I Heart U

Do you recognize these little sayings?  Cutie Pie. Love Bug. True Love. Oo La La. Nuts 4 U. Wicked Cool. Love Wins. Best Day. Sweet Talk. Hug Me. Be Mine. Dream Big. Melt My Heart. Marry Me (a way to propose for 79 cents).

These succinct retro pet-names and love-demands are stamped in Red 40 in all caps on Sweethearts candies. (That dull stamp has half-missed some of its targets, leaving the noun “crush” without its adjective. Or, if “crush” is a verb, it is bereft of its adverb or object. And, how telling that falling in love begins with a weighty and scary crush. How symbolic that this particular lavender “crush” heart was mangled in the Sweethearts’ factory? One could go on: isn’t “crush” a bit onomatopoetic, the sound of a heart squashing?)

But, back to the confection. These petite pastel candy hearts come in a bubblegum pink box the size of a pack of playing cards. Do you want to play Valentine? The joker is wild.

Nothing about this candy or its packaging has changed since the 1950s. Sweethearts are “made in the USA” by New England Confectionery, a subsidiary of Necco, makers of the also timeless and tasteless Necco Wafers, in their translucent waxed paper tubes the size of a roll of nickels.

Sugar is Sweethearts’ main ingredient, followed closely by “artificial and natural flavors” and Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Blue 1. Yummy. Open the box and an enticing cotton-candy carnival smell wafts out, a pink smell. The taste, however, is almost nonexistent.

Be seduced by the name Sweethearts, or Chuckles, Good & Plenty, Bit o’ Honey, Sugar Daddies, sexy Mounds and Kisses. Hershey’s Jolly Ranchers’ slogan is “Nothing sucks longer than our Jolly Ranchers.” Pop these in your mouth and get happy, be loved.

Let some special someone with a Heart of Gold ride the Expressway to your Heart, Your Cheatin’ Heart which hopefully does not dead-end at Heartbreak Hotel.

Don’t be disheartened. There are those who Heart New York, Barbie, Science, Baseball, Geeks, Books, Dachshunds or Spelunking. Somebody out there Hearts you.

So, happy (or unhappy) Valentine’s Day! If you are all heart or if you are suffering from heartache or heartbreak, if nobody has told you this today, Eye Heart U.