They say chocolate is good for you. Dark chocolate, specifically. It keeps you from aging and it makes you feel like you’re chemically in love.
But love is not entirely like chocolate. You can’t purchase it; you cannot give it as a hostess gift. You cannot select the quality or the filling. Love is not always mild and sweet like a bar of milky Cadbury. And I wouldn’t want love to be like an intense 90% Lindt bar, so bitter and cruel to the tongue that it feels like a prescription. But chocolate is reliable. It is readily available. It helps.
When thrown out of our comfort zones, we turn to familiar aids. We want the kind of soothing that eases the senses. I tend to console myself with food. I find a sweet something, or maybe just a big bowl of cereal. Anything for a semblance of home. This, however, is a temporary fix. A big hug is really all I need.
I latched onto the first big hug I found while abroad this semester. A cold, dark place with endless unwritten social rules, Copenhagen winter had me shaken and yearning for some tangible warmth. Then I met a boy with kind eyes who professed his love for vinyl on our first date. He hugged me first horizontally, but only out of necessity. No, really – it was the coldest night of the year, it was 3 am, it was snowing, and he would have to wait an hour in the cold for the next bus home. Plus the heater was broken in my house. My roommates were sleeping with heavy winter coats on. Body heat was crucial at this point in time, but I had my own personal space heater for that cold night. Lucky for me, this space heater was indiscriminately intimate. I was held as if I was loved from the start, and then we were inseparable for the rest of the semester.
But now I’m on a plane back to good old America, and all I can think about is chocolate.
I struggle to let chocolate melt on my tongue. It takes great willpower for me to let the solid linger, even with the darkest of borderline bitter chocolate. I have to chew. I like the texture and the immediate satisfaction. And there’s no point with the best kinds of chocolate, the kinds with orange rind or cocoa nibs inside. You have to chew and enjoy the depth, the symphony of flavors, or the holistic quality of the treat is lost.
Love has a closer connection to chocolate than a chemical similarity. The experience of both, the best parts, can never last very long. I spend more time craving the feeling than enjoying the pleasure itself. Even if I earnestly try to make it last, one of us always manages to bite down and chew up the goodness. Or other forces come into play. Time can only go on for so long. The hands of love’s clock are sticky and sweet and time seems to stop, until suddenly they wind up and goodbyes must be said.
But we can’t stop eating chocolate because the satisfaction we derive from it is not wholly and unendingly pleasurable. We need that reliable treat. And we need love, difficult as it is; bittersweet like the finest of dark chocolates. Meanwhile, I’m going to eat more chocolate than usual. I’m compensating for lost comfort, wishing I could have made this semester’s love melt decadently in my mouth for more than the time we were given.
Cherry on Top is SKC’s resident sex-food expert. Her favorite foods are chocolate, strawberries, and Indian food. She likes her men to be beautiful awkward weirdos, but isn’t too picky.