The Valentine's Day Gift Nobody Needed

Well, it's that time of year again. While Valentine's Day may stir countless different emotions for different people, positive and negative — love, blissful affection, disdain for consumer culture, impotent jealousy, and a warm yearning for closeness, to name a few — there's still the major question of the day to contend with. What should you get for your significant other? Well, here's a macabre idea: name a cockroach for Valentine's Day, courtesy of the Bronx Zoo. It's the ultimate romantic gift for the partner who has everything! Except, of course, of a severe dislike for cockroaches.

The "name a roach" program has been going on since 2011, although this is the first I've heard of it. At the same time, it's not that common to go trolling for roach-related gift ideas, so it's easy to figure how I could've missed it in the past. The roaches in question aren't your everyday stateside roaches either, since that wouldn't be nearly exotic or mysterious enough — they're Madagascar hissing roaches, so called because, you guessed it, they make a hissing noise. Although I might rather not ponder that image for too long, since the noble cockroach is plenty unsettling without hissing.

It's fitting that this opportunity is based out of New York City, as many residents of the teeming metropolis are no strangers to these scurrying little guys. In a way, this is kind of the ultimate Valentine's Day gift if you're the type to aim for a big statement. If you name a cockroach for your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or lover, and they actually like it, you glean some valuable information: either you relationship is going great, or your partner has a genuine entomological streak in them.

It's pretty affordable, as obscure gift ideas go. It'll cost you a ten dollar donation, after which you'll receive an emailed certificate to give to your loved one, complete with your roach's name. As for what to name it, that's up to you — you could always name it after them, or maybe go with something a bit less direct and more honorary.

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Writes the zoo:

WHAT HAS SIX LEGS, A SURPRISINGLY HIGH TOLERANCE FOR RADIATION, AND IS BOUND TO CRAWL INTO YOUR LOVED ONE'S HEART? Back by popular demand, this Valentine's Day we're again offering you the opportunity to name one of the Bronx Zoo's Madagascar hissing cockroaches for your special someone. Don't miss out. Though this holiday tradition began in 2011, tens of thousands of these hissing cockroaches remain nameless. WITH A $10 DONATION, YOUR VALENTINE WILL GET A UNIQUE CERTIFICATE OF HONOR FEATURING THE NAME OF YOUR ROACH. You'll also be helping us conserve species big and small, beautiful and damned. With your support, we'll continue to work for wildlife in the forests of Madagascar and throughout the world's most majestic wild places.

In any event, it's the Valentine's Day gift that nobody will see coming, and it's always a little fun to catch someone off-guard. Like the Bronx Zoo's tagline says: "Seal it with a hiss."