Love is Bitter, Chocolate Sweet

Jayna Rohslau, ‘22

Romance is nice and all, but on Valentine’s Day you need to embrace the true priority at hand...

It’s one of my earliest memories: when I was five years old, I had a boyfriend for the very first time. We were in Ms B’s kindergarten class together and he was also five: our combined physical age was ten and our combined mental age was about three, in all honesty. I remember holding hands and skipping cheerfully across the schoolyard while our classmates looked on and teased us. I don’t recall the full extent of those idyllic days, but my mother tells me that I even exchanged wedding vows with him.  Twice.

Moreover, it was not fated to last. At the time, I was vaguely aware of the concept of romantic love, which I mainly associated with little winged babies and those pretty candy hearts I was never allowed to have. But love was really a secondary concern for materialistic little me; I had far greater concerns. Sooner or later the entire relationship imploded, or as much as a relationship in kindergarten can implode anyways (you could say we got a amicable divorce). I didn’t let this deter me, however. On Valentine’s Day, when we all exchanged construction paper hearts, I was far from upset at my loss.  Rather, I was intrigued! Attached to a construction paper heart, I had received a hershey’s kiss from someone or another, and in the process discovered something greater than any scrawny kindergarten boy: chocolate.

Chocolate. Dating back to the Aztecs, who believed cacao beans were a gift from the god of wisdom, it has long served an important role in the course of history and the world in general. It began life as a bitter drink, only becoming retaining the sweeter flavor we know in the 16th century.  And it is then that it took a central purpose: for instance, during the 20th century it was considered an essential war-time ration of the United States.

Also, a staple for Valentine’s Day. According to Financial Times, Valentine’s day is the third best holiday for chocolate sales, behind only Easter and Christmas.  And as kindergarten me discovered, this was for good reason. “Mmm,” I thought to myself, “This is some good stuff.” Certainly, I had had chocolate before, but this is one of my first memories of it fully registering.  Dark chocolate, leaving a sharpy sweet aftertaste. My enjoyment of chocolate would only continue as I grew older and appreciated different types of chocolate: Milky Way bars, Tootsie rolls, more Hershey. But more than that, those pretty chocolates for Valentine’s day, always wrapped up in red heart shaped boxes.

All which may seem irrelevant, considering what would seem to be the main theme of Valentine’s day. It’s not supposed to be about the chocolate, it’s supposed to be about the love. And that is a message that would appear to not only reflected in the Hallmark cards, but in the world around us. Everyone is consumed by a desire for romance.  And even at BHSEC: all around the school, students are in a frenzy about it. Lately, people my age seem to have become consumed with this all-new, all-consuming obsession of romantic love. They create traffic jams and pileups in the hallways due to it, creepily stare at each other, and generally act like hormonal teenage idiots. And I’m not saying I’m an exception to the rule.  There have been plenty of times when I have done stupid things, and more than plenty of times when I’ve thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to have a good boyfriend like I did in kindergarten (through preferably a bit taller than four feet.)

So I have thought: and then I realise just how silly I’m being.  On one hand because I’m thinking back to kindergarten wistfully, and on the other because whatever the purpose romance may serve, it also has the potential to mess up everything else that one holds dear: one’s self-esteem, self-satisfaction, and sense of self entitlement.  Sometimes you see girls crying in the bathrooms over boys who don’t like them back, which you might view as unfortunate. Yet consider this: have you ever seen girls crying in the bathrooms about chocolate they have consumed? Chocolate does not have such a toll as doomed teen romance, and you can eat chocolate without anything but, according to CNN, possible acne.

I am not arguing that romance serves no purpose, nor trying to cast it in a negative light here.  What I am attempting to say is more straightforward and also completely true: that Valentine’s day puts an unfair emphasis on romance when chocolate is obviously the more important subject.  You can physically eat chocolate, and it tastes really good to most sane human beings. Versus love, which I’m pretty sure is inedible (The closest thing would probably be to eat a human heart, but that wouldn’t make sense for a multitude of reasons both ethical and sensory-wise).  Some say love is bittersweet like chocolate, but those people are disgusting. How would they know, unless they have eaten human hearts?!

All of this may yet seem terribly irrelevant, and I will not argue that it is not terribly irrelevant because everyone is entitled to their own personal opinions.  That being said, I don’t think it is irrelevant and I believe that if you disagree with me, you are wrong. Because while at times deep commentary about our society is the most relevant, sometimes more shallow articles are applicable too.   Because sometimes you might feel tired and lonely, no matter how you try. On Valentine’s day it might seem that everyone has somebody while you have only yourself(or you do have somebody, in which I apologize for making assumptions). You might be teetering on the edge of despair, ready to fall over should someone chuck a well-aimed stone at you.  And it might benefit you to know that you don’t have to care. That the answer is in a silly little article, and that the answer is as simple as eating some...

Chocolate.

(Go ahead, now. You know you want to.)