Burrowing into the gerbil rumors

Jane Hu offers a stunningly exhaustive report on the urban legend of gerbiling and its connection to AIDS-era homophobia: "Gay sexuality as a realm plagued with abnormality, shame-inducing behaviors, and incomprehensible stupidity", when apparently not one documented case of the practice exists."


    1.  We had geribils when my son was around 7. Sometimes we would close a room and let them run around and do things like build houses for them out of blocks.

      If you were lying on the floor they would sometimes explore you and do things like run around inside your pants. If one wanted to move something or get it to move it would often use head buts and I’ve had one head but my ass.

      I never thought of such behavior as particularly sexual (it was more ticklish),,  but maybe somebody with similar experience did, and then came up with a more sexual fantasy.

  1. Much as I like South Park, one major problem I have with them is that they vectored this rumor by depicting gerbiling on the show.  Now a whole new generation has grown up with the rumor.

    1. It’s OK that South Park exploits offensive and marginalizing stereotypes for entertainment value, because if you squint at it just right from a safe white male privileged place on the internet, it is ironic social justice humor!

    1. Yes, I know that kid! He’s the same one who swore on his mother’s Bible’s bookmark that Rod Stewart collapsed on stage and was found to have thirteen gallons of semen in his stomach. Well, that’s all the proof I need.

          1. New Kids on the Block. If it helps, I couldn’t actually remember those two guys’ names and had to look them up on Wikipedia. But they were definitely the ones the rumors were about when I was in grade school. 

        1. Definitely one of the New Kids!  Not sure which one.

          If it was Jordan, though, Jordan made it all much better when he had that hit solo single a decade or so later that proved his heteronormativity by singing about date rape.

      1. The Stewart incident was around the same time of the Bowie-Ozzy face-off.  Bowie bet Ozzy that he was the most outrageous rock star, and to prove it, pinched off a turd right there on the stage.  Ozzy replied “sorry, mate, you lose,” picked up that turd and bit off the end of it.

        “School cafeteria conversation.” 1982.

        1.  I heard this exact story in the 70s, except the two perpetrators were Frank Zappa and Alice Cooper. Which tells me it probably ain’t true.

  2. I can’t help but still believe it happens for one simple reason: A surgical nurse I trust claims to have been involved in a bit of emergency surgery due to a gerbil in an unfortunate location.  Weighing “I haven’t found any documentation” vs “I saw it,” I have to go with believing the later.

      1. Hey, if you can’t trust the unsubstantiated belief of a random anonymous guy on the internet, what can you trust?

    1. No doctor would pass up the chance to publish a case study of such a thing and gain their 15 minutes of medical fame.

  3. I just don’t see how the Gary Larson cartoon is related at all, other than having the word “gerbil” in it.  The humor is two cats discussing a box of rodents as humans discuss chocolates.

      1. Yes, I know … but does it somehow leave the realm of edible treats and become sex toys?  

        Maybe it’s like those magic-eye pictures and I’m just not seeing it.

  4. Well never mind, then!

    But on the other hand, how does one “document” a case of gerbiling?  Is there some Gerbling Documentarian career path I’m not aware of?  :)

  5. The real value of this article (to younger readers and as a reminder to older readers) is the section concerning early AIDS hysteria that swept the planet in the ’80s.  It’s easy to forget how anti-gay mainstream reporting was during the initial AIDS crises. Anyone who thinks homophobia is a problem now, just look back about three decades and you might be shocked.

    1. Oh for Goodness sake don’t tell me the 80’s were three decades ago.  They were last week.  C’mon.  You’re bringing out my male pattern baldness.

      I’ve always figured the drug companies were behind the homo-misinformation campaign.  Wasn’t it a gay green monkey from Rangaloon, involved in a three-way tryst with bisexual acrobats in a diamond mine in the Belgian Congo?  That was the species-barrier leap.

      By persuading everyone it was a “gay disease” (read that with your 1850 voice and laugh), the rapid and destructive spread through the overall population was assured, and a whole new diamond mine of R&D was created.  Which led to sales, which led to $.And don’t fight the rodent / bum thing too hard.  I have a hamster, and when I clean it out, it gets right up my arse.

  6. Wow, I haven’t thought about that absurd rumour in decades.  It reminds me of a terrible song by an otherwise not bad/over the top raunchy Canadian punk band called the Dayglo Abortions. No link because it sings the stereotype, but it was called ‘hide the hamster’, I think.

  7. Radiologists quietly collect radiographs of “artifacts” they encounter which include any number of things found inside humans; from what you’d expect (bullets, shrapnel, ingested buttons, toys and coins) to things you might not (coke bottles, light bulbs, dildoes) appearing in “unusual” places.

    Though the species was not identified, I did indeed see a radiograph of small spinal columns which the docs ID’d as rodential in nature and were definitely lodged in that unusual place -and unfortunately unreachable by the insertee, prompting the trip to the ER. As these images were captured on laserdiscs among tens of thousands of others many many years ago,  I will not bother to try to find them and, for the record, will not expect anyone to believe me.

    But I did find the darkly humorous side of radiologists quite endearing.

    1. I worked at a hospital in San Francisco from 1981 to 2000.  Never heard a first person account of a live creature being inserted.  If it didn’t happen in SF…

  8. Maybe not gerbils, but here’s a documented case of “micing”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/16/douglas-spink-arrested-in_n_541379.html

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