The Day Geri Jewell Took Me to a Hooker

Posted on August 21, 2011

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One day, my dear friend Geri Jewell (who you may know from The Facts of Life or Deadwood, or her wonderful new autobiography “I’m Walking As Straight As I Can”) asked me if I wanted to go with her to a book signing. As I understood it, someone she knew had written a book about the Lesbian Madame to a group of prostitutes. The book was set (primarily) in San Francisco’s Castro District in the 60’s and was of some historical significance because it was supposedly based on the authors own life experience. It’s not exactly the kind of thing I reach for first in a bookstore, but it was a nice day, and I enjoy spending time with Geri, and there was a promise of some kind of lunch and a “show” etc.

I agreed to go, and Geri came to pick me up so we could drive over to the book signing together. Now before anyone comments, I know Geri can’t walk a straight line worth shit, but she’s a remarkably good driver. Unfortunately, due to her hearing issues, Geri’s GPS is set to Super Loud (see also: deafening to those not already hearing impaired) and her difficult to control (clearly made of lead) foot had the damned thing beeping “over-the-speed-limit warnings” at us frequently. I can only describe that drive as something akin to spending a quiet sunny afternoon, driving on the open road, having a laugh filled conversation that is periodically interrupted by the shrieking of a parrot with Tourette’s. By the time we were near our destination, I was more than a little shell-shocked and in need of either a tranquilizer dart or the quiet of  a book signing.

I then discovered the book signing was being held at a church. To be sure the dots that you will soon connect are all lining up, the former Lesbian Madame with a book about life in the pre-Stonewall 60’s was doing her book signing in a church. Lightning would surely strike at any moment. As we were parking, Geri and I saw about dozen young women go into the church. All of them were dressed for a night on the Boulevard (so to speak.) I could only guess that these were some of the author’s current or former employees.

We went inside with me laughing hysterically at yet another bizarre situation I’d put myself in. And the harder I laughed the more Geri smacked me on the arm as she begged me not to embarrass her in front of her “friend.” That wasn’t something I could actually promise, but I did promise to try.

Once inside the entrance of a clearly old and charming wooden church, we discovered there was a cover charge. It turned our this was a fund-raiser for youth/pet adoption/book-signing/pizza-social/dance/…insert any number of other seemingly random things you’d like. We went in the main room and were greeted by the sight of all of those previously mentioned, scantily clad women rehearsing a dance number with their choreographer in the middle of the room. This was to be a book signing with a DJ and a hooker themed floor-show! Now you’re talking.

Geri introduced me to the author, a delightfully affable woman by the name of Jeri Estes. I was given a signed copy of her book, “Stilettos and Steel”, and two necklaces: one with a stiletto hanging from it, and the other with handcuffs. I do love me some swag. The book itself is a fun and fascinating read once you get into it. It’s a novel, and a love story in an unconventional setting. Again, it’s not really my thing but even I can see it would make an amazing movie.

Geri (Jewell) and I sat and enjoyed a few tortilla chips. But the music was very loud, “the show” was going to start late, and we were kind of hungry. So we thanked Jeri (the Madame) and some of her “hookers” for being entertaining and we left. There was much more, but I was sworn to secrecy by one of the Geri’s/Jeri’s. I’m not sure which one.

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