“Let them eat cake,” Marie Antoinette may have mockingly said upon hearing that the French peasants had no bread to eat. Recently divorced couples seem to have taken her cue. During what was once considered a dark hour, people are now throwing divorce parties, complete with what they are now calling “freedom cakes.”
Divorce, it seems, has turned into a party — special cakes and all.
Event planners, bakers, lawyers and academics note the rise of “divorce parties” over the last several years, many with cakes featuring weapon-wielding brides or gloomy black frosting on inverted tiers.
“I’ve taken to naming them freedom fests, as you aren’t celebrating the end of the marriage but the freedom you have chosen in your life,” said Richard O’Malley, a New York-area event planner who organized one divorce blowout that cost a woman about $25,000. Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a marketing professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, has been to a few such parties and sees them as part of a larger trend in celebrations.
“People are also celebrating ‘coming out’ to their parents or co-workers, and the birthdays of their pets. Cancer survivors are celebrating relevant milestones of being cancer-free. There has been an enormous increase in the variety of things that Americans celebrate,” she said.
So why not a divorce, asks Steve Wolf, who lives outside Austin, Texas. He marked his amicable split with a party co-hosted by his ex that included a gluten-free cake she baked herself in lemon, a favorite flavor for both of them.
Wolf, the father of three boys, considers the end of his marriage a “conscious uncoupling.” Yes, like Gwyneth Paltrow. The party, he said, offered closure, especially important because kids were involved.
“We wanted to do something that expressed the fact that we were doing the divorce not so much as an end of our relationship but as us moving into things like co-parenting and co-business management,” said Wolf, whose former wife works for him in his special effects and stunt business serving the film industry.
“We cut the cake together like we did the wedding cake 10 years before. When life gives you lemons, make lemon cake,” he joked, noting the sentiment she wrote in the icing.
As odd – and inevitable — as this development may be, it makes me think of this family-owned bakery in Colorado about which Todd Starnes reported:
A family owned bakery has been ordered to make wedding cakes for gay couples and guarantee that its staff be given comprehensive training on Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws after the state’s Civil Rights Commission determined the Christian baker violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
The owners of a Christian bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after they were found guilty of violating the couple’s civil rights.
I wonder if the day is coming when a Christian-owned bakery refuses to celebrate the dissolution of a marriage, on the same Biblical grounds on which they have refused to make cakes for same sex marriage? (Not all divorce is un-Biblical, of course.)
Either way, owning a bakery in modern America is now rife with unexpected moral complications.