Just Say Yes to the Dessert Menu

chocolate cakeWho wants to see the dessert menu?

That question has silenced otherwise lively dinner conversations more times that I care to remember.

I have seen grown women–beautiful, successful, confident women–freeze up at the mere mention of dessert. You can see the struggle in their eyes as they ponder how to best respond to the frightening prospect of Chocolate Layer Cake drizzled with Caramel.

Should I say yes? Is anyone else saying yes? I don’t want to be the only one who says yes. Look at my thighs! I’ll just wait and see what the others do.

The silence is followed by stilted banter. People try to gauge the situation and consider their opening moves. Then the table negotiations begin.

Well, I can’t possibly eat a whole dessert.

All I need is a bite, a forkful. That’s it.

Let’s get one piece of the chocolate cake and six forks.

That sounds reasonable and responsible and completely satisfying.

We’ll walk after so we won’t have to feel guilty.

Eating out is so much fun!

Calorie crisis averted. But inevitably someone throws a curve ball.

You know, I’m not really into chocolate. Does anyone want to share the Carrot Cake with the rich cream cheese frosting?

BAM! Now we’ve got dessert factions at the table and increased levels of diet guilt cause one diner to step away from the sugar line. “You know, I think I’ll just have a coffee instead,” she says. Bitch.

Fine. Two pieces of cake. Five forks. One cop-out cup of coffee.

When the cake arrives at the table the server almost smirks as she hands out all the forks. She’s seen this Body Image versus Dessert battle before. She knows how this will play out. The cake nibblers will taste and swoon and then feign fullness while their mouths secretly salivate wishing they could have more…have it all. Someone will order a drink to numb the pain of deprivation (because drinking one’s calories is not the same as eating them, of course).

Finally, in some desperate hope to prove they are worthy of this confectionery moment of delight, the women will shift the conversation to their workout schedules and diet plans and say inane things about how infrequently they actually have dessert.

I don’t really like sweets.

I usually prefer a piece of fruit or just some tea with organic honey.

Ah yes, tea. Herbs and hot water are just as satisfying as a slice of Banana Cream Pie. Totally the same thing.

There are a thousand valid reasons not to order dessert when you are enjoying a night out, but all too often people say NO  because they’ve been led to believe that only perfect bodies deserve guilt-free dessert. The rest of us are relegated to lemon water and Jell-O on a bed of kale.

If you have cellulite and a belly roll you’ve clearly already had too much dessert, Honey.

If you’re not carbing up for the big race you really should stick to a fruit cup.

Sweetie, if you order dessert the other diners will judge you as you shovel that devil’s food into your piehole.

I used to worry about this. I admit it. But I don’t anymore. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s wisdom. Maybe it’s a lack of self-control. All I know is when I’m out celebrating I always say yes to the dessert menu. I absolutely deserve the sweetness life has to offer, especially if that sweetness is coated in a lovely Chocolate Ganache.

And if you’re nice I’ll let you have a bite of my cake, but only if I can have a bite of yours. If you don’t order dessert and embrace the simple joys you don’t get diddly.

“Life’s a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death.”― Auntie Mame


Filed under Body Image, Body Acceptance, and Beauty

3 Responses to Just Say Yes to the Dessert Menu

  1. People who say they just want a cup of tea are usually lying, but dessert is a choice everyone has to make on their own.Enjoy it or feel guilty. A litle guilt never hurt anyone.

  2. I do LOVE dessert and get it often because I WANT it. However, I also find myself sometimes getting it for the opposite reason you’re discussing here. I will often feel a pressure NOT to seem overly concerned about what I’m eating. So to “prove” (to whom, I don’t know who would really give a sh#%T) that I’m fun and “just one of the girls” I end up ordering something I didn’t necessarily want–or that I wanted, I guess (because I always want dessert) but didn’t feel I “had to have” right then. Am I making sense? It’s sort of a reverse insecurity. Like I’m not confident enough to not care that people are thinking “ugh, she’s so boring and annoying by not eating dessert.” I’m sure I’ve just outed myself as slightly unstable. 😉

  3. There are times when I’m trying to watch how much sugar I eat because I don’t like how it makes me feel (sluggish, worse work outs). But there are other times when a piece of cake is just the delicious self indulgence I need. I used to do this song and dance about ordering in a group. Now, if I want cake, I get cake. If I don’t, I don’t. It’s a wonderful feeling.