I was just trucking along, enjoying a nice day at work when it happened. A few co-workers passed me in the hall and excitedly announced there was dessert in the conference room, as they opened up their circle to usher me in.
“Oh, thanks so much—but I’m good.”
“What? Oh come on! A little sugar rush won’t kill you!”
“No, it won’t—I agree—I just don’t have a sweet tooth.”
You’d have thought I just announced plans to vandalize a nursing home or light myself on fire and run through the building yelling “Pain is weakness leaving the body!”
They continued the interrogation.
“But you work out! I’m sure one piece of cake won’t hurt you that much!”
“Oh, it’s not a fitness thing—I genuinely don’t like sweets.”
Then they exchanged accusatory, almost condescending looks.
I continued, unsure of why I even had to justify anything, “I’m serious! Trust me, if I liked them, I’d be sunk. I have very little self control when it comes to spicy or salty foods. Just ask every waiter at every Mexican restaurant we frequent—they’ve learned to just leave the pitcher of salsa at the table.”
Then the group leader—we’ll call her CathyCarrotCake—took this information as a personal affront and resorted to the move I’ve seen a dozen times. She copped the, “Hey Everyone, I’ve got a HUGE announcement” stance and paired it with an endearing snarky tone.
“Oh, OK! OK! Hey Everyone! Annnnnna doesn’t like sweeeeeets! (She put “doesn’t like” in air quotes to indicate fraudulence.) Isn’t she just the bees freakin’ knees?!!!”
What? Why?! I’ve never understood why my not liking sweets elicits such ire in certain people. They might as well clink their glass for a toast and announce, “Hey Everyone! Listen up! Annnnna hates the Constitution and animal shelters!”
I don’t get it. I’m not keeping anyone from their Krispy Kreme donuts. I simply don’t like desserts—or regular food that’s sweet (I’m looking at you, sweet and sour meatballs). I don’t even like sweet-smelling candles. When I walk in a room that smells like wax-created caramel creme brulee, I become disoriented and start flinging myself in circles, shaking my head no-no-no as I feel around for the nearest exit. I can’t help it—my body simply rejects sweets.
On an unforeseen rare occasion, a cookie or cupcake (without icing) will look relatively appetizing. I’ll think, “Hmm. Well this is unexpected, but I really think I can do this.” It’ll even taste pretty decent at first, but 2-3 bites in and I’m pushing it away—rejecting its very existence.
Reluctant full disclosure of the week: I have found, for reasons that elude me, that I can put away some bread pudding—go figure.
It’s just that by and large, I never crave sweets and I’d never pick a danish over a salt bagel, a brownie over buffalo wings or cake over chips and salsa.
I could understand people’s irritation if I claimed oxygen was overrated, but to get bent out of shape because I don’t want a snickerdoodle? I’m at a loss.
Tell you what—omit the sugar and replace it with wasabi and I’m on-it-like-a-bonnet. Bake a cake with Sriracha and I’ll polish it off without breathing or looking up. But hide your children because it won’t be pretty.
“Hey, wanna run to Sonic and get a milkshake?”
“Do they have pickle shakes?”
“Then probably not, no.”
“They have chocolate and vanilla, stuff like that.”
“Can they replace the vanilla with Tabasco?”
“Get away from me.”
This reminds me of the time Jocelyn walked in the kitchen and I had my head back, slamming the last bit of pickle juice from a jar of baby dills.
“You know that’s disgusting, right?”
“Yes. If by disgusting you mean Liquid Heaven.”
All I ask is for some common courtesy or basic manners. I don’t go around saying, “What did you just say? WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? You don’t like habaneros or anything above 8,000 on the Scoville heat scale? Why don’t you just stick an ice pick in my ear canal because I don’t want to hear this crap!”
Like, just be normal. We don’t have to like the same stuff. I won’t relegate you to an outer circle forever simply because, unlike me, you have met an olive you don’t like. If the most heat you can handle is ketchup—no problem—more heat for me. I’m not gonna pin you down and make you explain yourself to the group.
That would be awesome though. Imagine me physically pinning you down—yelling, “Say it! Tell everyone why sodium and cayenne aren’t in your diet, CathyCarrotCake!!! Tell them what you said about Frank’s Hot Sauce! Explain to this lovely group why you don’t like your bloody marys spicy!”
You laugh, but that’s sort of what it feels like when someone gets all haughty about sweets and dessert. For some reason, they assume I’m being prim and proper. But really, I’m pretty sure eating fresh serrano peppers is more badassy than eating macaroons. So who’s really the goody-two-shoes here?
And on that note, it’s time for our monthly birthday celebration at work, where I’ll go pretend to eat a brownie, while actually just chewing on cinnamon gum.
I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.