Roz Warren

Weirdest.  Valentine.  Ever.

For Valentine's  Day, Bob sent my roommate Lydia a unique home-made gift. He didn’t realize I’d be there when she opened it. It was beautifully wrapped, in an elegant gift box, nestled in a froth of tissue paper. Lydia reached into the tissue paper eagerly and brought the gift out. She held it up with a gasp. It was a hand-carved soap-on-a-rope that was a life-sized replica of Bob’s own penis.

We gazed at it, dumbfounded. Then shrieked with laughter. We snickered for the rest of the day. An ordinary guy would have sent flowers or chocolate. A life spent with Bob would clearly be full of surprises.

Lydia and Bob had been intimate enough for Lydia to recognize exactly what Bob’s gift was, but neither had officially declared their love. The gift was clearly a declaration, but of what? Bob was an art student. “Maybe he’ll become famous,” I said. “Some day this could be worth millions. Maybe you should save it?”

“I don’t think so,” said Lydia. She put it near the sink like any other bar of soap. When a guest would head into the bathroom, Lydia and I would grin. The guest would soon emerge and ask “What’s THAT about?” Lydia would explain.

“You’re not still seeing this guy are you?” they'd ask.

By the time frequent hand washing had worn Bob’s gift down to an unrecognizable nub, Linda was dating Steve. On Valentine's Day, he gave her roses and a mammoth box of Godivas. She loved the candy and roses, but by the time the petals dropped and the chocolates were on her hips, she realized she’d rather laugh than swoon.

By the next Valentine's Day, Bob and Lydia were married. When I visit their house, I bring my own soap.

Roz Warren's work has appeared in The Funny Times, The Utne Reader, Seventeen, The Christian Science Monitor and Beatniks from Space.  Her website  is

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