It’s come to the point where I automatically assume the guy’s jerking off. I mean, it’s happened 11 times. Wouldn’t you scope out crotches too if that many male masturbating motorists had stroked your life? And before you even go there — I’ve never been the one to inspire this miscreant behavior. Their hands had gone cruising several streetlights before I’d ever come onto the scene.
As you can imagine, the first handful of random occurrences were highly disturbing. And then somewhere around jerk-off number nine, my paranoia climaxed into morbid fascination. What compelled a man to whip it out on Ventura and Vineland at 9:30 during Tuesday-morning traffic? And moreover, why was Icrossing all these mobile monkey spankers? Was I the journalist destined to spread the news about this underground movement of onanism?
To fully come to grips with the phenomenon, I posted a message on an Internet bulletin board, inviting men to divulge their own dashboard tales. As it was, many of the e-mails came from women either applauding the subject matter or sharing similar stories. Accounts came from San Francisco all the way to Seville, Spain, proving that male masturbating motorists were indeed an international bunch. My first e-mail from a male — “wankboy,” I kid you not — arrived a week later. “I used to masturbate on the bus, does that count? I also did it during classes in school when I was younger, and in front of a window, once.”
Fortunately, I did get better confessions. And slowly I began noticing that there are several variations of jerk-offs. First there is the maniacal lot, guys who are just as content doing it in a phone booth as they are in a Porsche. Then there are the hazardous ones who actually get off by startling random women — by the time they get to you or me, they’ve flashed their mischievous smiles to a dozen other women. Finally, there are faux exhibitionists, who don’t really thrive on getting caught. Take the marketing executive from Jersey, who readily admits to keeping a towel in his back seat for convenience and cleanliness. Being found out is irrelevant to him. The thought that he is surrounded by thousands of unsuspecting commuters is enough.
John, a Texan with a self-awarded “honorary doctorate in masturbation . . . if it were an academic field of study,” argues that whoever catches him stroking and steering is asking for it. “Everyone in their car expects a reasonable amount of privacy. People eat, put on makeup, get dressed in their vehicles. What I do there is my business. Whether or not you choose to look is yours.”