I'm reading The Sellout by Paul Beatty. It says:

"You’d rather be here than in Africa. The trump card all narrow-minded nativists play. If you put a cupcake to my head, of course, I’d rather be here than any place in Africa"

What does "If you put a cupcake to my head" mean here?

  • 3
    Play on words. Biscuit is slang for gun. Cupcake is softer still. Commented May 31, 2021 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


The phrase “put a cupcake to my head” mimics the far more common idiom

hold/put a gun to my head
: to force someone to do something by using threats

The cupcake is just the author's innocuous/jocular/sarcastic/twist on a well-known idiom. It is, as far as I know, not used in daily conversation.

  • 7
    @mynamedependsonyou Just to spell things out completely, "a gun to my head" is a serious threat of severe harm or death, while "a cupcake to my head" is an entirely unserious threat involving no actual harm whatsoever, so it's the person's way of saying that no threat or force is necessary to get them to admit that their natural preference is to be where they already are.
    – Hellion
    Commented May 31, 2021 at 14:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.