Parenting

Listen — Stop Crapping All Over People's Taste In, Well, Everything

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This one goes out to all the smug, miserable hags that are gearing up to start making fun of people simply for liking fall things. Knock it off. I’m serious. Before you even start snarking about all the things that bring other people joy during the autumn months, just turn that idea the heck around and freaking don’t. Let people like things.

Damn.

This message is timely because fall is prime Parade Raining season.

We are about to enter the world of pumpkin spice, blanket scarves, Uggs, hay bales, pumpkin décor and signs that say “It’s Fall, Y’all!” There’s nothing that brings out the snarky, sarcastic side of people who are just too cool for school quicker than a basic fall woman living her best pumpkin patching, hay-riding, plaid-clad, cinnamon-scented life.

It’s almost universally acceptable at this point to be mean-spirited and dismissive when fall rolls around and people start displaying their devotion to the cliché autumn stuff that has made the season so recognizable for the last few years.

I don’t understand your bitterness. Who cares if every member of a friend group shows up to watch Hocus Pocus on an outdoor screen while sitting on couches made of bales of straw beside a roaring fire pit while wearing jeans and boots and slouchy sweaters and holding Starbucks cups in their burgundy dip-polished hands? How are they hurting you? If they like it, LET THEM LIKE IT. Nobody has appointed you the Empress of Acceptable, and you’re making yourself look bitter and miserable.

You really need to learn to let people like things all year long, not only in the fall.

Crapping on someone’s happiness is a total butthead move one hundred percent of the time, in every season, all year long. Unless someone is actively harming themselves, you or someone else, why the heck can’t you just leave well enough alone and let people like things?

I mean, sure. Speak up and step in if someone is being racist, sexist, homophobic, fatphobic, xenophobic, ableist, classist, or otherwise ultra-problematic. We can’t stand by and let oppression or discrimination happen. Someone can’t just say they “like” being a total asshole and get a pass. There are obvious lines.

But what is this obsession with hating on the completely harmless things that bring people joy and comfort?

Do you know how much crap my husband has gotten for liking Taylor Swift’s music? A lot. People (other men) really seem to care that a grown man could enjoy her music, but she’s sold one hundred bazillion records for a reason. Her music is catchy and she’s good at what she does. She isn’t necessarily my go-to choice when I’m alone, but if my husband wants to listen to “Shake It Off” or “You Need to Calm Down” while we cook breakfast or ride in the car, I’m cool with it because I know how to let people like things.

Every time something gets popular, there are certain personality types that are going to hate it.

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And that’s cool. Hate whatever you want. Abstain from participating in any trend that doesn’t make you happy. That’s your right. But you’re allowed to do what while also recognizing that the stuff you hate makes other people happy. It’s not cool to make people feel inferior for enjoying it.

For years, when people asked me my favorite movies, I’d always say, “Oh, I have terrible taste in movies. Don’t ask me.” I did that because once when I was in my early twenties some pretentious, obnoxious friend of a friend asked me that question at a party, and my answer was, “Father of the Bride.” They burst into laughter, and said, “That’s not a movie!” I was so embarrassed.

This jerk had trapped me on purpose; they knew my answer would be “wrong,” and they saw their chance to demonstrate that they felt superior to me. When they said “movies,” they meant obscure arthouse films or indie flicks or old Hollywood classics. They didn’t mean heartwarming early ’90s rom-coms starring Steve Martin and Martin Short.

That single experience made me nervous to answer a simple question about the kinds of movies I liked. It took a lot of growing up for me to realize that it’s okay for me to want to use movies as an escape from real life. I don’t have to like heady, cerebral films with underlying commentaries on the atrocities of war or whatever. If I want to watch a baby-faced Kimberly Williams Paisley play basketball with Steve Martin on the night before her fictional wedding and cry a little happy tear, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I have bad taste in movies. I’m allowed to like what I like.

Let people like things. I repeat: LET PEOPLE LIKE THINGS.

How unhappy is your life that you can’t just smile at people enjoying their things while you enjoy your things? If your neighbor has a Peloton and gets monthly massages and books seasonal Botox appointments, but you prefer a treadmill, think massages are a waste of money, and would prefer to age as your face sees fit, you can keep your mouth shut and like your things while you LET THEM LIKE THEIR THINGS.

It’s not edgy or cool or cute or fun to be a killjoy. People have enough actual problems without you adding your misery to their pile for no reason. Mind your own business and allow the people you meet to enjoy doing their things.

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