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Gerbils? Again?

March 20, 2013

DEAR READERS: I'm off this week. To tide all of your hot and/or kinky and/or sore asses over, here's a column I wrote 15 years ago. Some of you who were still in grade school, diapers, or amniotic sacs back in 1998 might have missed this, so I'm rerunning it now because I still get questions about "gerbiling" on a daily basis. —Dan

We were having a little office debate about "gerbiling." How does it work? Do all gay men do this? Does Richard Gere? Does the animal get shoved up the anus with a toilet-paper roll only to suffocate seconds later? Is it the scratching or the act of killing an animal that gets people off? Why? Can't this cause serious damage? What gives?

Curious Coworkers

Every day, my mail contains at least three questions about "gerbiling." I have never addressed the gerbil issue, but now, this week and this week only, I am breaking my silence. Clip and save this column, for I will never discuss gerbils again. Ahem. To begin, I would like to make a controversial statement:

I have never had a gerbil in my ass.

This statement is not controversial for the reasons one would hope: It isn't controversial in the "Hey! That's uncalled for!" sense, like, say, a woman at a dinner party announcing that she doesn't have a hedgehog in her vagina. That would be uncalled for, because no one would suspect her of concealing a hedgehog. But being a gay man or Richard Gere in America means always having to reassure people that you don't have a gerbil in your ass—at dinner parties, during family reunions, at funerals, on CNN, at passport control, wherever! For while gay men and, I assume, Richard Gere don't put gerbils in their asses, not a day goes by that someone—usually a straight 13-year-old boy—doesn't try to shove one in, figuratively speaking.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women in this country, my fellow Americans, leave high school convinced that gay men put gerbils in their asses on a semiregular basis. Unlike our hypothetical dinner-party guest, my denial of stuffing gerbils is necessitated by the accusation. If it were widely believed that women stuffed hedgehogs into their vaginas, then women would have to deny "hedgehogging."

Some background: Gerbil-stuffing is a sexual practice that straight teenage boys in general, and Howard Stern in particular, suspect gay men in general, and Richard Gere (who is not gay) in particular, of engaging in. It works like this: Hold a gerbil in your left hand. Using pliers with your right hand, rip off the gerbil's lower jaw. With the blunt side of the pliers, knock out the teeth in its upper jaw. Pull all four of its legs off. Leave the tail. Set aside. Take a cardboard paper-towel roll, grease it up, and insert it into your rectum. Tie a string to the gerbil's tail. Nudge the gerbil into the outside end of the paper-towel roll. If for no other reason than to get away from the person who knocked its teeth out, the gerbil leglessly scampers up the wet paper towel roll.

When the gerbil drops into the anal cavity, remove the wet paper-towel roll, leaving the string you've tied to the gerbil's tail hanging out of your ass. The gerbil, now trapped inside your anal cavity, thrashes around, desperate for air. It is this thrashing that provides pleasurable sensations. Once the gerbil is dead, remove it by pulling on the string. Repeat.

Okay, three things:

1. The type of straight person who believes that gay men engage in "gerbiling" is likely to believe other gay stereotypes: We're all prissy little swishes, for instance, with clean apartments and extensive collections of original Broadway cast recordings. Yet the same person also believes we're capable of holding a struggling rodent in one hand while ripping its lower jaw off with the other, and then tearing its legs off (think of the mess!) and stuffing it up our butts—hardly a prim pastime. This is known as cognitive dissonance: the holding of mutually exclusive beliefs.

2. There is nothing intrinsically "gay" about gerbil-stuffing. You don't need two penises—you don't actually need penises at all—or an original Broadway cast recording. All you need is one doomed gerbil and one willing butt-hole (and pliers, lube, tubes, and string). Some straight people have a peculiar need to believe certain sex acts—usually disgusting ones—are practiced only by gay men, despite evidence to the contrary. Fisting, for instance. Straight people can and do fist. I have a file of heterosexual fisting photos, anal and vaginal, that I've pulled off the internet; I keep them on my desktop to prove to family and friends that, yes indeed, straight people fist. This curious impulse to credit gay men with sex acts that anyone can perform extends to sex acts straight people themselves are the primary practitioners of. Child rape, for instance.

3. Inserting a wet paper-towel roll into your ass is simply not possible, as anyone who's ever put anything in their ass can tell you.

Now I feel I can write with some authority that no one has ever actually stuffed a gerbil up their butt, perhaps with more authority than I can write that God and angels do not exist. I've had conversations with hundreds of outrageously kinky people, gay and straight, who've told me the craziest shit: I once chatted for an hour with a guy who married his horse. (He was deeply offended when I asked if his horse was a he horse or a she horse. "I am not a homosexual," the hetero horse-fucker informed me.) Both in my professional and personal life, thousands of guys have freely admitted to doing the most out-there, dangerous, risky, stupid, kinky stuff. But not once in all these years has anyone ever told me that he, or anyone he knows, or anyone anyone he knows knows, has ever put a gerbil in his ass. Like the doomed gerbils themselves, this story has no legs. It is an urban legend.

But you don't have to take my word for it: I have proof. If gay men and Richard Gere stuffed gerbils in their butts, well, then the pet stores that serve the gay and Richard Gere communities would stock gerbils, right? I mean, everything else that a perverse gay man needs is available in your average gay neighborhood, from poppers to butt plugs to bullwhips to sofa sectionals. So if we stuff gerbils up our butts, then pet stores in, say, California must do a bang-up gerbil business.

But guess what? In San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, gay ground zero, the pet store Petpourri, "where professionals answer your every question," sells only pet supplies—no gerbils—and they don't stock cardboard paper-towel tubes or pliers, either. Animal Farm in West Hollywood, also a very gay place, sells only dogs and cats (which wouldn't fit up anyone's butt, not even Richard Gere's). And guess what? Not only do pet stores in California not sell gerbils, but it's actually illegal for them to do so. According to Marshall Meyers, an attorney at the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council in Washington, DC: "California law prohibits the sale of gerbils because of desert conditions in that state. Gerbils were once a desert mammal, and the state was concerned that gerbils could escape and establish themselves in the wild. It is a form of animal control." It's not because gay men stick them in their asses? "No, it's strictly an ecosystem issue."

@fakedansavage on Twitter


Comments (133) RSS

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nocutename 1
Posted by nocutename on March 19, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
2 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
@1 nocutename: Actually, congrats--you're first! Good job!

Thanks for another informative reprint, Dan!

