Is There a Double Standard When It Comes to Choosing Your Pet Over a Potential Romantic Partner?

I noticed this fascinating difference between the way people view women refusing to give up pets compared to men who feel the same.

Rachel Presser
10 min readSep 14, 2022


Green iguana in a green pet harness resting on a tree branch
Licensed via Adobe Stock

At the time of writing, I’m nearing the end of a journey for one of the dreams that brought me to California: raising a giant lizard from a baby.

Well, medium-sized dinosaur for now. It’s no secret that I love big varanids, but I want to provide the best possible home for this baby. While my current digs are amazing, I really need a second bedroom at minimum for the Asian water monitor I dream of raising. Hence, I’m adopting its lesser-known but equally fantastic cousin, the Kimberley Rock Monitor (varanus glauerti!)

hand holding up a baby Kimberley Rock Monitor with a super stripey tail at a reptile shop
Pic from the breeder before I confirmed and paid for my little dinosaur! Isn’t he precious? Deciding on a name after I get him home from the hatchery.

While my participation in the reptile hobby has taught me much about life, this essay isn’t so much about lizards as it is about something I’ve observed over the years that has become extremely palpable to me.

In the near-infinite discourse on dating, I noticed there seems to be an interesting double standard when it comes to pets. Especially exotic pets.

My inciting incident was looking at exotic pet adoption ads. For those unfamiliar with the reptile hobby, and Faunaclassifieds are the OG reptile classifieds for all participants while Morph Market is the newer one that people come to for both babies and adults in various states of growth primarily from professional breeders.

But you can find also find reptiles for sale or in need of rehoming on various corners of Herptile Twitter, Facebook groups, the less-visited section of Petfinder, and more localized online groups.

You’ll often see people who have to give up exotic pets due to moving for a job, becoming a caregiver to a sick parent or child and no longer able to provide the large habitats and hands-on care many reptiles require, or other sudden life…



Rachel Presser

Game dev, writer, small biz & tax consultant to indie devs. That loud socialist Frog Slut from The Bronx, now in Angel City.