Valentine’s Day can be rough on single folks. The holiday may be a fake, made-up way to try to sell chocolate and flowers and those plaques you see on Instagram ads of the Google Maps intersection of wherever you had your first date, but still—the reminders that other people are happily coupled (and that you, yourself, are not) are everywhere.
It’s even worse for the jilted and recently heartbroken. Those who may have expected that they’d be on the receiving end of a bouquet or a dinner for two somewhere fancy but who are, instead, left warming up a can of Hormel Chili on a space heater and lamenting their lonely lot in life have every reason to despise Valentine’s Day. And, weirdly, it seems like a lot of y’all live in San Antonio?
The city certainly has a burgeoning scene catering to those who plan to spend their Tuesday not just alone, but mad about it. The San Antonio Zoo has developed a tradition of offering those who have a habit of hating on their former partners a chance to channel their malice into something useful. The zoo’s “Cry Me a Cockroach” fundraiser, which launched in 2020, caters to the dumped by offering them, for a donation, a roach ($10) or rat ($25) (or a five-dollar leaf of lettuce, if they’re on a budget) that they can name after their ex and then rest secure in the knowledge that a zoo employee will feed their purchase to an animal. A donor can input the contact info for their target, who will receive a digital Valentine’s Day card informing them that their namesake pest was swallowed down the gullet of whichever beast was being fed when their turn came up. For an extra $150, donors can get the live feeding captured on video, so the truly embittered can send that along as well.
How popular is the fundraiser? The $150 video add-on is sold out for the 2023 Valentine’s Day edition of the event, as donors from around the world jumped at the chance to scorn their exes and feed critters at the same time. (The zoo told San Antonio Report last week that Matt and Sarah are the most common names being given to the prey animal effigies, which suggests that the bulk of the interest is coming from anglophone countries.)
Alamo City residents who want to send a message to an ex but hate the idea of anyone or anything being nourished in the process, meanwhile, have other options. Urban Bricks, a San Antonio–based chain with locations around the state (and beyond), is offering a “Roast Your Ex” special, in which the restaurant will ruin a heart-shaped pizza by burning it into an inedible husk, presumably as a metaphor for whatever your former partner did to your love, and then deliver it to their home for $16.99, promising that it will both look and smell terrible. (Note: Spending money to send gross things to your ex’s house on Valentine’s Day—or anytime, really—may sound satisfying, but it is not really healthy behavior.)
The practice of giving spurned lovers the chance to put some money into humiliating the ones who jilted them appears to be something of a growing piece of San Antonio’s identity. Roaches, rats, and burnt pizza aside, the city’s no-kill animal-rescue nonprofit, San Antonio Pets Alive!, is capitalizing on the trend with a “Dump on Your Ex” fundraiser, in which the organization will fill its social media channels with bags of poo featuring the names of whichever people broke the hearts of ten-dollar donors written on labels affixed to the li’l packages of (faux) excrement. It is, uh, pretty gross! But we suppose the donations may help save a dog’s or cat’s life somewhere along the line, so at least there’s something positive coming out of all this heartbreak.
Meanwhile, for those ready to get back out there, the San Antonio Zoo last weekend offered one slightly more upbeat option: a “Meet Your Next Ex” speed-dating event, presenting a cynical (if statistically likely) spin on finding new love. Who knows? Maybe it works out. And if not, there’s always the Bexar County district clerk’s office’s “Donuts and Divorce Decrees” Valentine’s special, in which the doughnuts—and the hard copies of divorce decrees for parties named in the cases—are free.
All of this sounds pretty bleak! But then, so do the apps, so we reckon it’s just a matter of picking your poison. At any rate, San Antonio’s new claim on being the Heartbreak Capital of Texas is clearly resonating with folks around the city. Good luck, San Antonio, and let us know if you ever need to talk.