I have never preferred chocolate and because of that I have been a curio and/or considered a lost soul that needed to be converted to the loyal cult of the “cacaoistas”. Though I am not usually reminded of being an outsider until Valentine’s day, a birthday celebration or a bake sale, when these events occur I find myself in a battle with others that simply don’t respect my palate. Like people that don’t drink alcohol, I am often faced with discomforted stares, a litany of questions or pitied for not preferring chocolate.
However, unlike tea-totalers that are often assumed to be boring, religious or haunted by some kind of traumatic experience by alcohol consumers, there is just NO basis for rejecting chocolate in the mind of many chocolate lovers. A few days ago, I was waiting in line at Europan and a woman recommended that I try their double fudge brownie or chocolate croissant. I declined but she kept going on and on until I was forced to admit my “dirty little secret”. The woman recoiled in horror but her eyes suddenly began to soften a little and I knew from experience the question that was to follow. She wanted to know if I was allergic to chocolate. There have been times I lied about having an allergy just to get someone to leave me the hell alone but I just don’t feel like doing that anymore so I told her I’m just not into it. That’s when she called me a “Chocophobe” and went to stand on the other line.
Okay, this no chocolate thing has made people assume strange things about me. For example, I have been asked on more than twelve occasions if I enjoy having sex. I mean, if a person doesn’t eat chocolate than they’ve got to be frigid too right? In my early twenties, I became familiar with other gastronomic aphrodisiacs that I did partake of JUST to have a comeback. Now, I just laugh at how much energy I used to expend trying to validate myself to other people. It has been suggested to me twice that I seek psychotherapy for the “chocolate problem”, to get better educated about the benefits of chocolate and once I was even gifted Delafee chocolates (one of the most expensive brands in the world) by a co worker that was convinced everything would be alright if I had the best chocolate. I gave them to the security guard at my building who to this day said I made him an enemy of Russell Stover.
When I told my mother about being labelled a “Chocophobe” she laughed and dismissed the woman as an idiot. Of course, it IS hilarious that someone would go that hard but I wondered why some people have reacted so strongly because its just my nature to contemplate things.
How did chocolate become this almost religious experience for people when it has only been widely available outside of South America until very recently in the scope of human history? The conquistadors brought it back to Europe only a few hundred years ago and from there it spread worldwide. Is that why chocolate has been fundamentally associated with modernity, intelligence and decadent pleasure? Did Europeans become obsessed with it because it was related to luxury, religion and power? I mean, it was a dark food that was consumed by the elites of decadent, over sexualized “heathens” until it was “liberated” by men of God right? Was chocolate associated with the virility of the brave, naked savages they subdued?
If that is true than that would explain why non Europeans that have been Europeanized/Westernized share the obsession with it. It would also explain why the rejection of chocolate has such a startling affect on people if its popularity is subconsciously a symbol of white supremacy. You might be thinking “okay, that’s WAY out there” and you might be right because I really don’t know but what I do know is there are many sweet, delicious foods that contain stimulants, yada yada yada that don’t have the same status and I would like to know why people get so intense about its rejection.
For the record, I am not frigid, sick, unintelligent or ignorant because I don’t want any chocolate. Ya’ll can have as much as you want and I PROMISE I don’t hate you for loving it.
Tayannah McQuillar is a writer and the Founder of Demimonde Public Relations @demimondepr