In Monday’s podcast on romance, we talked about what I somewhat lovingly term the Cake/Bread Duality, a term born in the time honored tradition of late night Skype chats, and carefully reviewed by an array of human beings vastly more well-versed in the art of romance than I. It explores the difference in kinds of expressions of love, without trying to evaluate what means or matters more, and tries to respect the different feelings we have about romance. Let’s do it.
We all know cake when we see it. It’s driving out to the country in a rainstorm and feeding each other strawberries. It’s showing up in a far away city to personally deliver flowers and breakfast in bed. Cake is mighty feats of romance, the kinds
of grand gestures that movies make famous and that more and more people are putting on Youtube. It’s beautiful and wonderful and special. It moves people to tears. Just like cake. Cake is that food that you have occasion to eat maybe once a month, for a birthday, a wedding, or a work thing. You can eat it every day, but sooner or later you get tired of it.
Bread is a staple. Bread is every day. It’s coffee orders and cuddles and doing the dishes together. Bread is those little remarks and looks that give you that feeling. You know the one. You’re remembering it right now. Bread is often the kind of romance you get in books, the sort of casual gestures that remind a person they are loved. It manages to make “Good morning” rhyme with “I love you.” It’s a good time. But only bread for a long time can get boring. Not everyone can just PB&J every day. Sometimes you start craving cake.
The Cake/Bread Duality
I contend that almost every romance is an interplay between these two. All cake is too hard, not just emotionally, but logistically, not to mention financially. it’s super cool to have your Princess Charming, but if every other week she’s whisking you away to exotic locales to show you the world, sooner or later you ave to worry about the budget. Bread lives in that grownup world, often looking lackluster in the face of a resplendent cake, but what cake can’t deal with is the fact that bread will be there every day.
When negotiating cake and bread in a relationship, like with a birthday party, the key is to take into account everyone’s understanding and expectations surrounding cake and bread. Wheat? Rye? Gluten free? Chocolate cake or red velvet? Silly metaphors aside, communicating about romantic expectations and acknowledging that those expectations can shift and change over time seems essential not just to healthy romance, but to fun. You might love that peanut butter icing, but if they’ve got an allergy, it’s time to put it away.
What do you think? What’s your cake, and your bread?