In 2010, a video of a middle-aged man calling himself “Hedo Rick” gyrating poolside at an adults-only resort in a Speedo became a mid-level viral sensation. Not exactly Double-Rainbow viral, but it was featured on the Huffington Post and Tosh.0. Though the clip has over 3 million views on YouTube, information about the real Hedo Rick is scant.
Getting in touch with Hedo Rick was not easy. Rick doesn’t have an email address or even own a computer, though he sometimes has his buddy at work look up things online for him. I finally got in touch with him by having a friend of his give him my phone number.
It turns out I wasn’t the first to track him down. Last October, Rick came home from a trip to discover some fans had showed up at his house while he was gone. “My neighbor came over and told me he had seen someone going through my mailbox,” says Rick. “The guy says to my neighbor, ‘Is this where Hedo Rick lives? We saw him on the Internet. We’re from Washington and we want to take him to the Cardinals game tonight.’” Though he did not want his specific school district where he works as an A.C. technician mentioned by name in this article, his coworkers and bosses do already know about the video, and were amused by it.
What made Hedo Rick’s video so appealing (besides the obvious appeal of a old guy in a Speedo dancing) was his joie de vivre, the way he exuberantly chants his catchphrase – “the wild women, the ripping and the tearing” – and the self-assured abandon with which he dances, even after he stumbles on the slippery wet deck. He truly embodies the axiom dance like no one’s watching. While there’s something giggle-worthy about an older man in a banana hammock twerking it to Beyonce’s “Diva,” in the end we laugh with Rick, not at him.
Rick has been going to Hedonism II since 1988. Hedonism II was opened in Negril, Jamaica in 1982 as an adult-only resort that carefully treads the line between a sex club and a topless beach (weirdly, there never was a Hedonism I, and Hedonism III was closed in 2010). Nudity is allowed and encouraged, as are events such as wet t-shirt contests. According to reviews, the clientele skews older, making guys like Hedo Rick the norm, not the lithe young people advertised on its site.
A confirmed bachelor, Rick loves exotic travel. He goes to Hedonism II four times a year, and has been over fifty times in total. He spends his Christmases there. His deep connection to the place is evident in an incredibly long and charmingly detailed guest blog post he wrote in 2001 for a site called Denny P Travel. He doles out travel tips and discusses the most banal details of Hedonism II – how to get through customs at the airport and recommendations for what SPF sunscreens to bring – which is somehow hilariously juxtaposed with the fact this is advice for a sex resort.
Rick says his catchphrase – “the rippin’ and the tearin’” – came from joking with his buddies in building maintenance for an Arizona school district. “I’d say, ‘Let’s rip through the work orders and tear through them.’ And when the video came out, everyone wanted to know where I came up with that phrase. Well, it was ripping through the resort, through the nude beach, the dance floor, the jacuzzi, and tearing into the ladies’ coochies.”
Rick’s attitude about his viral video moment is positive. “I’ve had my fifteen minutes of fame,” he says. “I’m happy with the video, I’m happy how it came about. I have no detractions with it. If you go on the internet, some people have comments about me – a few of them are negative, but most of them are positive. It’s been good.”