Maria – Chapter 3 – Amor en Vano – Part III

So the summer was upon us and the last contact I had with her was at the end of June. We had spoken on the phone a couple of times.  I was half in the bag when I called her so I don’t really remember what we talked about, but I suppose it was something. Whatever it was, it sort of sustained contact. But remember, this blog is called Phicklephilly, so I am easily distracted. Especially in the summertime.

So here it is the middle of August, and I decide to check in with her. I texted her, “Hey, I know it’s been forever, and I hope all is well with your new gig. Would you like to meet up for a drink one day next week?”

Crickets. (When there is no response back from someone I will always use the word, crickets)

So I wait until that night and text again, “Lunch?”


So the next day was Friday, and I was complaining to my friend at lunch how I hadn’t heard back from Maria, and figured that was it. She was gone. I told him how I had asked her out for a drink, and then lunch and all I heard was the deafening roar of a thousand crickets. He said, “Just write something funny.”

So I texted her the word “Popcorn?”

And after three days of silence she suddenly responded.

She wrote something lame that we’ve all done, “lol sorry thought it sent” “I have one more week til school but we will see how next week looks.” I responded, “Great! Popcorn worked!”

Back to crickets. That Monday I texted her to see what her schedule looked like. That was Monday of this week. This all just happened! She got back to me and said 1pm on Tuesday would work. I know she likes seafood, so I was excited that this would be our first formal, “I ask you to go out somewhere and you and I do that alone, and not at a flower show that I got free tickets to kinda thing” So I said. “Meet me at Devon at 1pm tomorrow.” She said, “yes.”

Now I know what you’re thinking, why did he go big on the first exclusive date? Because I wanted to show her that although Luke’s Lobster is great, and Seafood Unlimited is great as too, Devon is on the park in Rittenhouse. They’re not going to screw it up. It’ll be classy. I want her to feel that she’s important to me. I’m not going to take her to Ruby Tuesday’s for lunch. I’m a Leo. I had to go big. In my mind, she’s worth it.

Tuesday arrives. I get to Devon and she arrives shortly thereafter. I got a quiet table in the back, and the waiter was nice. Maria looked lovely. Nice dress, tanned skin from the summer sun, the raven hair and dark eyes I love. She orders a glass of sparkling and I do the same.

We order the shrimp cocktail, and the plump little prawns arrived on a plate of ice. They were delicious with the sparkling wine. She ordered the moon fish, and I got the mixed seafood grille. The food was delicious and we even shared. During the meal she expressed that she was stressed about school, work and income. Pretty normal stuff. It was a pleasant meal with a pretty girl that I like, probably for the wrong reasons, but I had a good time. The meal was expensive. I paid the tab of course. It was more expensive than I suspected. But I did pick the place, and I did ask her out.

She had a dress with her that she needed to get hemmed for a wedding she’s in next month. I was going to take her to my tailor in Rittenhouse but because our lunch went from 1pm to after 2:30 I had to get back to work. So we hugged and off she went to get her dress fixed.

That night I sent her a friend request on Facebook, and messaged her to see how the hemming went. She accepted my request and got right back to me and said she had forgotten her shoes that she was going to wear to the wedding so she had to go back the next day. They can’t hem your dress with out the right shoes! The next day which would have been Wednesday of this week, I texted her and said, “Dress hemmed?”


So I discussed all of this with a few of my friends, and decided that Maria really isn’t into me. You can’t force something that simply isn’t there.

She liked the free tanning session. The free tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show, the free glasses of wine while she was there.  The free lunch and drinks at Devon Seafood the other day. What’s not to like? Everybody loves free stuff, and she knows I’m a gentleman, so she’s safe. I asked her to all of these things and she was nice enough to join me.

Maria owes me nothing. I simply enjoy her company.

We discussed doing seafood again and I’d probably take her to Zama. But at the end of the day, what I would like is to hold her hand, and walk through the park. Kiss her. That would be wonderful. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. So I think I’m going to let this go.

Today, Friday, 8/26/16 I was at work and after telling a friend that I am probably done with Maria because it’s a waste of everyone’s time, and will never turn into a romantic affair.

That’s when my phone beeped.

It was a text from Maria, responding to my text from yesterday about the dress being hemmed.

Maria: “I told them to take their time!”

I should go to my tailor and secretly pay for it. What a surprise that would be for her. But I’m not going to do that. And we’ll all be better off for it. It was kind of her to spend time with me, but she just doesn’t have any feelings for me. So sadly, this really has been Amor en Vano.



