It’s Valentine’s Day again. And one thing that means is the annual return of little candy hearts. Little chalky-tasting pieces of candy, shaped like hearts, and with text printed on them. These are a bizarre tradition, but apparently one that’s been around for well over a hundred years.
The original traditional candy hearts were started by NECCO, The New England Confectionary Company, in the 1800’s, and that company still dominates the little candy heart trade today. The official name of their hearts is “Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts”. Typically, the little hearts have sayings like “be mine” and “kiss me” stamped on them. I hadn’t realized, but apparently they change the assortment of sayings on the hearts from year to year. This year, according to their website, the theme is inpired by animal lovers, with sayings such as “top dog”, “my pet”, “purr fect”. (These may be particularly popular among furries this year.)
I picked up a box of the NECCO Sweethearts at a local convenience store. Not because I like to eat them, or give them. But because I was amused to see that “and” was stamped on a couple of the hearts. Now with conjunctions! (My set didn’t have the animalistic sayings, though. Perhaps I have some of last year’s batch. But how can you tell if these things are stale? Does chalk go stale?) Other than “and,” though, there weren’t any other random function words. But there was “go home,” which seemed oddly cynical for these folks.
And in case the sweetness of the traditional hearts is too saccharine for your tastes, you can now buy BitterSweets:
Now available in TWO unique collections, “Dejected” and “Dysfunctional,” featuring up to 37 unique sayings each!
“Dejected” sayings include:
I MISS MY EX | PEAKED AT 17 | MAIL ORDER | TABLE FOR 1
I CRY ON Q | U C MY BLOG? | REJECT PILE | PILLOW HUGGIN
ASYLUM BOUND | DIGNITY FREE | PROG FAN | STATIC CLING
WE HAD PLANS | XANADU 2NITE | SETTLE 4LESS | NOT AGAIN
“Dysfunctional” sayings include:
RUMORS TRUE | PRENUP OKAY? | HE CAN LISTEN | GAME ON TV
CALL A 900# | P.S. I LUV ME | DO MY DISHES | UWATCH CMT
PAROLE IS UP! | BE MY YOKO | U+ME=GRIEF | I WANT HALF
RETURN 2 PIT | NOT MY MOMMY | BE MY PRISON | C THAT DOOR?
What with technological advances, we now can also get virtual little candy hearts. Here’s one generated just for me when I filled out a quiz. And unlike some other results I’ve had on these things, this one kinda fits me.
Your Candy Heart Says “Get Real”
You’re a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don’t lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.
Your ideal Valentine’s Day date: is all about the person you’re seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)
Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic
What turns you off: romantic expectations and “greeting card” holidays
Why you’re hot: you don’t just play hard to get – you are hard to get
But for many years, I’ve wanted to compose my own little candy hearts. And while NECCO can print up special batches of hearts for you, I’m not sure I’m ready for this level of commitment:
Got a special message for your sweetheart? NECCO can custom imprint Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, if you’re willing to buy a full production run – approximately 3,500 pounds of the six-flavored candies or 1.6 million individual hearts.
But have no fear. Now there are websites that let you make up your own candy hearts, and spare you the sugar overload. One such is this one, which has allowed me to engrave the following sentiments in virtual candy:
But while the large size of the candy hearts above allows for longer expressions and therefore a greater range of possibilities, my favorite little candy heart generator is the ACME Heart Generator. Like the hearts I remember from my childhood, and like those you can still find today, the size of the heart is small. The text is limited to 1 or 2 lines of 4 characters each. And these constraints provide a bit more of a challenge.
Here are some of the ones I’ve come up with. Enjoy.