Is Richard Gere pissed about this bizarre urban legend?
If I were a celebrity falsely accused with gerbiling, dog
or horse fucking, or any other way out there kink, I'd be
mad as hell. Was this a stunt to gain publicity way back then?
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 19, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
Spam alert on aisle 2!!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 19, 2013 at 7:22 PM · Report this
Ironically.... Dan said he'd answer this only once.... 2013 makes twice :-p
Posted by on March 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Wow, I got quite depressed reading this. Despite the deft humour and acerbic grace with which you negotiated the minefield in your writing, Dan. It's a fresh wound every time I remember that I have all these arbitrary tags attached to me through other people's eyes. The feeling of losing control. No wonder I was such an emotional mess in the first few years of coming out (while burying myself in gender/sexuality discourse too, hence acutely knowing, as well as feeling, that I don't have the control I'd like over my identity - also no wonder I'm trying to forget much of what I learnt in college).
Posted by ravished on March 19, 2013 at 7:28 PM · Report this
I think you left out that to do 'gerbil stuffing' the most important thing to have is a searing hatred of animals
Posted by msanonymous on March 19, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
nocutename 8
I'm sorry, Dan, that you used to asked the "gerbil question," and sincerely hope that fifteen years later, it's not still being asked. I had the swoony experience of talking with Richard Gere on the phone a couple of times in 1983-or-4ish, at the height of the gerbil panic, and I didn't even mention it to *him*. People can be so rude.

Posted by nocutename on March 19, 2013 at 7:49 PM · Report this
nocutename 9
Aargh: That should have read "get asked."

Posted by nocutename on March 19, 2013 at 7:50 PM · Report this
Richard Gere is straight? Now that surprises me. He's not even a tiny bit bisexual?

I really hope that Dan is exaggerating when he says he still gets the gerbil question on a daily basis. That is depressing.
Posted by Marrena on March 19, 2013 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Perhaps "starring actor" should be an orientation all its own.

Posted by vennominon on March 19, 2013 at 8:32 PM · Report this
Sandiai 12
My first boyfriend told me this in the early 80's, which means this little urban legend is something like 30 years old. The procedure for "insertion" wasn't as elaborate as Dan describes here, and I think Richard Gere was portrayed as the only "known" practitioner. But I believed it at the time, being a dumb teenager. I remember feeling horrified and sad for the gerbil. Poor poor gerbil.…
Posted by Sandiai on March 19, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 13
Okay, now I'm dying to know whether the horsefucker mentioned in this column is the same horsefucker featured on this episode of Jerry Springer.

Also, it's really striking to note the change in Dan's writing style since 1998. This column is fine, but lacks a certain flow compared to 2013 Dan's writing. The intervening years and column inches have made him a true master of prose, IMO.
Posted by Sea Otter on March 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM · Report this
Gee, when I was in college, I heard rumors that some women shoved gerbils (complete with teeth and legs) up their vaginas. I never heard that anyone put one up his ass. I bet it's physically possible to put a gerbil in a vagina, although god knows it would be an unpleasant experience for all concerned.
Posted by mother of two on March 19, 2013 at 9:35 PM · Report this
When my mom was in college, a gay young man who lived a few rooms down did do something involving a gerbil and his anus, but from what she told me, there was no dismembering. Apparently it was not for pleasure, but for a dare, and, as you might expect, he wound up in the hospital.

It seems unlikely that anyone other than a dumb teenager on a dare would do this when there are so many easier methods of stimulation.
Posted by jst on March 19, 2013 at 9:38 PM · Report this
nocutename 16
Good luck putting a live anything in your anus, is all I have to say. I always wondered, why a gerbil, specifically, for this urban legend? Why not a hamster or a mouse?

I never heard such elaborate "instructions" before, and I have to marvel at the way every possible detail has been covered.
Posted by nocutename on March 19, 2013 at 9:50 PM · Report this
lolorhone 17
Just another way to say us queer folks are practitioners of the truly and elaborately disgusting. Identity turned to pathology by a lie. A lie from minds far more twisted and hateful than anybody they could vilify. Glad this kind of shit is at least being called out as batshit these days. You know, as opposed to factual.
Posted by lolorhone on March 19, 2013 at 11:00 PM · Report this
@7 msanonymous: That about sums it up.

@10 Marrena: While I've never actually met
Richard Gere, I'm pretty sure he's straight..
Gere had a relationship with Cindy Crawford
for a while. I don't know--he could still be

I can't imagine having anything live up my ass!!
That's too sick, let alone unspeakably cruel.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 19, 2013 at 11:46 PM · Report this
@15 Was your mom in the room with the man and the gerbil? Did the man tell her about doing it? Otherwise, it's just the same urban legend everyone has already heard. Actually, even if she was there, or he told her, we're still only getting the story from you, which is third hand, so still not an actual anecdote. If Cecil Adams can't track down a single actual incident, well...…
Posted by EricaP on March 20, 2013 at 12:07 AM · Report this
@15 et al, these stories always start with "Apparently....."
Posted by JJinAus on March 20, 2013 at 12:27 AM · Report this
The one word that REALLY cracked me up?? REPEAT!

Happy Spring Dan!
Posted by gbrooks on March 20, 2013 at 12:30 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 22
Okay, so while Dan's away, the Sloggers will play. But, first, could we change the subject? Or invent a letter of our own that we'd like to have answered? Anything -- anything at all to get away from the ::shudders:: rodents.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on March 20, 2013 at 4:48 AM · Report this
Gerbils, even as urban legends, don't really interest me. I am interested in whether attitudes towards homosexuality in general have changed in the last 15 years and whether attitudes towards homosexuals as individuals have changed. I believe they have for the better. Look at Rob Portman. I believe his turn-around on the subject of gay rights is a positive thing, a sign of movement in the right direction, not of abject hypocrisy. (Though I can see the hypocrisy argument. It's like he's saying it's O.K. when it's in my backyard.)

So my question is whether people now still believe the whole gerbil thing, and if they do, can we put it on par with people believing that veterinarians remove human fingers from choking Dobermans?
Posted by Crinoline on March 20, 2013 at 4:52 AM · Report this
@18, oh I know Gere likes the ladies. I can't imagine Cindy Crawford having a sexless marriage. But Gere comes across to me as being omnisexual, if you know what I mean. Mellower now that he's all Buddhist, but back in the he gave off that Christopher Plummer vibe... like he would do anyone and anything.

In googling Gere's sexuality, sure enough, the gerbil thing was all over the place, poor man. Also a rumor that the rumor was started by Sylvester Stallone. That's a rumor with legs, a rumor that has its own rumor.
Posted by Marrena on March 20, 2013 at 5:02 AM · Report this
"I once chatted for an hour with a guy who married his horse."

This is what happens when we allow heterosexuals to marry. They pervert the definition of marriage so that people feel comfortable marrying their horses!
Posted by DarthKelly on March 20, 2013 at 5:14 AM · Report this
AFinch 26
@12 - I think I first heard this as the kind of pre-teen boy that Dan cites - in the late 70s, so it's been around for a good long while. I don't believe American Gigilo was out yet, and I never heard the Richard Gere variation until much later. Speaking of variations...

