The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
Unicorns Are the New (Sugary) Owls
There’s always some particular animal that is socio-culturally crowned in vogue. For a reign of roughly a year, paws or hooves, stripes or spots, it becomes the “cool” critter to like. And with the exception of say, D.C.’s panda-monium — I am neither the first nor the last to make that too-easy pun--due to the National Zoo, it is 99% arbitrary. But omnipresent.
It dominates entire, shiny multi-tiered displays at Barnes & Noble: vinyl pencil pouches, candle votives, highlighter sets! It cycles through all the Etsy curations like an adorable, zoological virus. Every paint-your-own-pottery joint immortalizes it in glazed ceramic homage. If you particularly, personally DO really like this animal, you’re seen as buying into the cult of personality. (“No, really, guys! I liked sloths before it was in!” you protest, like The Sloths were some once-underground band and you’re a disdainful music hipster. A three- or two-toed one.)
Remember when the animal perched upon the throne was the owl? Well, we’ve gone from feathered to fluffy, beaked to horned. (Never mind the great horned owl; fads could care less about species specifications.) We went from nocturnal to who-the-hell-cares-it’s-glitter-time...
Welcome in the unicorn.
There really isn’t a reason why these crazes start, or a precise moment when businesses know how to buy into them so YOU buy. But clearly Starbucks had no such hipster-y qualms about milking this unicorn frenzy for all its worth. (Can you milk a unicorn?)
Released unabashedly and supposedly coincidentally--methinks the green sea lady doth protest too much--on 4/20, the Unicorn Frappuccino immediately got buzz. The late-night talk shows picked up on the self-described “color-changing spectacle of purple and pink,” pumped up to a price even steeper than usual.
The tastebuds of Maura Judkis of the Washington Post detected “sour birthday cake and shame,” and it turned store rush times into tie-dyed hysteria. Difficult to prep and with limited-stock components, its three-day run was a Magical Mystery Tour-esque nightmare. Baristas had meltdowns and full-grown adults mirrored them when the glitzy ingredients kept pulling a Houdini and magically disappearing.
To be fair, we can never pass judgment on anyone. You never know, that man may be in the middle of a messy divorce and the ex-wife-to-be loved unicorns. Any given emotional reaction is at the intersection of a constellation of factors. We’re all in a kaleidoscope of circumstances and you never know what could be a trigger.
But, dude... Sour cake.
As fast as it galloped in, it’s leaving. The Frap, that is. But unicorns aren’t going anywhere. Ten minutes ago, a little girl pedaled by on the sidewalk wearing a rainbow unicorn helmet. And that’s not because plunging off a toppled bicycle with a horn jutting out of your head is a recommended safety precaution.
Who knows why they’re the animal in power. Maybe a mythical and/or Lisa Frank reality holds a lot of appeal nowadays, given the current political and social turmoil. Escapism to fantasy. Stark reality is all so unpredictable and loony, we’re practically expecting neon blue tigers or centaurs to go prancing across the crosswalk.
We’ll see if it’s a sprint or a marathon, but meanwhile, for whatever random reason, our hooves our glittery and cloven...
Or wait, what is this?
Oh God, don’t scale down your excitement: it’s the Dragon Frap.
Starbucks, you slay us.