My informant recounted to me this legend about Rick Perry, former governor of Texas.
“A guy was called for gay sex in an arrangement where he’d go to a hotel room that would be open. He’d get on the bed. He’d get prone. And the guy who called him would come into the hotel room into the complete darkness in the room, have sex with him, and leave. And, um, so this happened. But he turned around and he caught some light from the hallway and saw the guy as he was leaving and it was Rick Perry in like this sweaty jogging suit in some Austin hotel.”
My informant is a 25-year old man who studied government at the University of Texas at Austin. He worked for several democratic campaigns and blogged about Texas politics. He learned this piece of folklore from other Texas Democrats between the years 2009 and 2012. It was passed around over beers at Democratic events. It became more widespread after it was publicized in a book called Head Figure Head: The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry which sought to expose Perry’s private homosexual activities.
My informant particularly enjoys telling this story because of “the grossness of the jogging sweater suit thing.” From a storyteller’s point of view, he enjoys “just how seedy it all is, this seedy dark arrangement that Perry is like, lasciviously participating in on the sly.” He also marvels at “all the people that are making these arrangements for him, his aids who have seen him do these things, and live out in the world not telling anyone.” It also frustrates my opponent that “no one close to him will confirm it.”
My informant is staunchly against Perry, and resents how much media attention he has gotten in recent years, especially regarding his homophobic views. I think my informant enjoys telling this story because it portrays the politician is such a creepy, hypocritical light. Regardless of whether or not it’s true, I think this urban legend speaks to how suspicious the American public is of its politicians. We have seen so many political sex scandals over just the last ten years, that there’s almost an assumption that a given politician is having an affair. Furthermore, it speaks to the common belief that behind every homophobe is a homosexual.
For more information on this legend, see:
Maxey, Glen. Head Figure Head: The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry. Austin: Glen Maxey, 2011.