We’ve heard a few times on this show about the healing power of drag, and how important it has been on different guests journeys of self-discovery and recalibration… but that’s always been from the perspective of drag artists, and not the audience who find escape in their art…. Well, that’s all about to change. On this week’s episode we are talking to Jaimie Sherling, who has recently published her book ‘From Queens to Queens: How the Madison Drag Community Saved My Life’, which is all about her experience as a breast cancer survivor, and how the magic that she found in her local drag scene helped her to stay strong… Jaimie tells me all about the drag scene in Wisconsin’s capital Madison. In particular, we discuss Five Nightclub, a club that is still open and which Jaimie is a big fan of, and Prism/Plan B, a gay bar that closed in 2019, and which Jaimie is less keen on… We talk all about the magic of drag, relationship breakdown, and having sexy time with your AirBnB guest….
Jaimie Sherling 00:00
I would drive over to the club. And I’d be just crying just tears streaming down my face just sad about everything in life and park the car and wipe my face and tell myself you can’t cry at a drag show. And then I would go inside and all the other garbage was still there. But for a little while, it just gets to be in this safe, loving, kind, fun place.
K Anderson 00:27
i am k anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. every episode i talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there, and the people that they used to know.
We’ve heard a few times on this show about the healing power of drag, and how important it has been on different guests journeys of self-discovery and recalibration… but that’s always been from the perspective of drag artists, and not the audience who find escape in their art….
Well, that’s all about to change. On this week’s episode we are talking to Jaimie Sherling, who has recently published her book ‘From Queens to Queens: How the Madison Drag Community Saved My Life’, which is all about her experience as a breast cancer survivor, and how the magic that she found in her local drag scene helped her to stay strong…
Jaimie tells me all about the drag scene in Wisconsin’s capital Madison (which, much to my dismay, has nothing at all to do with the schlocky 90s romance The Bridges Over Madison County), and in particular Five Nightclub, a club that is still open and which Jaimie is a big fan of, and Prism/Plan B, a gay bar that closed in 2019, and which Jaimie is less keen on…
We talk all about the magic of drag, relationship breakdown, and having sexy time with your AirBnB guest….
Jaimie Sherling 02:41
It actually causes me stress I’m trying not to stress about it. If I’m being most honest, I would say I’m still questioning. But on a daily basis, I’m like, Hmm, am I pansexual? Am I bisexual? My lesbian? My I don’t know. And it’s weird to not know.
K Anderson 03:01
You’ve not quite landed somewhere?
Jaimie Sherling 03:03
Yeah, not really. But I don’t. It’s like, I don’t think I’m straight, though. Like, I feel like I am not heterosexual anymore. But it’s still in that questioning space.
K Anderson 03:14
One of the really interesting things in terms of conversations that I have with people that come on this show is this thing about when you’re queer, and you have to go through this experience of coming out and shattering people’s expectations for what your life should be or could be or is, it’s really liberating. And suddenly, you’re in a position where you’re like, oh, this could apply to other areas of my life. And I can think about different things in different ways. And I’ve heard you talk in the past about how you got married and started created creating a family. That sounds weird turn of phrase, but you get what I’m saying? Because that’s what you do, because that was what was expected of you. And I’d really just yeah, just like to get your insight on at what point you got to where you were suddenly like, oh, hang on, that’s not what I have to do.
Jaimie Sherling 04:06
It was a long time coming. Because by nature, I am a people pleaser, which.. it’s an awful thing to be. I mean, it’s a great thing to be for some people, but you know, growing up Catholic and a family that I’ve seven siblings, and I was the I’m the sixth. So I’ve five older siblings, and just seeing the pictures on the wall of the five siblings before me. Every person in my family is married and straight, except for one, my youngest sibling and they’re engaged and also straight. So it wasn’t that being gay was wrong or that there was no homophobia it was just presented such that well, especially being a woman it’s like and I do identify as female. So it’s very much well, this is you. So of course what you do in life You find a suitable partner, and then you have babies. Like that’s just what you do. And I didn’t argue with it. And I liked the idea of being a mom and I am a mom, but everything else that comes with it, then I wish it had been presented even such that like, well, sure you can be a mom. But you don’t have to be a mom in the same way that say my mom was or that many came before me that there are so many ways to say create a family, there’s so many different ways, rather than just one. And I felt like it was very much presented like, this is the one way and this is what you do.