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Maria – Chapter 2 – Amor en Vano – Part II

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

In our last episode, our hero was meeting with Maria at a coffee shop to find out why she had been let go from her job. But does he have ulterior motives?

Maria stated that it was one incident on a Saturday night where she did one shot with a table of people. But she said some of the other servers said she was drinking all night long, and that simply wasn’t true. (I believe her) I was just happy that she was talking to me and meeting with me over coffee. I asked her what was she going to do now and she said she had already gotten another job at a nicer restaurant. I was surprised it happened so fast but in that industry there is always turnover, and they always need experienced help. (And because she’s smart and understands the hospitality industry) Maria lamented that she’d have to learn a new menu but other than that it was a decent gig. I had been to the new place when it opened and I thought it was a great spot in a good area. The food was good, so she’d probably do well there.

And that’s when I said the following. “Maria, I have something else I need to share with you.” She crossed her arms. I’m really good at reading people’s body language so I tried to put her at ease. I told her that I had real feelings for her. You have to be willing to take risks like this if you want the better rewards in life. But I will tell you, sometimes you roll the dice and your number doesn’t come up. Maybe on a later roll, but sometimes you leave the casino alone and broke.  She said she didn’t want to be misconstrued on how she was when she would serve us at the restaurant.

I understand if a server is sweet and a little flirty it helps garner bigger tips. It’s just human psychology. I told her she was just being friendly and that it was her personality that shone through. I told her all of those times we came into the restaurant all I wanted to see was her. The weekends I would spend at my office working on ad copy. I would text her and say “I’m burning so many calories banging my head against the wall trying to come up with an idea for this ad campaign it’s making me hungry. Should I come see you and have some delicious sliders?” That was the sort of thing I would do but it was all about wanting to see her.

She responded, “Do you think we’d be compatible?” And I said, “We went to the flower show, that was great and you don’t know if you’re compatible until you spend time with someone.” I simply told her how I felt about her. I think she was surprised, but at least I know it’s out there now and I’ve said it. I know she’s sporty and I’m more of the arts guy but who knows? Stranger things have happened. (Please continue reading this blog each week and you’ll know!) She was on her way to the new job when she met me, so I bid her farewell and told her I’d stay in touch. We hugged and she was gone. At least now she knew what I felt for her.

I told Maria that me and my colleague were going to boycott the old place for firing her by never going there again, but that clearly wasn’t happening. The food is delicious there and we still love the lunch hostess, Mary (See: Mary – Unexpected Table for Two) and a couple of the other servers there!

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!


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Maria – Chapter 1 – Amor en Vano – Part I

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

I work in advertising. A colleague and I normally go out to lunch at some of the local eateries here in center city. We have a list of spots we like and there is one in particular that we really like. There’s this one server that I started to like. We both thought she was great. After awhile we would ask to be seated in her section every time we went there.

Maria was always on point with the service and friendly. She’s a beautiful hispanic girl. Dark brown hair that tumbled to her shoulders like ribbons of bittersweet chocolate. She has light caramel skin and is very fit. She runs most days so she’s in great shape.

When her section would slow down, she would always spend a little extra time with us to chat. We loved the attention from such a sweet girl.

I have many contacts and clients throughout the city. One of which is a tanning salon. Maria said she’d like to check it out and I got her a free pass to go tanning. She gave me her contact info so that I could set it up.

I sometimes get tickets to events through my job. Maria had expressed an interest in going to the Philadelphia Flower Show. So when my co-worker got tickets because they were advertising with us he gave me a pair. I called Maria and asked her if she’d like to go. She accepted!

We met at the convention center and she was on time, which I like. We went in and checked her backpack. We grabbed a couple of glasses of wine and walked around the event. It was really nice to spend time with this girl that I only ever spoke to at her job. Here she was with me and we were getting to know each other. I was happy. During the event I remember she mentioned to me that she had lost her “M” necklace. Not at the event, but somewhere else. I thought about how great it would be to replace that for her. But I was getting ahead of myself.

We looked at some beautiful small orchids that she showed a fondness for. I made mental notes for future romantic gift ideas in case that wonderful idea ever occurred. I also signed up for some sort of green energy thing and they gave me a single little rose in a vial and I gave it to her. (First flower!)

A few weeks went by and I would see her at the restaurant when we would go there. I asked her to another event that I got tickets to through work. Due to scheduling conflicts she was unable to attend.

