My take on the Justin Timberlake/Jessica Biel break-up: The final straw was the bad birthday.
It seems stupid that a cake composed of buttercream frosting, sugar and a bunch of eggs can become a landmine. But in relationships that are past their sell-by date, that’s exactly what happens. I know, because the Curse of the Cake happened to me!
The post-birthday break-up rates right after the pre-holiday period (people want to bail before Thanksgiving and avoid half-hearted gifts and New Year’s Eve) and post-Valentine’s Day as the most treacherous time for relationships on rocky ground. Often after celebrating a tradition together, couples find out that they have wildly different expectations.
My ‘bad birthday’ moment happened several years ago, with an ex-boyfriend who had an obsession with small planes and had gotten a pilot’s license. Our relationship was rocky, but I had the genius idea of helping plan his 40th birthday, down to tasting the food and ordering an exact replica cake of the plane he flew.
The waiters brought it out with huge fanfare…and he proceeded to thank EVERYONE but me in his speech! His best friend, his mom and dad, and even the waiters got a mention while I stood in the background, trying to fight back my tears.
In hindsight, it was my own fault. I was an idiot for believing that if I just showed what a rock star girlfriend I was, he would turn around with tears in his eyes and say, “You are so beautiful. AND you chose the perfect soy dipping sauce. I love you!”
There was no going back: I’ll never forget the horrible, frozen smiles of my friends when they saw how unhappy I looked–me, fake-smiling for pictures next to the giant grey monstrosity I paid more than 300 bucks for, or my boyfriend looking totally humilated by the whole experience. We were just—wrong, on so many levels.
We broke up about a week later. I’ve just moved in with my boyfriend, and when his birthday came around I went into a cake shop again to order a customized cake for the first time since that fateful night. I fought my flashbacks and fear of frosting and went all-out–and he loved it!
Guess I’m finally learning the difference between a guy who wants commitment and those who want to have their cake and eat it too.