• Fri, Apr 23 2010

The Manswer: In Defense of Handjobs

After reading Elizabeth Richard’s eloquent disquisition on the unexpected staying power of the handjob, I felt inclined to offer, from a weinered perspective, an average-sized (but effective!) defense of the handjob. I’d like to first point out its storied history. As it was noted, there is the potent element of nostalgia involved in the handjob. This cannot be understated. The word itself when said aloud chimes with the same pathos and emotional resonance as summer camps or baseball sandlots or any erstwhile time when so little was asked of us. Listen to it: handjob.

Handjobs represent, for many men, the first job we ever diligently pursued. So dedicated were we in being careerists that we would sit on our favorite hand until it went numb and then we would use that hand, tingling in its bloodless dissociation, to imitate the feeling of a foreign hand in willing activation of our blessed members from dormancy. The ubiquitous name for that ubiquitous act was “The Stranger.” And we all dreamed of the day when that stranger would become real.

While I’m certainly not an advocate for a willy-nilly resurgence of handjobs in Applebee’s all across America, I do believe that there is a time and place for the handjob, I believe that the handjob is not dead, it’s merely evolving. I also believe that if you took a pole poll of men, you’d be surprised by the times in which the HJ would be deemed not only appropriate, but beneficial to greater causes such as love and stuff.

Without being too, well, heavy-handed, here are a few such instances:

It’s the end of a first date and your beau has kindly/expectantly walked you to your doorstep/PATH station/sorority house. You have (un)wisely chosen not to allow this charmer into your domicile and make for the goodnight kiss instead. Whether you realize it or not, this is the perfect moment for an over-the-pants handjob. The Doorstep HJ shows you’re acutely aware of his interests and that, with proper effort, there will be more to come. (The counterpart to this maneuver would be if the same gentleman had explained to you over dinner that Jane Eyre is one of his favorite books.) You still retain classiness for not bringing him upstairs, but you’re making the acknowledgment that he’s not sexless to you.

All public handjobs are appropriate. You could be asleep during sex for the entirety of your relationship and he would still christen you “sexual napalm” if you gave him even one public HJ. Under the dinner table, at a sporting event, inside any dimly lit bar, on public transportation and balconies, beside a row of Jackson Pollocks at the Met. The handjob lives and breathes in the public forum.

The only time when handjobs are not appropriate is in bed. A man will accept a Bedroom HJ if and only if he knows it’s the most he’s going to get. But the entire time, he will be hoping that you transition to a Mercy Fellatio. The only other upshot of the Bedroom HJ (besides, uh, y’know…) is that the weiner-bearer will believe that because you gave him an HJ, he now has a free pass never to call you again.

While there are some anxious to document the demise of the HJ, I am confident in saying that I believe it will live on. It’s like that old adage: “As long as there are tests in school, there will always be school prayer.” As long as there are massage parlors, there will always be hope for happy endings. A world without handjobs is a world without hope, and nobody wants that.

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  • Amanda Chatel

    Wow. Three cheers for Adam Chandler!

  • Elizabeth Richard

    This piece, but particularly this part–”A man will accept a Bedroom HJ if and only if he knows it’s the most he’s going to get,”–clears up so much. So, so much.

  • mollylipsitz

    Adam –

    He thanks you.

    Kisses,
    Molly

  • lboogie

    I cannot stop laughing at “weinered perspective.”