On what is arguably the most depressing day of the entire year — which says a lot since I’m including prelims and the first day after Spring Break — there has only been one thing in my life that has consistently been there every year to raise my spirits.
No, it’s not a guy, and it’s not alcohol, either (although I admit that the latter comes in a close second). Like vibrators on lonely nights, chocolate is always there when we ladies need it most.
Personally, I don’t think I’d be very impressed with either chocolate or flowers from a significant other on Valentine’s Day. To me, giving either is the equivalent of saying, “Whoops, I waited until the last minute to buy you a gift, and I couldn’t come up with anything personal to get you. Enjoy!”
However, if I’m going to get a lame gift like chocolates or flowers, I’d much rather give myself some choco-therapy afterward than have to look at a constant reminder of the lack of thought that went into my present.
If you are considering getting one of these gifts for a special someone today, it’s also important to consider the message you are sending. I wonder what it says when you get someone a gift that dies and rots in a matter of days.
When you get a girl chocolate, however, you are sending her a much more positive message. By giving her something as fattening as chocolate, you are telling her that you think it’s okay for her to eat fattening food. You’re basically calling her skinny! And what could be more romantic than that?
There’s also the fact that, as impersonal as both gifts may be, chocolates can be made into personal gifts while flowers cannot. You can put chocolates in any kind of festive packaging and even make them into the shape of anything (including flowers!).
So, if you wanted to get chocolate for a girl who is really into sports, you could get her a chocolate soccer ball. Or, if you wanted to get chocolate for a girl who is, say, a sex columnist for the Sun, you could get her a chocolate ... on second thought, maybe a nice, simple box of truffles would be safest in that instance.
More than anything else, I think there is one reason chocolate beats out all the other clichéd Valentine’s Day gifts like flowers.
In fact, I’d venture to say that this is the reason why my current editor, in his infinite wisdom, asked the sex columnist to write this article as opposed to, say, the columnist who writes about snack food.
Though not everyone agrees, since the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Chocolate contains both phenylethylamine and serotonin, which are known mood enhancers and stimulants. It also contains anandamide, a substance said to have the same effects on the brain as the THC in marijuana, which produces a sense of euphoria similar to the sensations we experience during sex or when we are in love.
If you’re going to give a last-minute gift, what better way is there to pump up the heat on Valentine’s Day than giving a heart-shaped box full of nature’s Viagra?
Now, I’m not saying that the way to a woman’s heart is to put her in the mood, and I’m not implying that the goal of your Valentine’s Day gift should be to get a girl to sleep with you. “Please enjoy this nice Valentine’s Day roofie” is not a phrase I ever want to hear from any of this column’s readers — or from anyone else, for that matter.
If we put the sexual effects of eating it aside, there’s something undeniably romantic about chocolate. It could be the cultural association of chocolate with romance, cultivated by years of women referring to “Ben and Jerry” as their true loves.
Granted, flowers are generally considered “romantic” as well, even though they are also an important part of funerals. But there’s one major component of chocolate’s romantic intrigue that’s lost with flowers.
Chocolate has become a sort of edible euphemism for sex and love. I believe it was Cher Horowitz — from Clueless … Duh! — who said, “Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.” Sucking on the tip of a delicious chocolate-covered strawberry, for example, is clearly a euphemism for … well, for any sexual act, really.
Use your imagination.
Flowers are pretty. They say nothing about love and they taste bad, but they’re pretty. Oh, and most people are allergic to them.
When you give someone chocolate, however, you are feeding them (always a plus), you’re complimenting their figure (an even bigger plus), and you just might be turning them on.
There’s a reason that the geniuses at Hershey decided to name their famous little morsels after expressions of love like kisses and hugs. And there’s a reason that Willy Wonka never needed to have a Valentine in his factory.
If love were a food, it would be chocolate. In fact, if you ask the thousands of single girls who will substitute it for dates tonight, they might tell you that it’s better.
Nikki Nussbaum is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Cornell Unzipped appears alternate Tuesdays.