Michelle – 2007 to Present – Chapter 7 – New York City – Saturday

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia, searching for true love.

After the magic of the Wishing Stone, things seemed to move forward in my direction. The right direction! Michelle’s 28th birthday was rapidly approaching at the end of May. People were all asking the perfunctory: “What are you doing for your birthday?” Where it’s like, great… Now I have to come up with something. But she was telling people that she’d like to maybe go to New York City for the long weekend. She knew I had lived and worked in Manhattan for the last couple of years before I came back to Philly. We were chatting about it. I asked her what she was planning. She wasn’t sure but was definitely thinking of getting out-of-town, and NYC seemed like a good spot.

Based on how volatile things had been leading up to this moment, I had my reservations about us going away together. There had been so much back and forth with us, and as much as I would love actually spending time with Michelle on a weekend day, it just seemed like for some reason it just wouldn’t happen.

It was a Friday, and her birthday was on Sunday. I had picked up a little gift bag of goodies for her and hid it under her desk while she was away from it. She was very surprised when she found it. It wasn’t anything really valuable. Just stuff she liked. I probably had a couple of packs of Parliaments in there, her favorite Orbit gum, maybe some granola bars. Just little stuff. It was sitting on her desk, and we were chatting, and that little weasel that I told you about in Michelle’s first chapter comes over. He’s like: “Oh gum, can I have some?” Michelle is like, sure. But the best part for me was knowing the following:

  1. This guy is so far in the friendzone that he might as well be a blood relative of hers.
  2. He doesn’t know the gift bag with the gum is a present from me, or that it’s even her birthday.
  3. I enjoyed watching him really struggle with the cellophane to open the gum.
  4. She’s going to NYC with me and no one at our company knows we’re an item.

Weasel realizes it’s her birthday, asks her what her plans are for the weekend. She tells him she’s going to NYC. He asks with whom? She says, “A friend,” and smiles.

The afternoon went by and I don’t remember if I walked her home, but I probably did. Either way, on Saturday I was back in Jersey awaiting her call. She wanted to get some rest and leave for New York later in the afternoon. But based on the past events I prepared myself for her to bail. I was out that day with my friend Vicky. We stopped at Marshall’s or Ross because I wanted to pick up some new shirts. I was telling her the whole tale of what I had been through with Michelle. We were in the car ready to leave the parking lot when my flip phone rang. I answered it. It was Michelle. I was expecting the worst. She said if I could come by her place around 3:30pm she’s be ready to go to NYC.

For some reason I was astounded. I told her I’d be there, and went home to pack. Vicky was very happy for me. I put some things in a bag and fired up my ’94 Taurus wagon.

I got to her building and text her. She came down with her bags. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. It was like a dream come true. Here I was seeing Michelle for the first time on a weekend. We were going to New York!  She gets in the car and asks if we can stop at the Starbucks down the street so she can get a coffee or a tea. I pull around and she goes in and gets it. I was a little annoyed because we were already getting such a late start. I wanted to get on the road, and now we were making a stop already. But it was probably just my anxiety about the whole trip in general. Since I had just come back from NYC a year ago, it was an easy drive.

It’s super expensive to stay in NYC. I knew of a nice motel where we could stay across the river in Jersey City. It’s a really quaint, clean little place. We get there and go into the lobby to inquire about a room.

They say they are booked all weekend.

“Is there another hotel in the area?” I ask. “Sure. Go north on this road a ways and it’s up on the right. It’s called the Skyline Motel.”

“Great, thanks!” We drive over and come upon something we didn’t expect. The Skyline Motel is an old place on Tonnelle Avenue. We pull into the parking lot and walk up to the lobby. But you can’t go in because it’s just an Indian guy behind a bullet proof glass like a teller window at a bank in a bad neighborhood.

“Long or short stay?” He says. Okay. When a proprietor of any motel or hotel asks that question it only means one thing. I’ll translate that for you. “Do you want the room for an hour to bang the person you’re with, or will you be staying the night with us?” We paid and he gave us the keys to the room. We went upstairs. I swear, we walked past this skinny hooker at the payphone putting her shoes on. This place was one of “those places” The whole vibe of the place was sketchy. But it was the only hotel in the area, and we would just go with it. Michelle didn’t seem to care.

Actually, the room was really clean. The bed was clean. The bathroom was all new and looked great as well. Good hotel in a shitty area. Oh, there was a mirror on the ceiling over the bed. We drop our gear and secure the room. A few minutes later we’re in a taxi to the Path train. Once there we we walk through Journal Square. When I lived up there, I used to call it Mos Eisley. Because at night, Journal Square was a den of scum and villainy.

We hop on the train into the city. It only takes about 20 minutes to get there. We get off at 32nd and Sixth on the edge of Korea town. We walk a few blocks. Manhattan is enormous. It truly is an amazing city. I love Philly more, but New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. We step into a pub and have a few drinks and some food. We’re happy and having a fun day so far. We walk up to Rockefeller Center. It’s Memorial Day weekend, so the weather is warm, and the city is a little quieter because people go away for the holiday.

We’re having a drink outside. We start chatting with this older couple that are pretty much doing what we’re doing. Just hanging, and enjoying the evening in the city. We’re just having a great time, and at some point they leave. A short time later, we look down and we see that they have forgotten a bag with some things in it. We look inside and there are some tourist looking stuff, but there is also some medicines. It’s something the man probably needs. Michelle and I in true fashion, spring into action. We may be two crazy kids on the loose in NYC, but now we’re on a mission. It’s actually a good thing that it was 2008. That’s 9 years ago. Because there is actually a AAA hotel guide in there. I flip through it and the Waldorf Astoria is circled in pen. Can you beat that?

