Chocolate is as chocolate does
First of all, I have to state that this isnít a ďchoice.Ē Itís genetic. Inborn. Do you think if I had a choice about this, I would choose to go against societal norms? To face constant ridicule? Donít you think I would rather be normal?
Well, here it is. Iím coming out of the closet:
I. Do. Not. Like. Chocolate.
I donít like chocolate. At all. In any form. Whatís more, I never have.
I can hear you all gasping in horror and disbelief. Iím used to that. If I said Iíd bumped off a family member, I might get some understanding. If Iíd run over a priest, I might get some sympathy. But when I explain I donít like chocolate, people react as if Iíd just calmly announced I were an ax murderer.
They recoil, gasp and demand, ďWhatís WRONG with you?Ē
Itís not normal in this country to dislike chocolate. My own mother frequently forgets that in 21 years, I have never eaten chocolate and she often tries to serve it to me (of course, Iíve never eaten broccoli willingly in 21 years, but she still serves me that too).
Good friends of many years, who Iím sure Iíve told time and time again that I will not eat it, constantly offer me chocolate. It can make things awkward at parties where someone has a home-made cake and really wants me to try it ó and I look and discover itís chocolate. I try to choke down a bite or two with a smile, before rushing to find something to drink. Everybody brings M&Ms or chocolate-chocolate chip cookies to section meetings, makes hot chocolate on cold winter nights, and serves chocolate chippie pancakes as a breakfast treat. Iím left with whatever non-chocolate munchables I can rustle up.
The worst part about being anti-chocolate is that everyone is convinced that he or she can ďturnĒ you. John assures, ďOh youíll like THIS kind.Ē Mary cajoles, ďJust try a little. EVERYONE likes chocolate.Ē
Everyone but me.
It doesnít stop with friends. Waitresses, flight attendents and miscellaneous passers-by who overhear the conversation are all amazed when I refuse chocolate. ďOh, on a diet?Ē they sympathetically ask.
No no no no! No diet. I just donít like chocolate.
ďOh, you have such self-control,Ē they sigh enviously. What, like itís noble to not eat a food that makes you gag?
Someday we non-chocolate-eaters ó all three of us ó are going to rise up in revolution, protesting years of forgoing desert because the only offering is chocolate cake. Weíll get even for the years of shocked stares and disgusted looks.
Until then, all you chocolate-lovers should try to celebrate the diversity of your non-chocolate eating friends. Donít ridicule us for being different. Donít insist that ďnormalĒ people like chocolate. And show your support for our alternative life-style: serve a non-chocolate dessert at your next party.
But above all, please, please, please do not bake me a chocolate cake for my birthday. And if you do, donít expect me to eat it.
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Inside Stories for Thursday, August 4, 1999