Hedonism on the Daily – a Musing





the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

Posse, we’re gonna talk about Hedonism today.  Lucky us!  This is a result of a weird couple of weeks, wherein I’ve unintentionally (but now intentionally) given over to the pursuit of pleasure and sensual self-indulgence. Seems that hedonism and Summer were made for each other, probably because you can sit outside for hours without freezing to death.   So… let’s talk.

Years ago I came across a blog focused on hedonism and took The Test to see if I was, in fact, a hedonist.  Turned out that, according to their test, I was not a hedonist.  Apparently getting up at the crack of o’dark-thirty was the dealbreaker.  Which got me to thinking about what that result said about how we think of hedonism in general – or do we? (think that, I mean).  I think that site got/gets it All Wrong because their idea of what defines hedonism is an Act – as in, What One Does – and implies that there is only one way to enjoy sensual self-indulgence (and, according to them, it involves a lot of satin pajamas and grape-eating, or things to that effect).  While I’m all about the more luxurious types of hedonism, happily quaffing a ’95 Krug and nibbling lobstah, I posit something completely different – a more quotidian hedonism (see what they haz wrought?  A Musing):  I believe that hedonism is defined by the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’, that the pursuit of sensual joy, the tickling of the senses, can happen in nearly any situation.  I love to sit in my garden, listening to the birds and the wind through my neighbor’s 50’ tree.  In order to do that to maximum sensory effect I need to be up and in the garden before 8a, when everyone starts yelling at their kids and working in their yards.  At 6a on a July day it’s a sensory delight that can only be achieved in the stillness of that early morning.  Rolling out of bed at 10a isn’t a sensory delight – it gives me hives. Satin tends to give me hives, too. So slippery.

‘Why’ is what determines hedonism, imo.  Here’s a (albeit Very Weird) example:  I have two acquaintances in this burg, both are cleaning FIENDS!  One of them approaches that daily housecleaning with a grim, Puritanical zeal that suggests the only plausible alternative would be to burn the house to the ground while the other just seems to glow as she washes and polishes and sweeps and mops, etc.  One of those is a hedonist.  And omg.  Who would’ve thought that scrubbing a toilet could be hedonistic – yet this woman makes it seem so (this is a real shrug emoji moment but whatever zaps your charger, I guess).  My hedonistic delights are, mostly, a bit more traditional – a little gustatory delight, a lot of self-care (lordt, DO NOT get between me and a tub of shea butter), quiet moments in the garden, hot monkey secks with Idris Elba (okay, that last one I made up but … c’mon!  Idris is the embodiment of HEDONISM!), a vial of vintage Coty Chypre that makes me go ‘oh!’ as my eyes close in ecstasy.  A perfect mango. The susurrus of the wind through the giant spruce.  Idris Elba, lying Not Quite Naked (yet) in my bed (okay! Okay!  I’ll stop). A hummingbird, less than 10” away from me, as he hovers, trying to decide if I’m a threat (double Hedonism Points if he decides to stay)

There are so many ways to be a hedonist.  Though I think I’ll stop short of glowing whilst cleaning the toilets, thanks.


Tell me your thoughts.  I’ll close my own with an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem ‘The Summer Day’

..I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?’

  • Koyel says:

    What a lovely post (and the perfect poem to close it). I agree with you completely; hedonism lies in the intent. Lying on the couch with a book all morning can be hedonism. A night out drinking with friends until 4am can be hedonism. Different things are indulgences for different moods/people 🙂

  • ElizaC says:

    Hedonism can be interpreted as overindulgence, but I prefer your view that hedonism is the enjoyment of the senses and of life. Realizing that you are experiencing a magical moment. In Seattle’s Pioneer Square, there is an old, beautiful courtyard, Occidental Square, with trees decorated in strings of white lights. I still remember leaving a dinner/musical show with wonderful friends, walking out into the cold and through that beautiful courtyard. It was magical.

    • Musette says:

      that does sound magical! I had one of those amazing evenings, back in the Jurassic Era, driving through the ravines in a light mist… it was absolutely lovely. The man driving was lovely, too!

  • Tara C says:

    I love being up at 4:30am and going to lie out on my balcony to watch the sun come up in the quiet. There is a bunch of construction going on near me and it gets hot as blazes so by 7am the party is over and I retreat inside. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a hedonist but I do love my small pleasures, like a perfect cup of tea and a quiet morning with the dog.

  • Maya says:

    To me, hedonism is the excess and extreme of sensual and/or sexual pleasures. There are many things that make me happy, that I love, in these categories but don’t go into (in my opinion) hedonistic territory. So, I will simply mention a very lovely perfume that I enjoy wearing, Viktoria Minya Hedonist. 😉

    • Musette says:

      Done (or experienced) in the traditional way/definition, I agree – that’s why I said Quotidian because I think one can get extreme sensual pleasure from everyday experiences.
      I don’t know that perfume – must investigate!

  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    Jin gets up at 4.30am to get to work. Sometimes I’m still up watching TV or blogging. That little morning moment is luxury for me.
    If I’m in bed when he wakes up, he takes the dog for a wee and then gets him up on my bed. The dog and I then snuggle till I fall out of bed at the crack of noon.
    Sure, we may not last forever and it may all end up in a heap but I love almost every minute.
    I don’t really do hedonism anymore either, not like the magazines and novels portray it.
    My true joy is knowing I have enough. Knowing that we have enough.

    HA! Cleaning and laundry. I’m utterly ambivalent. Love it and hate it in equal measure. Super love having it all done. That cuppa after is bliss.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      You are the epitome of a hedonist, imo – an Everyday Hedonist, finding extreme pleasure in the smallest things!!!
      I strive for that, too.

  • Tom says:

    I know someone who loves nothing more than to be up at the crack o dawn to greet the day from her back garden. I love waking up at the crack o dawn and knowing that I can burrow into my pillow and snuggle up to Idris Elba (loved him since he was on AbFab- as a rent boy!) I love to take the car with the roof off and zip along Mulholland, with the scent of exhaust and jasmine and the feel of the car in the corners, braking going in and accelerating going out. I hate cleaning but love the smell of cleaning products- the smell of Hexol after I’ve cleaned the bathroom is the smell of accomplishment. I love the smell of the air in fall in New England- it might still be warm, even Indian Summer, but underneath that is a chill that tells the birds it’s time to migrate and me that it’s time to put the summer things away. I still remember going to school one day driving my little red Fiat with the top down, with the hills incarnadined with the fall leaves, the radio and the heater blasting and it hitting me how really lovely, how story-book pretty my little hometown could be.

    Now if Idris Elba could have been there, his tweed clad arm around my shoulder as I drove, I might never have left.

    I certainly wouldn’t have made it to class.

    • Rose Lake says:

      I also had a red Fiat and tooled around the hills of southwest Portland, top down, radio blasting Al Green. I was probably dreaming of Idris Elba, but hadn’t solidified the complete sensual package yet in my mind.

    • Musette says:

      “the smell of accomplishment” – is one of life’s really weird joys.

      And if Idris had been there with you I would’ve wanted photos!