Some more time went by, and one day we went to the restaurant and one of the other servers told us Maria had been fired. We were shocked because we thought she had been one of their best and long-term employees. We asked why and she said, “For drinking on the job.”

Now I know a lot of bartenders and restaurant employees in this city and the policy in regard to drinking on the job vary. I spoke with one bartender who works at bar up by Temple University and she said, where she works she can do the occasional shot with the clients if they insist. She said she comes out from behind the bar and does it with them. If by chance the booze is clear in color and she is pouring the shots she will make sure hers is water if possible.  I spoke with another bartender who works at a nice hotel bar here in center city the same question. He said, “Look, if it’s you guys, (I have known him for several years and the guy I was with is a local liquor rep) I can do the occasional shot to taste something new with you.” But other than that it’s prohibited.

So I decided to get to the bottom of this new development in Maria’s life. I texted her and asked “Are you no longer at the restaurant anymore?”  She got back to me rather quickly saying “Yea about that. It’s a joke. I’ll have to tell you the full story then.”

I was interested to find out, but more so to see her outside of the restaurant, one on one! But I also decided to do something else during our meeting. Because fortune favors the bold.

We agreed to meetup the next day at a Starbucks. I got there first and she arrived shortly after. I don’t really drink coffee. I like the smell and taste of it and have drank it in the past, but I just don’t NEED it like most people. If someone said to me,”you can never have coffee again.” I’d be like, “no big deal.” But if the said, “no more wine again ever.” Dude. We’ve got a problem.

Anyway, she arrives and she has this cute tan summer dress on and she looks incredibly hot. So we get our coffees and sit down. She begins to tell me her side of the story. And like any story, there’s her side, the restaurant’s side, and the truth. She said that everybody does it. And they decided to make an example out of her to drive home the message that drinking with the patrons was strictly forbidden. If they would fire a long-term senior employee for the infraction, then anyone could be let go at anytime. Pretty effective message.

Tune in on Wednesday for Part II of this story. What is our hero planning on doing at the coffee shop?



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Alis – NYC Goodbye

I’m going to keep this brief. This is not the story of Alis and me. I’ll write about that relationship some other time. Maybe if I ever write a book entitled PhickleNYC.

It was 2006. I was working as a consultant for a company that did research for banks and credit unions. I was one of the guys that flew around the country cleaning up these financial centers and returning them to profitability.

When we had a project going I could be working on it for eight or nine weeks at a time. So I traveled most of the time. The money was great when you were working. But there wasn’t always a project. When that happened they would tell you, “You’re on the beach.” Which meant, go home and apply for unemployment until we call you again.

Our main office was at 32nd and 5th Avenue in New York City. I had met Alis on an old dating site called Hurrydate. Alis and I exchanged numbers and were soon chatting on the phone. She lived up on 110th Street and worked as a lawyer on Wall Street. She was a thirty five year old Haitian beauty.

I started going up to New York more and more, and after awhile I’d be staying over her place up there. Sometimes, I’d just live there during the week and go home on the weekends to see my daughter.

Alis’ biological clock was ticking big time. Her younger sister was already married and pregnant with her second child, so the pressure was on in Alis’s mind. She wanted to find a husband and have a child. She was on several dating sites. Maybe all of them at the time.

Alis really took a liking to me and we had a lot of fun together. It was nice to be with such an intelligent woman that had not been marred by the media. She never watched television as a kid. So her head isn’t filled with a lot of worthless pop culture references like mine.

But after awhile the fun wears off and the reality sets in. She really started working on me to get married and give her a child. It was too soon to be discussing that sort of thing. But she also really liked being with me. If I had married her and had a kid or two I would have been set for life. Nice apartment in Manhattan, a wife that makes tons of loot and I could maybe even stay home with the kids and be a house dad.

But I wouldn’t be happy. I’ve never “settled” on anybody. I know many people who settle. Settling on someone says to me you’ve given up and are simply tired of failing and then having to search for love again. I get it. That’s you. Never me. Do you thing Thomas Edison gave up after failing 500 times trying to invent the incandescent lightbulb? Of course he didn’t. He just looked upon it as a 500 step process.

As much as I loved Alis, I had to tell her I didn’t want to have any more children. I had my one daughter and that would be it. She got on craigslist and found me an apartment in Jersey City and that was it.

I’ll never forget the last time I saw her. I was standing in her doorway.

“Sorry you couldn’t be the one. I thought you were the one.”

She shut the door and I walked outside to my car. I never saw Alis again.

Sometime after that I moved back to Philadelphia. Where this story really begins.



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