I have come to a conclusion: decorative cakes are like supermodels.
I decided I should start practicing birthday cakes. (Dan doesn't like it when I try new recipes on other people because I get frustrated when they don't turn out perfectly.) So I looked up instructions on-line and picked a simple-looking monkey cake.
I got all the decorative do-dads and was really excited about it. I followed the directions and tried not to be too disheartened with the outcome. It was ugly. I mean UGLY. The sides crumbled, the colored frosting mixed, it was disastrous.
That's when I came to my conclusion: decorative cakes (at least those with "simple" instructions) are as airbrushed as supermodels. They are made up of unnatural things (paint and styrofoam, I'm sure), and are airbrushed into perfection just like supermodels.
I am disgusted at this new societal low. But it is what it is. And I'm certain it has nothing to do with my ability (or lack thereof) as a cake decorator.