My high school friends were all in a group text on Valentine's Day. Those of us with kids began it around 8 p.m. because, well, we weren't doing anything. The married ones joined in around 9:30, having come home from their dinner. The dating friends joined the text conversation closer to 11 p.m., having wined and dined and, well, what have you. As our group was swapping stories about Valentine's Day or the lack thereof, one friend still hadn't chimed in.
Amira had her first baby a few short months ago, so we figured she was probably sleeping. It's hard to even pretend to have romance when you're exhausted and living life in a nursing bra. We figured her gift was a reasonable bedtime.
We were wrong. Entering the conversation just short of midnight was Amira, with a picture of a heart-shaped box. The message read, "Sorry, I was eating cheese." A second text followed with a picture of the open box and an array of cheeses, not chocolates, inside.
Excuse me, but a heart-shaped box full of cheese may just be the most romantic thing I've ever imagined. How did no one think of this earlier? It's as if I died and went to havarti.
My neighbor protested when I told her about this magical box of goodness the next day. "Cheese? Chocolate is much better than cheese. You can't dip strawberries in cheese."
Holy baby Swiss, ya sure can! Not only can you dip strawberries in cheese but, better yet, you can dip tortilla chips.
"I don't know," my neighbor said. "You just can't use cheese romantically in a sentence the same way you can use chocolate."
I told her, "I'm gonna need an example."
"OK." She thought for a minute. "How about 'Oh, baby, I love the way you feed me chocolates'?"
I replied, "'Oh, baby, I love the way you feed me cheese' sounds just as romantic."
My neighbor laughed. "OK, I got one. 'Oh, baby, you've got a little chocolate on the corner of your mouth. Let me kiss it off.'"
I repeated, "Oh, baby, you've got a dollop of melted cheese on the corner of your mouth. Let me kiss it off."
She laughed. "That's so gross." She insisted that no one would ever say that. I beg to differ; in a world of chocolate vs. cheese, there is one clear winner.
My neighbor went in for the kill with, "Oh, baby, I love the way you drizzle the chocolate across my plate."
I met the challenge with, "Oh, baby, I love the way you cut the cheese."
I may have lost this round.
The ingenious heart-shaped box of cheese did make me wonder, however, how women, as some monolithic group, have become recipients of chocolate. Surely, there are plenty of women who love chocolate, just as there are men who do. But I have never been over the moon about it. My favorite candy bar is a PayDay. My favorite cake is spice. Favorite ice cream? Peppermint. And though my favorite all-time dessert is admittedly s'mores, I make mine with just the marshmallow and graham cracker.
My husband knows this. My husband does not buy me chocolate for Valentine's Day or any other day. But his wife's not belonging to this weird, seemingly all-encompassing taste group does put him at a disadvantage.
Valentine's Day is nice simply in the complete lack of thought that it requires to knock it out of the park. Unlike birthdays and the winter holidays — when you have to actually consider the unique person you're buying for — Valentine's Day has simple, easy-to-follow rules: chocolates, flowers, stuffed animals, cards. It's not really romantic as much as it is an insurance plan to stay out of the doghouse. And for as much as we all hate paying for insurance, it's usually smart to have it just in case.
That thoughtless holiday forces you to be quite thoughtful, however, when your significant other doesn't like chocolate, refuses words that are written by someone else and would throw a hissy fit if there were one more stuffed animal in the house.
What's a person making a quick grocery drive-by on the way home from work for Valentine's insurance — er, romance — to do?
At last, an answer! Let it be known far and wide that cheeses please the heart. I'm headed to the grocery to see whether any are on post-holiday sale. So romantic.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.