Thursday, March 25, 2010

Debunking Bonnie & Clyde Sexual Rumors-- A B&CHB Challenge "Again".

As many know, I've made this challenge before and I'm in that mood again. Seemingly day in and day out, week after week & month after month-- people visit this historical blog as elsewhere, to satisfy some overwhelming & burning curiosity-- concerning Bonnie & Clyde sexual rumors. These rumors mainly revolve around Clyde being homosexual, but have also involved other members of The Barrow Gang. I invite all who visit here for that purpose, to read the August 8th, 2009 post entitled Sordid Rumors and Innuendos Exposed. Within this expose'-- I involved other B&C Historians such as John Neal Phillips, Rick Mattix and Jim Knight to work with me-- in attempting to set the record straight, regarding the sources of these apparently unfounded but beloved?? rumors.

Based on such an intense interest in rumors no one seems to have good evidence for-- I'd like anyone with credible documentation, to support such a claim of homosexuality in Clyde-- or deviant sexual behavior in Bonnie or any member of the Barrow Gang, to contact me. If anyone has valuable info to share, I'll post it here on The B&CHB. Just be aware, if your source is a recently published B&C work-- written by a self styled expert on that Oh So Jolly Christmas Icon-- to me that's not the best source of B&C knowledge. With so much interest in this sordid subject, perhaps it's fair to ask why it almost seems "desirable"-- for Clyde to have been gay in some people's eyes?!? And for Bonnie to have been a nymphomaniac-- and for W.D. Jones and Henry Methvin to have been subservient sex toys (thanks Mr. Toland)-- or for Bonnie to be thought of as a prostitute (thanks Mr. Guinn).

And what about Ray Hamilton, Mary O'Dare and Joe Palmer??-- where are their supporters in all of this?? Hell-- Mary O'Dare has been labeled a prostitute for decades, and no one says much about her. I guess Ray had his own, so he and Mary don't count?? And why not throw in, all the pseudo members of the gang after the Eastham breakout?? What about Hilton Bybee and Jimmy Mullins. Wouldn't they have added to a good time?? I point out the ridiculous, as an illustration of just how ridiculous all of this sordid wonderment sounds.

The closest we seem to come, to knowing anything concrete about the sexual habits of any of The Barrow Gang, stems from 2 sources-- Jimmy Mullins in detailing who had a venereal disease in and around The Barrow Gang (not uncommon in the '30's)-- and From Dr. J. L. Wade, via an interview with his friend Dr. Carroll Rich-- 35 years after Wade's examinations of B&C. Although not noted in his coroner's inquest from 1934, Dr. Wade later revealed both B&C had gonorrhea. Regarding Clyde, to me it's a large leap from having a venereal disease while spending quite some time continuously with Bonnie Parker-- to any claim of homosexuality.

The same could be said of Bonnie regarding a claim of nymphomania. To me, having a venereal disease which was at near epidemic levels during the 1930's-- doesn't equate to abnormal sexual behavior. Bonnie was married previously, and was known to have dated during Clyde's stint in jail. And of course Clyde nearly got married-- but for the wishes of what would have been his future in laws. Clyde's fiance' also denied any deviant sexual habits in Clyde, in declaring him normal. Even in discounting family members, who may not be prone to reveal such things-- no one close to the gang or who was ever close to B&C including their ex-lovers, has even hinted at any sordid habits concerning Clyde or Bonnie.

Blanche's comments regarding W.D. Jones not liking to sleep alone "are" interesting, but I'm not sure what if anything of a nefarious nature-- could be garnered from her recollections, which were not elaborated upon. I suppose what "can" be gained from all of this, is that all present around The Barrow Gang were sexually active young people. That in itself is not unusual. But to build a case for all these rumors which have floated about, and declare them as fact-- much more would need to be known. Thus I invite all supporters of these scurrilous rumors, to take my challenge. I invite you to comment. I welcome your evidence. Or is this just about gossip, and the search for something juicy and adventurous??

I don't know-- but I do know that history is not about rumor, gossip, desire or guesswork-- history is about fact. And as I see it, the facts as are known-- do not support such sordid claims about Bonnie and Clyde.
For some to write seemingly outside of their genres as some B&C authors have done-- either without viable footnotes, or apparently with less than adequate diligence and research-- I feel does a great disservice to this history. In my view, rumors such as those addressed here-- have been proliferated through less than accurate and sensationalized accounts of B&C History.

And for people to believe what is written out of hand, just because the ink is dry somewhere-- I suppose shows the need for many to think more carefully. Also, any attempt to defend guesswork within a "true" account of history, is in my humble opinion-- crap. Those who write autobiographies of mythical figures, might consider working harder to get it right-- when historical writing is involved. By the way Santa Sir-- I'd really like Peace on Earth and a Range Rover this year, if that can be arranged please. I really hope Tonya Holly can get her movie made-- as the "true" story of Bonnie and Clyde, seems so much more interesting-- than some of the B&C fiction that exists now. For more insight on this topic-- please visit the B&CHB Archive, and read the 8/8/09 post
Sordid Rumors and Innuendos Exposed.

1 comment:

BarefootOkieGal said...

Wow, this is a very old post on which to leave a comment, but then again, I'm not necessarily reading everything chronologically!

It doesn't strike me as "unusual" that W.D. might not have liked to sleep alone - I'm not sure exactly how many family members W.D. might have had, but back in those days among the poorer folks, it wasn't unusual at all for people to share bedrooms with others, or even to share beds!

I'll use my mom's family as an example - there were 11 kids and two adults living in a four-room house with a dog-run(open hallway with a roof) with the kitchen in back; two bedrooms on one side of the dog-run and a good-sized family room on the other side. My mom and her sisters slept in one bedroom; her brothers slept in the other, and her parents (along with smaller children) slept behind a screen in the family room. When it was hot, sometimes the boys would sleep in the dog-leg. Any relative who dropped by to spend some time would be either given a roll-away bed in the family room or, if a youngster, tucked away into one of the bedrooms according to their gender. This wasn't at all unusual for that place and time - most people shared at least a room with one other person, and quite a few people shared beds!

It may be that W.D., if he grew up in a similar setting, may have been so used to sleeping with other people nearby that he had a hard time getting to sleep without being in the same room with someone else!

Maybe some people find it odd that a sexually-active couple would be willing to have someone else sleeping in the room with them, but back then it was pretty common for married people to share their rooms (and sometimes beds) with children or visiting relatives; sometimes I wonder how my grandparents and others of their era managed to HAVE so many babies, given their relative lack of privacy!

(I have personally been tucked into bed with 3 other cousins - the best advice I can give you in a situation like that is to never, EVER let them make you sleep at the foot of the bed.)