Example: [Collected via e-mail, 1995]
They go to a
- Where the boy takes his date varies: usually either a
drive-inmovie or parking at some secluded spot.
- The reason why the boy leaves his date alone for a few minutes also varies: generally either to go to the bathroom or to visit to the drive-in's snack bar.
- Sometimes one (or both) of the participants is a well-known community member.
The legend of the girl and the gearshift lever has been circulating since at least the early 1950s, and has probably been in existence as long as automobiles have been around. The legend combines the male fantasy of a "love potion" that turns any female into a willing sexual partner with a sort of medical "sorcerer's apprentice" horror story about the perils of the uninitiated attempting to cast powerful spells they can't control. Perhaps the latter point plays on the adolescent male fear of the (perceived) strength and irrationality of the female sex drive; the idea that even a "nice" girl is really a ravening sexual beast just waiting to be awakened, and that if you do arouse this primal lust, it will be more than you can handle. (Female hypersexuality is a common feature of adolescent sex legends.) There may also an element of the sexist "cain't leave 'em alone fer a minute" in the fact that the boy leaves, then comes back to find his girlfriend sexually active. The unfortunate young man then experiences the ultimate American male nightmare: being cuckolded by his own automobile.
Last updated: 22 March 2011
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Choking Doberman. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984. ISBN 0-393-30321-7 (pp. 133-134). Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good To Be True. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0-393-04734-2 (pp. 123-124). Nordenberg, Tamar. "The Facts About Aphrodisiacs." FDA Consumer. January 1996 (p. 10). Reuben, David. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. New York: David McKay Company, 1970 (p. 73). Rodgers, Joann. "The Enduring Myth of Aphrodisiacs." The Los Angeles Times. 14 December 1987 (p. B4).