@7 - this was the first time I've ever heard of the rather brutal mutilation of the gerbil - yeah, you're right, visceral hatred of animals is right, and likely sociopath.

I'm kind of depressed by this rendition - before it was just laughably silly - easily dismissed urban legend, just based on how ridiculous it it's not funny.
Posted by AFinch on March 20, 2013 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Ms Crinoline - It reminds me of an old cartoon about a Republican governor in a blue state proclaiming, "I believe in a woman's right to an abortion when it's necessary to save the life of the candidacy."
Posted by vennominon on March 20, 2013 at 6:37 AM · Report this
The version I heard involved a Habitrail: I never heard the part about the mutilation and dismembering. Yuck. Nasty nasty gays.
Posted by turtlemilk on March 20, 2013 at 7:40 AM · Report this
How can you take up an entire hour talking to a man about his marriage to a horse? Did they cover the mortgage rates on barn lofts? How to deal w/it if your first born is a tranny gelding? Mr. Ed comes out of the woodwork demanding an extortion payment? I'd like to have been a horsefly on that wall!
Posted by wayne on March 20, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Report this
PhilOssining 30
I read somewhere that Richard Gere thought that Sylvester Stallone was behind the gerbil rumors in the early 1980s. Stallone was a big star then - maybe the biggest box office draw - and he could have been very threatened by the much better looking and more talented Gere, who had appeared in Days of Heaven and American Gigolo.

Now, about those Sly Stallone rumors ...
Posted by PhilOssining on March 20, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
devinderry 31
@ 13 - Exactly what I was thinking, and I thought he was a pretty good writer back in '98. But for some reason it stands out here more than in other past letters that have recently been re-run.
Posted by devinderry on March 20, 2013 at 8:47 AM · Report this
@23 and @27, regarding the argument that someone like Rob Portman is a hypocrite and/or merely a shrewd politician because he changed his attitude after learning his son was gay ("It's like he's saying it's OK when it's in my backyard," as Crinoline put it): I can't speak to how political Portman's announcement was or was not. But generally speaking, isn't the desire to change people's attitudes pretty much the whole point of coming out to the entire, historically homophobic straight world?, i.e., the fact that many homophobes have changed their attitudes once they realized homosexuality was in their own backyard? For those too young to remember the bad old days, there's the scene in "Milk" in which he's exhorting a living-roomful of activist friends to call their parents and come out to them, suggesting that the best hope for change doesn't lie in supporting a candidate or marching in the Haight but in reaching the hearts and minds of people. When a parent or other relative, or a formerly outspokenly homophobic public figure, comes around, shouldn't we be congratulating and welcoming them, not punishing them for taking so long?
Posted by JFG on March 20, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Aaaaaaaah!!!!! That was a disturbing visual! YIKES!
Of course it's an urban legend, I cannot believe people actually still believe that

and Guuuuuuh!!!
Posted by aud21 on March 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Corylea 34
You STILL get questions about this? That's truly bizarre. This thing has "urban legend" written all over it.

It's amazing what some people will believe. But then, most people are educated to believe in an invisible sky friend, so I guess they're actually trained to believe in things that are wildly improbable and have no good evidence for them.
Posted by Corylea on March 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
#32 Marriage equality has been required by the U.S. Constitution since the Bill of Rights was added centuries ago--the 1st amendment guarantees that religious views do not determine our public laws (almost all objections to marriage equality are overt or covert religious objections), and the 14th amendment guarantees equal protection under the law to all citizens. What is changing in recent times is not constitutional protections but the realization that they should be enforced. As for Mr. Portman, he swore to protect and defend the Constitution--for all citizens, not just his son. His recent change of mind merely demonstrates his narcissism/self-centeredness and failure to uphold his oath of office.
Posted by Everett on March 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Cognitive dissonance does not denote persistently and comfortably holding mutually incompatible beliefs. It refers to discomfort caused by two conflicting beliefs, generally leading to one of them changing. This includes changing a belief inconsistent with one's own actions, as in Festinger and Carlsmith's classic 1959 study.…
Posted by Willie D Williams on March 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
I figure people Richard Gere got a little of the gay on him from doing American Gigolo. He did full-frontal in that movie -- I know because I took my 16-year-old ass to see it just for that! Anyone who would do full-frontal must have been gay back in the 70's, for sure.
Posted by Justin in Oaklawn, Dallas, Texas on March 20, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Puckerd Poop Chute 38
Some friends of mine were telling me of being in a petstore while 2 effeminate gay men were buying a gerbil. Apparently, they had to concentrate extremely hard to keep from LOL while the men were speaking to the pet store employee.

Isn't there also an urban legend about a teen girl that fucks herself with a frozen hot dog?
Posted by Puckerd Poop Chute on March 20, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
As a straight girl who has been keeping pet gerbils for years now, this topic of conversation always puts me on the edge of tears.

Gerbils who feel threatened will bite HARD, and they have sharp little claws that can leave scratch marks on your arms. The version of the legend I usually hear, with an unmutilated gerbil, would hurt like hell. Although I have thankfully never seen a gerbil injured this badly, I'm pretty certain they would not survive the mutilation process Dan described, about which I will assuredly have nightmares for years to come.

Thank you, Dan, for never mentioning this ever again.
Posted by oohlookasquirrel on March 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
When I was in college there was a rumor that the then-president of the place had been arrested for tossing hamsters onto an Olympic speed-skating rink. This too was unsubstantiated, but it was funny, at least to everyone who was not a hamster.
Posted by MN on March 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Or a speed skater, for that matter.
Posted by MN on March 20, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 42
Thanks, Dan. The un-mutilated gerbil imaginings were bad enough, but now thanks to you, I'll never be able to sleep again. Don't know how I missed this little gem of a column. Truly grotesque, and it makes me wonder why you're the only gay man I've ever heard of who knows just how the gerbil must be 'processed' to be usable? Words fail as the vomit rises.
Posted by OutInBumF on March 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM · Report this
BedlamBabe 43
It turns out, statistically, that someone probably has put a gerbil somewhere it didn't belong. If doing work in a hospital has taught I or my friends -anything- it's that people are Stupid and drugs are bad.
Posted by BedlamBabe on March 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
I can't imagine having anything live up my ass!!

Not even a penis?
Posted by Eirene on March 20, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
@44 Eirene: If you mean me, then no.
I'm not interested in anal intercourse.
I don't feel good about fucking where I shit.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
@15 Your mom is naive, and so are you.

Did she actually witness her neighbor doing this?

I bet not. Meaning someone told her. Wanna guess the odds the person who told your Mom this story actually witnessed it? I bet zero.

It never happened. Ask you Mom what she actually saw for herself, and perhaps a light bulb will go off in your head that your Mom was just repeating a false rumor that she was naive enough to believe at the time, and which she's been sharing with others for years. Which is precisely how urban legends persist.
Posted by Functional Atheist on March 20, 2013 at 4:49 PM · Report this
Robin8 47
I've heard the stories for years and never realized that you were xupposed to pull off the animal's legs and jaw. How grotesque. Who wants all that blood around during any sex act?!