K Anderson 05:35
Yeah, cuz it’s not even just that your family had those structures that they were replicating when they all went on to create their own families. It was what you were seeing on TV, it was what you were reading in books, it was what you were being taught in school. It’s just like, everything. Right, exactly. And so when did the penny dropped for one to a better term for you in terms of like, oh, maybe I could do things a bit different.
Jaimie Sherling 06:01
It really wasn’t until after. So I’ve been married to men twice. And it was after the second marriage completely fell apart and imploded. And it was not great. It was just messy and awful. And there were times even when I was married my first husband where there was this, ooh, look at this woman, that woman looks really good and didn’t think much more of it than that. And then after thinking, Wait a minute, okay, so I had these two marriages. And they both had their problems for different reasons. But that in the back of my mind thinking, Wait a minute, maybe that was part of the problem. Maybe being married to men just in general wasn’t quite right for me.
K Anderson 06:43
And was any of that part of being on the scene in Madison and being? Again, my turn to phrases out great today but being exposed to lesbians?
Jaimie Sherling 06:55
Yes. Well, the funny thing is, I don’t think there are as many I know, many, many more gay men in the city than lesbians.
K Anderson 07:05
Ah, is that because the scene The scenes are very distinct?
Jaimie Sherling 07:10
Well, there’s there’s not a lesbian bar in Madison, which it just breaks my heart. I feel like there should be how can there not be, but there isn’t. So there are queer establishments, or these are the LGBTQ friendly. And then some, you know, this is a gay bar. But as far as like, this is specifically a lesbian bar. It doesn’t exist. The closest one is in Milwaukee, which is an hour and a half from here. And again, I’m coming to this later in life, but I feel like the lesbians I know. It’s like, oh, they’re already they’re already partnered.
K Anderson 07:42
So why would you go out?
Jaimie Sherling 07:44
Yes. They’re partnered, they’re not necessarily going out. They’re not in that searching time of life. So it’s like, I know they exist, but they’re all partnered up in their homes, which I know really isn’t true, but it kind of feels that way sometimes.
K Anderson 07:58
Ah, so most of the spaces then that you have been in are male centric.
Jaimie Sherling 08:05
Yes. Very much.
K Anderson 08:08
And so shall we talk about your exposure to drag? Of course,
Jaimie Sherling 08:15
I love talking about drag.
K Anderson 08:17
So you say that you came to it late in life?
Jaimie Sherling 08:21
Yes. Very late. In my opinion. I wish I had known about it. So I should say, I knew that drag existed. Like I knew drag queens existed. I had heard of it. But I’d never seen a show. Not seen an episode of ru paul’s drag grace. To many of my friends dismay. I remember saying that once out loud. A friend Queen charisma. ‘Jaimie you’re a terrible person’. I hadn’t seen Ru Pauls. So I know. It’s terrible. But no. So I came into drag kind of I feel like I walked through the backstage and through the back door and then into the stage and into the community. So I had still again, no exposure. I was in a musical with my dear friend Josh, who was the choreographer. I don’t even know when I knew that Josh also performed as a queen. I don’t know if I knew that during the show, or just after I’m not sure. But after the show had ended, Josh texted me and said, Do you want to be a backup dancer and a drag show pageant? And I immediately said, Yes, I don’t even think about it. I’m like, of course. So. So I knew Josh before I knew Beverly B. And so I think that is a unique take, because most people I would think if they go to a drag show or they know anything about drag, they just immediately see that human dressed in drag, whereas I already knew Josh and then I went to that first rehearsal and met three other people Dan, Mike and Jacob, and I met them all in their male presenting states and met them again as Dan, Mike and Jacob. So I got to know them. I was friends with them. We’re doing the rehearsal. We were practising, and weeks later, I went to my first drag show, which none of them happen to be performing in. And it was amazing. I loved it. And then maybe two weeks after that I performed in that drag show pageant.
K Anderson 10:12
And so So you got the bug you performed in this pageant, you started going to shows what like, what, what happened from there.
