15 June 2011

Thinking paper #18 – Why is everyone banging on about cupcakes?

By Tim Massingberd-James

Abstract

Everyone is banging on about cupcakes nowadays, and for the heterosexual male it is rather confusing. They're not as nice as a bacon sandwich, they look funny, they're expensive and pointless. However, girls seem to love them, and it is rather difficult to work out why. In this paper we examine some possible explanations.


Sex and the City

In something called Sex and the City, horsefaced Sarah Jessica Parker and her ageing friends apparently spend a lot of time eating cupcakes at a Magnolia Bakery in New York, biting into them seductively whilst gossiping about who they have shagged.

We are told that this was part of the birth of the trend, as unhappy middle-aged women around the world realised they couldn't have meaningless sex with well hung, attractive men, or live fabulous lives with the sisterhood in New York. The only thing they could replicate about their favourite TV charade was the cupcakes.

Cupcakes became fashionable, and queues for the Magnolia bakery stretched for miles. Inevitably, unhappy women around the world started baking them and setting up copycat shops, and gay men followed because they also wanted to be fabulous, and spent a lot of time with the unhappy women.

Nostalgia

Many of us ate cupcakes when we were children. Our mothers baked them for us and we liked the look of them, because they were small and we were small. They were also full of sugar, which we loved, and looked interesting, unlike sponge cakes.

Everyone alive wishes they were children again, and they wouldn't have to worry about boring things like money and going to work. Many believe that by eating cupcakes they will become young again, and try it to see if it works. It does not. This makes people more unhappy, and they eat more cupcakes.

Cost & Tax on Cake

Baking a cupcake costs a few pence, but they often retail for in excess of £2.50. In capitalist terms, this makes them a particularly attractive item, especially because under British Tax law VAT is not paid on cakes, and anything over the price of basic ingredients is pure profit.

Both unhappy 'successful' single women of a certain age and gay men often have a large amount of disposable income and want to spend it on something which will make them happy. For some reason, they believe that cake is always the answer, and think that paying £2.50 for something that is pretty and full of sugar and fat will be the answer to all their problems. Exactly the same rule applies to men and pints of beer, except the tax regime is not so lucrative, so breweries have to aim for volume.

Conclusion

Cupcakes are cheap to produce and hold the promise of a return to childhood, sugar, fat and being as utterly fabulous as the horse-face one from Sex and the City. Only the sugar and fat are real, in any sense, but their purchasers and those who sell them are afraid to admit this, as the arrangement is going pretty well for both of them.

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