Prick Up Your Ears. The Hand Job Is Back! | 24/Seven | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Prick Up Your Ears. The Hand Job Is Back! 

Thursday, Nov 18 2004
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IT’S A FRIDAY and "Carrie Berkowitz," a 30-something TV writer who’d prefer to hide her real identity, is sitting over a bowl of bouillabaisse and a glass of white wine musing about a recent development on her social landscape.

"In the past few months, I’ve heard of three single girlfriends of mine giving guys hand jobs. Not as a part of sex or leading to sex. Just a hand job and that’s it."

Berkowitz, who is married and the mother of a 6-month-old, feels the whole "hand-job thing" is some sort of indication of a growing fear of intimacy among the still-single set.

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"It’s just weird to me," she says, sipping her wine. "The last time I gave someone a hand job to fruition was probably in high school, like listening to ‘White Lines’ and wearing braces. It’s creepy, it reminds me of, like, you accidentally ended up in a car with your teacher and you gave him a hand job."

Her friend "George," a 32-year-old musician visiting from London by way of N.Y., can’t remember the last time he had a hand job, but reminds us that he has been in a relationship for two and a half years and England is "very different." Even so, he does have his own theory on the subject: "Hand jobs should only really happen at weddings, on golf courses or in limousines." He might be on to something. "Karen Ross," Berkowitz’s 32-year-old best friend, says last summer she gave a guy a hand job at a wedding on a golf course.

"I took off his pants, and it was so big I was like, ‘I can’t get my mouth around that.’"

Berkowitz’s other friend "Lola," a single 35-year-old who works as a creative consultant, says that she’s never just given a guy a hand job and then left. Her hand jobs have always been part of a larger sexual picture. But recently she did watch two dates masturbate themselves.

"I thought it was hot," says Lola, who is also a certified yoga instructor.

"I had never really just watched before. One of the guys did it on the side of the road in a parked car after we had dinner. He used Neosporin from his glove compartment. The other was at my house. I think it’s kind of like another version of first or second base. It’s like something fun to do, but you don’t have to worry about the whole safe-sex issue or ‘Are we really sleeping together?’ It’s not a fear-of-intimacy thing so much as it’s just like slowing it down — but also heating it up. ’Cause you can think about it later at home alone and put off the real sex subject until the next time."

"Carl," a 30-year-old Web designer from the Bay Area, agrees. "You don’t have to sleep over after a hand job. You don’t even have to really take off your clothes. Not sleeping over after sex can get kinda shady."

Sitting outside the Casbah café, "Zooey," a 26-year-old actress, admits to being a real hand-job enthusiast. In fact, she thinks they’re more intimate than intercourse.

"I like giving hand jobs for the same reason I like getting fingered," explains Zooey, who looks like someone on The O.C.

"Because they both have a quality to them of juvenile naughtiness sans the creepy factor. I imagine there are a lot of girls who can give a great hand job. But I always feel like it’s the first time I’ve ever done it, no matter who the guy is, because it doesn’t work until you find the rhythm. Both partners have to find the rhythm. The giver of the hand job needs to find the physical rhythm, and the hand-job recipient needs to trust in that person that they will find that rhythm before they give in and just go limp."

Zooey, who explains that she was naive about how to give a good hand job until an ex-boyfriend showed her you have to actually move the skin on the shaft and not just move your hand up and down, also likes mutual masturbation.

"I love to watch a guy masturbate himself," she says with conviction.

"But I have a hard time masturbating myself in front somebody because I think they won’t like the way I look doing it. If I found a guy that I could masturbate in front of, I would probably marry him! Because I would feel like finally I met someone who could love me without any judgment."

Later, asked if there was any validity to Berkowitz’s theory of a new resurgence in hand jobs, Stacey Grenrock-Woods, sex columnist for Esquire magazine and Daily Show correspondent, says, "I don’t think they ever went away."

She adds that she gets "lots of mail asking about masturbation," both mutual masturbation and solo masturbation, and that in generally she feels positive about the hand job.

"I think it’s a nice refreshing alternative that people don’t think about. It’s satisfying. It’s kinda like a V8."

Berkowitz still isn’t fully convinced. "It’s the only sex act you can do yourself. Also it’s the only thing that isn’t really mutually satisfying. Blowjobs — mutually satisfying. Hand jobs, you can probably do it better yourself."

She crinkles up her nose: "I think it’s depressing."

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