Keep Your Guilt Off My Cigarettes and Diet Coke

I'm fine with having a vice or six. You should be too.
Publish date:
February 28, 2012
healthy, drama, vices, cigarettes, diet coke, nannyism

Joni Mitchell once sang,

I guess I seem ungrateful with my teeth sunk in the hand/that brings me things I really can’t give up…just yet


Joni was a sage. Yes, she was singing about the trappings of fame (banging rockstars, acquiring fancy jewels, drinking, smoking, wearing a lot of silk), but I think the lyric lately hits me as applicable to most vices. We all have them; only the relative desire to give them up varies.

But, oh, we love to talk about how we’re “going to” quit smoking, drink less, work out more, go vegan, sell our TVs, and on. Every once a while a resolution takes hold and you DO kick a habit. It depends how destricutive something is and what kind of bearing it has on your life, but also,

how much you just really like it.

For the most part, vices (in moderation!) are some of the best parts of life. Why give up everything you enjoy just because it’s bad for you?

Yes, a Twinkie is a horrible thing to put in your body. But if you want to do it, do it. I won’t judge you.

I have no desire to live to my 90s (which, lucky me, all the women in my family do, regardless of their lifestyle). I don’t want to count every calorie or feel guilty for watching silly reality shows. Life is too short and I feel that we as a generation and as women especially, are very hard on ourselves for not being perfect. Perfection is a myth and honestly, the few perfect-ish people I’ve met are the most godforsaken boring m-fers to ever lope through a marathon. Vice gives you personality!

In this season of Lent (for some of us), we evaluate things we do that are stupid, self-destructive, money wasting or physically bad for us. We half-heartedly (again, some of us) offer something up for 40 days and break Easter dinner with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine or frenzied self-abuse. I find it completely respectable to stick to your guns and be full of self-sacrifice. But I didn’t give anything up this year. And I’m OK with it. I’m embracing my vices.

See below for 10 of my top vices. What do you know that is bad for you, but you say fuck it? Let me know in the comments, sinners.

Vices I'm not willing to give up (yet).

1. Smokes

I know, I know, I know. I need to stop. Been a daily smoker since I was 20 and there are times when I feel ready to give it up. It’s expensive, smelly, and bad for you. It’s going to happen, I swear…but probably once I get knocked up; as I’ve always joked. Ain’t I a stinker?

2. Diet Coke

It’s giving me cancer and bloating my body, but to give this up would make me cry. Don’t take it away, please. I’m down to 2-3 a day…at my height I could easily knock back 6 or 7. Oh, to be young and hopped up!

3. Intervention Mondays

(where I watch 3 terrifying "Intervention" episodes back to back and I have bad dreams)

I need to stop watching A&E’s “Intervention” on Monday nights…but somehow, I’m drawn like a moth to the flame. It’s fascinating and morbid and teaches me about drugs I never heard of, like bath salts and addicts who see shadow people on their mother’s roof. I then have bad dreams set to the soundtrack of the acoustic guitar song they play in the credits, “5 steps” by The Davenports.

4. "Jersey Shore"

I can’t help but love these morons. Mindless, mindless, mindless television; also, hilarious and zeitgesity. I know a lot of people can’t stomach the willful chauvinism, outlandish binge drinking, or their orange skin, but the housemates in Seaside make me giggle and I will be sad to see them go. Nothing is better for a hangover than a Sunday afternoon "Jersey Shore" marathon.

5. Red meat

I love steak. I don’t have it very often (only because it’s fattening, not for any moral ramifications), but when I do, I relish every moment with it. It’s my special occasion go-to.

6. The occasional booze fest

As I have aged, one of my vices that has most visibly faded is drinking to excess. I love beer, vodka, Jameson, bourbon and white wine. I can knock ‘em back with the best of them, but these days, I generally drink only once a week, and only 2-3 units. But on a special occasion hang with good friends, a wedding, football game, or birthday party, I might let it rip and drink a LOT. There will be Jagerbombs.

7. Bottled water

I work in an office all day and the water tastes bad from the tap (maybe it’s Virginia water?) and the door on the refrigerators. I buy a big bottle of water from Whole Foods every other day and fill my Tervis Tumbler with ice and pour spring water by the gallons, yearly. Now, I do recycle basically everything I can, at work and at home…but I know it’s silly to buy bottled water and some sort of bullshit status symbol. Can’t shake the habit.

8. Cool Ranch Doritos

They are my crack, my Achilles’ heel and my favorite junk food/fat kid item. I only indulge in them on special occasions or really bad PMS-y days, but believe me, I can smile THINKING about Doritos. Next time, try them with cottage cheese. It’s like dinner.

9. Credit Cards

There are times where I buy a plane ticket on credit to visit someone I miss or stave off stress from work…there are times I splurge on sale items from J.Crew, but only if compounded with an additional 30% off code. I am much better about this than I used to be in my teens and twenties, but sometimes I throw a card down and am done with it. I pay every bill I have on-time and responsibly. But retail therapy perks me up.

10. Any "Real Housewives" marathon

I’ve loved them all; New York. Orange County. Atlanta. The short lived DC with those crazy, White House crashers, the Salahis. Beverly Hills with the crazy Paris Hilton Aunts. I think Bravo has gone off the deep end in providing vapid entertainment. And yet, it hooks me in and I watch with wonder, disgust and awe. And I sleep like a baby.

Those are my ten. Now you go.