We head over to the hotel. I’ve never set foot in there. It’s beautiful. I see all of these bottles of Dom Perignon around the lobby as if there were some sort of event there that night. I think if there is a way I can clip one of those bottles out of here I will. Michelle and I used to sometimes steal stuff back then. Nothing big, like cars or anything, but stuff like glassware from bars. I don’t even know why. We walk up to the front desk and tell them what happened, and ask if the people we met are staying there. We tell them we’re not trying anything funny, just trying to help. They take the bag and call upstairs. The people are staying there! The guy is surprised and relieved. I don’t even think he realizes that he had lost his stuff. He tells us he’s coming down. A few moments pass and he appears. We hand over the bag and he looks inside. “Well I can’t go without that! Thank you so much. Let me buy you both a drink.”

All we heard were the words: “buy” and “drink.”

He bought us both a glass of chardonnay. I think we had two rounds.  He paid for the first round and then we paid for the second. We bid him farewell, and he went back up to the room. Philly is expensive, but New York is super expensive. I think it was $14 a glass. Maybe more. Regardless, we were relieved that he bought the first round or we would have had a $56 bill plus tip. You’re looking at $60 for 2 drinks each. Nightmare!

On our way out, Michelle is admiring the bottles of Dom around the lobby. I tell her I had thoughts of trying to steal one, but I didn’t. “Do you know why I didn’t steal one?” I ask. “Because it would be wrong, and bad karma after our good deed tonight?” She says. “That’s a great answer, Michelle. It really is. But it’s wrong.” How so?” she asks. “I didn’t steal a bottle because it would have been wrong. I looked closely at those bottles on the way in. I didn’t clip one because they are all empty.”

We laugh on the way out and are feeling energized from helping someone, while being a couple in NY. I have no idea what time it is because I am so caught up in the moment. We stop at another bar. I know there are plenty of bars in NY that stay open until 4am. We’re having drinks and a great time. An hour or so later, we stumble out of the bar and back to the PATH train. We hop the train back to Jersey City. As the train rises out of the tunnel and climbs the bridge across the river, the car is filled with golden sunlight.

“We stayed out all night!” Michelle exclaims. “Great night though.” I say.

We hop in a taxi in Journal Square (Mos Eisley) and have him drive us back to the Skyline Motel. Maybe it’s too early for the hookers and junkies to be out yet. We get there quickly. Michelle suggests we pay for tomorrow night right now, because she wants to sleep through 11am checkout today. We pay the man behind the bulletproof glass and head up to our room. The great thing is, the curtains are really thick. I pull them closed, and it is once again night in the room. We get out of our clothes, but I don’t think in front of each other. She changes in the bathroom. We’re exhausted.

Sometimes we do good things. Sometimes we do bad things. Today was good. I’m just happy to be with Michelle. I can’t believe my good fortune in meeting her.

We crawl under the sheets and fall asleep.

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you that when the day is over, I wish we could do it ll over again.”

Tune in two weeks from now for the thrilling conclusion to Michelle – NYC – Sunday

 

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Alice – 2012 to Present – The Stalker

Everything on Phicklephilly is true.  I can’t make this stuff up.  I wish it weren’t true, but sadly it is.

I was just told this story by my friend Alice. She is the CEO of her own IT recruitment company, and a dear friend of mine. If anyone reading this can help, please comment on this post.

One day while Alice was at Starbucks, a man came in with a very eerie demeanor. He looked like he was looking for something, or someone, and asked if anyone was sitting next to her. There was no one sitting next to her, so of course she said no. She was very consumed in her work so she didn’t really pay much attention to this man, when he peeped over her shoulder and said “Oh, I see your name is Alice.” She was a little freaked out, but figured he was just being friendly and saw her Starbucks cup, but then she realized her name wasn’t even on her cup, and he was peeping over her shoulder and was watching what she was doing. She had to meet a client at their office so she left, but it was also because she felt very uncomfortable. That was the only time she ever actually spoke to this man.

Ever since that run in with him, he appears everywhere she is. There was one time he followed her out to her car. Another time, he came into a different café she was in and sat right next to her when there wasn’t even a seat. Each encounter she pretended that she was on a call. Over the course of two years now he’s waited for her outside places that she’s been, showed up at her office looking for her, and somehow got her one employee’s phone number and reached out.

She even talked to the barista at the other coffee shop. They know who he is and have barred him from ever coming in again. When asked why, they told Alice that he has been harassing other young girls in the cafe. Like teenage girls. Thirteen and fourteen year olds. They all have told their mothers, and they have reported him as well. But nothing has been done.

One barista told Alice that he once went up to a group of young girls and said he lost his contact lens and they all got down on their hands and knees looking for it and he just stood back looking at their butts and up their skirts. So he’s not just some nut job. He knows what he’s doing. He is a diabolical menace that needs to be arrested.

He’s requested Alice on every source of social media she can think of, Facebook, Instagram, every platform she is on. Just this morning there was a silver car following her out of her development for about a mile. The car was following her closely. Almost tailgating her. Not thinking anything of it she pulled into the gas station as she normally would, got out to pay and get a coffee inside. She got a bad feeling, and when she looked behind her, it was him!

She went inside and ran to the back of the store. It was quiet until she heard the bell of the door opening. Then the sound of  approaching footsteps.

He went down each aisle looking for her. The owner of the gas station asked him if he needed anything. He said “I’m just looking around.” She said it felt like she was in a horror movie.

But it was real.

He must have gotten nervous and finally left. Alice came out of hiding and told the woman running the station, that he was the man who has been stalking her. She sprung into action, and got his license plate number.

I’m writing this because she called the police on each encounter and they told her that unless he touches her, or harms her, there’s nothing they can do. But they would put it in his file. Problem is, by the time this happens, that would mean that he harmed her.
Each time he appears, she tells herself she is going to confront him and tell him to leave her alone. But each time she sees him, every time it happens, fear takes hold and she is afraid to do so.
Today she called the police after this incident, and they said they had an incident with him back in 2013 but that was all they had on him. She told them that she’s reached out to them several times and they said because it’s in a different county they can’t even see that he has a history of stalking/harassment. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? It’s 2016 and there’s no way for one county to see a record of someone in the next county over? This man is scary; he’s in his mid 50’s and has full on conversations with himself. He’s extremely intelligent as he has requested her on LinkedIn and she saw his work credentials. She does recruitment for IT positions, so she knows that he knows exactly what he’s doing. There’s just something really off about this guy.

