Fact Check

Curling Iron Revenge

Did the wife of a philandering husband find an inventive use for her curling iron?

Published Feb 18, 2001

Legend:   A wife punishes her husband's infidelity with a hot curling iron up his backside.

Example:   [British Columbia, 1988]

My sister heard from a friend who had an impeccable source at the local hospital that one of the town's chiropractors had been admitted to the emergency ward with severe burns to his anus. The story went that he was having an affair with one of his clients and their taste in sex ran towards the kinky, bondage in particular. The wife discovered the two in flagrante delecto with the husband tied to the bed. The mistress fled but she was pretty good at tying knots and the chiropractor was left prostrate. The wife was upset and, taking the hair curler, plugged it in, both ways.

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

sticks the curling iron up his bum, turns it on, and leaves. She (or someone else) calls 911, and the emergency people arrive and take him to the hospital.

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 butt ...

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, guy — the cuckolder gets a red hot knife rammed up his arse. (An alternate parsing of the text results in the cuckolder being branded upon the ass, but "And nicholas amydde the ers he smoot" seems to better support the idea that the knife went up and in.)

A persistent historical rumor has it that in 1327 Edward II of England went to his Maker with a red-hot poker crammed in the same spot. Depending on who you heard it from, either his wife got fed up with his philandering ways, or his barons tired of waiting for him to die of natural causes.

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


  Sources Sources:

    Ellis, Bill.   "Have You Heard?: Hair Curler Revenge."

FOAFTale News.   June 1993   (p. 11).

    Wyckoff, Donna.   "Getting the Point in Central Ohio."

FOAFTale News.   February 1994   (pp. 5-7).

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