Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A wife punishes her husband's infidelity with a hot curling iron up his backside.
Example: [British Columbia, 1988]
Origins: You've got to admit that's an evil way to get even with anybody. Luckily for us it's just a story, one that turns up in odd places at various times, told as happening to different people. It's unlikely to have ever happened in real life.
In 1993 this legend surfaced with a vengeance in Columbus, Ohio, where gossip ascribed it to a well-known local car dealer. In that version, his wife was supposed to have caught sight of him doing the horizontal samba with another woman. The philandering husband failed to see his better half as he'd been too intent upon what he was doing to have noticed his wife's presence before she got an eyeful and fled. Returning home later, the wife cuddles up to hubby and suggests some kinky sex which involves tying him up. Not knowing that she's onto him, he falls for it. Once he's firmly bound, she
How this legend came to be associated with the car dealer is uncertain. The man was quite well known in the Columbus area, being both financially successful and infamous for his business' truly awful prime time TV ads. One might speculate that since his commercials were a pain in the
The legend likely came from older sources (see the entries in the "Sightings" section) but renews itself periodically as a new victim is named. Once one gets over the sheer horror of contemplating the wayward husband's plight, the story's weakness should be apparent. Unless held in place, a curling iron thrust into a rectum should be easily expelled by a bit of sphincter movement. Especially in the versions where the wife is said to have stuck it in and left, the story falls down upon itself, as involuntary movement alone should have rid the man of the instrument of torture.
A somewhat reversed version of the story shows up in "The Miller's Tale" of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. An ardent swain begs a kiss through an open window but the woman turns the other cheek on him, so to speak, by instead displaying her bare bottom and instructing him to kiss that. After obliging, the scorned one secures a "red hot coulter," returns to the lady's house, asks for another kiss, and this time gets her lover's arse framed in the window. Wrong time to have a joke at another's expense,
A persistent historical rumor has it that in 1327
Barbara "arse 'em — the wifely crime" Mikkelson
Sightings: A variant of the "curling iron in the nether regions" motif can be found in Florence King's 1982 novel When Sisterhood was In Flower. Mention of this form of cruelty as a way of doing someone in also shows up in the 1983 film Sleepaway Camp.
Last updated: 12 July 2007
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