I have to admit. I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong– I’m not a very romantic person. I hate red roses. I hate things that are “supposed” to be romantic. I never thought I would get married or have a wedding because I find them generally distasteful and super gender role stereotype-y.
But when I was little, my mom went all out for Valentine’s Day. She covered the dining room table with little red and pink foil-covered hearts. Each person in the family got their own card, and an assortment of other goodies that tickled their fancy. Red pens with fuzz balls and googly eyes. Erasers in the shapes of hearts. A valentine-themed stuffed animal.
For me, Valentine’s was never about romantic love, it was about all kinds of love.
My husband never quite understood why someone who shied away from typical romance type stuff would be so in love with Valentine’s Day, of all things. It took him a few years of trial and error to figure things out, but we settled into a nice pattern: He realized I wanted something like what I had as a child. Not some grand gesture or a diamond (ew), but chocolates. Some exuberant red and pink-themed things. A card telling me how much I mean to him. The past few years, I’ve gotten an orchid every year, which he waters every three days and has coaxed to stay alive and bloom and re-bloom. Now we have a veritable greenhouse full.
But this year, maybe he’ll be looking to try something new? Maybe he’ll sense that in the age of Trump, familiar gestures aren’t quite enough to bump my serotonin levels in the middle of this winter?
Enter the Bronx Zoo, who has a novel approach to declarations of love. Behold:
For the low, low price of just $15, you can name a Bronx Zoo Madagascar hissing cockroach after your beloved.
If you’re a little more enthusiastic about your special friend (the one you’re naming after), you can do a whole spread of cockroach-love themed items as a package. For $75 you get the whole shebang: The dubbing rights for one Madagascar hissing cockroach, a heather gray beanie, a mug, and a pin all carrying a cartoon visage of the cockroach.
The copy on the site reads, “A Timeless Gift. After the chocolates have been eaten and the flowers wilt, roaches remain thriving and triumphant. Give the gift that’s eternal and Name a Roach for Valentine’s Day.”
You gotta give it to the fine marketing folks at the Bronx Zoo. They’ve somehow managed to take an over commercialized holiday and give it a dash of today’s Zeitgeist. Who knows– maybe while living in what feels like the lead up to an American apocalypse, naming a roach is an appropriate symbol.
While our democracy may be dying and global climate change breathes down our necks, our love for one another (and the existence of roaches) is nigh eternal.
So… high marks for creativity. I still wouldn’t mind some chocolate to go with my roach namesake, though.