What You Like

There's a New York radio station that's been running this one morning show for, god, maybe close to 20 years now. It's gone through its evolutions but essentially, it's the same group of people I've been listening to since my mom used to have it on for our drive to elementary school. I still put it on for my ride to work these days.

 Last week I caught the show as they were discussing a list one of the hosts had found on HuffPo about ten things people only pretend to life. Their conversation irritated me enough that I went googling when I got to work and found a very similar (perhaps parent?) list: Admit It, You're Only Pretending to Like These 23 Things.

 In general the hosts agreed. If I were the type of person who called into radio shows, I would have called in to offer this very simple, I think, reminder:

  You are not representative of everyone. Your experience is not everyone's. Speak only for yourself. And (in a less elegant reminder) it's incredibly rude to yuck someone else's yum. 

 Let's take a look at some of these things that someone HuffPo thought was worth publishing believes no one actually likes, with just a few editorializations:
1. Traveling — Planes are not for everyone. Traveling can be stressful if you have kids, anxiety, financial limitations, etc. But I'm pretty sure not everyone escaping the northeast to Barbados this winter is just keeping up appearances, or laying on a beach begrudgingly and really wishing they could be home.
2. Going to a club — I don't anticipate finding myself in one in the near future, but there were a handful of years where there was nowhere else I'd want to spend a Saturday night, dominating the dance floor with my friends and dancing until my thighs ached.
3. Meeting someone's family4. Going for a run — Yeah, I totally run races and have already signed up for two 2015 half marathons because running is the least fun I've ever had.
5. Looking at abstract art
6. Going to family reunions
7. Green juice
8. Reading Shakespeare — Definitely not for everyone, I get that. But I have a tattoo for Shakespeare, so please don't tell me that I don't actually enjoy the Bard.
9. Christmas
10. Actually cooking something — Because there's literally nothing good about flavoring and cooking something exactly like you want it, saving money, having control over your diet, shall I go on?
11. Cooking for other people
12. Watching something serious instead of reality TV — You remember there was a time before reality TV, right? My elementary school BFF and I watched her videotapeS of Titanic every day after school, and it wasn't because we'd rather have been watching The Real World.
13. Reading long books — Just shut up.
14. Yoga — She writes: "You do yoga about five days a week, but most of that time you have no idea what position the instructor is asking you to contort your body into, and you don't understand how everyone around you always seems to be so much better at this than you." I have been practicing yoga for almost 10 years and have never, not once, not even as a newb trying out yoga DVDs in my living room, felt this way about yoga. No, you don't just automatically know how to hit all the postures, but that's why you, I dunno, pay attention to the instructor? Learn as you go? It's called a practice for a reason.
15. Being around other people's kids — If it's a fat baby that doesn't talk yet and has a clean diaper and its parents aren't annoying/helicopters/anywhere around, GIMME. (It's gotta be an infant though, and it's gotta be fat.)
16. Caring about wine
17. Taking shots
18. Eating oysters
19. Working in a group — I bet the guy who always got As on the projects other people totally carried really likes working in a group.
20. Someone else's success. — I'm actually embarrassed and horribly sad for you if you can't be happy for a friend who landed a promotion, paid of her student loan debt, met the partner of her dreams, insert any other measure of success. Envy is natural, sure, but if it leaves no room for anything resembling happiness for another person? Sorry not sorry, that's pathetic.
21. Cuddling — Ugh, yeah, what could ever be enjoyable about pressing skin to skin with a person you adore, or are attracted to, or feel emotionally connected to? Gross.
22. Your friend's outfit — Yeah, she always looks terrible and I never tell her that that top isn't flattering; I just smile and nod and die inside.
23. When other people are honest with you — If you're being a jerk for no reason and don't know how to offer constructive feedback, I probably don't like hearing certain comments from YOU. But sometimes when you're not a horrible human being, not everything a person thinks about you is a "truth hurts" situation that, the author writes, is "a pain you would like to avoid at all costs."
Sure, there's a bunch out there who drop buzzworded adoration on certain things as if they're a walking online dating profile, attempting to reflect the image of a certain type of person when really they have minimal (or exclusively embarrassing) interests of their own: "I'm an outdoorsy girl who loves to do yoga and travel!"

But some people DO love yoga. And traveling. And some people have no interest in either of those things. Both are perfectly acceptable. It's just fine to enjoy travel, and it's just fine to have no interest in it. Society has a sort of intrinsic affection for one over the other, though, so it's not uncommon for a person to feel inferior when they don't share the general consensus on bucket list-approved hobbies like travel, hence the percentage of people who claim to like it when they've only been as far from home as Milwaukee.

