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Why I HATE “have your cake and eat it too”

“Have your cake and eat it too” is a phrase fail. I hate the phrase, I hate people who use the phrase, and I hate cake.

I get it, I just don’t like it.

“Have your cake and eat it too” means that people want something in two conflicting ways. Here are some examples:

  • “I like having money, but I don’t like working.”
  • “I like being fit, but I don’t like exercising.”
  • “I’d like being a professional hit man, but I don’t like doing target practice.”

“Have your cake and eat it too” makes no sense.

The idea makes sense as it rings very true in regards to human nature. But the actual phrase does not. The phrase assumes two premises:

  1. That people want to eat cake
  2. That people want to have cake

While I certainly agree that people want to eat cake, NO ONE WANTS TO JUST “HAVE” CAKE:1

Have your cake and eat it too makes no sense

Another reason why this phrase makes no sense, as Wikipedia points out, is that someone actually can have their cake, then eat it. The original phrase had the order reversed: “eat your cake and have it too,” which makes more sense in terms of order, but still makes equally no sense in terms of sense.

We should create a better phrase for this same idea.

People always want the best of both worlds. But we all know we can’t always have it both ways.

Oh wait, we don’t have to create a better phrase because I just used two popular and already-existing phrases that express the same exact idea. Bonus: THEY MAKE SENSE.

But if you’re still caught up on the “have your blank and blank it too” construction, try some of the following:

  • “Spend your money and save it too.”
  • “Eat your McDonald’s and not gain weight too.”
  • “Have unprotected sex with your prostitute and not get STDs too.”

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  1. Special thanks to Cris Mertens for his hilarious drawing that perfectly illustrates how stupid it would be to “have” cakes! []