Jaimie Sherling 10:20
Well, I really was going to shows because they were my friends. So again, I came into it this way where it’s not, oh, I want to go to a drag show. It’s Oh, my friend, Jacob, who also performs chaos is the host of a show. So I’m going to go, it was me going to see my friends. So at the very beginning, I basically became like, their follower. So if they ever had a show, or if they were hosting, or if they were in a show, I would go, so I started just going sporadically. And then I feel like the more you go, and then you start meeting other people and making other friends. And then oh, well, there’s this Tuesday night show, and you got to go to the Tuesday night show. And then the Sunday night show and, and some of them, I went for very emotional reasons. So I can think of this one Sunday night, that’s still obviously very important to me, this was three, over three years ago, almost three and a half now went to a Sunday night show. I was not in treatment, yet I had just had surgery. So I had cancer. And I had had a double mastectomy. And I was recovering. So this was four days after my surgery. And I’m sitting at home and thought, let’s go to a drag show. Because I thought, well, I could sit at home, I could sit there. And that’s one of the things I love about a lot of the places in town when you go and watch, you’re sitting, which is great, because you know, I’m old. I don’t need to stand and watch. I’m too old for that I need to sit in a chair. I thought I can sit and my husband was on board. I just said let’s go to a show. Okay, so we went and the hostess, I knew who she was. I’d been to a few Saturdays before but we hadn’t met like we had never had a conversation. I don’t think she knew me at all at that time. And watching the show, I am not feeling particularly great in that I didn’t like how I looked. And I’m wearing this old shirt. And I don’t think I had showered yet even post surgery. And in the middle of the show. She’s looking around and just making conversation with the audience as she does. And she looks at my husband and says, Oh, who and who are you here with which totally normal. He just kind of points or nods or something. And then I think he said my wife. And she just turns her head a little bit and stops and says you’re pretty like really pretty. And I was very caught off guard. And it now especially I’ve known her this is many years later, and I consider her friend and I don’t think she was saying that to like curry favours or it was just what she thought in the moment. And for someone who was coming off of a surgery and not feeling great about how she looked in them to hear that was just filled my heart to overload and and then I was going to every Sunday show from after that it was like okay, now now the Sunday shows are irregular,
K Anderson 13:07
but it became your salvation, it became the thing, absolutely the thing that saved you. And so why do you think? Why do you think that is?
Jaimie Sherling 13:15
So it changed over time. You know, at the beginning, it was fun. And just visually appealing. I’m a very visual person. So again, seeing the makeup, the hair, the heels, the dresses, you know, just and then it was almost like I was watching many musicals all night, which I love. So it was like a night of musical theatre. So there was that early on. But then as I was going more and more and became friends with people, and further on in my cancer diagnosis, and then my treatment, it became more of a saving place in that acceptance, that everybody is welcomed here. Everybody’s loved joy. And not that they don’t have you know that the people who either perform or the people in the audience, it’s not like, their lives are perfect, and there’s nothing bad that ever happened. It’s all joy all the time. But I feel like in that space, it can be a little bit of escape, because you still have whatever is going on whatever the hard thing in your life. But in that moment, you can almost just set it aside. And now I’m to the place where they’re really family where if I’m having a hard time with something I can just I can say, Yeah, this is terrible. This is awful and get a hug. But for a while it was just I was as the marriage was imploding, and the marriage was imploding. I’m still in treatment for cancer. It’s it was it was the lowest one of the lowest times of life, not the lowest now anymore. But at that time, I was very, very low. And I would drive over to the club, and I’d be just crying just tears streaming down my face just sad about everything in life and park the car and wipe my face and tell myself You can’t cry at a drag show. And then I would go inside and all the other garbage was still there. But for a little while, it just got to be in this safe, loving, kind, fun place.
K Anderson 15:13
And so then are we able to talk about Prism? Sure. So it was another drag bar in the city. What do you remember about
Jaimie Sherling 15:24
the prison was just, I often felt out of place there. I think, mostly just because of age, it was a place that was very well known, they had a lot of 18 plus nights, which, great, you know, so people over 18 could go, but they’re not allowed to drink. And then you’d have different wristbands and things. And I think even maybe the first time I went, I think I was quite 40. But I feel like I was in my 30s. So I felt much older than everyone there, which didn’t really bother me. And they had lots of themed nights, which could be a lot of fun. In the time that I went, I went with two other women, both straight, all three of us at the time, were married to men. And it was a, like a 1980s Prom, which for the three of us, in our age demographic was like, Ooh, this is this is our thing. And I felt like it was at least I thought that it was set up that you didn’t have to be gay to go there. But you needed at the very least to be respectful, hopefully be an ally. And I’ve heard definitely arguments for that, that there are some people who believe that if you’re not gay, you shouldn’t go to a gay establishment because it’s their safe space, kind of like they have so few places leave that for them. And I’ve heard some people say that, and then other people disagree with that. I don’t know. But I felt like,
K Anderson 16:48
okay, okay, so then where do you sit on that?
