Posted by: Sara S. | December 2, 2009

A red-letter, treat-free day

If there was one thing I used to loved more than anything at work, it was Occasions. Because you know what Occasions brought? Cupcakes. And what did cupcakes bring? Joy.

Now, Occasions still bring cupcakes, but cupcakes no longer bring joy. They have become harbingers of fear. The sweet smell of buttercream frosting as it wafts into my cube. The tempting look of these colorful confections neatly arranged in a Magnolia box or Crumbs caddy. How could I possibly resist? Mostly with grave difficulty and by literally sitting on my hands.

Today was my coworker’s’ birthday, so not only did our boss bring in mini-tarts from Le Pain Quotidien, but the coworker’s boyfriend brought us Magnolia cupcakes. Fie! Fie!

As soon as I heard that one of my bosses—let’s call her Penelope—was providing tartlets at our morning meeting, I went into panic mode. If I refused the sweets, I looked like a neurotic dessert-hater who was so uptight she couldn’t savor one tiny little tart. Even worse, if I ate the thing, I was bound to go ape and steal everyone else’s shares before they even had to time to blink, and would then proceed to lock myself in the supply closet until the lemon custard cups and chocolate minis were a distant memory. What to do, what to do…

Lucky for me, as soon as we all sat down, Penelope said she knew I wouldn’t be eating the treats and that was okay, thus assuaging my blooming social phobia about being labeled the office Freak. The meeting proceeded without incident.

Some might say it’s better to indulge a little bit here and there, so as not to make desserts this giant red zone. That’s fine; if you can control yourself, then be my guest. I cannot. It’s much better for me to abstain from treats altogether because my thought process is always, “Well, you had one cupcake, so this day’s already gone to hell in a handbasket and you might as well have three.” Superior logic.

Not for the first time, I was indeed pleased that I avoided all offers of sweets today. My other boss—we’ll call her Anna—remained stalwart with me on the cupcake front when they were passed around the office. [N.B. I do not know what happened with Penelope and the cupcakes. Bad reportage, I know.] So, in sum, just as it was more fun for me to binge on Oreos when I did it with friends (especially if the friends were trying to diet and I made them feel so pathetic for abstaining that they eventually caved—whoops!), it’s nice to have coworkers who are respectful of your plight and encourage you to be strong when the treat box comes around. I know there are many more Occasions ahead, and I hope there will be just as many colleagues around me to say, “Fingers off the frosting, lady.”



  1. Update: I am not quite as strong as our eminent blogger, and indulged in both tartlets and cupcakes, I am most sorry to say. But I did resist the vanilla ice cream at home! A small victory.

    You’re my hero, S.

    • “Penelope”: Vanilla ice cream has been know to be my complete undoing, so I count that a victory indeed! Looking forward to conquering the pistou this weekend (I expect to get pretty heavy-handed with the Parmesan…).

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