She is an advocate for the police system, but she doesn’t know what to do. She is really freaked out. It’s gone too far. She doesn’t want to wait like a sitting duck, but wants this man has to stop following her.

Alice is afraid he’s followed her home and knows where she lives.

Does anyone have any advice? Also, why isn’t there a way for police stations to see incidents that happened in other counties? Isn’t there some sort of CRM software they can use to track that? Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Here’s a photo of this piece of shit. If you, or anyone you know can identify this man, please contact local law enforcement.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.

Church – 2013 to Present – Brand Ambassador

I was working for alcohol based magazine a few years ago. I sold advertising into the publication. They had been around for about three years.

We would attend these events to meet representatives from different brands. We hoped it would lead to more advertising. There was this one guy, that had a big presence, and a booming voice. His presentations for the products he was representing were always lively and interesting. My boss at the time told me that he was someone I should meet. Which I proceeded to do.

I met with him on several occasions. I could tell he genuinely wanted to help me. He knew everybody in the industry. You couldn’t walk in place without someone talking to him. He started inviting me out to events. I remember once I was out pounding the pavements and he saw me. He got out of his car, popped his trunk and handed me a bottle of Black Grouse. No reason at all. “You’re always out here working.” He said.

He’s given me so many great bottles of booze as gifts. And again, he does it for no reason. Real giving. He’ll just hand you a fifth of something because he likes you.

I remember two years ago when I was struggling with my then girlfriend, (Future series: Annabelle) Annabelle was younger that I was, and just giving me fits because she was being a selfish asshole. Or as I call it, ‘a girl in her twenties’. We we’re at some meeting, and Church pulls me aside, and says: “I can see you’re suffering. Let’s get out of here.”

We get in his car and he drives me down to a gentleman’s club on Columbus Blvd. He ordered me food, and said as long as I drank the brand he was representing, it was free! He handed me a $20 and sent me in the back with a pretty dancer for a private lap dance. Like I said before, I’m not really into the whole lap dance thing, but the whole experience was so thoughtful and really cheered me up. I made up with Annabelle the next day, by the way. But that’s just how Church is. If he has it, he’ll always share it with you.

We’ve grown close over the last few years. He lives out in Westchester, which isn’t near Philly, but whenever he’s in town working, we’ll meet up. We have confided in each other when we were struggling with different things life has hurtled at us. Employment. Wife stuff. Ex-wife stuff. People we’ve met. Things that have happened. We’ve been there for each other to talk whoever is on the ledge down from it.

Church has a good heart. He’s a very generous and decent man. He has been married for over 8 years and I think he’s known his wife even longer than that. Sometimes he gets a little hot about people being assholes, but who doesn’t?   I wanted to introduce Church to you all because he will be making several ongoing appearances in this story.

Did I mention that he’s awesome?

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.

 

The Return of Rebecca – 9/2016 to Present – Cypress and the Oak – Part I

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia, searching for true love.

It had been a while since I had heard from Rebecca. She certainly made an amazing impression upon me on our first date. It didn’t make sense that she “ghosted” me after our very first meeting. It felt like it had been a couple of months, and all I heard was the deafening sound of crickets. I did text her twice in that time to meet up for a drink and just never heard back. This has happened before. I know this other little hottie that is always saying she wants to meet me for drink, but can never pull it together.

But then out of the blue she texted me. “Sooo sorry for being off the grid. Can we meet up for a drink soon?” I told her I could do Monday or Wednesday. She picked Monday. I liked that because it was sooner. I asked her if she had any preference. She said for me to pick the place. I wanted somewhere that was nice, but not some place where we’d stick out like a sore thumb. I had a few days to figure it out. I have to come up with a place where they knew me, but I’d have some privacy. I decide to meet her at 1 Tippling Place at 6:30 the next Monday. “Great! I always wanted to check that place out!” was her reply.

1 Tippling Place is a really cool, living room style cocktail bar. It’s located at 20th and Chestnut streets. The outside is really nondescript. Just a glass and steel door, next to a large window. If you blinked or sneezed while walking by you’d miss it. But inside there is all kinds of neat comfy furniture and coffee tables. The artwork is eclectic and the room as a whole is nicely appointed with interesting artifacts. The cocktails are first-rate. They really don’t serve any food. I mean they have some little hors d’oeuvre, but that’s about it. You go there for the quality drinks and the atmosphere. I also enjoy the snarky attitude of the lead bartender. When you first meet him you think he might be gay. Then in walks his smoking hot girlfriend. It’s one of my favorite bars in the city because it’s an original that has real character.

I arrive early. I always like to get to a place early to scope out the scene and get the lay of the land. I chat with the owner. She’s awesome. Normally she’s in and out during the day, and then leaves around 7pm. We’re pretty tight. I’ve even walked her home on occasion. I normally don’t order off the cocktail menu. I just tell the bartender that I want something dark and spirit forward. They make it and I drink it. It’s always good. I will say that the place is a little expensive. Most of the drinks cost between $12 and $14.

I look at my watch. 6:20. Hope she isn’t late.

Hope she shows up.

Five minutes later the door opens. It was like one of those moments in those 80’s teen comedies, when everything moves in slow motion and they play some cool song. Rebecca enters the bar. I take a deep breath. Her dark hair is up, which always looks so sexy on the right woman. Her ripe lips an exquisite pout. She is wearing a burgundy cocktail dress. It comes to mid-thigh. She is wearing black sheer stockings and elegant black high heels. She looks amazing. I’m blinking my eyes trying to focus on this vision.