(BTW, I'm an acquaintance of the Gere family from childhood, and I can assure everyone that while his younger brother David is gay, Richard is not.)
Posted by Robin8 on March 20, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
jesgal 48
OK - I have to add this, in the 1980's living in San Francisco, my good close friend was an intern at San Francisco General Hospital. And yes, my friend the MD pulled a rodent out of someone's anus. We were like right, go BS someone else, but he stands by it. There obviously was internal damage, the rodent had teeth and reconstructive work had to be done. Whether it was done or not, who knows? and for those of you guessing, was the patient a male or female? We still laugh about the extreme cases at SF General, only one involved a rodent but the others, eeeeuuwww!
Posted by jesgal on March 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
Roma 49
39: Gerbils who feel threatened will bite HARD, and they have sharp little claws that can leave scratch marks on your arms.

That's why you should always bring a shovel to a gerbil fight.
Posted by Roma on March 20, 2013 at 6:11 PM · Report this
The thought of someone attempting "gerbilling" making me want to cry, seriously.
Your sappy animal lover
Posted by Cactus on March 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Wow! I was a 11/12-year-old girl in 1998 who had plenty of daily contact with idiot 13-year-old boys who giggled about some pretty ridiculous and disgusting homophobic urban myths on a regular basis. Yet, I can safely that this one--which is undoubtedly the grossest and most bizarre one I've ever heard--did not once cross my radar. I'm kind of dumbfounded that enough people, even 13-year-old people, ever entertained its possibility that Dan had to write an entire column addressing it. Damn, those were different times!
Posted by Petticoat Philosopher on March 20, 2013 at 7:00 PM · Report this
Okay, and now I just went back and saw Dan's preface that he says he still gets this question on a daily basis. Wow, now that is depressing. Also still totally bewildered as to how I managed to miss this, given how many ridiculous things I've heard come out of the mouths of stupid people over the years...
Posted by Petticoat Philosopher on March 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM · Report this
Not being the assimilationist Mr Savage is, I'll predict with some confidence that, should he still be writing, he'll be getting that question fifteen years from now probably almost as often.
Posted by vennominon on March 20, 2013 at 7:18 PM · Report this
nocutename 54
Okay, Mr. Ven, I'll bite (like a gerbil, before all its teeth have been removed): Isn't it precisely assimilation that we hope will keep questions like this from being asked in the future? One thing that I never understood, even when this stupid rumor was at its peak, was what Richard Gere's supposed gayness had to do with inserting a live rodent into your body. The implied relationship between being gay and participating in this particularly disgusting and unrealistic-sounding act made no sense to me, even before I knew any out gay people. But the more people have a frame of reference for what being gay means, the less likely they would seem to assume that this is what gay men do, don't you think?
Posted by nocutename on March 20, 2013 at 8:40 PM · Report this
seandr 55
In San Francisco's Castro gerbils

Maybe not. But the sister of my mom's friend used to work at an animal rescue near the Castro, and every week they'd take in dozens of traumatized gerbils rescued from the rectums of gay men.

According to her, the gerbils came from a farm in Toronto, where they were specifically bred for anus-friendly traits such as short legs, self-lubricating fur, spines curved to massage the prostate, the ability to hold their breath for long periods of time, and a tendency to make a scampering motion that tickles the balls as it goes in.

What's more, the profits from this farm were apparently funneled to Al Qaeda through the usual gay-Islamic back-channels. Apparently, the practice of gerbiling was invented by Hitler as a means of punishing his subordinates, and it was refined by a group of secretly gay Nazi SS officers who fled to Chile after the war where they started a hippie sex commune.

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
Posted by seandr on March 20, 2013 at 8:42 PM · Report this
nocutename 56
@seander: I don't think you were referring to "gerbiling," but rather "Göring-ing," or perhaps "Goebbelsing."
Posted by nocutename on March 20, 2013 at 8:53 PM · Report this
@55 Seandr

OK. That was a good one.
Posted by albeit on March 20, 2013 at 9:07 PM · Report this
mydriasis 58

Oh word!
I know that farm! They have a market on Thursday mornings that sells mostly arugula and yoga mats with Marxist quotes printed on them.
Posted by mydriasis on March 20, 2013 at 9:09 PM · Report this
seandr 59
@nocutename: It seems there was a huge fight between Goebbels and Göring over which of them the practice should be named after. Ultimately, Hitler stepped in and settled on the neutral term "Mausgeschtinken".

@mydriasis: As I understand, they are just months away from breeding a gerbil with cheek pockets large enough to accommodate bullet vibrators.
Posted by seandr on March 20, 2013 at 9:29 PM · Report this
nocutename 60
@seandr: I thought "Mausgeschtinken" was something you got at McDonalds.
I'm getting so confused. That hamster must have eaten its way up to my brain.
Posted by nocutename on March 20, 2013 at 9:32 PM · Report this
Holy shit, Batman, this has truly got to be the most Mausgeschtinken bizarre urban legend of all time!
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 21, 2013 at 4:28 AM · Report this
mydriasis 62
@auntie griz

Have you really never even tried anal? Is this another generation gap thing?


Yup. They actually have a partnership with a vibrator company in Montreal that is working on a vibrator that instantly turns any straight teen who uses it gay or lesbian.
Posted by mydriasis on March 21, 2013 at 4:53 AM · Report this
Alanmt 63

To the average culturally homophobic kid a couple of decades ago (and to some people still today), the truly defining characteristic of being gay was liking things up your ass. It wasn't about love, or even attraction. It was all about the buttsex. As you cna see in comment sections on antigay sites around hte net, many of those now grown up kids still have the same idea.
Posted by Alanmt on March 21, 2013 at 6:41 AM · Report this
nocutename 64
@63: I get the "being gay = liking butt sex" reasoning, but "butt sex" never seemed synonymous with "wanting to shove a rodent into your body cavity and get a thrill as it went into its death throes." Even when I was an ignorant young person. I heard the rumor, back when it and I were was young, as a story of the depravity of some of the Beautiful People: those debauched Movie Stars and the outrageous lengths they went to in their cocaine-drenched, Studio 54-filled lives to seek novelty and excitement, not as just what your average gay man did routinely.

