Jul 25, 2015

He'll Eat Most Anything: Gay Symbolism in Hot Dog Ads of the 1960s

When I was a kid in the 1960s, we couldn't ignore the resemblance between the hot dog and the penis.  We used the word "wiener" for both. Consumption of the hot dog became a metaphor for sex, with the implication that whoever liked eating hot dogs also liked sex with men.

At summer camp the boys all made fun of anyone foolish enough to sing:

I love the Wiener Man, he owns the Wiener Stand
He'll eat most everything from hot dogs on down
Someday I'll join his life, I'll be his wiener wife.
Hot Dog! I love the Wiener Man!

Especially boys who aspired to become a "wiener wife."

A series of 1960s commercials involved hot-dog fans bullying a holdout into singing this song, providing us with more hilarity:

Oh, I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer Wiener, that is what I truly want to be
Cause if i were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, everyone would be in love with me.

Bragging that the hot dogs were "all beef" helped clarify what was meant.

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a 27-foot long car shaped like a hot dog, was especially phallic.  A fleet of them toured the country.  One appeared in Rock Island at the Pow Wow every year (where I saw the Naked Indian God), sometimes at the Celtic Festival, and once at Denkmann Elementary School.

The driver, Little Oscar, distributed hot dogs, hot dog-shaped whistles, or toy wienermobiles.




I liked the toy wienermobile the best.  Even more phallic, if that's possible. Imagine that the base is an unzipped pair of brown pants.












There are currently 8 Wienermobiles on tour.  The 12 drivers (8 women, 4 men) are selected from college students for year-long gigs.

They all have whimsical names, but I'd like to know more about Sizzlin' Steve (aka Mike Tierney) of the University of Missouri, a journalism major, and Stevie Bunder (aka Steve Johnson, left) of St. John's University in Minnesota, where he majored in environmental science and was on the lacrosse team.

See also Gay Symbolism in Hamburger Ads; and "Have You Had a Squirt Today?"