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Gerbiling or the Colo-rectal Mouse Urban Legend

Sexual Urban Legends

By Cynthia VaradyPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 5 min read

Society is fraught with urban legends. Each region has its version which reinforces the status quo—the murdered babysitter (moms should stay home and watch their children), teens slaughtered while fornicating at the local makeout point (pre-material sex is evil), and kinky sex legends bordering on animal torture, like Gerbiling.

Most of us have heard, at least in passing, of some celebrity or a friend of a cousin’s roommate rushing to the hospital to have a dead rodent removed from their colon. These stories run rampant across schoolyards. But is there any truth to these absurd stories?

What in the Hell is gerbiling?

Gerbiling involves a tube of some sort inserted into the anus. A gerbil is then urged up the tub into the colon. Some legends report that the gerbil is placed in a plastic bag and given a hit of nitrous oxide to intoxicate it before being placed in the tube. Others still take the legend a bit further by placing a flame to the pipe to “encourage” the gerbil to go into the colon. This version leads to a form of gerbiling coined “Rock Gerbiling.” In this instance, a flame ignites flatulence, and the gerbil becomes a projectile.

The range of variations becomes more outrageous over time; the gerbil is given cocaine, frozen, placed in a condom, plastic wrap, or plastic bag, coaxed with cheese, declawed, their teeth removed, and shoved through a funnel, toilet paper tube, or lubricate tube. In Hollywood circles, more is better, and one gerbil becomes 6 in a variation known as a “gerbil-pack.”

In men, the gerbil’s movements as it tries to escape or dies stimulates the prostate gland, bringing on an instant orgasm. In women, the legend is less publicized. Gerbiling is a category of bestiality reserved for the likes of gay men. In many cases, the act of gerbiling ends in an emergency room visit when home extraction fails. This could be a string tied to the gerbil that comes loose or the tiny rodent claws or chews its way out of whatever bag/condom/plastic wrap is holding it, damaging the sexcapader’s intestines.

Origins of Gerbiling

This urban legend has been circulating since 1968 but didn’t become mainstream until the 1980s. Folklorist Norine Dresser found that a story spread during the Viet Nam War that men who wanted to draft dodge would dangle a rats tale out of their anus during their physical to signal they were gay, invoking the don’t ask, tell rule. At the time, the US military barred gay men from service.

Sniffing out the Rodent

Journalists have tried for decades to find the original of the gerbiling urban legend, but all have come up empty-handed. They have scoured LGBTQ+ communities and medical facilities with no leads. If there have been gerbilectomies performed, they have never made it into any medical literature. Other odd objects have been removed, including peanut butter jars, pint glasses, sunglasses, salad tongs, and cement.

The Negative Effects of Gerbiling Rumors

Two male newscasters, one in the 1980s and one in the ‘90s, both had their careers harmed by rumors that they had been rushed to the hospital to removed gerbils from their colons via a sex act gone wrong. In the case of Rick Segal, a Wichita Falls, Texas weatherman, the television station pressured him into resigning due to the rumors.

The Bigger the Celebrity, the Bigger the Rodent

Gerbiling rumors have plagued male Hollywood celebrities for decades. The bigger their celebrity status, the bigger and more salacious the gossip. I heard my first gerbiling urban legend shortly after Pretty Woman’s release in 1990. However, this wasn’t the first time a gerbiling story had been attached with Richard Gere. The initial gerbiling story surfaced after Gere’s 1980s hit, An Officer and a Gentleman. Yet, most kids treated the reemergence in the ‘90s like a new piece of information. But I guess for 12-year-olds, it was new.

The rumor of Gere and the gerbil made its way into late-night television monologues and sketches. It even appeared in the 1992 Superbowl half-time show. Additionally, comedian Sam Kinison made it his opening joke at the 1990 out-of-London music awards, which appeared to the largest televised audience at the time of its satellite broadcast.

The Message Behind Gerbiling

The central theme behind gerbiling is homophobia and labeling gay men as perverts who are willing to kill cute, cuddly animals for sexual gratification. I want to evoke the fear many right-wing politicians voiced with the legalization of same-sex marriage:

"When you say it's not a man and a woman anymore, then why not have three men and one woman or four women and one man?.... Or why not, you know, somebody has a love for an animal or-? There is no clear place to draw a line once you eliminate the traditional marriage." Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.

1980 saw the rise of the AIDS epidemic, further raising the country’s homophobia. It was as if the gerbil legend proved how deviant and disease-ridden gays were.

Why Hollywood?

But this still begs the question, why are particular celebrities targeted? At the time, Richard Gere was an A-list actor and considered a total heartthrob. He was dating Cindy Crawford, and every woman in American wanted him as their hall pass. Wait, I think I may have answered my question.

American anthropological Hortense Powdermaker’s 1951 paper on the film industry entitled "Hollywood: The Dream Factory, An Anthropologist Looks at the Movie Makers," Powermaker states that within the film industry, fragile egos and jealousy rule the roost. When anyone is doing well and surpassing their contemporaries, bad news will soon follow, whether manufactured or genuine. Outside of the industry, the public has an aloof view of celebrities. The public harbors a love-hate relationship with them. Historically, acting is a profession reserved for the immoral and ill-repute— a sure-fire ticket straight to Hell. In the 1950s, boarding houses even posted signs that stated: No Dogs or Actors.

You Can’t Go Gerbiling if There are No Gerbils to Torture

Despite all the rumors of Hollywood celebrities delighting in gerbil service, you can’t buy gerbils in California. A 1933 bill banned gerbils in the Golden State. Gerbils are non-native, invasive species from Africa, Asia, and India and have no natural predators in California. To preserve the ecosystem of California, gerbils are one of several animals banned from the state, some of which include monkeys, ferrets, and hedgehogs.

Recent Rumors

It’s been decades since any new gerbiling rumors have taken root in the US. When Googled, Richard Gere’s run-in with the tall tale is still a top search result. Hopefully, this maligning rumor has been put to rest as LGBTQ people have gained traction in the fight for equal rights. LGBTQ appearances in popular culture have helped assuaged public fears of the “gay menace” promoting their “gay agenda,” which, much like gerbiling, never existed in the first place.

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About the Creator

Cynthia Varady

Aspiring novelist and award-winning short story writer. Hangs at Twtich & Patreon with AllThatGlittersIsProse. Cynthia resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, son, & kitties. She/Her

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