Hate to Love It

There are many things in life I love to hate. Freezing rain. Parrots. Bigots. Those who refuse to accept that climate change is an actual thing. Vladimir Putin. I try not to be too negative, but a little ire in life isn’t such a terrible thing. Worse, for me, is admitting the things that I hate to love. Shameful, silly, frivolous or purely escapist things that should cause me to retch. Instead, I harbour affection. I feel like admitting this is the first step to recovery. Or maybe something creative can come out of it — a poetic riff on the self-loathing I feel whenever I click through a slideshow of the best-dressed women at the Oscars, for example.

I like lists. So here, in no relevant order, are five things I hate to love:

1) Maroon 5 songs: Let me be clear — I am not saying I love the band as an entity, but rather the music they make. I don’t really know anything about them other than the fact that frontman Adam Levine seems to be everywhere, and appears to take himself way too seriously. He’s sort of re-invented smarmy in a way that apparently appeals to the masses. He and his crew churn out tune after tune and I want to hate all their hits, but I don’t. “Moves Like Jagger” is one of my favourite songs from the last five years. I don’t think it’s deep, but damn if it doesn’t make me want to dance and sing. It makes me happy. I was hooked way back in 2002 when they came out with “Harder to Breathe”, and I STILL like that song. Then this new “Sugar” song comes out and the video! Well, it’s unbearable. But again, the song worms its way into my psyche and has a little party. How embarrassing.

2) The smell of gasoline: I know I am not unique in liking this nauseating scent. Lots of weirdos out there do. And I feel the need to clearly state that I don’t huff the stuff or anything. But that little whiff you get at the gas station? That’s a pleasant experience for me. Maybe I’m getting just enough benzene in that sniff to get a tiny buzz. Maybe it smells like happy childhood memories. I don’t know.

3) Cheezies: The colour alone should be repellent. Nothing in nature has ever been that vibrantly orange. Not even a majestic monarch butterfly. Or an actual orange. Reading the “nutritional” information on a package should be enough to put me off for life, but I’m more likely to rip open the bag and eat them by the salty, crunchy, fatty handful. Then have the perma-orange fingers as a guilty reminder.

4) Charlie Sheen: Why do I find this disgusting human somehow endearing? I cannot answer that question. It’s not his “bad boy” quality. The alcohol and drug fueled tirades are pretty sad, and the allegations of violence against women should land him squarely in the “Love to Hate” column. But despite all of this, I think he’s pretty human, funny at times, and enjoyably honest in his own messed up way. There’s something about Charlie that just makes me want to give him a second chance. Or twenty. I blame his short but sweet stint in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

5) When figure skaters fall at major competitions. Especially the Olympics: This is a hard one to admit, because it might be a big dirty window into my psyche. I actually smile a little when the shimmering skaters go up for a fantastic jump or spin and then come down with a boom. This is so horrible! I know it. With that fall often comes the collapse of years of training and talent, so I know the appropriate response is the collective “aww” of disappointment and sympathy you can hear in the crowd. But there’s just something so satisfyingly human about the seemingly infallible skater taking an ugly bite on the ice. I feel bad that I take some twisted pleasure in it. And I don’t like watching them after, all teary and torn up as they wait for the terrible scores. But the moment of the fall…it’s just fantastic. Note: I don’t care who the skater is or what country he or she represents. All epic skating fails are equal in their awesomeness.

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