I immediately stand to greet her. She hugs me, and I am more intoxicated by her beauty and lovely fragrance than any cocktail that could be crafted at this bar. “Rebecca,” is all I could say. “Shall we get a table?” she replies. I nod, and guide her to a quiet table in the corner so we can chat. “You look lovely. I feel under dressed ” I say. “Well I haven’t seen you in a while and I like to dress up.” she responds.

We order a round of drinks. I have my usual dark power, and she goes with something equally strong. Interesting. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe she likes a heady drink or maybe she needs a bit of courage. We chat about what we’ve been up to and she’s telling me about work, and some of the challenges she obviously faces in the medical industry. Then she says, “I suppose you’re wondering why you haven’t heard back from me in a while, and I am sorry about that.” I tell her it’s okay and I’m just happy that she is here tonight.

“Remember how I told you that I went out with that man who was older than me and I didn’t feel any chemistry after four dates?” “Didn’t that guy get married? He didn’t try to…?” “No…no. Nothing like that. I just wanted to preface what I was about to tell you, that it doesn’t feel that way with you.” she says. Now I’m getting a little worried and a little confused. “Do you mean you do feel chemistry with me or you don’t?” I ask, feeling a slight searing heat in my heart. This could go be a short date.  She smiles and takes my hand. “I do like you. It feels different just being around you. You’re not like anybody else I know.” I visually sigh in relief and she reads my expression. I need to be cool. “Don’t worry, I’ve thought a lot about where my life is and it sometimes can be confusing.” I reassure her that whatever she is concerned about I understand, and will listen.

Women don’t want men to solve their problems. Men are all about solutions. They like to fix things. Women are more about their feelings. That’s why men define themselves on what they do, and women define themselves on who they know. The way to a woman’s heart is really quite simple. Don’t tell her what she should do, or how she should do. Just listen. I’m just happy at that moment that I am the one who is present to listen to whatever it is she needs to get off her chest.  I just hope she can’t hear my heart beating.

Rebecca takes a sip from her drink, not breaking her gaze with me. Looking into me with those brilliant emeralds. “Two years ago I met this guy on Tinder named Derrick. He was around my age. As you know guys my age basically suck for the most part. They don’t know what they want or who they are yet. But he ‘Super Liked’ me on Tinder. And… I did the same on his profile so I thought it was kismet. I know now I only did that because he was really cute and not much else. Isn’t that why most people swipe right for the most part anyway?”

“I suppose. But I’d like to think that some of us are more thoughtful when it comes to matters of the heart.” I reply. (Bold faced lie.) She seemed smart in her profile, but I know I swiped right because she was smoking hot.

“I know right?” she exclaims. “Thank you! But I guess I was dumb and just being superficial. So we exchanged numbers. It all happened so fast. We met up, and it was fun. He seemed kind of full of himself and his band. But he was good really good-looking. He invited me to come out and see his band play and we’d hang out after their set. So I get dressed up and go to the bar where their playing. Derrick was the lead singer. I was kind of hoping he’d take me on a proper date, but I thought that would happen after we got to know each other. I suppose it’s not a bad way to meet someone for the first time. You’re in a bar surrounded with people so it’s not like you’re meeting a stranger in some isolated place. I also prepared myself for the fact that he was the singer in the band and usually they are surrounded by willing girls. I mean, you told me you used to play guitar in a band in L.A. Weren’t you always around a bunch of girls?”

“Sure. There were a lot of girls and guys at our shows. We played hard rock, so our audience skewed more male than female. But I had a steady girlfriend at the time. I was committed to my relationship with her.” (Bold faced lie)

“Well you’re one of the rare ones.” (I wonder if she can see the devil horns sticking out of my head?) Anyway, so I’m at the their show. I didn’t want to go to a bar alone, so I took my roommate Amber with me. We had an agreement that if things went well with Derrick she’d either hook up with someone there or UBER it home. I mean it wasn’t a real date so I don’t think there was anything wrong with bringing my friend with me as backup.”

“What kind of music did they play?” I ask, hoping to get insight about the boy through his musical tastes.

“It wasn’t emo, but it sort of sounded like that. I guess it was more post hardcore.”

This guy already sounds like a douche, I thought. She takes another sip and this time her eyes are down. I can see this is hard for her. “Okay. Please go on. I’m listening.”

“So they end their set and we’re hanging out. Me, my friend Amber, Derrick, and his lead guitarist, Simon. We’re drinking and laughing and having a good time. We’re at this table all the way off to the back. I’m sitting next to Derrick and Amber is across from me with Simon in a booth. Amber likes to party. Simon is ordering shots and beers and we’re all getting pretty buzzed. I feel like I’m really liking Derrick. He’s going about how important the music is and all of that stuff, but I don’t care I just think he’s hot. Next thing I know Amber is all over Simon. I look at Derrick and he’s on me. We’re just making out like crazy. Normally I’m not like that but I think it was the drinking that made it easy. Plus I wanted him cause he was so good-looking. It was fun.”

At this point I’m wondering where all of this is going. We order another round.

“So we decide we want to go someplace else. We leave the bar and start walking. Simon pulls out a couple of joints and we’re all smoking. Just smoking weed walking down the street. We didn’t care. We’re all giggling and Derrick has his arm around me. We end up some really dark bar. I don’t even remember where it was. We’re drinking and we’re all pretty messed up. The place is full of people. We’re in the back. Derrick is like, Do you ever go skiing? and I’m like, yea, I have been but I’m not that great at it, but I have good balance. Then he pulls out this little bag with white powder in it. I assume it’s cocaine. I go, Oh… skiing. I had never done coke before, but I know Amber has and she says it’s great. So they look around all paranoid and shit, and literally start spooning it out. Derrick does a hit and then offers me a bump. I just do it. I don’t know why. Amber’s like, “gimme some!” Then she and Simon do some. I couldn’t believe it. Doing coke in a bar? It felt cold in my nose, and I could feel this clear euphoria. It almost felt sobering to do it. But different. Higher. Intense. I can see why people love it so much. You were in a band in California. You must have done it right?”

