Chocolate


By John Scalzi


	Chocolate is G-d's way of reminding men how inadequate they are.  I am
	vividly confronted with this fact every time my wife and I go out to a
	restaurant.  When it gets to dessert, my wife usually orders the most
	chocolate-saturated dessert possible:  It's the one called "Unstoppable
	Double-Fudge Chocolate Mudslide Explosion" or some such thing.  I always
	wonder why anyone would want to eat anything that promises a
	catastrophic natural disaster in your mouth.

	The dark brown monstrosity arrives at the table, and my wife takes the
	first bite.  Before the fork is even removed from her mouth, a small
	moan escapes her lips.  Her eyes, previously perfectly aligned, first
	cross slightly and then faze completely, pupils dilating in pure
	chocolate pleasure before the eyelids clamp down in ecstasy.  The hand
	not holding the fork clenches into a fist and starts pounding the
	table.  The silverware rattles.
	
	After about six minutes of this, she finally manages to swallow the
	bite, realign her eyes, and take the next shuttle back from whatever
	transcendental plane she's been visiting.  Slowly, her sphere of
	consciousness expands to include me, her husband, her life-long mate,
	her presumed partner in all things ecstatic.
	
	"Hey, this is pretty good," she'll say.  "You want some?"
	
	No, I don't.  I want nothing to do with an object that does to my wife
	in one bite what I've worked for an entire relationship to achieve.  It
	wouldn't do any good, anyway.  Men just don't have the same relationship
	with chocolate that women do.  It's not even close.  I wandered around
	the office today and asked men -- "Chocolate.  Your thoughts?" -- and
	the result was always the same.  First, a confused look as to why
	they're being asked about something so trivial, and then some lame,
	obvious statement:  "Uh... it's brown?"
	
	Ask women the same question, and you get responses like "The ONLY food
	group," "ESSENTIAL to life as we know it," and the ultimate casual swipe
	at every member of the Y-chromosome brigade, "better than sex."  Ouch.
	Some women will try to make up for that last one by quickly adding that
	chocolate is supposed to be an aphrodisiac.  Uh-huh.  Chocolate
	certainly increases desire; problem is the desire is usually for more
	chocolate.  The best a guy can do is buy a box of chocolates and hope
	he'll be considered somewhere between the cherry truffle and the
	strawberry nougat.
	
	Don't get me wrong.  Guys like chocolate just fine; it's just not
	essential to life as we know it.  Respiration is essential to life as we
	know it; chocolate is simply one of those nice little bonuses you get.
	We won't usually pass it up if it's offered, but I don't know too many
	guys who would get substantially worked up if it were to suddenly
	disappear from the face of the earth (ironic in a way, as back in the
	days of the Aztecs, only men were allowed to have the stuff).  When I
	eat a chocolate dessert, I enjoy it, yes.  My worldview doesn't narrow
	to include only the plate that it's on.
	
	Maybe we're missing something.  On the other hand, we don't have to pick
	up our silverware from the floor after we're done with our tiramisu.
	Life is about trade-offs like that.  All I know is that come Valentine's
	Day, chocolate will be among the things I offer my wife.  I can't truly
	appreciate it, but I can truly appreciate what it does for her.  Which
	is close enough.
	
	
	




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