In Praise of Being Basic


While I was in California, enough people asked me why I hadn’t Instagrammed any cocktails yet that I began to wonder if I come across as an alcoholic on Instagram. “No, you’re just…predictable.” Holly told me at lunch. “You mean basic.” I replied. I’ve come to realize I’m kind of okay with that.

Sure, there are loads of things considered ‘basic’ that are pretty icky. Coffee drinks from Starbucks probably shouldn’t be considered actual coffee. UGGs should be banned from fashion. No one over the age of 21 should be ordering a Cosmo at a bar.

But couldn’t we all use a reminder to appreciate and derive joy from tiny, attainable things? There are enough unreachable, aspirational images online that taking the joy out of the easy-to-reach stuff is not ok.

There are plenty of things I’ve seen called ‘basic’  that I find pretty dang pleasing. A short list:

  • Coffee art. It looks delicious and is evocative of cozy, slow mornings. You know when I don’t have time to see the top of my coffee? When it’s in a tiny paper cup with a lid and I’m rushing to work, which is basically all the time.
  • Doors. Since when is appreciating architecture and design a bad thing?
  • Flowers, especially peonies and roses. They grow freely in my backyard and smell good.
  • That Hozier song (ok, Sean was the one complaining about this being basic). He’s Irish and the lyrics compare love to sacrificing things to pagan goddesses. Excellent. I don’t even care.
  • Macarons (and I think le merveilleux are right behind macarons in the soon-to-be-overly-trendy-camp). They’re both gluten-free, look like cakes and cookies for fairies, and make any day better. Seriously, you’re going to judge pastry?
  • Brunch. See Coffee art.
  • White Converse. If they were good enough for your grandfather to play basketball in, they’re good enough for you to take pictures of your feet on the beach in.



  1. Psh I’ve never seen an Instagram that wasn’t its own type of predictable. I also like that Hozier song, flowers, and doors, so I guess I’m pretty basic, too!

  2. Hear hear! YES. Yes. People like what they like. Why make someone feel bad, or stupid or wrong about it with all this “basic bitch” baloney? I especially hate that between women, it makes me awfully sad that people feel they have to do that. There’s tons of pictures of coffee art and peonies and archways and brunch for a reason – they’re always gorgeous to look at! I personally can’t get enough of photos of the sea eddying around people ankles, and little creatures scurrying about in tidepools. So what if everyone has to take a picture of that when they visit the ocean? It’s still beautiful, and obviously everyone thinks so. There’s nothing wrong with that :)

  3. I love this post! I cop to being basic and I have zero regrets about it!! Coffee art, brunch, flower arrangements(although I’m a florist so it goes with job) shoes on cute welcome mats, Hozier, Uptown Funk and Happy…I love them all!

  4. A swan on your coffee?! Now that I have seen. I’d wager that no one is happy who doesn’t enjoy the small stuff. And the Hozier sound is actually really good.

  5. Looks like I’m pretty basic too! I would add photos of dramatic sunsets/sunrises to the list of things I’ve been told are basic at which point I think I reached the same conclusion as you…if you can’t let someone enjoy that kind of beauty without taking issue with it then I give up. In defence of Hozier though, Take me to Church is about the corrupting power and influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland and in particular its stance on homosexuality, the interpretation that it is about making sacrifices to pagan goddess is a pretty basic way of looking at it!

    1. Huh. I’d have to disagree. While the video references a same sex relationship, the song mentions a “she” and compares their relationship to many kinds of religious experiences, including Catholicism and Paganism.

      1. We might have to agree to disagree so! This is what he said about it in an interview in NY mag for instance-
        ‘Coming from Ireland, obviously, there’s a bit of a cultural hangover from the influence of the church. You’ve got a lot of people walking around with a heavy weight in their hearts and a disappointment, and that shit carries from generation to generation. So the song is just about that — it’s an assertion of self, reclaiming humanity back for something that is the most natural and worthwhile. Electing, in this case a female, to choose a love who is worth loving.’
        I grew up in that same culture and a political landscape that has seen change finally gather some pace in the last few years, both in attitudes to homosexuality and also wider gender issues including institutional attitudes to women and sex , but there is a long way to go. Perhaps this doesn’t resonate so much with an international audience as it does with someone who comes from that culture. I’m not a big fan of his music to be honest but I think he maybe deserves a little more credit for his intentions than you’re giving him

Leave a Reply