Image: Bronx Zoo

Valentines shmalentines. It's all chocolates (too many calories), roses (so you can spend two weeks watching them die) and fluffy teddy bears (made in China). There's just too much unbearable pressure to find an original gift for that special person in your life. But after weeks of scouring the internet searching for something imaginative, I finally stumbled across a pretty genius marketing idea from the Bronx Zoo, aptly titled 'Seal it with a Hiss'.

For a mere $10, you can name one of the zoo’s resident Madagascar hissing cockroaches after your beloved and, well, nothing says true love quite like having a giant hissing invertebrate named after you. A creature that's able to withstand ten times the amount of radiation that a human can (and survive for weeks without its head) is a pretty good representative of the kind of tenacity I'm after when it comes to love.  

Now, for those of you feeling a bit jaded (all romance ends in tears and unhappiness, right?), the San Francisco Zoo has you covered. Their Valentine’s Day special gives you the opportunity to adopt a giant hairy scorpion in honour of your evil former squeeze. For a fee, the zoo will send a certificate of ownership and stuffed stinger to the person who inspired the adoption – and the donation will go to a good cause. The promotional page puts it rather eloquently: "These invertebrates are aggressive, active and alarmingly nocturnal, much like your low-life ex." (They also claim the gift serves as permanent protection against romantic failures – bonus!) And let’s be honest here: if you’re alone and heart-sore on this most dreaded of days, you might as well use your spite money to help an arachnid or two.

So whatever your emotional state this Valentine’s Day, spurned lover or rabid romantic, take a stand against the mediocrity of flowers and chocolates and give the gift of creepy critter.

Top header image: liz west/Flickr