To me, it was a rumor explicitly about Richard Gere (makes perfect sense if it was started by a jealous Hollywood rival for roles who furthermore has always come off as a douche), not a description of what two gay men did in the bedroom. And even when I was ignorant and young (and likely what you would call culturally homophobic), and the depravity of Movie Stars was legendary and exciting, that seemed a scenario too far. That it has morphed into something that constitutes regular sex between gay men, especially now, decades later, in the era of Gay Rights being seen more and more as Civil Rights, and with a much stronger cultural awareness that being gay is about love and attraction, more than specific sex acts, when so many middle and high schools having GSAs, is extremely depressing to me. But I think that more integration, not more separatism, is always the answer.
Posted by nocutename on March 21, 2013 at 7:17 AM · Report this
I remember reading the gerbil column the first time that Dan wrote it. Good Lord, I'm old! :-(
Posted by Forgetaboutit on March 21, 2013 at 7:24 AM · Report this
smajor82 66
@32 - It doesn't change the fact that when his son is suffering it's time to change public policy, but when it was other people and their children who suffered, they could all just go to hell as far as he was concerned. I'm glad he changed his mind. But he's still an asshole.
Posted by smajor82 on March 21, 2013 at 7:29 AM · Report this
@54 nocutename - stuff like "gay = rodent mutilation and buttsex" is basic propaganda. It gives the believer a reason to hate [insert whatever here]. Don't like someone? Dehumanize them. Turn others against them. Turn the issue into "they're not like us," which then turns into "us versus them" and "they must be stopped."

The same tactics have been used for centuries to justify one's motives. Manifest Destiny means displacing and killing thousands of Native Americans? Well, they're savages anyways. Clearly God doesn't approve of them and they don't deserve the land. Slavery is wrong, you say? Well, black people are practically subhuman anyways, and hardly intelligent. Why shouldn't they be used as beasts of burden? What's that you say? You don't see anything wrong with feminism? Well, everyone knows that feminists are all bra-burning, man-hating uggos who are trying to kill off all men and establish a women-only utopia. Want a reason to hate Asians? Surely you've heard that they eat dogs and will steal your pets if given half the chance? These are all actual historical examples, by the way. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

It's the same thing with "ewww, did you hear that gay people do THAT?" By associating homosexuality with something gross or terrible, be it rodent mutilation, AIDS, rape and pedophilia, or even just common or garden husband seducers, it gives the speaker justification to hate gay people and something to scare the kiddies with ("gay people do THIS; you don't like that, do you? Then don't be gay.").
Posted by Jina on March 21, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this
Come to think of it, my entire post at #67 could have been summarized by that one song in Pocahontas:
"They're different from us, which means they can't be trusted. WE MUST SOUND THE DRUMS OF WAR!"
Posted by Jina on March 21, 2013 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Ms Cute - You are correct. I erred in leaving the capital A off of Assimilationist. It really ought to be a political party or subparty. There is assimilation, and there is Assimilation; my leaving off the upper case naturally invited confusion.

The leading Assimilationist is Mr Sullivan, who wants to Assimilate so thoroughly that all things LG except what people do with their Tingling Naughty Parts dies a sudden and unnoticed death. So he doesn't see how this will lead to erasure leading to a new need for culture and community (which in a way is already here, but that's another topic).

Mr Savage is a bit of a trick case, as his chosen profession thrust a good deal of Assimilationism upon him, so that one cannot readily declare how much came from within (case in point - Mrs Boynton: did she become sadistic from being a prison wardress, or did she become a wardress to satisfy her inner sadist?) and how much from without. And I shall give Mr Savage a partial pass for Assimilationism given the actual work he's put in acquiring knowledge that will be of professional use only.

I'm actually too much of an idealist on assimilation, favouring a degree that could accommodate both full participation and total ignorance. As that isn't going to occur, it becomes a balancing game.
Posted by vennominon on March 21, 2013 at 9:47 AM · Report this
nocutename 70
@68: Yeah, I see the propaganda angle. I guess I'm just amazed that something this outrageous could be unquestioned by so many. The capacity for human idiocy never diminishes.
Posted by nocutename on March 21, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
A relevant limerick (published 1941)

There was a young fellow named Price
Who dabbled in all sorts of vice
He had virgins and boys
And mechanical toys
And on Mondays…he meddled with mice!
Posted by Leveled_up on March 21, 2013 at 10:17 AM · Report this
Would that be "mare-iage?"
Posted by marmer on March 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
mydriasis@62: yeah, there's definitely a generation gap there, at least among some groups, not sure why. I seem to remember a post on Cliff's blog about it (I think it was there), where some stats on anal sex were released and everyone over such-and-such age was gasping that there were so MANY people indulging, and everyone under such-and-such age was saying pfft, they totally lied, it's gotta be way more than that.
Posted by Eirene on March 21, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Alanmt 74
@69 <3 for the Mrs. Boynton reference.
Posted by Alanmt on March 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM · Report this
John Horstman 75
@66: Yup; in fact, he probably hasn't changed his mind so much as a shift in context led to a shift in policy support. If his outlook before was something like, "Fuck everyone who isn't me and my family" (a common worldview of the political Right), then that could very well still be his view. Because (he now knows) his son is gay, he (now) doesn't want shitty policy for gay people, but he's still a total asshole because the "fuck everyone else" bit hasn't changed.
Posted by John Horstman on March 21, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
Mr Alan - Ah, yes; Mrs B somehow has become my go-to example for the question of whether one does what one is or whether one becomes what one does.
Posted by vennominon on March 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
@62 mydriasis and @73 Eirene: Why does my personal dislike of anal intercourse have anything to do with a generation gap, real, or imagined?
What could it possibly matter to either of you whether I've actually been fucked up my ass or not??
Is there some unwritten law passed within the last couple of decades that says 'thou must all engage in anal sex now and fucking love it'?

Kids these days. What will they think of next?
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 21, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
I maintain, and maybe it's stupid optimism on my part, that a widespread belief in the gay men and gerbils thing says more about gullibility than it does about homophobia.

I regularly run into people who believe every urban legend on Snopes. Not that they've ever heard of Snopes. It just comes up in the course of ordinary conversation, and the next thing I know, they're telling me some outrageous true story that happened to their friend's daughter, a story that's so outrageous that it doesn't sound quite true to me. When I ask who that happened to, was it someone they knew or had heard of, I'm told that it was the daughter of a friend of a friend, and then met with a flash of anger and the insistence that they're sure it's true. When I look it up on Snopes later, it's always unsubstantiated.

Sometimes these people strike me as pretty liberal in general outlook-- just not terribly bright. I don't think a connection can be made between these folks and homophobia. Maybe there can be. Maybe the next time I hear one of those outrageous stories, instead of asking if this happened to someone they knew or someone they'd heard of, I should ask what their opinion is on marriage equality.

Posted by Crinoline on March 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
By all mean, take a vacation, but did you really have to answer this asinine question *twice*? The idea of a gerbil up the ass is, perhaps, vaguely amusing; but, a tortured, dismembered gerbil? Disgusting. Sorry, Dan, but your column gets a big fat "F" from me for this week.
Posted by daphne odora on March 21, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
By all mean, take a vacation, but did you really have to answer this asinine question *twice*? The idea of a gerbil up the ass is, perhaps, vaguely amusing in the abstract; but, a tortured, dismembered gerbil? Disgusting. Sorry, Dan, but your column gets a big fat "F" from me for this week.
Posted by daphne odora on March 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 81
No gay man I've ever known - and I've known many - would ever dream of doing this act of supreme cruelty to an animal. Quite the opposite in fact. They are all supporters of animal rights and are very particular in the care and feeding of their pets.

