I will never date someone who doesn’t like chocolate. Chocolate means a lot to me. I regard it as its own food group and applaud the scientists who’ve decided it’s healthy (in moderation). So February 14, a day practically created for the consumption of chocolate, is a no brainer as the ultimate holiday for a chocolate lover. Still, there’s something taboo about an unending adoration of Valentine’s Day chocolate while being single. 

The CVS Valentine’s aisle in early February is a wildly embarrassing place to be caught as a single. The employees and the strangers perusing the aisles for cold medicine and paper plates don’t have any idea of your relationship status, but your cheeks burn as you scurry past the shockingly pink display of limited edition chocolates, scratchy stuffed bears and arrangements of plastic covered heart shaped chocolate boxes anyway. Until Feb. 15, when the discounted pile of light pink Kit Kat bars sit sadly in a corner, making way for a stint of normalcy before St. Patrick’s Day takes over, most single people wouldn’t choose to be seen scouring the Valentine’s aisle for a large bag of heart shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups. 

The onset of February 14 can likely slip the minds of those who don’t have a current significant other to share the sappy, loved-up day with. A single person, as the holiday looms around the corner, might choose to push the thought of romance, cloyingly sweet conversation hearts and aromatic flower arrangements out of mind — perhaps to you, this year, February 14 is just another Friday. By way of hundreds of superfluous advertisements and junk emails expressing Valentines deals and specials, the day certainly isn’t marketed to, or attempting to target the single population, so it’s much easier to express dissatisfaction with the holiday when you’re the one left out. Valentines Day is for couples. A holiday for hand holding, doe eyed love birds with a table for two reservation weeks in advance of the date. It’s for love letters and mushy affection and significant others. Most importantly, it’s for red wine, chocolates and homemade dinners. When you’re not in a pair, society, CVS and your happily-taken friends seem to suggest all of that Valentine’s commotion isn’t for you. 

Perhaps Valentine’s Day itself may not target the lone soldiers, the Galentines or those casually dating or currently straying from commitment. But chocolate is for everyone — nobody is left out or betrayed by chocolate. Regardless if you’re single, dating, married or divorced, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from enjoying life’s supreme treasure. If those with Facebook relationship statuses set to “in a relationship” or even “it’s complicated” have the automatic agency to commandeer the CVS Valentine’s aisle with force and confidence — why should the empowered, happy-to-be-singles be cheated out of the best part of Valentine’s Day? 

Chocolate is to Valentine’s Day what pumpkins are to Halloween — essential. Valentine’s Day would be void of meaning without dark chocolate truffles filled with copious amounts of raspberry filling, sticky caramel or creamy peanut butter. The day exists for the consumption of pecan clusters, dark chocolate mint patties, marshmallow-filled chocolate drops and the undisclosed bumpy-looking chocolate pieces we opt to taste though we’re unsure just what will be inside. You’re entitled to your Valentine’s chocolate, because even if you’re not currently in love with someone romantically, you love yourself, and that’s enough of a reason to hit the CVS Valentine’s aisle in a shameless pursuit of the Reese’s hearts, which are better than the Reese’s Easter Eggs and the Halloween pumpkins. Nobody is stopping you from going to get those pink and red M&Ms, the red velvet cake Lindor Truffles or the quintessential Russel Stover assorted chocolate box. The only person in the way of being your own Valentine, and celebrating with the infamous limited edition treats we only get once a year, is you. In fact, I’m here to urge you on — this is your gift to yourself this Valentine’s Day. Dating yourself is hard work sometimes, it takes a level of self awareness and discipline and can be more vulnerable and intimate than having a partner. We all need a little time to be single — and if that’s you right now, don’t hate on Valentine’s Day this year. Celebrate it. And celebrate it right.   

Don’t stray away from the decadent looking Bon Appetit Magazine recipes just because they’re marketed as “romantic dinner for two” or “26 great date night menu ideas”. Don’t hustle past the CVS Valentine’s chocolate aisle with averted eyes and pink cheeks. If you would like to consume an entire box of Godiva Valentine’s Day chocolates by your damn self this coming Friday I urge you to do so victoriously. Because Valentine’s Day might be a couples holiday, but chocolate is for everyone. 

Will you see me marching down State Street on Friday eating an entire edible arrangement of chocolate strawberries and heart shaped pineapple chunks by myself? You honestly might. Have I also been the person who actively avoided buying Valentine’s Day treats for myself when my Valentine isn’t a romantic partner, but my best friend, my mom and myself? Yes. I have pledged myself, this year, to accept that I don’t need a romantic Valentine or a boyfriend to participate in Cupid’s day of love. It isn’t sad or lonely or even lame. It’s quite empowering, when you think about it — maybe I don’t have a Valentine in the traditional sense of the term, but I have myself, and I have my chocolate. 

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