For the past several months Carrie MacQuaid has been wearing printed t-shirts, each listing a different 'guilty pleasure.' The plain grey or white shirts make statements in plain black text like, "I consistently prefer to watch E! news over any real news shows." MacQuaid describes a guilty pleasure as "something that is totally embarrassing but harms no one. It is something you get pleasure out of, but won't want to tell other people for fear of what they might think."
Why would someone want to make a confession like this in public? What stands to be gained or lost? Perhaps it is the possibility or bridging some gap between self and others, making oneself more human and accessible. Self effacement often does just that. Perhaps there is some assumption of superiority when we first meet people that needs to be undermined in order for friendships to be created. Maybe it's just easier to trust someone who makes fun of themself first.
Confessions, especially embarrassing ones, are accompanied by a heightened presumption of honesty. Why would someone lie and say that they love Disney's High School Musical, if they know people are likely to scoff? Why do we expect the truth in confessions?
Beyond this, what is it about our own desire to know about other people's guilty pleasures? Is it just voyeurism or something more?
You can follow Carrie MacQuaid's Confession Sessions at: