Savage Love

Gerbils? Again?


@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?
Spam alert on aisle 2!!!!
Ironically.... Dan said he'd answer this only once.... 2013 makes twice :-p
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).
I think you left out that to do 'gerbil stuffing' the most important thing to have is a searing hatred of animals
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.

Aargh: That should have read "get asked."

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.
Perhaps "starring actor" should be an orientation all its own.

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.…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
@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.
@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...…
@15 et al, these stories always start with "Apparently....."
The one word that REALLY cracked me up?? REPEAT!

Happy Spring Dan!
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.
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?
@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.
"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!
@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.
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."
The version I heard involved a Habitrail: I never heard the part about the mutilation and dismembering. Yuck. Nasty nasty gays.
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!
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 ...
@ 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.
@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?
Aaaaaaaah!!!!! That was a disturbing visual! YIKES!
Of course it's an urban legend, I cannot believe people actually still believe that

and Guuuuuuh!!!
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.
#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.
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.…
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.
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?
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.
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.
Or a speed skater, for that matter.
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.
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.
I can't imagine having anything live up my ass!!

Not even a penis?
@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.
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.)
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!
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.
The thought of someone attempting "gerbilling" making me want to cry, seriously.
Your sappy animal lover
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!
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...
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.
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?
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.
@seander: I don't think you were referring to "gerbiling," but rather "Göring-ing," or perhaps "Goebbelsing."
@55 Seandr

OK. That was a good one.

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.
@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.
@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.
Holy shit, Batman, this has truly got to be the most Mausgeschtinken bizarre urban legend of all time!
@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.

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.
@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.
I remember reading the gerbil column the first time that Dan wrote it. Good Lord, I'm old! :-(
@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.
@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.").
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!"
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.
@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.
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!
Would that be "mare-iage?"
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.
@69 <3 for the Mrs. Boynton reference.
@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.
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.
@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?
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Wouldn't those sharp little claws be sorta like a ribbed condom?

"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.
@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.
@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.
@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.

@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.
@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.
"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.
(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.
FWIW hedgehogs are also illegal in CA--for environmental reasons.
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.
#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.
@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?
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.

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.
@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.
@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.
Only one useful thing has come out of this horrendous urban legend:

It served as helpful advice to Michonne.
I just googled "incidence anal sex cultural influence" and found this:…

It's a review and they cite quite a few studies.
@101: fascinating, thanks.