“I saw what drugs did to my peers. I was more of a beer and whiskey guy. I smoked weed occasionally but never really liked it. A little drugs an alcohol can loosen the mind to create, but I knew people who did loads of drugs and it literally sledgehammered their talent and destroyed them. So no. I steered clear of coke.” (White lie) Get it?

“Oh well that’s good. But anyway, I know I’ve been blabbing on about this. Long story short, these guys come back to our place and we end up fooling around with them. It was crazy. I guess we were all just caught up in the moment. I think we stayed up most of the night. Well, Derrick and I ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend after that. It felt like he really loved me. I loved him.” She takes a sip and a deep breath, looking off into the distance, as if trying to visualize a faded past. An image that vanished in her rearview mirror long ago.

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

“We went out for about a year. It was intense. We moved in with each other. Amber had gone off to school anyway so it was perfect timing. Things were great at first. But they always are in the beginning. We always did things together and went places together and partied together like a really great couple. I know he was focused on his music and really wanting to make it. But there were a lot of times when he wasn’t around. Times I wouldn’t hear from him and couldn’t get in touch with him. A girl starts to wonder what’s going on. I even started spying on him. Going to places they were playing. He wouldn’t see me, but I wanted to know what he was up to. I wanted to trust him, but you know when you get that weird feeling in your gut that something’s wrong. Well, his behavior had become more and more erratic. I know he was doing drugs but I just wasn’t into it like he was. We just weren’t connecting like we did in the beginning. Like maybe he was just tired of me.”

“Sometimes he would even get really mad about things that didn’t make any sense. Well, one night I followed him after he left me to do a show, and I saw him making out with this redhead at a bar. He wasn’t even playing with his band that night.  She was like all emo or whatever with tattoos and shit. I was devastated. I just jumped on the train and went home.”

“I’m sorry I’m telling you all of this.”

I could see that her eyes were wet with the beginnings of tears. “It’s okay. You can tell me. I’m here.” I took her dainty hands in mine. She sniffed and nodded, holding back the tears.

“That night he had the gall to come home and try to do it with me. I pushed him away. He got all mad at me and I told him what I saw. He denied it at first, but I told him I followed him and saw him. He got really mad and started throwing stuff around. He broke this little snow globe he gave me in the beginning. At that moment I didn’t even care about the globe. He had already broken something far more precious than that stupid thing.”

Okay, now I was getting upset. “My God, Rebecca. I’m so sorry.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. She took a healthy sip of her drink. I wiped the tears from her face with my thumb. She hugged me. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s not your fault, Rebecca. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

She sniffed and I offered her a cocktail napkin. (Note to self: Start carrying a clean handkerchief in your lapel pocket.) She wiped her face, and her nose. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

My bartender showed up at the table. “Is everything okay?” he asked. “Yes…yes. She’s just suffering a loss.” I replied. “I’ll bring you another round, yes?” I glance at her. “She smiles and blinking her eyes, nods in affirmation. He quickly returned. “These are on me guys.”

My man at Tippling is always on point.

“Okay, so that was over a year ago, right?”

“Yes. He took his stuff and left me. I was crushed. Destroyed. I cried for months. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I drank so I could get some sleep. When I would wake up in the morning, I’d  just go to the bathroom and dry heave over the sink.”

I could see she was struggling. “So did something happen recently?”

Heavy sigh. “Yes. He reached out to me on social media. I had blocked him from Facebook and in my phone, but I was on Instagram and he got to me that way. I had a panic attack when I saw his name.”

“Let me guess. This happened sometime after you and I went to the Museum.”

“Yea. I know it’s so stupid. He said how he missed me and how he was wrong and had grown so much. And like the idiot, I unblocked him in my phone. We met up and as crazy as it seems I was actually happy to see him. He looked a little older and a little more haggard, but it was still my Derrick. We were at a bar up in Northern Liberties. Things felt different. Time had passed. Too much time. I had grown and healed. But old habits die-hard. I just wanted to take a look at him. He said he was really sorry for what he had done. He said it hadn’t worked out with the redheaded slut. She actually ended up cheating on him with some drummer in a band that opened for them. I was actually kind of glad to hear that. But I’m sure he didn’t feel the loss that I had experienced. I had scar tissue on my heart from what he did to me. But I couldn’t let him tear open the sutures and open my old wounds. I work in a hospital emergency room. That shit hurts!”

Rebecca actually laughed at that moment. It had been the first time the whole night. That sound was like magic to my ears. I smiled a knowing smile. Because she didn’t know that I have been down that road twice in my life, and it’s a nightmare.

Love is a many splintered thing.

“So yea, that was a two months ago. I told him that I’m glad he was doing well, but I had moved on after a year and that I was in a relationship with a really nice guy in financial services.” She laughed again. “I could see he was disappointed, but I couldn’t let myself go through that shit again. It was a small chapter in my life and I had to draw the curtains on that dead body. He had me, and he squandered it. I think in that moment he realized that it was really over for good. It was hard to do, but I told him I had to get home to Cole, my investment banker boyfriend. He hugged me, and I knew I would never smell him again. it was like pulling the plug on a fatally injured patient.”

“So that was it?” I took a sip of my rye infused medicine.

“Yea. I went home and put on and episode of Stranger Things and ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and had a good cry. So… that’s why I disappeared for a while. I just needed to think about some things and move forward with my life. So, I’m glad you met up with me tonight. I’m sure you never expected our second date to be this confessional. I really appreciate you listening to all of that, but it felt really good to get it out. I was like a little tree blowing back and forth in the wind, but now I feel more calm. Like the storm is finally over and I’m safe.”

