David Randall: How do I love thee? Let me survey the ways and use it for marketing

Romantic corners of the world

Share
Related Topics

Valentine's Day, traditionally a festival of love, is one or two other things, too. It is, for men especially, a carnival of moral blackmail, when, however revolted you are by gouging prices charged by florists and restaurants, you feel obliged to cough up, lest your failure to do so is the subject of frequent reminders in the year ahead. And it is also the peak season for spurious surveys.

Here's a sample that we have received (and see how many of the figures you think are convincing): 80 per cent of dog owners would not date someone who did not like their pet; 36 per cent of pet owners touched their pets more often than they did their partners; a majority of women in Essex expect to receive gifts to the value of at least £100; and 27 per cent of people turn their phones off on 14 February, lest they are tempted to call their exes. No, we didn't believe them either.

* There are many who, mystifyingly, believe that giving some highly original gift for Valentine's Day says more about the depth of their feelings than day-to-day attentiveness. For them, Bronx Zoo has just the thing. Forget the box of chocs, bunch of over-priced flowers bought at the station on the way home, or the saucy underwear, the zoo is offering an entirely different way to show him or her just how much you care: naming a cockroach after them.

But this is not just any cockroach. This is a Madagascar hissing cockroach, and, for a mere $10, sentimental types can give their lover a creeping, crawling namesake.

No need to hurry while stocks last: they breed freely, and, at the time of going to press, there were 58,000 awaiting a name. As the zoo says: "Flowers wilt. Chocolates melt. Roaches are forever." Ahh.

* Some of us will mark Valentine's Day by having a meal with our partners, while others will spend the occasion in other, less conventional, ways. Take Dave Hockey, a 57-year-old from Nova Scotia, Canada, for instance. He will not be at home with Mrs Hockey, but touring the world with six female companions. His wife, he says, doesn't mind. This is partly, we suspect, because he seems a little bit strange, but mainly because his female chums are blow-up dolls.

"My wife," he says, "understands it is a hobby." Quite which ones are accompanying him on the $25,470 (£15,900) trip is not known – he does, after all, have 14 of them to choose from, ranging from the $3,200 Bianca, through Jocelyn, Lilly, Ruby and Jessica, to the diminutive Miyuki. He's done this sort of thing before, filming a previous road trip to California to meet fellow doll owners, during which he took Bianca for a ride on a Harley Davidson, and sky diving. You old romantic, Dave.

* Always a bit risky to proclaim your love in public, we've always felt, and now the proof has come from Germany. A 29-year-old man was trying to fix on a motorway bridge a sign marking 10 blissful years with his beloved, when he slipped, fell and was hit by two cars. His widow has been informed.

* A New Zealand radio station rather keener on generating publicity than it is on showing some intelligence has set a new Valentine's Day low. The station, which it would love us to name but which we won't, is running a Win a Wife contest.

Quite a few "wife wanters" have entered already, submitting profiles and photographs, from which the "lucky" winner will be chosen. They will then – and this is where it gets a bit tacky – be flown to Ukraine for 12 nights to pick their bride from a selection of what the radio station calls "potentially hot foreign chicks".

Predictable complaints have followed, to which the radio guys responded with the Top Gear laddist defence: "It's only a bit of a laugh". The Ukrainian authorities, as well as New Zealand's immigration service, may well have other words for it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Research Executive - Quantitative/Qualitative

£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

ETL Developer / Consultant

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media  

The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism

Holly Aston
3 Donatella Versace and Audrey  

Errors and Omissions: We were having a blond moment – maybe two

John Rentoul
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week