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Friday Ephemera

Feign Diabetes, It’s The Only Way

Sarah Marsh alerts Guardian readers to yet another workplace hazard, i.e., the dangers of cake

It’s 10.30am on a Monday and already the smell of cakes is wafting towards your desk. The colleague, who usually does a spot of baking over the weekend, has been up all night making cupcakes and an email has just flown around about their latest goodies.

Yes, it’s a tale of horror.

Later in the day another email pings into your inbox, this time it’s an update – there’s still some cake left and also sweets have been purchased. 

Sweets? A second email? Why, it’s practically harassment.

And it’s always the same people who bring in the treats (you know the ones I mean).

Those bitches, trying to make the day a little more fun by sharing baked fancies with their workmates.   

They are not trying to make you overeat, but they are making it much harder to stay healthy. Arguably you don’t have to take the snacks, and, as an adult, you should be able to say no.

I fear the word arguably is doing an awful lot of work here.  

However, there is almost a reverse guilt around not accepting the baking of your colleagues. You feel bad for turning down a cake they’ve made to share together. The whole office frowns on you as if you’re some sort of killjoy when you decline to even taste Michael’s prize gateau.

The whole office, you say? It’s strange how the empowered, progressive ladies at the Guardian seem forever at the mercy of every small social expectation, however trivial and weightless.

What’s more, some people (myself included) simply do not have the willpower. 

As I was saying, empowered ladies.

For those who are genuinely struggling with their weight and trying to diet, the office baker wafting croissants around is their worst nightmare. Added to that the fact you’ve had a hard day, burdened with loads of extra work, and it’s even more difficult to resist.

Oh, that this world should have such woe in it, such vile temptations. We must recalibrate the term “worst nightmare” to include the offer of a small bun.  

And once you start snacking in work, it’s a vicious circle.

I suppose that rather depends on the aforementioned willpower and mental autonomy, or a peculiar lack thereof.

We’ve rallied against turkey Twizzlers in school, the fast food industry and ready meals – so why do we ignore the rising amount of cake and sweets that are filling our workplaces?

Apparently, something must be done to save us from our passing appetites and gestures of goodwill. Because adult responsibility is just too much to ask. Perhaps we should make the partakers of baked goods stand outside with the smokers? Until scientists discover a way to make cake-eating optional.


Readers may recall an earlier Guardian article on the subject of hazardous pastries, in which the even more pious Matt Seaton denounced said objects as,

Butter-iced snares of self-loathing that sell precisely because they exploit young women’s insecurity about their looks and identity, and offer a completely false and self-defeating solace of temporary gratification, almost certainly followed by remorse and disgust. 

After telling us at length how “demeaning” and politically corrupting these tiny treats are, Mr Seaton reassured his readers,

I don’t want to ban cupcakes.

As if banning miniature sponges were an obvious thing to consider, the kind of thing one does. And after banning them in his own office, much to the applause of fellow Guardianista Isabella Mackie, who wrote

I used to bring cakes into the office a lot, and Matt put a ban on it because he was worried about how much sugar we all ate. Practises what he preaches this man. 

He’s taking a stand against tiny cakelets. The time must fly.