I hate chocolate.
There, I said it. Go on, stare incredulously at me like people always do when they find out. I think people would react better if I told them I liked the taste of salt in my coffee, or candle wax in my rice bubbles.
‘But how can you hate chocolate? Chocolate is amazing!’
No, it’s not. I couldn’t care less if every block of Cadbury’s suddenly vanished into thin air, and all the Nestle bars turned to dust. I just don’t like the stuff.
‘Well you haven’t tried good quality chocolate.’
Yes, I have. It’s even worse. I lived in Belgium for a year. Trust me when I say the truffles were safe when I was around.
‘But you must love Ferrero Rocher.’
Dear god, please don’t add hazelnuts to the mix.
I don’t understand the power chocolate has over humans, especially female humans. I have worked in offices where the entire operation has come to a grinding halt mid-afternoon, no matter what sort of deadline was looming, because someone mentioned chocolate. Wallets grabbed, handbags madly rifled through, money thrown at a poor office junior about to be sent on a mammoth cocoa-finding expedition.
‘I want a Cherry Ripe.’
‘Can you get me a Mars Bar?’
‘Caramello Koala for me!’
‘I’ll have a Kit Kat. And a Top Deck.’
‘Can you please see if they’ve got those bars with the holes in them that taste a bit like mint, but have almonds and coconut in them?’
What? Too hard. When I was the office junior I’d just duck down to the corner store, grab a box of Roses chocolates and offer it to them knowing that it wasn’t what they’d specifically asked for, but at least I’d get ten minutes peace while they all behaved like lions in a feeding frenzy, nonetheless. And yes, the Turkish Delights were always left behind. Turkish Delight, the black jellybean of the chocolate world.
After years of watching this behaviour, I’ve decided it’s not the chocolate so much as the shared experience of saying, ‘work sucks, let’s have a mental health moment’ that those women craved. They may have been blaming their hormones or their husbands at the time, but really it was something more than that. I guess because it’s seen as an indulgence, chocolate is a symbolic cry for help, whatever the cause of the stress. You need to earn that chocolate, either physically or emotionally. Best example? The relationship breakup.
Sitting at home mournfully munching your way through a family size block of Dairy Milk isn’t actually going to make you feel any better, but it does provide a definite sign to your friends of where you’re at in the heartbreak timeline. The Three Cs—Couch, Chocolate, and Crying, are a pivotal moment in a breakup, and a signal that one of your mates needs to hightail it ’round to your place with even more chocolate and a Sex & The City boxed set ASAP (or is it Gossip Girl these days? I don’t know). As a friend, you don’t even need to ask questions. You know to just hand over the goods and let the poor girl go for it.
Yep, chocolate fixes everything. Bad day at work? Chocolate. Argument with your partner? Chocolate. PMT? CHOCOLATE!
This is possibly where I’ve ended up missing the appeal. Whenever I’m stressed, I head straight for the liquor cabinet. If I’ve already got the bitter taste of resentment in my mouth I sure as hell don’t need to add chocolate to the mix. No amount of sickly sweet sugar is going to make that go away. The only solution for me is a bottle of wine and a few slugs of vodka.
Which when you think about it, makes perfect sense. I don’t remember much about high school science, but I’m almost certain I recall learning that alcohol, unlike chocolate, literally is a solution.
This article first appeared in The Urban List: