Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A wife takes revenge on her philandering husband by supergluing his penis to his leg.
Origins: This tale of a gal taking revenge on an unfaithful mate is unusual in its violence. In most legends of this type, the woman achieves retribution through simple and non-physical (but effective) means, such as leaving a telephone off the hook to run up the bill or selling her spouse's beloved automobile for a pittance. In this case, although the deed is accomplished with a minimum of effort, it is nevertheless an act of extreme violence against the male, emasculating him both symbolically and
Although this story has frequently been reported as true in the media and has existed as a legend since at least 1980, we know of no verified cases of superglued penes occurring before 2000. That year saw two such cases.
On 7 May 2000, Gail O'Toole of Murrysville, PA, treated ex-boyfriend Kenneth Slaby of Pittsburgh (who had begun dating someone else subsequent to their
Kenneth Slaby later filed a civil suit against his former girlfriend seeking compensation for his pain, suffering and emotional distress. Despite the assertion of O'Toole's attorney that the incident was "nothing more than part of the couple's adventurous, consensual sex," the jury found in Slaby's favor on
In another act of vengeance by superglue, on
"She knew I was a dog and she found out I was fooling around on her, but it shouldn't have come down to that," said the victim. "She could've just slapped me or something." The girl was charged by authorities with simple assault, and the couple is no longer together.
In July 2009, a Wisconsin man was lured to a hotel with a promise of a massage by one of the many women he'd met online and was committing adultery with. Once that gal had him blindfolded and tied up, she texted two of the others he was seeing, and they glued his penis to his stomach.
The trio had been tipped to their boyfriend's additional romantic activities by the man's wife, who had contacted each of them, informing them the man was married with children and "seeing other women and using them for money."
Charges were laid against each of the four.
Prior to these ostensive acts (a folkloric term for a pre-existing legend coming true in real life), a prominent rumor in the early 1990s proclaimed that actress Sean Young pulled this stunt during her acrimonious breakup with actor James Woods, but the story (possibly started by Woods himself) had no basis in fact. Also a man who appeared on Jenny Jones' TV show in 1994 with the wife he claimed had visited the same punishment upon him turned out to be Alan Abel, an accomplished hoaxster whose previous victims included Phil Donahue and Sally Jesse Raphael.
Sightings: This legend shows up as one of the tales the fellows tell each other in the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs.
Last updated: 6 August 2009
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