This Valentine’s Day, Give a Roach

Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images

When my boyfriend moved in with me, I gave him a tongue scraper. That’s a great gift in my book: thoughtful, practical, a bit odd. He was slightly less enthusiastic, but I just know I’m going to knock it out of the park on Valentine’s Day this year.

I’ve noticed that people in long-term relationships also tend to fall into one of three categories: They think Valentine’s is a stupid, corporate holiday; they think Valentine’s is a stupid, corporate holiday but that love is worth celebrating whenever; or they think Valentine’s is the best holiday of the year. I alternate between the first and the second, so I don’t want to spend much money, but I do want to make him smile.

Enter the be-all-end-all-best-Valentine’s-day-gift-of-all-time: the Bronx Zoo’s name-a-cockroach program. For $10, you can officially name one of their thousands of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. They’ll email you a digital certificate with the roach and recipient’s name. It can be printed, wrapped like a scroll, and presented with pride. For maximum impact, I recommend giving a cockroach that slightly embarrassing pet name you call your partner when no one else is around.

Still not sold? Well, every relationship has a bug-squisher. If that’s your partner, this is a great way to say thanks for killing or peacefully relocating that thing that sent you up on a chair. If you’re the bug-squisher, this gift is a subtle reminder of why they love and need you so much.

When it comes to a Valentine’s Day mascot, bears (of the plush variety) get a lot of play, though the lobster lobby has been working overtime since the ’90s. But if you thought lobsters are the only other creature practicing long-term monogamy, think again. Cockroaches chat about food, suffer from isolation, and tend to mate for life. While we’re on the subject, so do black vultures, French angelfish, and parasitic schistosoma mansoni worms.

The Bronx Zoo has already sold out of the plush cockroach add-on, but you don’t need it, I swear. You can name a roach up until the 13th, just in case you’re still holding out for a really cool pair of cuff links. Also, I might add, for those recently dumped, this works as a great F-you to an ex. Name a cockroach after them and have the certificate go straight to their inbox. XOXO.

This Valentine’s Day, Give a Roach