Posts Tagged 'pleasure'

Pleasure: I’ve found a new type and it needs a name

The English language needs another word.

“Another?” you ask, in an intimidating tone that would freak out any kid called Oliver.

Yes, another. I’ve identified a particular type of pleasure for which I can’t find an accurate, all-encompassing English word. This breed of delight is like the less-evil, younger sister of “Schadenfreude”. It’s a bit like the hippy best friend of “symbiosis”. And it hangs out with the cheeky cousin of “opportunism”. But none of these do it justice.

And no, this isn’t another opinion-piece inspired by 50 Shades of Grey.

Like most lightbulb moments, I had discovered this nameless brand of joy whilst riding on public transport. It goes a little something like this.

You know how on the floor of a bus, there’s that raised section to accommodate the height of the wheels? (Just say yes). Well, in my city, the local buses have two seats above these higher-floored sections, which means that anyone who sits there will have their legs pushed up, resulting in a more acute angle below the knee and a more obtuse angle below the thigh of the passenger. Confused? Well, it’d be like sitting on a bus in platform shoes – think The Spice Girls on a road trip. Anyway, everyone finds those seats awkward so they avoid them.

Everyone except ME!

I LOVE those seats! I find them so comfortable! And I haven’t a clue why, because I don’t think my leg proportions are too different from anyone else’s. And since I’m not a fan of the standard chair-to-floor ratio that society has dictated, those wheel seats suit me to a tee.

And this is what I’m talking about.

The fact that no-one else likes them means they’re always available. I don’t have to compete for them. I don’t have to sit next to anyone. Thanks to the misfortune of others (them finding my Spice-Girl-Platform Seats to be confining), I always get what I want. So I gloat. I feel like a maverick. I feel like a smug sheepdog in a flock of sheep. But I feel gratitude too and strangely, a sense of belonging. By filling those seats, I’m maintaining the delicate ecosystem of the bus. I give those seats a reason to live.

And I believe this mixture of feelings needs a name.

But it doesn’t just apply to buses. It could also apply to, say…Neapolitan ice-cream.

Imagine you live in a house with four other people. They covet the chocolate and vanilla stripes, but balk at the strawberry. It’s the one always left over, but luckily for you, the strawberry is your absolute favorite.

So, not only do you…

1.Get the delight of eating your ideal flavor of ice-cream, and

2.Feel victorious that you don’t have to have a freezer-side Sumo contest with your housemates for it; but also,

3.You get the satisfaction of knowing you have made a positive contribution to this world. Thanks to you, the strawberry ice-cream has found a home in your belly. You, my friend, are the clownfish to the sea anemone, protecting it from those anemone-eating fish while it in turn protects you from your predators.

See, don’t you think we need a word for this? A word which encompasses all these thoughts and feelings? Because when it happens, it’s really fun. It’s like having your head inserted into a miniature floating disco for three seconds.

“Schadenfreude” (the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune) isn’t sufficient. It’s too Hitler-ish in meaning.

Instead, this “Pleasure X” (again, I haven’t read 50 Shades) could be better described as:

“The pleasure felt by Person A which is derived from Person B’s slight dislike of an object, situation, or dairy product, the result of which is that Person A gets to enjoy, and feels grateful that they get to enjoy, their optimum scenario without confines or the opposition of Person B, while simultaneously feeling a delusional level of satisfaction that they have played a successful part in a symbiotic relationship, thus contributing to the continuation of the universe.”

Simple, huh?

And this is why we need a word for it.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? And what would you call it?

The raised-floor-bus-seat. My favourite!



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