Jaimie Sherling 16:51
It’s tough, because I don’t know. I feel like, at the end of the day, if you can be in that space, and just be a good human, then you’re fine. That’s where I am.
K Anderson 17:05
Yeah, yeah. And I think I think it’s really a complicated argument, isn’t it, I can understand the people that say, I feel triggered by straight people, I can kind of understand that I can kind of see where people are coming from. But I think that what saying something like that does to me is reduces a straight person’s experiences to one of complete acceptance. And I don’t think that that’s the case. Like, I don’t think that every straight person walks into a bar that’s not a queer bar, and is like, Yay, everyone loves me, I’m here and I can take up space. So. So like, I appreciate that. It’s a haven, and it’s somewhere that people can go. If they don’t feel like they belong in other places. But then, you know, on the flip side of that, I do also understand that if it’s a venue with 100 capacity, and 70 people there don’t identify as queer. That’s kind of annoying.
Jaimie Sherling 18:04
Sure. I def, I definitely understand that as well.
K Anderson 18:07
Yeah, so it’s just a weird, a weird thing. Agreed. Anyways, so then, are there any any stories or exciting things that happened there?
Jaimie Sherling 18:16
Well, I could do one good and one bad. So I feel like to make it make it even. So I’ll do the bad one first. So this was after my. So I had had already said I had a double mastectomy, I did not do reconstructive surgery. So I just have two scars on my chest wall. And I went there with friends. But I went out to the dance floor and my friends, I think we’re just still at the bar. So for some reason, I’m on the dance floor myself, which I don’t care. I don’t need someone to be on the dance floor with me. And I’m dancing, just listen to music, enjoying it. And this person who I would assume is female presenting was kind of just jumping around dancing, and I think only had like barely covered tassels on and no shirt. Fine. Okay, sure. You know, you get your life, whatever. And she’s dancing near me. And then he held something like, oh, yeah, like shake em if you got, um, and I don’t know what possessed me to say this. And I don’t even know if she heard me. But I just yelled something. And I was like, Yeah, I don’t have any or something. I don’t know, something long lines. And that’s the one thing to it prism. And plan B was fun for dancing. But if you were trying to actually talk to someone, their music was so loud, which, again, if you’re just trying to dance go but if you’re trying to converse with them, you’re just screaming over the music. So I don’t know what she heard or didn’t hear. And then I couldn’t even process her head. She bent down and her head went up. I was wearing this tunic that was just kind of a loose fitting, I guess dress you know, kind of like three quarter length and she bent down and put her face up. The dress and her face was on my chest. Well, I was just like, wow, what just happened? And I just froze. And I don’t think I really don’t remember. I don’t think I said her did anything. And then she pulls her heads out and just like ran off. And I’m just standing there thinking, what just happened? Wow, talk about invasive. like to think that the brain processing of how did you Where did your brain go that that was okay. Yeah. Like, I almost feel like it was more aggressive than even like, not that this is okay. But like slipping your hand up someone’s shirt or like, I don’t know, like a hand probably would have seemed less, but it was like your face and your upper body was like inside my clothing and looking down at you
K Anderson 20:44
just and she said, Do you think she ran away? Because she was embarrassed? Or because she didn’t want it the repercussions of what had happened? Or? I don’t
Jaimie Sherling 20:51
know, to me. It didn’t seem to faze her. So I almost think, I don’t know, because I can’t get in her head. But it seemed like it was just like, Oh, I did that. No, I’m gonna go off here. Like she didn’t seem fazed at all. That’s horrible. Yeah, it was. Well, I then walked over to the bar where my friends were and said, I think I was just sexually assaulted like I this question. And for me, it was a bit more of a mind trip, because not having the girls and I’m thinking, Well, I don’t have that body part. So she didn’t touch that body part. But that’s what would be there. And so I was thinking, Well, is it sexual assault? If that? And my friends were very quick to say, Wait, what happened? And yes, 100% Yes, you were has an I just stayed with friends for a while, calm down and went home. It wasn’t something I was going to pursue. I wasn’t going to try and have repercussions happen for this person. It wasn’t worth that for me. But I’m still just very, I didn’t want to go back for a long time. I will say Well, yeah,
K Anderson 21:51
cuz that’s what I was gonna say. It’s still one of those things where you’re always on guard, because you’re always like, are they gonna be here? Are they here? Are they if they entered the room have a right to me? Do they know I’m here? And that’s horrible way to approach the night.