“Well, I’m glad you trusted me enough after one date to see me again and confide in me, Rebecca. Like my profile says, I’m a good listener.”

“Yea…Thank you.” Taking my hand again in hers. “You’re like a strong tree. Good roots  with unwavering branches.”

“Yea, and my bark is worse than my bite!” I snapped. She cracked up. Rebecca was back.

“You’re awesome.” she said as she again hugged me tightly. Oh, that lovely slender neck and her fragrance was sobering.

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

“There’s a great bar called Mix that is one block from here that has delicious 12 inch brick oven pizzas.”

“That sounds like the greatest idea I have heard all day! Do you think I’m over dressed or pizza?”

“I’m sure you’ll pass they’re rigid dress code, Rebecca.”

And with that she pulled from her hair the thing that was holding it in place, and those rich ribbons of dark chocolate tumbled over her lovely shoulders.

It’s hard to believe that this story could get any better at this point, but it does. The bill came and my guy placed it on the table. I reached for it to access the catastrophic damage to my bank account that 6 drinks at 1 Tippling Place would cost me… plus tip.

But Rebecca was faster, and she grabbed it first. “Uh uh. This is on me.”

I was in shock. My face, a mask of disbelief and mute protest. “Are you sure?” She looked at the bill. “Yep.” She whipped out her credit card and stuck it in the flap, as she nodded to the bartender.

I instinctively reached for my wallet. “Can I at least help with the tip?”

“Put your wallet way.” She said firmly, giving me a wry smile.

“Will you at least let me buy a lady some pizza?”

She ran her fingers through her hair, fluffing her dark locks. “I’ll think about it.”

The bill returned. She signed it and handed it back. ” Come along, Sir. I’m hungry.”

I liked that she called me Sir. I also like that she took my hand, and led me out of there. When we were outside she locked arms with me. I was in heaven. We’re on our way to eat delicious pizza.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Lorelei – 11/17/1996 to Present – The Apple of My Eye

When I began writing this story, I thought I would only cover certain topics. Mainly, my life in Philadelphia over the last ten years. The focus of Phicklephilly is romance and dating. But while on this journey, I realized my life is rich with so many other great characters, I should add them to the Phicklephilly universe.

So let me introduce you to my lovely daughter Lorelei. She turned 20 years old two months ago. Lor has always been a sweet, and easy-going child. Now a young woman. I am very proud of her, and its great watching her grow up and flourish. She’ll be occasionally popping up in my stories.

Her mom and I divorced when she was three and a half years old. She lived with her mom, and came to me every other weekend. This went on for many years. I’m not going to go into all of the details of my divorced life because that’s not what this forum is all about.That blog would be called, Nightmare in New Jersey.

One thing I never agreed with, was her mother putting her on ADD medicine when she was a little girl. But happily when Lor  was thirteen she came told me that she wasn’t going to take that shit anymore, because it wouldn’t allow her to perform in a dramatic way on stage. How fucked up is that?

Let’s have big pharma brainwash a bunch of stupid parents, and turn their creative and rambunctious children into dull robots, and life long drug addled customers. Just so we can make even more money for the stockholders. Pure evil.

There once was a kid whose teachers described him as unreachable. A boy lost in his dreams. Yea… that dude was Albert Einstein. Let’s crush any future Einsteins or Leonardo Di Vinci’s with a bunch of drugs. Shame on you all. And damn you all for what you’ve done. I was very proud that my daughter had the foresight to see what that junk was doing to her body and mind. So she kicked that shit years ago.

Anyway, Lorelei had become tired of the grinding frustration of living with her mother in New Jersey. Her mother’s 2nd ex-husband after me, was usually the blame, but once they divorced and he went back to Arizona, she was out of excuses. My daughter was and A – B student who was a beloved member of her high school’s theatrical group. She was lead soprano in a musical in 2014, and co-star of the musical they performed her senior year in 2015. This was a good kid. You have to wonder why life with her mother was so hard. What do we ask of our children growing up? Do well in school, and behave yourself. Lorelei was doing that and more. But I was married to that harpy for 8 years, and I know what kind of fresh hell it can be for anyone to live with my Lorelei’s mother.

My daughter was having stomach disorders, and anxiety living with her mother. Being in that hell house with her mother had for years been an extremely difficult place to be. Sad thing was, I split after 8 years, her second husband amazingly lasted a full ten years before he left. But Lorelei couldn’t leave. She was a child. She was like a prisoner under the ragged claws of her mother. But once she reached the age of majority she wanted to escape. She turned 18, and by February of 2015, she asked if she could come live with me. “Daddy, I’ll sleep on the floor if I have to if it’ll get me away from her.” Of course she wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor, and I would never turn my child away. So I told her to come live with me in Philly.

There was an obvious shit storm that ensued. Her mother likes to control everything, but lacks any real control over her own life. But my daughter was 18 years old. She could do what she wanted. She could vote, buy a gun, and serve in the military if she wanted. So technically, there was nothing her mom could do about it. She fought it of course, but I think we even had my daughter’s high school on our side. They realized her mom is crazy and were fed up with her nonsense as well.

But all aside, I forgive her mother. It takes too much of ones time and energy to hold a grudge against someone. That is some bad energy that you have to maintain everyday. It’s just a waste of time. You only have to forgive once, and your mind is free.

Lorelei would get herself up at dawn everyday at my house in center city. She would walk in the winter weather to the PATCO station and take the train into Jersey everyday by herself. In the beginning she actually was having anxiety attacks at the end of each day, because she was expecting something bad to happen. She discussed this with me, and it seemed like a form of post traumatic stress disorder from living with her mother. I understand that. You never knew who, or what you were coming home to. I reassured Lor that nothing was going to happen. I was putting her on an allowance, and if she needed anything to let me know. I was always here for her, and she was now safe. All she would be coming home to would be her Dad sitting in his chair, sipping a glass of wine and watching Netflix. Nothing more. In a few weeks she settled in just fine. She’d get up and go to school in Jersey every morning 5 days a week. She did this until she graduated in June of 2015. She graduated with good grades on a Friday, and started working as a hostess in restaurant here in Philly the following Tuesday.

