Cake People

The classic Cake vs. Frosting debate ~ it’s a metaphor, y’all.

Alejandra Buitrago

November 30, 2013 | Cake | December 2013

humans cakeI have some grievances with frosting. Yes, you read that correctly. Frosting is wonderful, in moderation, but lately every cake I’ve wanted to enjoy has been slathered with this artificially-colored paste. Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to excavate my way to the substance below the confectionery. And let me tell you, the looks I get when I take a knife and slide off the four inches of frosting on a cupcake are pretty entertaining.

I believe that people, in general, underestimate the value of substance in a person, just as they underestimate the actual cake beneath the frosting. So many times I feel that others come to overlook the best parts of humanity, perhaps neglecting qualities that seem less exciting, less addicting. It’s no secret that what we value speaks volumes of who we are, but this thought has always piqued my interest.

What under-appreciated value in a person can easily get lost nowadays?

Matt Corbett:

“I think the ability to show genuine compassion toward others definitely goes unnoticed because it's not the type of quality that's obvious immediately or at surface level. It's not one that people can or should boast about, and so much of how we interact with each other, especially online, revolves around some form of trying to outdo each other. You don't get to really see that level of a person until you legitimately get to know them and see how they act when they aren't trying to get noticed."

Jodie Knott:

“The most valuable quality that a person can have is a lack of reverence towards giving off the impression that they are normal. When people give up on the notion of trying to do what is expected of them and just do whatever they feel like doing, they become much more interesting. All of the best people in my life are also the weirdest.”

Connor Scully:

“I think that human connection is something that's vastly underrated. There's a huge range between someone who is very quiet and takes all the energy in a room and someone who is loud and pushes all of their energy into a room all the time. The best kind of a person is someone who connects with you, who shares energy, who truly listens to you, and when they speak you feel as if they are speaking directly to you. The kind of person who passing you on the street gives you an honest warm smile, even though you may have never met them before.”

Griffin Harrington:

“I always hated how the "nerds" in school are the uncool ones. I don’t like how people would rather be 100% EQ and no IQ. I believe as a society we should enrich and praise the smart kids of the next generations, because if they evolved into the "cool kids" and everyone wanted to be like them, not the simple-minded, America could be a pretty dope place."

Sarah Gordon:

“Honest transparency; people are never upfront about who they are anymore. I feel like people are preoccupied of what others will think of them or are afraid they will be seen a certain way. When in reality, no single person in the world is the same, so why are we so obsessed with fitting in and being seen a certain way? Everybody is different. Why would you want to be the same as someone else? What I'm trying to say is people who are up front in their differences and their "weird quirks" are hard to find and under-appreciated “

Caroline Prendergast:

“It's passion. I think that we've become so accustomed to being cynical and "playing it cool" that we've lost our appreciation for raw passion. And I think that can play out differently in everyone. For some, it's art, or sports, or their studies, or being a mother, or maybe they're just SUPER into Game of Thrones. But I think we hide those things from other people because we want to have this relaxed, unfazed appearance.”

Teresa McAlum:

“There is so much beauty in being totally and completely vulnerable and honest with people. I think nowadays we tend to try to portray the best side of ourselves or the side we think people will like the most, but the times I've been most attracted to people is when they are completely open and honest with me about themselves or their thoughts. It doesn't necessarily have to be exposing all their secrets to me, just simply embracing themselves fully and exposing a part of them that might not be the "coolest" or on par with the status quo.”

Megan Brosnan:

“I mean the first thing that comes to mind, old-fashioned as it may be, but I think it should be an ingrained and basic part of any human being, is manners. An ungodly amount of people go through believing they are the center of the universe, whether they notice it or not. Something as simple as smiling when you pass someone on the street or opening a door for someone, or even not looking at me as if you have kidney stones the size of Mount Doom, is definitely underestimated by a majority of people. Maybe it's because after working at a grocery store and now a gym, I notice when people go the extra mile, it literally takes less muscles to smile than to frown, and say hello or ask me about my day for the 10 seconds that we interact before we go our separate ways in life. I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of being an absolute grumpy Gollum at times, but it's always refreshing to have a nice bright and sunshiney conversation with someone, instead of the usual doom and gloom attitude that many people seem to think they are entitled to have.”

* * *

It is amazing to think of the time it took for people to answer my question. A lot of the contributors had to take a day to formulate their responses. Sometimes, you just need to cut the frosting bullshit and get to the substance, because God knows we’re fed enough crap on a daily basis. Little moments like this are the real treats in life, when you take a step back and personally come to terms with your values. Stopping to think about what you look for in others, really weighing the importance of one quality over another, is a path to self-discovery.

Illustration by Rachel Sullivan.

Alejandra watches Netflix professionally and studies Media Arts and Design and Film at James Madison University in her free time.

1 Comment

  1. G. David Brown
    December 10, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Love the illustration!

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