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You may not remember it, but on tele recently was an advert for Lindt Lindor Truffles which begun like this:
Do you dream in chocolate?

The reason I remember it is because it was stupid. I do not think I have ever dreamt in chocolate. Why would I? Chocolate is too accessible to be dreamt about. Who wants their trudge to the shop, and their handing over of 70p in exchange for a fairly average mouthful, to be their dreams ‘realised’?

I dream about much more important, unrealistic things, such as flying and winning the lottery.

So as I’ve said, I’ve always thought the Lindor advert was stupid. This was until Friday 8th March, when I actually found myself worryingly close to dreaming about chocolate.  And the reason for this unsettling realisation?  Lent. 

Aah, Lent. The one time of year Christians do something vaguely religious that doesn’t involve something we enjoy. All other ways most Christians involve themselves in religion, seem to me to be slathered in some sort of feel good factor. Christmas: Presents. Easter: (I wince) Chocolate. Weddings: More presents and some jewellery (and vows and love). Christenings: Presents for babies and a good lunch for adults.

It was a conniving decision of me to give up chocolate for Lent.  I did it because, well, it sounds impressive.  Cadbury’s, Nestle and all the rest would have us believe that eating chocolate is better than anything.  Literally anything – though of course what they’re trying to tell us is, it’s better than sex.  They can’t actually say sex though (watershed – meh) so to get around this chastity dam in the marketing strategy, they seem to have collectively agreed that they would imply this through tele, in a way that children just won’t get.

Let’s take my favourite Lindor advert.  Children love it because to them it’s just: ‘that funny lady, lying on her bed, stuffing her face like we’d do given half the chance.’  Mums love it too: ‘Yes, how I’d far rather be doing that than lying next to the snoring ogre I sort of recognise as my husband.’  And then of course to Dad it’s: ‘Wa-hey, soft porn!  Seductive woman.  Collapsing onto white sheets.  Eyes shut.  Biting down – hard – all to the soothing tones of ‘created with passion…smooth, flowing, luscious.’  Not at all like the Mrs with her curlers and her nitpicking and her nagging me to take out the rubbish.’

It seems to work quite well.  The best example of this, of course, is the Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny.  We must all at some point have thought of her as the eager Easter rabbit wot hid all them eggs we went a-hunting for on Easter Sunday.  Now she’s just the chocolate version of playboy; Cadbury’s favourite confectionary sum: Jessica Rabbit + Eva Herzigova x Choc = Caramel Bunny who lies seductively on her side, purring ‘hello boys, and by the way, I’ve still got it.’ 

Got what exactly?

So yes, giving up chocolate to an adult is supposed to be impressive.  That’s the fake reason I gave it up.  The real reason, however, is that I wanted to cheat.  Giving up chocolate was my way of duping people into thinking I was doing something that required restraint, like Jesus in the desert.  But the truth is – block your ears now children – I don’t actually eat that much chocolate.

I thought I could get away with it.  The trouble is I haven’t.  I forgot the golden rule; the one that applies to everyone, everywhere, all over the world, most likely:

Man always wants what Man can’t have, and in my experience, even more so when Man didn’t want it in the first place.

I didn’t want chocolate before, so it was easy, then, to be coy and aloof around it.  I’d see it at a party (sorry, in a shop) and think to myself ‘Pah!  Look at everyone else fawning over you like you’re the only foodstuff worth buying.  Me?  No.  I’m not even tempted.  In fact, I think I’d actually prefer that distinctly average-looking unbranded age old flapjack you’re currently suffocating with your garish writing and your flashy wrappers.  You, Bounty bar, just scream tacky to me.’

So I gave it up.  In doing so, I sort of thought it might start pursuing me, you know, so I could feel good about rej’ing it (as one is supposed to feel about giving things up for Lent).  ‘Buy me, buy me,’ I wanted it to plead.  But it hasn’t.  Because the sad fact is, it doesn’t care.  Chocolate doesn’t care I’ve rej’ed it.  So now I want it to care.  So now it must care.  So now I actively seek it out to see if it cares.  But it doesn’t.

I am the rejected mistress of chocolate.  I spurned it, and now it’s unobtainable I want it more than anything.

Like most scorned mistresses, I’m after revenge.  ‘See that bag of Haribo – the one I think “eylush” about normally – well, I’m going to eat the WHOLE thing.  MMM, YUM, so much better than you, bar of chocolate.’

What exactly I think I’ll get out of this exercise, I’ve no idea.  Mostly I just feel sick.

I think perhaps tele advertising is on to something.  Maybe chocolate is better than anything and maybe I can’t live without it.  Half the world seems to think so.  I should just stop trying to fight it and give in.  You win chocolate, YOU WIN.

Next year, I think I shall give up being cynical about advertising.  But since I’ll never deny myself it again, I can still say, with 100% certainty, I shall not ever dream in chocolate.

by Beenie Langley