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Dessert choice or choice dessert?

Is there a logic inherent in sweet tooths?

Dopamine, please; hold the shame
Dopamine, please; hold the shame

Dear Hipster:

As the proud owner of a sophisticated sweet tooth, I am always a little confused by people who have no opinion one way or the other on sweets and dessert. It has always seemed to me that you can tell a lot about a person by how they choose their desserts. For example, people who put ice cream in cups tend to be less fun and outgoing than people who order ice cream in cones. Is there a logic inherent in sweet teeth (tooths?) or the lack thereof?

— Chelsea

Absolutely. Ordered from least to most grown-up, a non-exhaustive list of dessert choices, and what they say about you as a person, follows:

Milk and Cookies

Although they have more or less the same taste as toddlers, people who opt for this choice of dessert deserve credit for knowing exactly what they want — the huge dopamine surge following the rapid ingestion of sugar and fat — and enjoying it without shame. Good for them.

Cake or Pastry

Generally speaking, you like dessert in a functional, unassuming fashion. However, if you actively seek out “funfetti” cake, then you may have a serious nostalgia problem for childhood birthday parties, which tells me you never went to a party with a sufficiently scary clown.

Special Dessert From Someplace Other Than Where You Ate Dinner

If you’re willing to invest the time and effort, solely for the sake of dessert, to wait on a table, order, and forget to Venmo your one friend who picked up the entire check because the server told you they wouldn’t split a $17 order eight ways, then you are almost certainly at the peak of your hipster maturity.

Coffee Laced With Alcohol

This dessert conveys the twin message of “I’m here to get drunk” and “I’m not ready for sleep yet.” The kind of people who choose this dessert are probably roughly equidistant in terms of maturity from the milk and cookies toddlers and the robots who can limit themself to a single, non-intoxicating piece of chocolate.

Alcohol Without Coffee

If this is you, it probably means you’ve matured beyond the coffee + alcohol phase. Although you’re not above splashing more alcohol on top of the alcohol you consumed at dinner, you pass on the coffee because you’re not kidding anyone here, you’ve got work tomorrow and you need sleep.

No Dessert

This category isn’t meant for people who simply don’t have dessert because they don’t feel like it, are too busy, or have some other putatively valid reason. This category is meant for the people who actively consider having dessert, yet affirmatively choose “no dessert.” If this is you, you have apparently reached a level of intellectual sophistication where you can rationally deny yourself simple pleasures because it’s in your best interest. Good for you, I guess.

A Single Piece of Chocolate

Limiting oneself to a single pastile of chocolate is perhaps the most refined post-prandial selection. But whether you opt for a simple nugget of Cadbury or a square of exotic single-origin stuff that almost invariably sounds better than it tastes, the motivation is the same: showcasing your mastery of mind over matter. Unlike the “no dessert-ers,” who cannot risk a single bite for fear of snowballing towards drowning a whole cake in a gallon of port, the people who can limit themselves to a single square of chocolate display the self-control of a cloistered nun, but at such a cost. These people intimidate us mere mortals.

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Dopamine, please; hold the shame
Dopamine, please; hold the shame

Dear Hipster:

As the proud owner of a sophisticated sweet tooth, I am always a little confused by people who have no opinion one way or the other on sweets and dessert. It has always seemed to me that you can tell a lot about a person by how they choose their desserts. For example, people who put ice cream in cups tend to be less fun and outgoing than people who order ice cream in cones. Is there a logic inherent in sweet teeth (tooths?) or the lack thereof?

— Chelsea

Absolutely. Ordered from least to most grown-up, a non-exhaustive list of dessert choices, and what they say about you as a person, follows:

Milk and Cookies

Although they have more or less the same taste as toddlers, people who opt for this choice of dessert deserve credit for knowing exactly what they want — the huge dopamine surge following the rapid ingestion of sugar and fat — and enjoying it without shame. Good for them.

Cake or Pastry

Generally speaking, you like dessert in a functional, unassuming fashion. However, if you actively seek out “funfetti” cake, then you may have a serious nostalgia problem for childhood birthday parties, which tells me you never went to a party with a sufficiently scary clown.

Special Dessert From Someplace Other Than Where You Ate Dinner

If you’re willing to invest the time and effort, solely for the sake of dessert, to wait on a table, order, and forget to Venmo your one friend who picked up the entire check because the server told you they wouldn’t split a $17 order eight ways, then you are almost certainly at the peak of your hipster maturity.

Coffee Laced With Alcohol

This dessert conveys the twin message of “I’m here to get drunk” and “I’m not ready for sleep yet.” The kind of people who choose this dessert are probably roughly equidistant in terms of maturity from the milk and cookies toddlers and the robots who can limit themself to a single, non-intoxicating piece of chocolate.

Alcohol Without Coffee

If this is you, it probably means you’ve matured beyond the coffee + alcohol phase. Although you’re not above splashing more alcohol on top of the alcohol you consumed at dinner, you pass on the coffee because you’re not kidding anyone here, you’ve got work tomorrow and you need sleep.

No Dessert

This category isn’t meant for people who simply don’t have dessert because they don’t feel like it, are too busy, or have some other putatively valid reason. This category is meant for the people who actively consider having dessert, yet affirmatively choose “no dessert.” If this is you, you have apparently reached a level of intellectual sophistication where you can rationally deny yourself simple pleasures because it’s in your best interest. Good for you, I guess.

A Single Piece of Chocolate

Limiting oneself to a single pastile of chocolate is perhaps the most refined post-prandial selection. But whether you opt for a simple nugget of Cadbury or a square of exotic single-origin stuff that almost invariably sounds better than it tastes, the motivation is the same: showcasing your mastery of mind over matter. Unlike the “no dessert-ers,” who cannot risk a single bite for fear of snowballing towards drowning a whole cake in a gallon of port, the people who can limit themselves to a single square of chocolate display the self-control of a cloistered nun, but at such a cost. These people intimidate us mere mortals.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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