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
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.