The only variance to this was a friend from Alaska who thought furs were acceptable among the indigenous population there.
Posted by Bauhaus I on March 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
auntie grizelda@77: I didn't mean to imply that the generation gap was necessarily the reason for your preference. I was just saying that as far as I can tell there is one.
Posted by Eirene on March 21, 2013 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Wouldn't those sharp little claws be sorta like a ribbed condom?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 21, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
mydriasis 84

"Is there some unwritten law passed within the last couple of decades that says 'thou must all engage in anal sex now and fucking love it'?"

Now that's my kind of god!

"What could it possibly matter to either of you whether I've actually been fucked up my ass or not??"

Just making conversation.


Thanks for sharing, that's the impression I get too.
Posted by mydriasis on March 21, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
@66 and @75, I wasn't addressing Portman's motives, and am not interested in doing so now: I was making (or trying to) a larger point, regarding how we should feel about, and respond to, straight, ignorant and fearful people who have a change of heart only after someone they know comes out to them. Some of the most activist straight-but-not-narrow's I've encountered are parents who were initially freaked out and subsequently returned to their default unconditional love, and in doing so ended up embracing the entire gay community.
Posted by JFG on March 21, 2013 at 6:24 PM · Report this
nocutename 86
@Crinoline: My aunt sends me warnings about things which always sound like urban legends to me. Now my standard reply to any of her dire stories is "Snopes it, please."

@Mydriasis, Eirene, Aunie Griz: I'm fifty, female, straight, and love anal, which has been a part of my repetoire since I was 21. I don't know about the generational thing, as I don't think I've polled my peers, but I think it is a presumptuous conflation of causation and correlation to assume that different practices are always attributable to generational differences.
Posted by nocutename on March 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Report this
@82 Eirene & @84 mydriasis: Good enough. No worries.
Thanks for sharing.

I suppose there will always be some degree of a generation gap
between age groups because we don't all think, believe, live, and act the same way. But isn't that a blessing? I think the world would be a pretty sad, boring, and depressing wasteland if that were the case.

Posted by auntie grizelda on March 21, 2013 at 6:56 PM · Report this
@86 nocutename: Nice to know we're close in age, anyway! I'm forty-eight, female, straight, commend you for what makes you happy, and couldn't agree with you more about not automatically associating and limiting certain likes/dislikes/habits strictly to any specific age group.

Thanks---you nailed what I was trying to say in @87.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 21, 2013 at 7:08 PM · Report this
nocutename 89
@auntie grizelda: I'm a big believer in doing what you like and not being coerced into what you don't want to do unapologetically and at any age.
Posted by nocutename on March 21, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
mydriasis 90
"I suppose there will always be some degree of a generation gap between age groups because we don't all think, believe, live, and act the same way. But isn't that a blessing? I think the world would be a pretty sad, boring, and depressing wasteland if that were the case."

Exactly my point.

I find them interesting, that's why I mentioned it.
Posted by mydriasis on March 21, 2013 at 7:50 PM · Report this
(Shakes head)

And not one person here has mentioned yet that gerbil tails, when pulled, *break off*.

Just another reason why this whole urban legend is preposterous.
Posted by BypassGo on March 21, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
FWIW hedgehogs are also illegal in CA--for environmental reasons.
Posted by DC31 on March 21, 2013 at 8:52 PM · Report this
It was early 1990 that a guy who I worked with (in college, at UCLA) told us how Richard Gere had been admitted to the UCLA Medical Center with a gerbil up his ass. The guy's mother was a staff nurse in the ER and told him about the incident.

I just looked at him quizzically, as I had never heard of such a thing. Then, three days later, the report came out in the media. As much as the guy's mother was a nurse in the ER at UCLA (she was), I believe the story.

As far as I know, Richard Gere had never had such a rumor before that. Only those who are significantly older than myself (42) could know the answer to that.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on March 21, 2013 at 10:13 PM · Report this
#93, my uncle was a lumberjack in Oregon in the 1940s, and he told me about two guys in the logging camp who ordered matching clothes out of the Sears catalog, and how one day they were both admitted to the local hospital with Douglas firs sticking out of the jeans. Must be true.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM · Report this
Sandiai 95
@93, There are many "first-hand" reports on the internet that sound very much like yours:

A friend of mine's aunt is a nurse at the Los Angeles hospital where Gere was brought into, and confirmed that he was brought in after "playing" with a gerbil. Several nurses on staff went to get his autograph, and were shocked when they discovered his condition.

Over the Christmas holidays I was talking to my sister about Urban Legends and the Richard Gere gerbeling incident came up. Her friend swears she was there at Cedar Cyni (someone help me with the spelling) in Los Angeles when it happened.

I was a dinner party in West Hollywood in 1991 or ’92 when a woman came in late. She was a nurse at California Hospital and said she was late because Richard Gere came in and needed emergency surgery to remove a “hamster” from his ass.

Everyone laughed and suggested the nurse call the National Enquirer and see if she can get any money for the story. I don’t know if she did or not.

I swear all this happened BEFORE the story came out in the media. In fact, when I first read about Richard Gere and a gerbil I was shocked because I remembered the dinner party. I really believe this incident did indeed happen and the fact that Gere doesn’t deny (or confirm) speaks volumes.…

My question for you, @93, is WHAT MEDIA? Where's the documentation?
Posted by Sandiai on March 22, 2013 at 3:15 AM · Report this
Hello Dan,

I must say, I was pretty disappointed with your column on "Gerbiling".

Did you really need to go into such graphic detail about the disgusting things done to a gerbil with a pair of pliers.

For animal lovers like myself it was very hard to read and will continue to resonate for a long time. For the Luca Magnotta's of this world,
well you've probably got them all hot under the collar with these great new ideas.

Could you not have simply made your point without explaining that horrific and disgusting
proceedure. No one needs to know all of those gory details Dan.

You really went over board this time and I'm very very turned off.

Posted by Kiz on March 22, 2013 at 4:44 AM · Report this
Hello Dan,

I must say, I was pretty disappointed with your column on "Gerbiling".

Did you really need to go into such graphic detail about the disgusting things done to a gerbil with a pair of pliers.

For animal lovers like myself it was very hard to read and will continue to resonate for a long time. For the Luca Magnotta's of this world,
well you've probably got them all hot under the collar with these great new ideas.

Could you not have simply made your point without explaining that horrific and disgusting
proceedure. No one needs to know all of those gory details Dan.

