6 Reasons Why Valentine’s Day Sucked This Year
Valentine’s Day is that special day of the year where those of us who are lucky enough to have a significant other present him/her a declaration of our undying love by means of a $5 heart-shaped box of chocolates with disgusting toothpaste-flavored filling; and for those of us who are less fortunate… well, men have Fleshlights, women have anything phallic-shaped, and both have deep feelings of self loathing and an unabashed hatred for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is one of the worst days of the year if not the shittiest day of the year if you’re a single somebody because no other day so forcefully reminds you of your worthless solitary existence like the unofficial Public Display of Affection Olympics. Regardless, all of us have something in common and that something is conversation hearts.
If disease-festering chocolate seems a little too tacky of a gift for Valentine’s Day there’s always the equally if not more inept choice of Necco Sweethearts, the popular chalk candy conversation hearts that have loving (and current) sentiments like “FAX ME” written on them. It’s worth noting that in the previous sentence either the word “chalk” or “candy” should have had quotation marks added for sarcasm but I’m just as confused as you are in determining whether or not we’re dealing with candy that has the consistency of chalk or chalk that can also be eaten without too many ill effects. Either way, Necco’s happy accident is a new form of matter.
Dating as far back as 500 B.C. Sweethearts came in six flavors: Mint, an unspecified yellow fruit, spearmint, Pepto Bismol, orange (the fruit), and purple (the color). Which ones constituted as actual candy is debatable but generally people ate the white and yellow hearts and used the others to draw dinosaurs on the sidewalk. Necco decided to change all of that this year though and completely overhauled their popular candy, dropping the white hearts for blue ones, changing all of the flavors around, and in an overly publicized non-newsworthy event added “TWEET ME” to their archaic vocabulary of love. The new 2010 flavors of Necco Sweethearts are so terrible that it’s impossible they were an accident because a screw up of this magnitude is something that requires focused effort.
Here’s six reasons why Necco ruined Valentines Day this year.
You’d think after Necco completely tarnished the color pink by making their rosy hearts taste like a concoction used to relieve diarrhea and nausea that a step in any direction would be an improvement. Believe it or not they managed to make a “strawberry” flavor that tastes less like strawberry and more like the Fruit Roll Up that your friends dared you to eat in 9th grade after it fell behind the microwave when you were in 4th grade. There’s not even a passing resemblance to the Valentine’s Day staple fruit, just a hint of stale cotton candy without the introspective contempt of having sat in a vomit-soaked Tilt-O-Whirl seat at a seedy traveling carnival. Chocolate-covered strawberries in the context of love are even more erotic than regular strawberries but don’t even think about trying to combine a strawberry 2010 Sweetheart with a chocolate one (sold separately). You will be sent back in time.
Prior to this “gritty reboot” of the Sweethearts candy the purple hearts never really had a flavor; they were just a really poor joke at the expense of soldiers injured in war and your grandfather secretly hated you for giving him all of the purple conversation hearts. Admittedly the flavor was probably supposed to be grape but the pre-2010 version of it was so confusing and bland that it’s rumored even Einstein himself wept quietly as the answer eluded him. Today’s answer to “grape” comes close to tasting like the purple vineyard fruit we all know and love, and by “comes close” I actually mean “it has a passing resemblance to raw celery soaked in sugar water and Grape Kool-Aid”. It’s gritty (in texture not theme) and it’s depressing but it merely manages to remove one unmentionable flavor and replace it with another.
Apple is a flavor that’s extremely hit or miss with sugary confectioneries. If you’re eating Skittles they hit the nail on the head, but if you’re purchasing store-brand apple soda you’ll find yourself second, third, and fourth guessing your purchase while simultaneously wishing you’d have added Pepto Bismol (or at least pink Sweethearts circa 2009) to your grocery list. Taking a fresh mint flavor and swapping it with green apple is like an Evil Kinevel leap across an alligator-filled lake of sensory experience. Necco’s green apple doesn’t quite make the jump and is instead thoroughly raped by alligators, emerging at the shore as a wash of unpalatable sweet reminiscent of the lollipops that banks gave to kids they really really hated. I’d also like to point out that this is likely the only time you’ll read a candy flavor analogy that utilizes Evil Kinevel, rapist alligators, and banks; that’s a special trifecta. Cherish it.
