BACK IN 1967, Dewayne Williams of Milwaukie, Ore., bought his wife a frozen elephant for Valentine's Day. "I'm going to stuff it on the back porch," he said. Williams, an amateur taxidermist, paid $51 for the frozen baby elephant, which had been in cold storage for five years. Mrs. Williams was pleased with the gift, but looking down at the 100-pound carcass, remarked, "It's not as big as I thought it would be."
Some people are hard to please. But whether you give a dozen red roses, a Whitman's Sampler or a frozen elephant - it's a way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day. Personally, I prefer those little candies with the poignant sentiments, Girl Crazy, Hot Stuff and the heart-rending Hi QT.
But for those who want something different this year, here are a few ways to spend more than 15 cents on your lover.
Put your sweet lips a little closer to the foam . . . Love Taps, two soft foam rubber bats designed for lovers, lets you scrap without breaking the family china. The manufacturer calls it "a way to communicate. A way to lovingly and tenderly let each other have it." Set of two love taps (orange and yellow) is available at Woodward & Lothrop for $10.
Arsenic and no lace . . . The Back County Antique Shop (1617 Connecticut Ave. NW) has the meanest Old Valentines in town. Manufactured in the 1920s, these naughty sentiments were penned under full color caricatures and sold in candy stores for a few cents. Now they're $5 and still just as cranky.
Heart and soap . . . You don't have to go to the Poconos for Valentine's Day. Stay home in your Baja Luv Tub, a heart-shaped whirlpool bath, which comes in red, white or blue. Available through Thos. Sommerville Co. of Northeast Washington, the Luv Tub sells for $800, installation not included.
Pour your heart out with an Antique Coffee Set (circa 1898) of sterling silver. The service wouldn't be unusual except for one thing: Every piece is heart-shaped. The New York firm of Bulgari is offering this unique Valentine token for $2,500.
The Body Scenter in Georgetown is all heart. From batiked longjohns sprinkled with ruby red hearts ($30) to heart mobiles ($24), heart-shaped mirrors imported from China ($10), heart jewelry ($3.50 to $125), ashtrays, plates, picture frames, boxes, barrettes, combs, cards, candles, red heart tins filled with sweet-smelling potpourri ($6), and a magic red satin sparkly heart-wand ($6.50) to play cupid with. This tiny shop (1618 Wisconsin Ave. NW) will steal your heart away.
Sealed with a kiss . . . A giant pair of red Satin Lips will get the message across. It's a pillow or a mobile and costs $10 at Nicely-Nicely (1710 Connecticut Ave. NW) The store has lots of other goodies, including red heart stationery ($5), red heart-shaped glycerine soap (3 for $5), and the heart-magic wand ($6.50).
Make it official. Baumgarten Rubber Stamp Co. of Washington has ready-inked red rubber Kiss Stamp for $3.95. Stamp one on his address book, his tax return, or better yet - his shirt collar. Baumgarten's will also make a rubber stamp from any drawing or message, three square inches cost $24.75.
Your eatin' heart . . . Kron Chocolatiers in the Mazza Gallerie has a custom-made milk or bitter-sweet chocolate heart for $15, chocolate letters spelling LOVE ($17.50) and their own edible "Eating Card" mouthwatering mailgrams with room for a personal message. "Be My Bon-Bon" is just right for the $15 size, but for the literary lover try the $30 size. Order in advance.
I fall to pieces . . . with a handmade laminated oak Heart Puzzle available at The Red Balloon (Georgetown and Les Champs at Watergate) for $3.95.
Finally, for something a little more permanent - try a tattoo. Carol Nightingale ("The Man With The Golden Needle") offers, among many designs and messages, a tiny Red Heart Tattoo for $25. He says business picks up around Valentine's Day. (900 12th St. NW; open Tues. through Sat., 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. No appointment necessary.)