Yesterday at the Silverthorne Pavilion, we watched some people make out under a flowery arch. We witnessed three men in matching gray suits and one girl in a very expensive looking, sparkly white dress freestyle to a new rap song I don’t know because I am a white girl who lives in Dillon, which is very much behind the curve. None of this is a big deal.
I also got sucked into the cupcake vortex (a.k.a. I ate one), which is a slightly bigger deal because I am trying to do avoid cake in all its forms. But it was chocolate with a peanut butter frosting as abundant as Jeb Bush’s campaign contributions thus far ($120 billion, oh yay). I barely stood a chance.
And then there was last Thursday, at a wedding I’d freelance bartended at the Lake House in Evergreen. I’d successfully resisted the constant urge to tilt that ginormous bottle of Svedka vodka into my half full soda water (yes… half full). The empanadas Alycia (my friend who hooked me up with the gig) kindly brought me I resolutely dropped in the trash — sans wheat-free innards, which went in my belly. So far, so good.
The hours slip away like so many empanada shells into the trash and up came the nearly full moon.
“Take a shot with me!” says a girl in a turquoise dress, holding out her smudged empty glass for me to fill with alcohol.
“Nah,” I say coyly. “I’ve gotta drive.”
The other girl waiting at the bar, her long red hair cascading over her shoulder, reminds me that the b&b I’m crashing at with Alycia is in walking distance.
For some reason I momentarily didn’t want to tell anyone that I’d volunteered for this ridiculous nutritional escapade. So I say, “Word to your mother.”
Then Alycia arrives with the cake — carrot cake no less, which is top of the cake rung in my book, even trumping chocolate peanut butter. It lies on a turquoise plate, resplendent in its sugary glory, perfectly square, multiple ribbons of cream cheese frosting winking under the full moon. Alycia disappears into the night again like a cake wraith.
“Ugh,” I say.
“You know, you have to have wedding cake at a wedding,” says the redheaded girl. “It’s bad luck not to.”
“Says who?” I say, but subconsciously my hand already landed on the table next to the turquoise plate like a hungry sparrow.
She shrugs. “Well if you won’t take a shot with us, you have to eat cake while we take a shot.” She hits me with what she assumes is a pointed glance, but the rum definitely filed the point off.
I later learn, while writing this blog of course, that the tradition of cake+wedding=good luck sprung from every woman’s favorite state of mind: antiquated misogyny. Traditionally, the groom gnawed off a tasty mouthful of barley bread, while the rest of the loaf is broken over the bride’s head as a symbol of good old-fashioned male dominance (http://mentalfloss.com/article/18915/bizarre-origins-8-wedding-traditions). Then the guests would get Swiffer on it, picking up crumbs cause every serf knows, rejected-barley-floor-cake+wedding= mighty good luck!
I scowl, feeling my Swiss-cheese strength resolve start to melt. “I’m… not really eating sugar at the moment,” I said. “Or wheat.”
The father of the bride approaches, holding out his cup for a refill of “the goods” as I’ve labeled them — a box of posh wine reserved for the wedding party. He glances down at the piece of cake sitting on the table like a kitten with venomous fangs.
“Go for it. Nobody cares,” he said, obviously mistaking my hesitation for a server’s qualms about eating guests’ food (in plain sight).
I look down at the cake floating innocently on the blue plate like a spotless yacht full of almost 32-year-old-woman eating monsters. Just one bite wouldn’t hurt, would it?
And the last bits of my resolve ooze away and I scoop up a forkful which tastes stupendous, as most things you shouldn’t eat do. One bite turns into four or five bites of bliss. Eventually, I return abruptly from a moment in the grown up version of Candyland, where my mind had been going down the cream cheese-encrusted rabbit hole.
“Crap,” I say, throwing the rest of the mangled cake into the trash. The redhead looks at me curiously and then burps loudly.
Last night, as this father of the bride — fully saturated by at least 10 Avery IPAs, the bartender Greg tells me — sinks to his suited knees with his hands in the air to the Commodores’ “Brick House,” I sulk behind the wheezing ice machine. Just under two weeks into this sustenance safari and I’ve already failed in my efforts not once… but twice! It nearly erases all the good I’ve done, like resisting countless other cakes and cupcakes or a glass of blueberry vodka punch literally placed into my hand by a well-meaning aunt at another catering function.
I sit down by a bbq-smudged box of gluten-free cupcakes to ponder my sitch. Just resisting sometimes isn’t enough; I have to learn to replace old habits with new ones — baking some date, honey and almond bars that I can gnosh on next time a plate of cake sales into my life like a canoe full of sad emojis…
With nothing but the sight of a dozen pant-less groomsmen jumping in the Blue River to keep my mind off things, I realize that my edible expedition is morphing into something of an oral odyssey. Like many things in life, it’s not just about the end, but the experience. Already, I’m realizing I’m not very good at resisting temptation, although that’s part of what I’m trying to cultivate here. And the reality is I’ve failed. And the thing about failure is what do you do next?
1. Whine about it and then give up.
2. Whine about it and then shut the f*ck up and keep trying.
I’ll choose Door #2. For once, I’d like to have my cake but just not eat it.