This one personally offends me, really, because the original yellow Sweethearts were my favorite ones. The original yellow flavor was just “fruit”; nothing more, nothing less. We were never told what kind of fruit it was, just to let our imaginations run wild and choose for us and I settled on Orgasmberry (it’s native to Japan). Replacing that with this foul and sour excuse for candy is a sin and a flavor this bad should be condemned to the rolls of Necco wafers, the ones with a color palette made of fail and a flavor selection that even people in the 1900’s probably thought was horrible. Sweethearts’ lemon has the flavor of a Lemonhead candy which isn’t bad, but considering these hearts fall apart and turn into chalk dust once they hit your tongue the candy becomes more of a biological weapon than an actual candy.
I feel bad for orange (the fruit) because whoever came across it literally could not have cared any less when he named the newly discovered fruit; either that or it was the result of a coin flip and luck just wasn’t in Citromaniatastical’s favor that day. Orange is the only flavor that made the migration to the new cast, kind of like Josh Server sticking around on All That in the 1990’s while the show was busy going to hell. Necco really could have left orange alone and done nothing with it but of course leaving well enough alone is never good enough these days, so now they’ve made it into a heart that has the same taste and consistency of a chewable vitamin C tablet minus the benefit of a healthy dose of vitamin C. It’s a candy for those of us who want to remember all the winters our mothers made us pop chewy orange pills like addicts because she believed that cold temperatures alone harbored the flu.
There is nothing to compare this flavor to because it’s taking the place of the white mint hearts so this daring new venture into the unknown is a complete mystery. The hearts I ate said “MY BOO” and “MARRY ME” but they may as well have just had a question mark stamped onto both of them (“UR EX” would have been appropriate too). I can’t quite follow the flavor of these new and unwelcome guest hearts but they taste oddly like kid’s toothpaste with the same lingering sour aftertaste of the citrus-flavored hearts. If you could stick a little sandwich flag in a flavor that epitomized despair and hate it would be this very concoction. All in all blue raspberry is a surprise ending more awkward and confusing than the end of The Sixth Sense and only cements the fact that one of the best seasonal candies in the United States just spiraled into a vortex of ChalkZone rule 34 and failed flavoring recipes pulled out of the dumpster of the Jones Soda Company.
Originally I bought a box of Twilight-themed Sweethearts to write about because I’ve had prior experience to the continued awfulness that is the miles-long skidmark Stephanie Meyer has made on the face of modern literature. I bought this bag of “classic” Sweethearts just because I traditionally do so every year but after having eaten a few of them I decided that making fun of glittery passion fruit-flavored conversation hearts with “DAZZLE” and “BITE ME” written on them suddenly wasn’t worth the trouble anymore. Even though only a third of the original Sweethearts were edible, those two flavors made up for the mish-mash of mistakes left in the bottom of the box after you shook the good ones out and ate them. 2010’s Sweethearts flavors have nothing to back them up except a bunch of Internet-age garbage stamped onto them; an unfortunate sign of the times.
Valentine’s Day is depressing enough when you spend it by yourself, because contrary to popular belief “Hey baby I write humor on the Internet” does not function as a pick-up line and the nickname Dracophile doesn’t help either. Sitting around with other doomed-to-be-eternally-single friends drinking Mountain Dew and eating sweet chalky nothings was at least a passable way for us all to drown our sorrows but now it’s just an image of us sitting around and drinking without the candy. Last time I checked that was something I called “every other weekend of the year”.
Fuck you, Necco.