In the old days, my husband and I disagreed about desert vs. mountain locales, city vs. more pastoral settings. Should we live in Las Vegas or Reno? Nevada or New York City or at least Washington, D.C.? Somehow we navigated our way through the difficult marital waters of very different lifestyles and career paths and recently celebrated our 30th anniversary.
However, add an ‘s’ to desert, and we now find ourselves facing a marital incompatibility for which there may be no solution. The issue is dessert. We never saw eye-to-eye on this caloric highpoint of a meal, but when we were younger, it didn’t matter. We could eat a lot (really a lot) and it wasn’t a problem for either of us. Appetizer, bread with butter, soup, salad, big entrée, potatoes, and, of course, dessert – always dessert. We could feast and then exercise it off.
But now, in our late middle years, our “middles” reveal the excesses of our gluttony. You’ve heard the unfortunate expression “muffin top?” I think of my midriff as more of a “seven-layer-cake cascade” and Jon’s as an “ice-cream crescendo.”
An Exercise in Futility
And as for exercise, the only sure-fire way to get us off the couch and away from the TV is the sudden recollection that there’s a box of Oreos in the kitchen. As one friend remarked, “My favorite form of exercise is jumping to conclusions.”
So, in an effort to cut back on our eating excess, we try to share entrees and desserts when we dine out. Having fairly similar main course tastes, we can generally reach an entrée-ordering accord in rapid order. But when it comes to dessert, we disagree and despair. His lifelong preference for pie and ice cream leaves me cold. My preference for cake, preferably chocolate cake, leaves him uninspired.
We debate. We dicker.
He, happily: Yum, apple cobbler.” Me, contemptuously: “Yuck. What a waste of calories.”
Me, breathlessly: “Look. Seven-layer cake.” He, disappointed: “Again with the chocolate cake?”
He, cheerfully: “Cheers. Cherry pie.” Me, grossed out: “Ugh. Cherries aren’t even in season, are they?”
He, undeterred: “How about the three-scoop gelato plate?” Me, annoyed: “Ice cream for $15? We’ve got quarts of the stuff at home. And besides, green tea ice cream. How is that even a thing?”
And so it goes. Dessert détente alludes us.
I usually let Handsome Hubby win. Not, of course, because I’m nice. Rather, I do so operating under the delusion that I will eat less since I really don’t like his choice. But sugar and butter, even without chocolate, is still pretty good. In the end, all my saintly sweet “self-sacrifice” accomplishes is to double my sulk!
Now, you might wonder why we don’t just order two desserts and exercise restraint, eating just half of the dessert we each order? Well, there are three flaws with that idea. First, if we could exercise restraint, we would not have this discussion in the first place. Second, who wants to waste half of a perfectly delicious dessert, especially one that costs $12-$15? Third, how does the word “exercise,” as in “exercise restraint,” even apply to conversations about dessert?
A Zero Sum Game
So, Handsome Hubby and I have a serious marital problem. And I admit, I’m stymied as to a solution. I’ve considered extreme measures, like sneaking out and having dessert without him, but that seems sad and lonely. And what if he found out? Berkeley is a small town. What if somebody sees me and tells Jon?
Another option is divorce. We could then be free to look for new, dessert-compatible spouses. While searching for the newbies, we might become so lonely and distraught that we would eat less and lose weight. Our new, thinner selves could then remarry, and celebrate over – you guessed it – wedding cake!
And since cake is, by definition, not pie, and wedding cake is never ice cream cake, I’d be the ultimate dessert winner. I’d get my cake (chocolate, of course) and Handsome Hubby too. Who says a middle-aged gal can’t have it all?