Jaimie Sherling 22:06
Yeah, so I didn’t go back for a long time. And it goes from there. So I hadn’t been in a really long time. And many times, I’d watch shows at Five. And then a lot of times friends would say, oh, let’s let’s go over to Prism. And most of the time, I thought, no, it’s late enough. Like I’m out late enough. I live five minutes from here, I’m just going to go home. But this one night, I thought, okay, I hadn’t went in a really, really long time. I knew a bunch of people were going so I felt safe in that. Okay, there are a bunch of people here. And I was definitely sticking closer to the bar at that. That time, I didn’t venture out to the dance floor. So I guess I was still a little nervous. But I was there was a bar and then just feet away was a pool table. And a friend was standing there talking to someone. Oh, come on over. You got to meet Nicholas. Okay, sure. We’re talking. Turns out this person who my friend was talking to was in an open relationship. Their girlfriend was dancing with my other friend, totally cool, all open. And we started chatting and just had this instant connection. And this was after my marriage was really over the divorce was final. But long after you know, marriage was completely completely over. And I specifically spent a long time purposely no romance, no, nothing just like trying to heal and just enjoy my friends. And this was the first one of the first times since I had had some attention. And all of a sudden we start kissing and, and my friends are feet away at the bar and like Yes. I was a little embarrassed. But then I thought, Who cares? Like, obviously, they’re happy for me. And we’re two consenting adults, why not?
K Anderson 23:54
It is a little off putting when people are cheering you on that right.
Jaimie Sherling 24:00
And it didn’t go on for a super long time. So I will say that a long time been going on for a little while. But long enough. I was definitely riding that line of like, this is fun. But this all kind of weird, because they’re still right there. So I didn’t necessarily need or want an audience.
K Anderson 24:20
Are we able to talk about the double mastectomy and like specifically the time after it? Sure. You said before that post surgery you were feeling unattractive and feeling low and down? How did it feel to start navigating the world again, once you recovered it?
Jaimie Sherling 24:40
roller coaster, of course. Because early on, the husband was very supportive, and that was helpful. And then there was the time where the husband stopped being supportive, I’ll just say and made some choices that I was not happy with that ended up leading to us getting a divorce. So then I was in the space, I still had a lot of support from friends. But having that romantic partner fall by the wayside during that time was really, really hard. And that’s where going to Five more and more often and having these friends, ‘Hey, gorgeous, hey, fabulous look at you!’. And I think they meant it. Maybe there was a little bit of they meant it, but also they are just kind people that hearing that over and over again, when you might not feel it yourself is a beautiful thing.
K Anderson 25:32
Um, and we don’t have to go into this if you don’t want to the decisions that your ex husband had made? Were they selfish decisions that he justified as a result of where you were at because of the surgery?
Jaimie Sherling 25:47
No, I don’t think we we definitely had problems in our marriage. It wasn’t perfect, you know, ups and downs, challenges. But then the short timeframe of having surgery, things are going okay, my birthday happened, it did not go well. I was mad about it. I treated him poorly. I was I was cranky and mad and wasn’t very nice. And then he ended up having an online conversation with someone who was not his wife. And then I found out about it. I don’t think it was so much about my surgery, but it might have been in the back of his mind. I don’t think he would admit that. But I think maybe I think he might have missed that body part more than he even realised he did.
K Anderson 26:37
Yeah, and that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about. I guess it’s just the whole because their dynamics shift in your relationship, right? So the way that you’re used to interacting with a person has to be put to one side for a time. And you can feel as though like, oh, I have to do this, I have to behave in this way I have to behave in this way. And that can start to feel like a prison for people.