She has since gone from vegetarian to vegan. She eats a balanced diet, and is lean and fit. Her stomach disorders are gone, and she no longer takes any of the medicines her mother put her on. She works at her job and likes it. I let her live her life.

I love her very much, and would do anything for my baby. She’ll always be the apple of my eye. My one and only daughter. My immortality in this world.

I have always believed it’s not as hard as everyone thinks to be a parent. Just give your children love, good information, manners, consistency and discipline. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but that’s a decent foundation.

I always looked at parenting this way. I am the Archer. Lorelei is the Arrow.  I need to be firm when I hold the bow. But I also need to be flexible like the string. I must cast the Arrow straight and true into tomorrow, for that is a place I can never go.

Tomorrow belongs to our children. Try not to fuck it up.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

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I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.

Sun Stories: Olivia – 7/2016 Flirt – Part II

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

From time to time over the summer, Olivia would come in and chat a little bit before her sessions and it was a small slice of paradise for me. Don’t get me wrong, there are dozens of women that come in the spa every day that are really good talent. But there is just something about a small percentage of them that just light me up. I think what it comes down to is, they are obviously attractive but there is something else. They have to be a little engaging. We have hundreds of active clients right now, and I would say under 20 really do it for us. Olivia would talk about her life a little and how she is dating some guy but it’s not working. (Me, so happy when I hear that!)

One day a former colleague of mine was in town to meet me for lunch. After lunch he wanted to go to the spa. Yes, the same one where I work part-time. We get there and the waiting room is packed. The Temple girls are all going back to school, so they are all back for their treatments. He grabs the last seat and I’m just standing there surrounded by all of these women sitting around waiting. Who walks in but Olivia. She walks right up to me and hugs me. “Where have you been all of my life.” I swear she said that. We’re chatting and to me everyone in the room disappeared. I saw only her. The loveseat opened up when a few of the girls were being waited on, and Achilles from behind the counter says “Will you two sit down!” We laugh and she says “Yes Dad!” And I say, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me!” We takes a seat and she’s telling me about school, and work and stuff, and I’m loving it. This is the high point of the day. She tells me she is working this Friday, and says I should come up and visit her. She says she’s hostessing so she’ll be able to chat all night. I tell her I’ll see. She goes tanning, then off to work.

Of course I don’t go. After working at the spa until 8pm and then cleaning up, I’m ready to just go home and have a drink, and watch Netflix. I’m not getting on the train and going all the way up to Fishtown at 9pm.

A week passes and it’s the next Friday, and who comes strolling in at 7:30. Olivia. She looks amazing as always. The great thing is, it’s dead on Friday nights and we can chat. The first thing she says is, “Somebody was supposed to come visit me last week and never did.” I apologized and explained why and she was fine with it. Her phone died and I told her I had a charger. She comes around the counter to plug-in and starts showing me all of these pictures of her family. Of course they are all Aryan greatness, and she tells me everyone has blue eyes. It’s a big family. I think like 5 kids! All good-looking. I’m looking at her beautiful face right next to me and her lashes are so long, and I simply adore her. I’m mesmerized by her beauty.

She glances past me at the other computer and asks what that is on the screen. I was working on phicklephilly on the other unit. I admit that I write this blog about people I meet in Philadelphia. She inquires deeper, and I admit that it’s about all of the women I have met in the last 10 years. She says she wants to read it and I should send her the link. I’m completely under her power at this point, but see a wonderful opportunity. I tell her I can’t do that because I don’t have any of her contact info. I give her my phone and she writes her name with some emojis next to it. A smiling sun, cherries, and a bomb. I don’t know what any of this means, but I don’t care because I am so happy. I now have her contact info. I tell her that if we meet up outside of here, I will have to write about it. I think she likes the idea of the attention. I tell her I change all of the names and use stock photos for the pics on each post. She says I should her real picture, and I tell her I’ll think about it. She actually uses the words “Text me and we’ll go out on a date.” At that moment I was so excited, I wish I could have tied my belt around my head so that it didn’t explode like that dude in the movie, Scanners.

Ha ha ha! Yeah!!!!

Of course I say: “Are you sure? Like brunch or meet for a drink?” She says, yes. This is all very surreal, but I am overcome with euphoria. I tell her I’ll keep and eye on her phone and she goes back for her session. When she comes out she hugs me and says to reach out to her. I give her the phone, which she nearly forgot. Then off she goes into the night.

I’m super happy at this point. So as I’m closing up and settling the register, I put on some triumphant music.

The next night around 1:30am, my phone rings and it’s her. But I’m asleep! The next morning I see that she called, and there is a voicemail! I can’t imagine my luck. I wonder what she will say? I play the message and it is two and a half minutes of muffled static.

Later, I get this text: “OMGOSH I butt dialed you by accident!! I did it to like a bunch of people bc my phone was in my back pocket at work haha oops!”

I waited a few hours (because that’s the cool thing to do so it looks like you have a life)

Then I responded: “Blame your butt all you want. You know you wanted to call me! ha ha”

Crickets.

Sigh…

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

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I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.

Michelle – 2007 to Present – Chapter 6 – The Wishing Stone

I had been growing frustrated with what was going on between me, Michelle and Delaware Dave. Something had to give. She was with me Monday through Friday, every day. Weekends she was trying to put her relationship back on track with him. That, and of course the annoying, disruptive phone calls from him to her when we were out at night. No matter what we were doing, everything would just come to a screeching halt, and she’d have to take his call whenever the whim struck him. Just youthful nonsense and insecurity.

