Published on July 30th, 2012 | by kdiddy6
What to Expect When You Provide The Office Cupcakes
The practice of baking goes back thousands of years. In ancient Rome, the pastry cook was elevated to a respected profession and the decadent creations were often a satisfying end to a long day of killing Christians and having orgies.
Throughout history, baking has been associated with joy, comfort, happiness, and care. Cakes are present at most of the celebrations in life and a common happy childhood memory is home-baked chocolate chip cookies.
But the dynamics of the modern workplace, especially office environments, are not like those of real life. In an office, and in many other social situations where the stakes are perceived to be high, people are often consumed with maintaining an image for their co-workers and superiors. This image often contains elements of control and composure. For women, this tends to manifest itself in eating habits and diets.
Let me take a moment to explain for those of you who have never been a woman: shit is complicated. If you know some women, it’s likely that at least half of them have been on some kind of diet or blowing some kind of diet the entire time that you’ve known them. Our bodies are judged pretty harshly and grappling with that knowledge from a young age can really mess a girl’s brain up for good.
It’s kind of sad, but it’s mostly just really annoying when someone brings cupcakes to work and suddenly the theatrics come out.
Perhaps you’ve been there. It’s your birthday or someone else’s birthday or some other special occasion and you decide to bring a treat into work. You’re excited! Everyone loves cupcakes and your co-workers are going to be so happy to have such a sweet treat to break up what would otherwise be another monotonous or stressful work day! You scurry into your office with the bakery box, the heavenly smell of sugar, butter, and chocolate wafting into your face. You arrive at reception and announce, “Hey everyone! I brought cupcakes!” and await the shower of thanks and adoration that is surely about to come your way.
You poor thing. Office cupcakes? Little did you know when you picked up that box this morning that you were about to enter Thunderdome.
No. The social skills of gratitude and recognition of a kind act that most adults have (hopefully) cultivated in life will disappear entirely and will be replaced by other performances and displays of emotion. And I feel like you should be prepared for what you will face if you have the dumb idea of doing something nice for the people you spend the majority of your waking hours with.
You might encounter the wrath of someone, like Tina from Accounting up there, who is in the midst of a grueling diet. Maybe there’s some serious health reason for it, maybe she’s just convinced that the 43rd time at Weight Watchers is a charm. In any case, her failures at healthy body image and care are the fault of everyone else and she’s pissed at you for this obviously deliberate attempt to keep her wallowing in misery. You bastard.
This reaction is always really uncomfortable for everyone who is subjected to it. A co-worker takes a cupcake, groans in delight as they consume it, then realizes what they’ve done in front of all of you: they’ve revealed that they *gasp* like cupcakes and enjoy eating them. What kind of a pig are they? They can’t believe they just ate that. Someone should have stopped them. They don’t know what it is, but they just can’t resist. (Hint: cupcakes are delicious, that’s why you want to eat them. It’s really not rocket surgery.)
Detailed explanation of how “good” they’ve been up til now
Related to the self-flagellation, some dieters who have have answered the siren song of cupcakes might begin to carefully dissect for all present just how “good” they’ve been until this moment. Grapefruit and cottage cheese for breakfast everyday, egg whites and asparagus for lunch, 64 ounces of water, steamed fish…and they just don’t know why they couldn’t resist a cupcake. They’ve been denying themselves and are no longer thinking rationally about such things. Their steamed broccoli-addled brains think that this might be the last opportunity that the body has for life-sustaining fat.
Knee-jerk formation of lunchtime walking group/diet club
Post-cupcake, the dieters in your office will give each other the side-eye, and then one of them will come up with a GREAT idea: “Let’s all start walking at lunchtime/diet together/start an inter-departmental Biggest Loser competition!” Don’t. Just don’t. Do you really want to be intimately familiar with the details of how Tina’s downfalls begin? Plus, this is personal, body stuff and ultimately not really appropriate for the workplace. Do you want your bosses thinking about how you so totally sabotaged their diets to win the office weight loss pool when it comes time for performance reviews and raises?
Sudden resolution to work late so they can enjoy a cupcake alone, in the dark. Which, you know…healthy!
There’s usually one person who refuses the cupcakes, perhaps calmly, perhaps dramatically (see: hostility). But will then have some reason for staying late. Gotta finish up some TPS reports or something. What’s really going on is that they want to be able to make sweet love to a cupcake alone without what they perceive to be your judging eyes. This person has issues, to say the least.
Unicorn-rare: thanks but no thanks
Some lucky cupcake harbingers will find themselves working with sane, rational people who just politely decline the offer. They don’t need to attach a story to it, they don’t need to fill you in on way too much information on their eating habits and caloric meltdowns. Cherish these co-workers and offer to help them out with something in lieu of giving them sweets. They’re good people and mature workers. They’re classy! (See what I did there?)
Have you ever attempted office cupcakes? Please share your pain in the comments.