My favorite fact about Mary-Kate Olsen is that, at her wedding to Olivier Sarkozy in 2015, there were bowls of cigarettes sprinkled throughout the reception, like refreshments. I never forgot this detail after I read it in Page Six. I love it not because I smoke, or think nicotine as decor is chic, but because there’s something both charming and absurd about embracing a vice to that extent.
What makes a vice a vice? What makes a pleasure guilty? Are these words used to describe the very human inability to behave all the time? To eat dessert even when we swore we wouldn’t? There are people who say no pleasures should be guilty. I remember coming to that conclusion when I was 22 and realized all the disparate parts of a personality could coexist: junk food lover and health nut, celebrity gossip fiend and intellectual, etc. — so why separate them? Why make some parts honorable and some parts guilt-inducing?
But that might be oversimplifying. Guilt serves a function in that it urges you to live according to your beliefs, right? To not turn around and punch a guy right after you said you forgave him. It’s interesting to think, then, about what makes us feel guilty. What makes us deem something a vice instead of an indulgence? An addiction to nicotine instead of cigarettes arranged in a bowl?
January is Vices Month on Man Repeller. Instead of resolution setting and self-improvement betting, we want to talk about our vices, about the world’s, about how they came to be known as such — and why! Is it possible to love a vice? Or does that make it not a vice? What’s a fashion vice? Can one be addicted to Fair Isle sweaters? Is there ever virtue in a vice?
We have a lot up our oversize sleeves this month, but let us know what you want to read this month, vice-wise or otherwise. We’ll be waiting to hear in the comments.
Gif by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.