Jaimie Sherling 27:03
Well, I think too, there can be roles where you feel like this is the caretaker role. And this is the the caretaker versus the patient versus, but yet, I’m still a mom and I still have a job and trying to navigate the different roles and tax you were but then also fold that into a diagnosis and treatment. And then also working with the other person. And I will say I think being a caretaker is really hard. But I think some people handle it better than others.
K Anderson 27:36
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the whole thing is hard. Everything is hard. That’s my wisdom. Sorry. Very insightful. So post surgery, you decided that you didn’t want to get implants. You didn’t want to have any other treatments. What was it like? And this is hard for me to ask questions about because I’ve never had breasts and so I don’t really understand what having breasts means. But what did that mean to your sense of femininity and your sense of self as an extension of that?
Jaimie Sherling 28:11
It was a challenge. At first, I knew it was the right decision for me. The really why I decided because the timing, I had had the surgery, and then I was going to have chemotherapy and radiation. And the plastic surgeon said, if you want implants, I won’t do them until the following summer. So that already is different for some women, they can have a surgery and then immediately get implants right away afterwards.
K Anderson 28:39
Oh, there’s no period. Oh, okay.
Jaimie Sherling 28:40
Yeah, there’s so there’s definitely there’s immediate reconstruction and delayed reconstruction. And for me, because I was having the chemotherapy and the radiation, the outcome would have been different. And I totally understand the rationale of that plastic surgeon, I would do the probably the same thing in her shoes. So I was thinking to myself, wait a minute. So I’m going to have chemotherapy, I’m going to have radiation, I’m going to heal, and then I’m going to spend my summer in surgeries. No, I don’t want to do that. And I was right that I went out and got night a great summer that summer was fantastic. And it was hard at first and I feel like I inched into it that at the beginning I wore these prosthetics, which actually very similar to what a lot of the queens were. It’s like funny how this works out. But so I wore prosthetics and I put clothes on top and I’d look in a mirror and think oh, I’m still me. I’m still you know I look like how I looked before but they were hot and uncomfortable. And after I’d had radiation my skin was felt like it was on fire. That was my big reaction to the radiation was just it was as if I had had third degree burns and so wearing anything was terrible. So I just wore like the biggest biggest t shirt I could find and that was slathering aloe and lotions and creams trying to just take care of basically like your Treating burns, so there was no putting on prosthetics, then no way. And as I was recovering from that, I thought, wait a minute, maybe, maybe I don’t need to wear them anymore. And that was another readjustment in certain clothes. I didn’t like how they looked, some of the clothes that I wore before, just didn’t fit my body anymore. I went through my closet, I get rid of bags of clothes, and then really worked on finding things that fit better. Then it’s like, oh, okay, I’m still me. This looks good. I feel okay in this body. But I feel like it was a journey for sure to get to that point.
K Anderson 30:36
And how did it feel being a sexual being?
Jaimie Sherling 30:42
Well, I am very grateful to someone who I tell the story in my book. And so I had said, I had the year of no romance, no nothing. And it was right about the end of that year, my husband had no ex husband, he had moved out. So I’m in the house. I couldn’t afford the house by myself. I had rented out a room. And the very first person who came to stay was a handsome man who I was like, Ooh, this is fun, and didn’t really think anything of it. Then there were some, there was some chatting back and forth. We went out to dinner one night, and was here and was in my house for five days. And by the end of the five days, we were definitely at the point like, oh, maybe something is going to happen sexually here. And I was nervous, because this is the first person I would have been with, since my husband, obviously the first person and me not having breasts. I was just like, but things happen quickly. And I remember being in the moment and it was pitch dark in the room. And I didn’t know if he knew that it had breast because I, I had found that some people couldn’t tell like, depending on what I wore certain things, it’d be very obvious certain things. You could see my scars, but then others, it’s like, you wouldn’t necessarily know so I didn’t know if he knew or not. So kind of in this panic mode. He has his hand up like up that pyjama top I’m wearing and I just frozen. You know, nothing’s there, right? Well, I’m thinking boy knows now. But it felt like I don’t know. I felt like I had to make sure he knew. And he loudly was like, I don’t effing care. And that was that. Okay, so I’m very grateful for that experience. They think if that person had really, yeah, been weirded out or lost it or like, forget it, I’m not interested in anymore. I think that would have been very damaging to me. So I’m very grateful to that human. And that response that was like, Oh, I guess really, you’re fine with this. And I can be fine with it, too.