You really went over board this time and I'm very very turned off.
Posted by Kiz on March 22, 2013 at 4:49 AM · Report this
nocutename 98
@96/97 (Kiz): I think part of the reason that Dan included those gruesome details was to point out:

(A) the absurdity of the rumor. It's unlikely that lots people are going to do something so monstrous all the time. Few would have the stomach for it.


(B) the degree of homophobia to which it speaks. It really demonizes a group of people to imagine them capable of doing something like this and enjoying it.

I've heard the Richard Gere and the gerbil rumor for a long time, and I've never heard this detail before, nor the limb removal. I suspect both are later additions to "explain" why, if people do this all the time, we don't see a lot of people with the kind of injuries you'd expect to see from being bitten/clawed/scratched in and around the rectum.

It was disgusting, yes. But if it makes you feel any better, it most assuredly isn't real. No rodents were harmed during the writing of Dan's column.
Posted by nocutename on March 22, 2013 at 6:01 AM · Report this
Anarcissie 99
@91, etc.: I have heard all kinds of stories about generational, ethnic, and class differences about preference or distaste for anal sex, but I've never seen any science. One story that seems reasonable, however, is that it was very popular for women in the 19th century (and earlier) as a way of avoiding pregnancy in the absence of better contraceptive technology.
Posted by Anarcissie on March 22, 2013 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Only one useful thing has come out of this horrendous urban legend:

It served as helpful advice to Michonne.
Posted by PermieWriter on March 22, 2013 at 11:05 AM · Report this
I just googled "incidence anal sex cultural influence" and found this:…

It's a review and they cite quite a few studies.
Posted by migrationist on March 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this
@101: fascinating, thanks.
Posted by Eirene on March 22, 2013 at 11:54 AM · Report this
86-nocute-- Does she Snopes it? Does she get back to you to say something along the lines of "Rats, it was such a great story, but it turned out not to be true!"? Years ago I repeated an urban legend (the one about Neil Armstrong overhearing his neighbors arguing about oral sex) and remember feeling deeply embarrassed about it later. I tried to revoke it where I could. But for some number of people, the only thing that will happen when they find a favorite story labeled false on Snopes is to questions Snopes's authority. After all, the good folks at Snopes have never met their hairdresser's brother-in-law.
Posted by Crinoline on March 22, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
No urban legend can sustain that much detail. I think Dan made up those details.
Posted by cockyballsup on March 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM · Report this
When Freddy's around, let bf in the back.
Posted by Hunter78 on March 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Wow, Robin8...that must have made you feel super empowered to mention that Richard Gere's brother is gay but he isn't. Kind of saying, "Well maybe it was his brother who did the gerbil thing." Aren't we all so super impressed that you know things that other people don't know. OOoooooooo!
Posted by Claireita on March 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM · Report this
@95: I agree, but the stories you hear have the hospital wrong (Cedars Sinai versus UCLA Med) and came out much later on. My coworker's mom WAS a nurse in the ER (I had known that for several months before the Richard Gere story ever came up) and she had told her son about it on a Friday night. The guy related it to a group of twenty on a Saturday night, and it came out on the radio a couple days later.

Again, inasmuch as his mom was a nurse in the ER four blocks away and used to pick him up from work, I believe it. Could be totally made up, but I had absolutely never heard such a thing before that. Honestly, in early 1990 (before Pretty Woman), who was thinking about Richard Gere? The last memorable thing he had done was An Officer and a Gentleman seven or eight years earlier.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on March 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
@Approaching 40, I am about your age and heard this story when I was in middle school--early to mid 80s. I probably did believe it then, but to be honest I don't think I truly even knew what a gerbil was at the time.
As an adult I can see how the rumor has been used to demonize and dehumanize the lgbqt community (especially gay men). Even without the gruesome details included in the column, it is clearly sadistic to put a live animal in one's ass. The assumption that all gay men -- or even one presumed gay man--practice this "technique" only furthers and rationalizes bigotry.
Posted by Purbear on March 22, 2013 at 11:26 PM · Report this
nocutename 109
@Approaching 40 in LA: I first heard this in the mid-1980s. (If you're only now approaching 40, then you don't remember the fuss that Richard Gere prompted since "American Gigolo," and through "An Officer and a Gentleman.")

Check out what Snopes has to say about how many people supposedly worked the ER and witnessed this personally:…
Posted by nocutename on March 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this
If it's illegal to sell gerbils in California, then isn't it fairly meaningless to cite lack of gerbils in CA pet stores as proof that there's no demand? I am not saying that anyone has actually done this (although my past experience with humans would lead me to be unsurprised if someone somewhere has), but shouldn't that particular piece of evidence be gathered from pet stores where gerbils may be sold?

Also, I would imagine that the choice of rodent is not particularly important. Doing the same with mice or rats or (if you're Rick Santorum) raccoons (which aren't rodents, but I doubt he knows that) could perhaps reasonably be referred to as "gerbiling" just as photocopying on a Canon is often called "Xeroxing".

Again: I doubt this is a very common practice. I'm just criticising the nature of the presented evidence.
Posted by something on March 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
It's no use. Every straight guy I know, especially ones whose wifes or girlfriends are nurses, swears that they know a woman emergency room worker who has to de-gerbil a gay man a few times a year? How do they know the gerbil-ed men are gay? A: Because they have gerbils stuck in their asses - duh.

As for the Richer Gere-bil connection, I think someone already confessed to starting that malicious rumor. I think it was a movie producer that Gere pissed off, so he started the most ridiculous rumor about him that he could think of, and took on a life of it's own.

I never heard this stuff about removing teeth and legs and lower jaws. According to all the straight men I know, the biting and clawing are half the fun for the gays. When you ask how they do not die of perforated colons, gangrene, septicemia, etc, the answer they give is that the gerbil goes in a ziplock bag. Which according to the logic of straight men is impervious to the gnawing of rodent teeth and reduces the potentially fatal bites and scratches into stimulating pinches and pokes.
Posted by jussmbdy on March 23, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
@89 nocutename: I am, too!! And after 48 years of having to fight off not one, but TWO controlling, manipulative, dictatorial zapf dingbatz older sisters (my oldest seems to think she's my mother!), old school friends of Mom's, older relatives, and anyone else falling into the insane category of shamefully meddlesome old busybody, I still have the battle scars to prove it!
Luckily, I now live a good county away from all those who were so excessively hellbent upon coercing me into doing what I didn't want to do.
Being the youngest in my family was supposed to be a curse for some bizarre, still unexplained reason.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 23, 2013 at 10:52 PM · Report this
sissoucat 113
@grizelda Good for you.

