Six Guilty Pleasures

From time to time, I think it’s wise to expose oneself. Well, at least a little. Not looking as great in a bikini as I used to, by necessity I have to take my self-risks more cerebrally. I think it’s safer! Flame me if you want, but here are six things I only admit to my good friends (until now):

1. I will read or watch a movie about almost anything that is set in Edinburgh or Paris, my two favorite cities so far. This means I have devoured all of Alexander Call Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie mystery series, and one of my favorite movies is French Kiss, with Meg Ryan having a spell of lactose intolerance on a train and Kevin Kline faking a French accent. I’ve enjoyed both tremendously, though neither counts as time well spent. I recently watched “Charade” again, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and enjoyed it thoroughly, even though it is so unbelievably silly. But how many chances do you get to watch people glide down the Seine on a boat? Scottish accents just make me smile. Not to mention the very dry sense of humor that usually comes along for the ride.

2. Okay, I love everything French. I don’t understand their politics and I’m mad as hell at the French for their current treatment of Romanies, but there is something about their language and how they live that intrigues me. Perhaps it is because my grandmother’s Manouche Romani ancestors came from there, or some other out-of-body experience, but I am never happier than when I am stuttering French or nibbling French cheese (which somehow does not give me lactose bouts, a la Meg; my son says it’s because it’s fresh and the enzymes haven’t had a chance to congregate yet), and I wouldn’t give anything for my one (so far) stroll up the Champs Elyssée. (It was November, but there were still rose blooming under the evergreens. And the Yves St. Laurent store had its entrance wrapped as a giant gift box for the holidays. And everyone was incredibly nice about my stumbling French.

3.My favorite self-indulgence is crisp French fries. (But not from MacDonald’s; they’re still putting wheat flour on their fries, but they no longer lie about it, since they’ve been found out.)

4.I used to have a crush on Paul Anka. What was I thinking?!!

5.I still have a crush on Johnny Depp. I don’t care how overdone it is. Clark Gable had the same naughty twinkle, and if you don’t know who that is, go look him up. Why ask why we like naughty men? Like we girls don’t have an agenda?

6.Okay, this is the big one, the payoff, the real shock: I love my native state of South Carolina, from tip to tip–Charleston Harbor, the sand hills, the beautiful ribbon of the Blue Ridge. I never feel better than when I am there. But I will never live there, ever again. Not until they take that Confederate flag off the capitol grounds and admit that it’s a symbol of the deepest form of racism. Which means, sadly, never, ever again, because too many South Carolinians are too steeped in fake history to care or try to make things better for the people who suffer from the oppression that still results. If I could, I would make the entire state take an American Studies course taught by Vine Deloria and Alice Walker. But don’t ask me how many times I dream of mist and moonlight through the pines.

Oh, no, I don’t have just six, but that is all the exposure I can stand for now.

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