Posted February 6, 2001 at 5:45 pm | No Comments
It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without Sweethearts, the tiny pastel conversation candies that fill the drugstore shelves in early February.  Today, Sweethearts are a Valentine’s Day icon, selling more than 50 million boxes a year, but the phenomenon grew from more humble beginnings.  It all started in 1866, when a man named Daniel Chase came up with the idea of cutting a Necco Wafer into the shape of a heart and hand-lettering a few different sayings.
Today the candies are machine-printed with more than 125 different sayings, including some that date back to 1902,  such as “Mine,” “Be True,” “My Man,” “Marry Me,” and “Sweet Talk”.But as times change, so do our words of affection, and Necco must keep pace.  In 1988, the company began introducing hip new sayings at a rate of approximately five per year.  And so the eighties brought us the “Let’s Do Lunch” heart, and the nineties gave us “Page Me” and “Email Me”.
Since contemporary candy heart sayings are a reflection of the courting practices of my generation, each year I make a point of stopping at the drugstore for a box of candy hearts and reading the new phrases.  This year’s crop seems to reflect a disturbingly cynical approach to romance that I’m not sure I approve of.  Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned, but I found some of this year’s candy hearts a bit too candid for my taste.

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