Thank you for asking, but no, you may cut that whole cupcake that’s “just too much” in half. Even if you walk around with a petition and get signatures from everyone affected by your actions, you cannot only take half. When it comes to communal food situations, it’s all or nothing. Taking whole desserts is one of the stipulations you agreed to by living in society—you will wear pants unless asked otherwise, you will sing the “ba ba ba” part of “Sweet Caroline” at the top of your lungs whenever it plays, and you will not sever sweets.
The world would erupt into chaos if we all just took exactly what we wanted. Grocery store shelves would be stocked with nothing but leftovers: Chex Mix bags absent the tasty, brown rye chips and loaves of bread relegated to loathes of bread with only the butt-ends left in the package. Do you know how many times I’ve been in the middle of a conversation and thought to myself, “Hm, I think I only want half of this,” and wished I could walk away and leave the other half for someone else to deal with? Frequently. But I don’t do that because I’m a decent human being. The same logic applies to socially bisecting food, especially desserts.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in shared dessert settings: People are cutting desserts and leaving a trail of orphaned half-desserts in their wake. Cookies, Rice Krispie treats, cupcakes, and more are being guillotined to satisfy the quasi appetites of their assassins. In the most outrageous display of dessert portioning I’ve ever seen, some hooligan excised one third of a chocolate doughnut:
I pity anyone who knows with mathematic certainty they only have room in their body for 30% of a doughnut, because that is an appetite omniscience befitting a Greek tragedy, but let’s examine this phenomenon in chart form:
Unless you’re going to feed some birds or you’re a kid in a coming of age movie saving a special treat in your pocket for your poor friend, you cannot in good conscience cut this amount out of a doughnut.
We’re all constantly in the throes of cutting carbs, counting calories, or convincing a witch we’re not fit to eat, but recovering from a big lunch or trying Weight Watchers again is no excuse to burden other people with tainted desserts. You’ll believe anything – no matter how ridiculous – when you only want a very specific amount of food. Like maybe it’s someone’s dream to eat the other half of a chocolate chip cookie you didn’t want. A coworker might be honored to eat the pile of crumbs that was once a whole blueberry muffin before you hacked into it. Your actions might benefit someone else who also only wants half of a cupcake! You’re making strides toward ending world hunger by only taking an amount of food you’re confident you can finish!!!! These are the desperate justifications of a madman.
When someone sees a dessert that’s been cut in half, they don’t think, “Wow, score, that’s the exact portion I wanted,” but instead, “Where’s the rest of this cookie? Has someone’s mouth been on this?! If I don’t take this half cookie, am I a bad person? Who did this?????” Have you ever noticed there’s a store called Whole Foods but not Half Foods? That’s because people like to eat their foods in full; no one wants the abridged version of a brownie.
Even if someone else as insane as you only wants half of a dessert, what makes you think they want to inherit your half? They probably want to the cutter, wielding the power of a plastic knife. Here’s a free business idea: Open a café called “Halfsies” where every patron consents that everything on the menu is half of something just by coming through the door. And by the way, unless you plan on priority shipping half a cupcake to part of the world where hunger is prevalent, there’s a good chance that dessert you cut is going to sit in the box and get stale long before everything else and ultimately thrown away.
Do us all a favor and take the whole freakin’ cupcake or none of the cupcake, because it makes everything so much easier. Only cowards leave halves behind, and you’re better than that.