 Maybe, instead of attacking people for only claiming to like socially-accepted hobbies, we could spread the love a little bit and be a tad less judgmental of people who spend their time differently than how some others think they should? Because doing yoga, traveling, or babysitting your friend's kid may not make you a better person, but shitting all over everything other people do or don't do absolutely does make you kind of a shitty person.

To the person who wrote this list, you sound like you're real fun at parties. Do you just walk around suggesting to people that they don't actually like scarves or showering either? I'm genuinely curious: If you so dislike all these things that bring millions of other people joy, a sense of pride or accomplishment, or sheer exhilaration... what the hell do you like?

Oh and before I go, here are my suggested alternative titles for your awful listicle:
  • Things I Don't Like To Do That I Assume No One Else Has a Different Experience With 
  • 23 Things People Do That I Don't Feel a Part of So I Have to Crap All Over Them 
  • Things I've Never Even Tried to Do Or Educate Myself About Yet Have Decided Are Pretentious or Useless Anyway


  1. You make all wonderful points. Of course there are things on this list I don't like but the catch is that I don't pretend to. Clubs have never been my thing and make me feel uncomfortable, which is why i don't go....not go and pretend to like it that's just silly.

  2. While I genuinely do not enjoy oysters, I can accept that there are many others who do. The list that you shared is really pretentious. It almost reminds me of the whole "basic" trend. Lists like these are so ridiculous. Almost everything on that list I like! Whoever wrote that list is a fun hater.

  3. Ugh, what an awful list. I don't like about half of the things on that list and I have never pretended to, haha! Honestly, though, if that list isn't total BS to you and you find yourself in situations like that yoga scene, you're completely missing the point and I feel really bad for you. There are a million things in the world to like - why waste time and energy on things you don't actually care about?

  4. Haha this list is ridiculous! While there are a few things on there I dont like - oysters, most peoples kids, going to clubs....I don't pretend to like them either. I find pretending to like things just to appease other people fake and annoying and I have zero time for that.

    There are plenty of things on this list I truly love -Christmas, cuddling, meeting peoples families, being happy for other people who have successes, cooking, reading, etc.

    Basically I find this list stupid and pointless to be an article lol.

    Ok, I'm calm. I literally agree with all of your notes. Especially #20. And all the others because like you said ' don't yuck someone else's yum! (ps i love that). Also, I kinda really hate reality TV. Well I guess I don't, I like house hunters and such. But the bachelor and real housewives, not my jam.
    But honestly, I don't get why people do things they don't like. The whole freaking world loves coffee and guess what.. I don't, and that's ok. I'm sure you get this too, but when I post about running or even yoga or heck even books people will say 'i need to do that more, i wish i liked running, i wish i had time to read!' and i just want to be like... i make time for the things i love. that includes running and reading. i'm sure you make time for the things you love. just because i love something doesn't mean you need to. if you wanted to run, or read - you would. no big deal. just do whatever makes you happy.
    I laughed so hard at this: Things I've Never Even Tried to Do Or Educate Myself About Yet Have Decided Are Pretentious or Useless Anyway

  6. Seriously who wrote that post - not very bright!! I have to say looking at abstract art is not on my list of fun things to do though lol! And going to the club now - not so much, back when i was 21 YES!! lol! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  7. If everyone liked the same stuff, this little planet of ours would be a terribly boring place.

    Miranda Lambert - forgive me because ughhh - sang it best "Ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning it takes all kinds of kinds."

    And if you cannot be happy for someone else's success you are living a very sad existence. How can you not be thrilled when your best friend gets her dream job?!

  8. It does honestly sound like a list of things that ONE person doesn't like to do and they just decided to pass it off as something that the majority of the general public also does not enjoy. I keep trying to think of something I pretend to like, but I can't think of anything. There are things I WISH I liked, but I don't think I pretend to like anything.

  9. Thus is crazy and I agree with you. How can you generalize these things. I actually do love travel. Ive been on several long flights at this point and none of them bother me and I dont get nervous because I fly so often. So yeah.... and #13 ... AS IF!!! So many of these ... I love cuddling... and gosh dammit I love wine. No appearances to be kept when Im sipping while reading or writing in peace on my own. The author of that article needs to take a fucking nap and wake up to the reality that not everyone is as sucky/unhappy in life as he/she

    1. PS ... he might be right on the working in group thing. HATE IT.


Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you. Please make sure your settings let me reply to your comment by email.