Dear Dove Heart-Shaped Valentine’s Chocolate That Feature Romance Tips From Martha Stewart,

Since purchasing a bag of Valentine’s Day hearts from the half-off bin at my local Rite Aid, I have enjoyed an afternoon treat of rich chocolate goodness. However, as most single people can tell you, when you have to purchase Valentine chocolate for yourself, you don’t like to be reminded of the holiday any more than necessary.

I can look past the fact that the chocolates are shaped like little hearts, because the shape is reminiscent of your square-shaped chocolates available year round. I did not know upon unwrapping each individual chocolate I was going to be assaulted by little Valentine’s Day tips from the Queen of Craft herself, Ms. Martha Stewart.

Having survived Valentine’s Day with a minimum of fuss, it is galling to be reminded of the holiday and how I could have made it even more special and romantic the Martha Stewart Way™. So not only am a failure for being single and alone on Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t even live up to Queen Martha’s basic chocolate wrapper expectations.

Scatter petals on your Valentine’s Day dinner table. This may sound romantic in theory, but important details are missing. Is it romantic enough to scatter petals atop the table of my favorite booth at McDonald’s, as it is where I spent my Valentine’s Day dinner? Perhaps the nearby homeless man talking to himself throughout my meal would have appreciated my thoughtful gesture to make our Valentine’s Day meal extra special.

Set pillar candles atop overturned glasses for a centerpiece. Is this also taking place at McDonald’s, because I don’t think they would allow open-flame candles set precariously atop an overturned McFlurry cup? Nice try, Martha, but Ronald McDonald’s pesky health and safety concerns overrule romance, yet again.

To start a romantic fire, crisscross kindling on top of newspaper may seem like a handy little tip, but some very important details appear to be missing. Where should I place the newspaper to begin? I store them in a plastic recycling bin, is that a good place to start a fire, or would the melting blue plastic odor not be “romantic” enough? Maybe the fire location can be found in the tip, “use a flower frog to build an arrangement.” So, it’s flower frog, newspaper, kindling, then light a match and enjoy. I will get right on that.

Florist tip: ask them to leave out the filler and the baby’s breath. What does this even have to do with me? Am I the florist in this scenario? If I am not the florist, will said florist be impressed with my discerning taste in non-filler floral arrangements, or is the intended goal to impress the supposed recipient of the flowers? Either way, I hope my fictional boyfriend, Lance Hunkly isn’t a fan of baby’s breath, cause he ain’t gettin’ any!

Use a heart-shaped craft punch to create Valentine’s cards. Well, duh. Although, “for wrapping, iron paper hearts between wax paper” just seems rather juvenile. “Rewrap a store-bought chocolate in a love note.” OK, should I print out the transcript of my latest sexting exchange with Lance and wrap it in that, or do I have to get out the quill and expensive stationary and compose a sonnet for the fun-sized Snickers bar. On that note, if it is two Twix bars, do I have to write two notes, or can I just rip the one note in half?

Pipe pancake batter into heart shapes for a sweet breakfast. Make ginger-laced heart-shaped sugar cookies. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make cutouts in pie crust. For quick whipped cream topping, use a chilled bowl and whisk. Just to be clear, including the already consumed nine-ounce bag of Dove heart-shaped chocolates, I am also supposed to make all that crap for Valentine’s Day? Are you trying to kill Lance and me? Please remember, Martha, we are both trying to get fit for our fictional romantic getaway this spring.

Next year, Dove Heart-Shaped Chocolates, maybe you could keep in mind that not everyone who enjoys heart-shaped chocolates is enjoying Valentine’s Day as much as others. Don’t try to make our lives more pitiable by offering precious, little romance tips as we scarf through a nine-ounce bag of Valentine’s candy two weeks after the holiday has passed.

Carrie Applegate