I consider myself a man of science. I’m sure life itself is a miracle and there are some metaphysical things out there, but most things can be explained by science and mathematics. But when you’re in love, you sometimes can do some crazy shit. Your brain is firing some mad chemicals through your body. I had been reaching a breaking point with her, but didn’t know what to do. So one day I was at my wit’s end and I decided to turn to some darker forces. I know this is going to sound nuts, but I really did this.

It was a Friday in the Spring of 2008. Early May. Weather was a warm and it was a sunny day. I was out making sales calls. I had made my way down to South Street. I came upon Harry’s Occult Shop. I went in and started looking around. I have a friend who is Wiccan and she believes a lot of this stuff. I also know a few younger women that are into all of the magic stones and crystals stuff. Like I said, I’m a student of science. I can’t imagine what all of this stuff does. A very nice lady came up to me and asked if she could help me. I literally told her my dilemma with Michelle. Some how I have been pulled into this store. She was very sweet and took what was happening to me very seriously. Apparently this is quite common, and they are good at this sort of thing.

The first thing we looked at were different crystals. I picked up this sort of translucent pinkish colored stone. The lady says: “Great. It chose you.” Very smooth. I started rubbing the stone with my thumb and index finger. “Okay, what’s next?” I say.  She gives me this nice smelling oil in a little orange bottle. She says to wear it like a cologne and also rub it on the stone in my pocket. I should rub the stone and say Michelle’s name. I should also rub the stone when I’m talking to Michelle or when I am near her.  That’s great. Reach in your pocket and rub a hard object when you’re talking to Michelle. That won’t look weird at all.

Then she gave me this plastic bottle of a special body wash. I’m supposed to use this every day until it’s gone. Thing is, the liquid inside appears to be black or grey. It didn’t really appear to look like something you should be washing your whole body with, but who am I to question these occult wizards?

I ask if there is anything else, or is that it, and she says she has one more thing for me. She reaches up on a high shelf and hands me a tall glass candle. She says this is some sort of love spell candle. the glass is red and the candle is white. On the glass that holds the candle there are two white hearts they are connected. She tells me that when I get home tonight, I have to write Michelle’s name and my name in the little hearts. Then I’m supposed to light the candle and burn it continuously for as long as possible. I ask if I can blow it out when I leave the house so I don’t create a fire hazard at my apartment, and she says that’s okay.

So I buy all of this stuff. It came to around $40 or so. She bags it up and I head back to the office. I dab a few drops of the oil onto the stone and on my neck and forearms. I reach the building and go up the elevator to our floor. I have to get my bag of goodies in quickly and stash it under my desk so I don’t become the laughing stock of my department. I see Michelle and chat briefly managing to get a few rubs of my stone in without being noticed.

When I got home that night, I set up my candle in the corner of the room. I took out a sharpie marker and wrote my name and hers on the hearts. Apparently this is supposed to bring our energy together, and drive a wedge of bad energy between Michelle and Dave.

Over the weekend, and all the way up to Monday morning I burned the candle and wore the oil and kept my little stone oiled up as well. Each morning I bathed using the black body wash. It wasn’t awful. It didn’t smell bad. It just looked dirty because all of this black stuff would be circling the drain. But it didn’t seem to discolor my skin at all.

I went into work on Monday and it was business as usual. I had burned the love spell candle all weekend long. I had my stone with me, and had freshly showered in the body wash from the river Styx. So I was ready. By the time 5 pm came, I decided to do something different. Instead of leaving with her, like I always did. (I was fed up waiting for her to figure out what she wanted.) I simply got up from my chair and walked down the hall to the elevators.

Michelle nearly ran up behind me. She hadn’t even change out of her heels into her flats. I was a bit surprised at her behavior. “Aren’t you even going to wait for me?” she exclaimed. I sort of acted like I hadn’t thought of it, but I had. So we left together and did our usual “walk her home every night” routine. We were chatting about some general things. We were at the corner in front of the GSK World Headquarters. Right where the Freedom sculpture is.

You can see it here: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/sculpture-breaks-free

I love this sculpture, because I love the idea of breaking free of ones bounds whether it be physical or mental. That’s never easy to do, but this work really captures the spirit of changing your life and not being chained to your past. Of all places for the next thing to occur…

She turns to me and says: “Can I ask you a question?” I’m like; “Sure.” She asks me if I were in a relationship with someone, and they had dated or had a relationship with a black person in the past, would I have a problem of that? I told her that answer was an easy one. I had a black girlfriend when I lived in Los Angeles in the early 80’s, and also another black girlfriend when I lived in New York before I moved back to Philly. You can’t be anymore non-racist than that. I told her I love all women. I have all they’re albums. All shapes, sizes and colors. That’s what makes life beautiful. The differences in people. (As you will see in this blog my deeds speak the truth more than my words)  I asked her if Delaware Dave had a problem with her having been intimate with that black guy Tyrell in the past. She said he did. Maybe he called her a nigger lover or something. (Which I find abhorrent) But whatever had happened over the weekend it wasn’t good.

We discussed it further for a bit, but I knew. That had been the deal breaker. Maybe not a life long deal breaker. People can change. They can have different views about things. They mature and sometimes learn to forgive. They can even simply settle. But it looked like for now the whole reconciliation with Dave was off the table.

I called my friend Vicky who is the Wiccan and told her the crazy ritual I had performed, and what the outcome had been. Her response as a white witch was appropriate and hilarious. “Do not ever do that again! You don’t know what dark forces you’re fucking with! Why didn’t you consult me first!?”

Did it work? I’m not going to question any of it. If it got Michelle to be with me, it was the best $40 I had ever spent. So technically some thing worked. Maybe it was all simply in the timing. Like Shakespeare’s Hamlet says to Horatio: “There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Oh, and that little magic pink stone that I rubbed for luck 9 years ago?

I was just looking at it this morning in the little wooden box on my desk.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

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I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.