Just Jillin'

Diane Payne

Last summer, my daughter and I moved to a dry town in Arkansas, and while I was trying to adjust to the hellish weather and the inability to buy a beer, I longed for some relief in bed. I was living in the Bible Belt, surrounded by strangers who invited my daughter and me to their churches, but I knew that I wouldn't be seeking pleasure from any of my hunting neighbors. I needed to depend on myself. But it wouldn't happen. My hand let me down.

I've had the opposite dilemma. Years ago, for instance, I worked at a factory and was surrounded by men, mostly smoking, older men, none that I found sexually appealing, but I still felt sexually stimulated at work. Young and energetic, I'd finish my eight hour job in two hours, leaving plenty of spare time on my hands. At lunch time, I'd go to the VFW club across the street with the only other woman who worked there, drink a few too many. Slightly inebriated, I'd slither off to the ladies room, lean back on the vinyl divan, and jill off. Once in a while when I got horny, I'd climb up to an empty shelf near the ceiling, and jill off up there while the men below asked where I'd disappeared to.

Years later when I taught Special Ed students in high school, I had an autistic student with the same problem. He'd put a wastepaper basket over his head, figuring if he couldn't see us, we couldn't see him. I understood his need and brought an old refrigerator box to school and encouraged him to crawl in there instead.

When I was that student's age, I remember reading a Billy Graham pamphlet about how sinful this practice was and tried to give it up. Every night I'd pray that God would remove my hand, and every morning I'd wake up amazed that God was truly forgiving, not only letting me get away with what I did under the covers but letting me keep my hand so I could do it again.

There have been nights when I've even had a lover in bed, but still resorted to jillin'. One who thought of himself as being quite the Lothario spent an entire evening talking about his eating habits, completely oblivious to my lack of interest in such blather. While he used his hands to demonstrate how he'd squeeze the resin off homemade tofu, I snuck my hands beneath the blankets and squeezed my vagina, transporting myself to a mindless oblivion.

Certain that there were unseen forces causing my hands to disappoint me in Arkansas, I began to get paranoid. I had the feeling that the neighbors who'd invited me to church were meeting on Wednesday nights, praying that I wouldn't be able to masturbate, hoping that would make me move back to Arizona. I couldn't even write. I'd sneak off to my room, certain that jillin' would put an end to this odd writer's block, but nothing happened. My daughter would knock on my door and ask what I was doing. Not a damn thing, I'd realize, and return to the paper, wondering if my luck would change if I'd just go to church.

Months later when the weather cooled off, I finally got back to normal. School started for my daughter and I got back to being an author. Now I'll be busy with afternoon writing, then realize my daughter's bus is due to arrive. I quickly run into the bedroom and jill off. Then I open the door for my daughter and ask about her day at school, certain that I resemble June Cleaver when she opened the door for Beaver. Perhaps June never looked frazzled because she, too, did a fair amount of jillin'.

© Diane Payne

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