His idea of dessert: Having his cake and eating it, too

April 20, 2006|By KEVIN COWHERD | KEVIN COWHERD,SUN COLUMNIST

When dining out, I'm often asked by the person I'm with if I'd like to "share" a dessert.

The truth is, I don't want to share a dessert with anyone.

No, I want my own dessert.

And I want the other person -- let's say it's my wife, for argument's sake -- to have her own dessert.

See, most guys don't go into dessert with a mindset of "sharing."

To us it's dessert, not the United Way.

So when they roll the dessert cart around, we're not thinking: "Gee, I could really go for half a slice of that Black Forest cake ..."

Unh-uh.

If we're going to do dessert, we want to do it right. We want our own slice of, say, Black Forest cake, preferably one big and heavy enough to serve as a doorstop.

Then we want the other person at the table to respect the perimeter around our cake, and not start breaching it with a fork.

The truth is, sharing a dessert rarely ends well for either party.

There are so many issues you have to work out, some of them rather complicated.

For instance, what if the size of your forkfuls are not compatible?

Listen, I have shared a slice of cake with people -- this is not the place to name names -- who gouge huge chunks of cake and shovel them into their mouths.

Their forkfuls are way bigger than mine, I can tell you that.

So where's the fairness there?

Fine, technically we're still "sharing" the cake. But we're "sharing" it the way I'm "sharing" Microsoft stock with Bill Gates.

The other thing you have to watch out for when "sharing" dessert is utensil shenanigans.

True story: I once "shared" a slice of strawberry cheesecake with a person -- a female person, one very close to me -- who started digging in with a soup spoon.

Yes! A soup spoon!

Here I was, using a fork, the way you're supposed to, the way that's specified in the dessert-sharing rule book.

And she was using a soup spoon and getting double the amount of cheesecake that I was getting with each "forkful."

You talk about no good deed going unpunished. Here you agree to "share" dessert and someone pulls a stunt like that.

Anyway, while "sharing" is bad enough, there's another dessert arrangement that's even worse.

That's the one that occurs when the waiter comes to take your dessert order and the person you're dining with says: "Nothing for me. I'll just have a bite of yours."

This, of course, is always a disaster for the person who orders dessert.

In the first place, the other person never, ever takes just one bite.

If it was one bite, fine, you could live with it.

But it's generally three bites, minimum.

And the other person will never admit that this was her intention from the beginning.

The other person will never say: "Nothing for me. I'll just have three bites of yours."

Which, to me, would at least be a more honest approach to the whole thing.

The other thing is, a person's bite-size can be very deceiving.

For instance, you could be dining with a 110-pound woman who appears to have a small mouth, and therefore a "small" to "average" bite-size.

So when she says "Nothing for me. I'll just have a bite of yours," you think: OK, that'll work.

You think: She'll take a tiny bite like a hummingbird and I'll nail the rest.

Then they bring the dessert -- let's say it's an eclair, for the sake of argument -- and she takes a bite and suddenly you see she's got a mouth like the space creature in Alien.

An alarm bell starts clanging in your head and your eyes widen with fear.

You know you made a terrible mistake. But it's too late to back out of the deal now.

And in an instant, three-quarters of the eclair has vanished.

BOOM! Just like that, it's gone.

And you're left broken and dispirited, glumly sipping your coffee with one hand and waving the other for the check.

Oh, yeah. I know it sounds selfish.

I know it sounds petty.

But that's why you never, ever agree to "I'll just have a bite of yours."

It always leads to heartache.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

To listen to podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com/cowherd.

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