K Anderson 32:49
Did he? Did he leave five stars?
Jaimie Sherling 32:52
The review? So he left. And then I get a ding on my phone. He left a review. And I’m like, Hmm, I’m thinking, what did he say? And like, Did he say something incriminating? And could I get in trouble? Like, I don’t know. Like, I couldn’t read his review until I left one. Oh, I hate so I don’t even remember I wrote I was like, great guests. Like, very good. You know, like, I I
K Anderson 33:18
knows what he’s doing with his hands and his town. Yeah.
Jaimie Sherling 33:22
Professional and nice things. And then I open his and it was just incredible. And the last night he says, oh, you know, she’s a great host and showed me around town. And this night. And one of the last things like, you know, Jamie went above and beyond and put above and beyond and all caps. I was laughing so hard.
K Anderson 33:43
And so did the next guest come expecting anything.
Jaimie Sherling 33:46
The next guy an Asian couple. Totally different. Next guy. recently married she was going to school here. And he was like moving her here. I think like they were going to move her into housing and the housing wasn’t open or something. So they were at my place, bro. So nothing that interest nothing interesting happened.
K Anderson 34:11
Yeah. And so up until then on on your journey and in terms of thinking about your own view of the world and your own desires. It hadn’t been something that you’d been kind of battling with, like, well, I find myself sexy again.
Jaimie Sherling 34:28
Oh, I definitely had Sure. Why was I was so mad. There were times I was so mad. I was even madder at my ex husband thinking. Thanks a lot. This had to happen. And now if I’m heading back into the dating room thinking I’m over 40 I have no breasts like Oh, I’m gonna be a real hot commodity. This is fantastic. Like why couldn’t you have done this a few years ago? So yeah, so I was very mad at him. I was very unsure thinking this is not going to be appealing to other people and I have since found it’s fine. Well, I think it just Like everything else in life, it depends on the person because there are definitely humans that that body part is necessary. And I’ve heard horror stories from, from Sister survivors that either just in the chatting on an app or something or even maybe on a date and having a person say like, well, I could never be with a woman who doesn’t have breasts like WAGs. Oh, okay, and in sometimes many meaner ways than so yeah, so there are some people that couldn’t get past it, it wouldn’t work. But then there, obviously, I have found and other women in my shoes have found, there’s some that that’s not important. And some who even think they’re almost not more attracted to the person but to think you’re just incredible, like you’re an incredible person. And that’s a sign of how strong you are. It
K Anderson 35:49
kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier in terms of society’s expectations and US internalising that and thinking like, well, if I’m not this, then no one’s gonna see me as worthy. And then wading through anyway and getting through and then being like, Oh, actually, like, I there are people I can find that don’t give a shit. Right, exactly. But yeah, all that turmoil you put yourself through in getting to that point?
Jaimie Sherling 36:16
Yes, I did. There were a lot of rough rough times.
K Anderson 36:20
And how did going out on the scene help with those times.
Jaimie Sherling 36:24
Part of it was just a mental break. Like I said, I’d be crying on the way there and just wipe my eyes and sit and just listen to music, see beautiful, beautiful people on the stage. And then also have these friends that just were just there for me when I was at my absolute lowest.
K Anderson 36:41
What’s your favourite thing about drag?
Jaimie Sherling 36:46
That’s a tough question. I love so much about it. I think just the message of be who you are. being bold like be who you are, and then multiply it.
K Anderson 37:00
Do you have any memories of the Prism, or clubbing from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you have please get in touch – I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories – go to http://www.lostspacespodcast.com and find the section ‘Share a Lost Space’ and tell me what you got up to! Bonus points for embarrassing photos!
You can also find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lostspacespod), Instagram (www.instagram.com/lostspacespod) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/lostspacespod)
Find out more about Jaimie by following her on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/jaimiesherling/).
You can also find her new book, From Queens to QUEENS, wherever you buy books online.
Lost Spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and will be releasing songs over the next year. You can hear the first single, Well Groomed Boys, which is also playing underneath my talking right now, on all streaming platforms.
If you liked this episode I’d really appreciate if you subscribe, leave a review on your podcast platform, or just tell people that you think might be interested!
I am K Anderson, and you’ve been listening to Lost Spaces