May I add that I enjoy reading your posts ? You seem to be a fine specimen of human on your own, you're well rid of the controlling people.
Posted by sissoucat on March 24, 2013 at 3:29 AM · Report this
Snopes had a good point that I hadn't thought of before: (Some) doctors and nurses pass on urban legends the same as anyone else. So when I hear about Richard Gere and gerbils from my hair dresser who heard it from her client who owns a landscape company, I'm likely to dismiss it, but when I hear it from my allergist who heard it from his roommate who works in the E.R., I'm likely to give it weight. Yet that shouldn't be the case. If you were to track it down by asking each person who heard it to verify, both lines would fizzle.
Posted by Crinoline on March 24, 2013 at 4:08 AM · Report this
Was everybody else batshit, or was it you?
Posted by Hunter78 on March 24, 2013 at 5:34 AM · Report this
@113 sissoucat: Thank you. I enjoy hearing from you and others, too.
Yeah----it has been a lifelong struggle to declare my independence,
but lo these many years the rewards are all the sweeter.
No news from either of my sisters or their equally meddlesome peers
is good news.

Posted by auntie grizelda on March 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Troll alert on Aisle 115!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 24, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Sketch 118
It never occurred to me that anyone'd think gerbiling was more than a really sick joke... That is happened so much that Dan used to get three letters a week is frankly a shock.
Posted by Sketch on March 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM · Report this
AFinch 119
@101 - Thanks so much for that Article!!!

I'm another mid-forties person and I heard this long before 1990.
Posted by AFinch on March 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
hey any girl that wants a boyfriend im the boy i got 15 girfriends but only one will be mine for ever

Posted by jhosh on March 25, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
As a California resident, I can assure you there are plenty of mice and hamsters for sale here in our great state. Unless it is the prestigious brand name of "Gerbil" is the status symbol everyone is rushing to attain? I guess it's not the same thrill with a generic mouse...

I am surprised that no one here has mentioned South Park, that depicted a gay character doing this, and is most likely where this rumor is finding a new generation of gullible 13-year-olds.
Posted by I blame Trey Parker and Matt Stone for this! on March 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
1987, a friend of mine I was sharing a place with was an ER nurse in Vancouver, BC. Came back from work once, breathlessly excited because on the ER shift before hers! they had pulled a gerbil! out of Richard Gere's ass!
Top secret! She'd get fired if anyone knew she told! I'd like to think that my reply back then was "yeah, whatever..."
Posted by shak on March 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM · Report this
lolorhone 123
@122: I was thinking about South Park as well, but I assumed the obvious "in poor taste" quality of that plotline wouldn't have children thinking gerbils up gay asses is gospel. While we're on the subject, I'm surprised more people weren't pissed at the Mr. Garrison sex change storyline. It was pretty virulently transphobic.
Posted by lolorhone on March 25, 2013 at 7:13 PM · Report this
lolorhone 124
I meant @121
Posted by lolorhone on March 25, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
"These were mice that had their tails cut off, they were smothered in Vaseline and they had string tied around them." From the bestiality farm, at least according to the police report.…
Posted by TrahB on March 25, 2013 at 10:53 PM · Report this
"These were mice that had their tails cut off, they were smothered in Vaseline and they had string tied around them." From the bestiality farm, at least according to the police report.…
Posted by TTrahB on March 25, 2013 at 10:54 PM · Report this
mydriasis 127
I think the obvious answer is that nurses like to troll people. :p
Posted by mydriasis on March 26, 2013 at 6:09 AM · Report this
I heard the gerbil/Richard Gere rumor in Jr. High in the late spring of 86. A girl was telling a group of us kids that her aunt is a ER nurse at UCLA and you would never guess what happened....
Even then I knew is was a load of crap. I have been bitten by hamsters, and there is no way in Hell that someone would shove a squirming animal up their ass willingly for kicks when it will shred your butt beyond human endurance.
Posted by Huge Liability on March 26, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Alright as a child of this generation I thought I had seen it all, heard it all (heard from all you lovely older people who chose to share tales of their experience and the resulting wisdom of course) ,working my way to having done it all, and maybe even inventing some of that "all"....... that being said, what shit is this? Forget shoving a bleeding, suffering, carnage-y, gerbil up your bunghole, I'm still stuck on the logistics of de-jawing and de-legging it. Isn't that a symptom of psychopathy? Torturing small animals?
Posted by michey on March 27, 2013 at 7:01 AM · Report this
Hate to tell you this, but the legend of Richard Gere and the gerbil is TRUE. How do I know? I heard it from a paramedic, who himself was told about it by the paramedic who was ON THE SCENE when the incident "went wrong" and an ambulance had to be summoned, which is, no doubt, how the incident originally got "out" into the public domain.

And no, it was not told me during a drunken session in a bar, but during an "Emergency First Responder" course I was taking.

And it is well known to any emergency room attendant anywhere near a gay district just how often GAY men show up with an astounding range of objects stuck up their asses, so, really, Dan, let's not pretend it "isn't so", okay? A mutilated gerbil would be just one out of many things!

As for the "no gerbil" law, well, it's easy enough to breed one's own just for the purpose. Marijuana is illegal too; doesn't stop people smoking it! I heard about the gerbil thing long BEFORE the Richard Gere incident; being in the S&M scene means you hear about a LOT of strange things before the vanilla types..and yes, the news came out of SanFran, and having heard even stranger stories about what the gays get up to in terms of prostate stimulation(remember the horse story out of Washington?)there is no question the practice of gerbil mutilation enjoyed a vogue in the back rooms of gay bars and similar venues!
Posted by Garuda on March 27, 2013 at 9:01 PM · Report this
@127 mydriasis: Hunter78 is a healthcare worker?!?
Okay, NOW I'm scared.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 27, 2013 at 9:17 PM · Report this
>> All you need is one doomed gerbil and one willing butt-hole
or one willing gerbil and one doomed butt-hole
(the practitioner, not the body part)

- - -

>> But being a gay man or Richard Gere in America
>> means always having to reassure people
>> that you don't have a gerbil in your ass.

Ahhhh, I understand. Mr. Gere only does it in foreign countries. Less trouble, that's smart. No wonder he's always going to Tibet.

- - -

So, no one practices "gerbiling".
But, everyone engages in "horsing around".

Now that's gotta be just downright painful.

But it does explain how you find a horse's head in your bed in the morning. Someone made you an offer you couldn't refuse.

- - - - - - - - -

"Joker, I've had my ass in the grass. Can't say I liked it. Lots of bugs & too damn dangerous. Fortunately, my present duties keep me where I belong. In the rear with the Gere."

-- Lt. Lockart, "Full Metal Jacket"
Posted by RobynH on April 7, 2013 at 8:47 PM · Report this
When I was in high school sex ed, our teacher did a thing where we could anonymously put a sex question - ANY sex question -on a piece of paper and put it in a hat and he'd answer it. Someone asked what "gerbiling" was. The look on his face...

He actually answered it, too, after qualifying that this is something that "very very few" people do. I remember being really puzzled at age 15 as to where my teacher would get this information.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on April 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM · Report this

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