, seeing how I’ve only ever watched a few anime series, that was not surprising. Still, something about it, perhaps its strange name, or maybe the thumbnail, intrigued me. “Death Note” could wait. A new series was beckoning me. I clicked the video.

In the first few seconds, I facepalmed. I had come across “shoujo,” or anime directed at the female demographic, comparable to American shows like “Gossip Girl,” which teenage girls find entertaining, almost exclusively. Tempted to click away, I reached for the mouse, ready to click the “back” button. But something told me to keep an open mind and see the episode to the end. I thought the sun was frying my brain; I couldn’t believe I was giving shoujo a chance. But I sat back, relaxed and watched. Maybe I could get a laugh out of how bad it was.

Seven hours later, I could not peel my bloodshot eyes away from the screen. By some freak chance, the anime that I had thought would be full of corny subplots and unoriginal characters was the most entertaining thing I had seen in awhile. It had everything from good television that I missed: unique and exaggerated personalities, quick and intense character development, funny running-gags and easily identifiable settings. The artful composition of conventional dialogue and fresh characters initiated a passionate lust that could not be quenched. Most of all, the anime force-fed my hungry desire with repeating moments of intimate emotion that triggered the overwhelming feeling of empathy. It’s an unexplainable phenomenon.

Shoujo is undoubtedly cliche, and there’s a point in every episode when the female protagonist finally realizes and professes her true feelings. In any other case, I would have punched a hole through my computer monitor. I could literally see the cheesy mushiness oozing out of my speakers. But something about the cheesiness touched me. I reluctantly admit that upon seeing this, I could feel my chest pounding. It was a moment I had never experienced before. Watching this tear-invoking scene nearly had me in shambles. Seeing my soft side for the first time, I felt embarrassed. I could barely hold on to the last shred of dignity I had left. But I told myself that what’s done is done. Sadly, it was over in a blink. Like most animes, it consisted of only 25 episodes. But I wasn’t satisfied. I was hungry for more.

Now, finding value in shoujo anime is never something a guy is willing to openly admit. But every laugh, every smile and every heart flutter makes the embarrassment worth it. More than anything, I felt as though luck had been bestowed upon me to lead me to find this pinnacle of slice-of-life stories, even if it meant compromising a part of my personal sense of masculinity.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

I’m a celebrity gossip addict and proud of it. After all, if I didn’t read “People” magazine, how would I know that Channing Tatum is the Sexiest Man Alive in 2012? And that Reese Witherspoon just took her wrinkly, old-looking newborn son Tennessee James (sorry, Reese, someone had to say it) on an errand run in Los Angeles. I mean, I can’t just be left in the dark about these important things.

Many can’t comprehend what on earth would compel a person to spend over $100 a year on the world’s finest celebrity gossip publication. Sure, I don’t know any of the people personally and most likely never will (except Selena Gomez, I will meet and befriend her if it kills me), but somehow, I am fascinated by their personal lives.

I’m no psychologist, but if I were to analyze myself, I’d say the most likely cause for my interest in celebrity gossip is a severe lack of any sort of personal life of my own. But that’s kind of depressing, so let’s say for argument’s sake that

that is not the case, and explore some of the other  possible reasons for my addiction:

Attractiveness—that’s a great one. What’s not to love about looking at reading about fine men such as Ryan Gosling and (my personal favorite) Kellan Lutz? Plus, it’s nice to look at beautiful, successful women, even if it makes your own self-esteem plummet into a bottomless ditch.

Inspiration—some stars are actually amazing people who do many good deeds while managing an incredibly stressful and high-profile career. You can’t argue with the fact that Angelina Jolie has done good in the world, dedicating a huge portion of her fortune and time to humanitarian causes. And my personal idol, Selena Gomez, is the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever.

All that aside, I just HAVE to know what Pippa Middleton’s favorite sticky toffee pudding recipe is. I mean, don’t be ridiculous; I can’t possibly live my life without this important information.

Purple

It’s not unusual to catch me in a monochromatic outfit. When I strut across the quad in my purple Converse  shoes, plum-colored Celebrity Pink jeans, imperial purple  American Apparel hoodie and fuchsia Wayfarer sunglasses, people often ask me how it is possible to own so many purple items.

I actually only started having an obsession for purple when I entered high school. After buying a purple American Apparel hoodie from Key Club, I instantly dubbed it my favorite article of clothing. Soon after, I couldn’t get enough of purple. Over the years, I’ve acquired a cache of purple attire, from two purple scarves to a purple onesie to purple suspenders and a sparkly purple Homecoming dress.

But that’s only the beginning. While most people don’t care about their e-mail’s background color, I have taken the time to change my Gmail background to a solid purple. Even my everyday items, like my scissors, iPhone case, mechanical pencil and lanyard keychain must be purple.

If I become an author in the future, my book will be called “50 Shades of Purple” and, of course, be more age-appropriate. Maybe I will become a pop star and compose a song called “Purple” (a reference to a Taylor Swift song, in case you didn’t get it). But for now, I will follow the purple brick road. My last piece of advice: keep calm and love purple.

 Re-Gifting

It’s that time of year again. Come Dec. 25, people will rush to the stores in an attempt to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. It’s a tedious and laborious process which puts an enormous amount of pressure on both parties. What if he or she doesn’t like my present? Am I spending too much money? Too little? However, I hardly spend longer than five minutes when I decide what I am getting for each person, because I love to regift gifts.

During a close friend’s birthday, I tried finding the perfect gift at the very last minute; much to my dismay, I couldn’t find anything suitable despite combing through every store at the mall. I hung my head in shame when I came home, but in the corner of my eye I spotted a neon colored necklace lying on my desk. I did not like one aspect about that necklace. Another friend had given it to me before on my previous birthday. Because I had no other options, I grabbed the necklace, stuffed it into a bag, and prepared myself for the worst. Unexpectedly, my friend adored the necklace. It was a strange moment, and I felt a small amount of pride and joy. She truly liked the gift, even though I didn’t. It suddenly occurred to me that regifting was quite enjoyable. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: