We all know the drill with Valentine's Day. You and the significant whoever go for a romantic dinner at that new Mexican bistro tapas pop-up, whereupon your couple talk unfolds with its usual bland inevitability. "I emptied the compost bin this morning," you say, trying to distract from the fact you paid £18.50 for a drink served in a tea cup.
Alternatively, you're single and that Fries Before Guys shirt your housemate just had to order from Etsy suddenly takes on a new and sinister meaning. The possibility of choking to death on a chip midway through a solo Nandos 'n' Netflix session becomes all too real. So yeah, a pretty shit holiday all round.
But Valentine's Day doesn't have to be like that. Not with The Edible Anus.
Yes, it's a replica human arsehole moulded from pure Belgian chocolate—the gift to ignite even the most lacklustre relationship and bring unparalleled comfort to singletons across the globe. Show bae how much you care by having this suggestive treat delivered to her office. Wow your next Tinder conquest by hiding a few anuses up your sleeve, or eat five alone on the sofa and bask in the sugar-infused rays of your own debased glory.
While wannabe Abramovic art grads have been churning out vagina paintings, sculptures, and erm, handicrafts for years, the lowly anus has long been overlooked in the genitalia-as-provocative-art game. London artist Magnus Irvin is the visionary who saw the arsehole's potential as both a creative statement and novelty gift.
After failing at attempts to make a mould from his own anus (unsurprisingly, the results were "disastrous and messy"), Irvin enlisted the help of a woman he met at a bus stop, who obligingly let him cast hers. In 2006, he created an exhibition of multi-coloured anuses and was approached by businessman Michael Ritzema. The pair struck a deal and the butthole-shaped chocolates went into manufacture.
EdibleAnus.com now ships chocolate anuses in "meek milk, dilated dark, and tight white" varieties all over the world. Irvin also offers a bespoke casting service that immortalises your least attractive orifice in bronze for £1,200—something that presumably requires Kanye-levels of narcissism.
Keen to find out more, I spoke to Irvin about why we should be declaring our love with chocolate arseholes this V-Day.
MUNCHIES: Hi, Magnus. Why the chocolate anus? Magnus Irvin: It was just like any artistic idea, it sort of came out of nowhere. I am an artist, so I'm constantly making or creating things. And I think it probably came from the idea that chocolate and the anus have some sort of connection. There was something poetic about making a small sculptural item based on an anus and moulding it in chocolate.
[Ritzema] came to an exhibition I had in which I was showing the chocolate—I'd decked out a whole shop and done them in shapes and sizes—and he was interested in it from a business point of view. We just got together and that's why The Edible Anus is now where it is. If it was left up to me, it would probably have remained a sculpture that I didn't show a great deal of.
It seems like the chocolate anus idea evolved out of your other work. I think all of my work is a continuous process. Things turn up sort of out of nowhere; I don't question it. I'm not a highly conceptual artist, it just came to me. It's not something I would have chosen to have done for a long time but it led onto other things and I was quite happy with it.
Who do you think the average chocolate anus customer is? It's hard to say because we don't do any sort of demographic survey on customers, but in general I think it's young people. I occasionally have a stand at a book fair for the newspaper I make, and I'll occasionally take them along. Sometimes it takes people quite awhile to get what it is—and then they put it down.
It's interesting that you can pick up a chocolate anus and not be immediately aware of what it is. Yeah that's right. It works on more than just a straightforward level and I think as people look at it, it's almost as if the penny drops and they're aware of the connotations. Some people laugh, some people put it back, and some people are just surprised.
The Edible Anus is proving very popular. Perez Hilton is a big fan. Yeah, on Valentine's Day you suddenly get a boost, I'm getting lots of request for interviews and lots of orders. People all over the world are asking how much it is to get a bronze anus or a gold one. It just needs something to trigger it.
When did you start offering the anus castings? Late last year. It was really part of an offer we made to certain magazines. One of them sent their roaming editor, who was a nervous chap, and the other one sent one of their glamour models, who was quite the opposite. I had a phone call the other day from someone enquiring about a casting in Argentina. It's really big over there!
Your website does say that the chocolate anus dissolves cultural boundaries. What do you mean by that? Well, most of us have got one and they're more or less the same.
Do you have plans to make any other chocolate body parts? No, no. People ask why don't I make penises or vaginas, but it just doesn't have the poetry for me. Maybe if I thought about it very carefully, I could come up with a reason. But I'd rather stick to that winning combination of chocolate and anus.
Thanks for talking with me, Magnus.