(About a 6 minute read)
The first I noticed that Geri — our sales office secretary — might have a more than usually interesting sexuality was when she put Chicago’s “Daily Sex Tips Hotline” on every speakerphone in the office.
That’s to say, Geri went desk to desk, dialed the Hotline’s number into all of our phones one after the other, and punched the “speaker” button. The whole office was soon singing, “Men often do not play nearly enough with their partner’s breasts and nipples…”.
This was back in the day when people and organizations set up information services that could be accessed via a phone call. For instance, all across the country, you could dial a daily weather report locally sponsored by one or another group. Chicago had perhaps a hundred different services, the daily sex tips hotline being just one of them. Today, the same services are found on various internet websites.
As it happened, Geri was refreshingly outspoken about her sexuality. Just as outspoken as most men, only a dozen times more nuanced. Geri was the sort of young woman who keeps a copy of the Kama Sutra by her beside — and makes corrections to it in the margins.
In addition to being refreshingly outspoken, Geri was also a sapio-sexual. That is, she experienced intelligence in men as sexually arousing. The morning Geri dialed the office speakerphones, most of us spent the rest of the day dialing around looking for a hotline on particle physics or classical literature and music. Suddenly, making your sales quota wasn’t the most pressing reason to come to work.
Geri was nearby — within earshot — one morning when I told our boss, Christine, the sorry news that my wife had left me. Geri turned around from her copying machine and said something consoling. I forget now what her words were, but I recall they struck me as heartfelt.
A few days later, Geri dropped by my cubicle. “Mind if I sit down?”
“Sure! Get a chair!”
“If you don’t mind, I would prefer to sit in your lap for a minute. It looks comfy.”
After I granted surprised consent, Geri sat down. “I’ve been going over your personnel file and I wonder if you have ever had an IQ test?”
“Yeah, in fourth or fifth grade, but I was never told the score. Only I was soon afterwards place in the ‘Special Needs’ program, status, ‘Not Expected to Live’.”
“Har. Har. Very funny. Your ACT score says you qualify for Mensa. Ever hear of us?”
“The club for geniuses? I totally guessed on the math section of the ACT. All I know about math is that 12 is my favorite number because I was 12 the only year I got a C instead of a D in arithmetic. I had the lowest score in my class on the math section.”
“It was the natural science section that put you over. Anyway, consider yourself officially invited to join the Chicago Chapter of Mensa. Silk! I love silk ties! I love being tied up with silk ties!” Geri had been fondling my yellow silk tie.
It turned out Geri had pursued her passion in life by taking a degree in Music Theory rather than by taking a more practical degree. Hence, she was our secretary rather than our dearly beloved world ruler and queen of the universe. She began weekly efforts to sell me on joining Mensa.
“There are only 32 of us. We conducted a phone survey once to find out why no one wants to join us. Everyone in Chicago thinks we’re snobs.
“Nothing could be further from the truth, Paul. We’re not snobs, we’re party animals. Six years ago. The October meeting was underway. I was there when Greg stood up, interrupted the speaker, and said he thought he was pretty much talking for everyone when he said our meetings were a boring waste of life.
“What do you propose to replace them? Three or four people shot back at once. Greg: ‘I don’t know, but our meetings suck. Can’t we figure out some way to make them worth attending? A movie, maybe?’.
“‘How about holding an orgy instead!’ I don’t remember who said it. I’m sure they were joking, Paul. But this was Mensa. People started thinking out loud, ‘Hey! Maybe that’s not such a bad idea.’
“For the past six years, we’ve rented a hotel suite on Michigan Avenue for our monthly meetings. The business part usually takes no more than 30 minutes. Then it’s on to the fun! Did you know you can squeeze a dozen people onto a king size bed if you tuck away all the parts of them that can be tucked away? Helps if everyone is well oiled too. Reduces the friction, Paul. Prevents the bed cloths from catching fire.”
It’ hard to say what would have happened with Geri and me if things had taken their natural course. But that was not to happen.
Our company merged with a larger competitor. Everyone on our side of the merger was fired, beginning with Chris. All except Geri. The “new” company needed secretaries.
Soon afterwards, I left the Chicago area to return to my roots in Central Illinois. The last time I saw Geri was five minutes after I’d been fired. I was told she’d have some forms for me to sign.
Geri was crying when she asked me to sign for my last paycheck. But that’s not how I prefer to remember Geri. I much more prefer to recall her as the first openly sexual woman I met in my life. The woman who showed me just how attractive such openness can be — especially when laced with a bit of humor.
It is sometimes assumed by unobservant people that sexual openness in women is closely associated with “lose morals”. That’s possibly true only if you define “morals” in the narrow sense of “sexual morals”. In fact, most sexually open women I’ve known have been monogamous. And Geri herself had at the time I knew her a far and away better and more realistic social and environmental conscience than I did.
The real correlation — according to the sciences — is between a woman’s intelligence and level of education, and her openness to her own sexuality. The smarter and better educated a woman is, the more likely she is to accept and embrace her sexuality.