Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – Terri – First Love – Part 4

Whats great about this is… taking a photograph freezes time. Time is fluid. Always changing. But in this moment I still have not only the memory, but an image from my past frozen in time forever.

The next morning was overcast. I was feeling sick. Not a head cold, but actually physically ill. I didn’t know at the time but I sort of knew. This week I had felt the rush of first love wash over me like the sea itself. Warm, soft waves carrying me aloft in euphoric bliss.

And now the crushing reality that my love was leaving to go home today. I was nauseous. This was a mix of anxiety and depression twisting together in my gut like a ball python.

Terri and her family were packing up the car, and I went to say goodbye. I took a seat and her brother took a photo of us together. I’m broken in the picture. She looks lovely, laughing at life.

I kiss her goodbye and I know something has changed in me. I will live with this for the rest of my life. I’ll carry Terri’s memory like a tear inside my heart.

Their station wagon rolls out of the parking lot and she’s gone. I go into the office and tell my boss that’s I’m sick. I don’t know if he senses what’s really wrong with me, and as I write this I wish I knew. He gets some pepto bismol, (A pink liquid that you drink and it’s suppose to settle your stomach) He administers a tablespoon like a parent. I take it and I know it’s not going to work. He tells me to just go home if I’m sick. I thank him, and walk behind the motel and proceed to vomit the pink liquid into the grass.

I’m ruined inside.

I walk west on 10th street. I was afraid to go home because I thought if my mom found out I didn’t work I was screwing up again. I was just love-sick. I cross Surf, Atlantic and get to Central Avenue. I walked to the middle of the block and sit down on the curb. I look down into the dirt on the street. There’s a colony of tiny ants just going about their day in Wildwood. gathering food, tending to young, and building shelter. Completely unaware that they live on a 5 mile island packed with 5000 tourists, and the Atlantic Ocean is just 5 blocks away. They’ve never seen the boardwalk and all its wonder, or ever met a girl, and fallen in love in a week and felt the heartbreak of loss almost in 24 hours. They’re just doing their thing.


I start to cry.

Is this what love is? Chance, euphoria, anxiety, exhilaration and then crushing sadness?

I didn’t know that at the time, because this was my maiden voyage into the foray of love, but this was to be my litany for the next 40 years. A cycle of highs and lows that would hunt me like a wolf through middle age. A drug I would crave only to become an addict that was always trying to get clean from the rush of love. But I would relapse again and again with different women. The thing I loved most would ruin my life. I would lay upon beauty and it would dash me to the ground and grind me into powder.

Again and again.

And it would all be by my own hand.

Terri and I kept in touch for the next year through letters. That’s what people did back then. They took pen to paper and wrote down their thoughts and feelings to another person. Then they sealed it in an envelope, addressed it, put a stamp on it, and dropped it in a mailbox. Three to five days later the other person got that letter, read it and then in good time responded with the same. Hard to believe that’s how it was done for hundreds of years. Now you can simply text, “Hey.”

I still have those letters. I’m going to dig them out and read them if I can. I’m sure it’ll provide me with some insight to this journey.

I recently uncovered this photo. It was taken of us the day she left. I had to tape the two pieces back together because I cut me out of the photo and carried her picture around in my wallet for a year. Here’s that old photo, and what she wrote on the back when she sent it to me in her first letter! (Look at that lovely girl!)

My first love.

Whats great about this is… taking a photograph freezes time. Time is fluid. Always changing. But in this moment I still have not only the memory, but an image from my past frozen in time forever.


I cut the photo in half so I could carry Terri with me in my wallet after she left.

Here’s what was written on the back of that photo.

Here’s a bracelet she sent me.

I wore it every day for over a year.


Take it away boys…



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Dating and Relationship Advice – Discovering Modern Dating Slang

I like to pride myself on keeping up with new terminology and expressions. So I was disappointed to discover that I was unfamiliar with the new dating lexicon that seems to have suddenly popped up on social media.

How many terms do you recognize?



Sending out flirty, but non-committal, text messages (breadcrumbs) hoping to lure a partner without making much of an effort.



Creating a fake persona on social media with the intention of duping someone into an online relationship.


Cuffing Season

During the fall and winter months, some singles may wish to be “cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship.


Friends with Benefits

Two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved.



Ending a relationship with a friend by cutting off all contact and not providing any explanations.



Wearing a hat to cover up baldness, bad hair days, or other unfortunate hair situations. Goal: To trick people into thinking you’re more attractive.



You r-bomb a friend when you leave a message as “read” but don’t reply.



A relationship that is free of labels. It could be a friendship, partway between friendship and relationship, may include friends with benefits…It’s complicated!!!


Thirst Trap

Sharing a provocative picture on social media with the sole intention of getting attention. An ego-feeding exercise!



An old flame contacts you out of the blue.


Any others to add?



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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – Terri – First Love – Part 3

I walk down 8th street to Ocean Ave. and stroll the two blocks to the motel. I go and knock on their motel room door. I can see it in my mind exactly. I can see it’s location and its color and the length of translucent jalousies windows that are open to let air into the room.

Heart pounding. The whole family is there and they invite me in. They were super nice and that put me at ease. They didn’t make me feel like, “What are your intentions with my daughter?”

So off we went. Terri looked beautiful. She had a little white flouncy top, bare arms, and white shorts with sneakers. Cute as a button.

Even in the short time we had been chatting, (Just mornings at the motel) I felt that we had created a bond. We were walking along the boardwalk and it was still light out. The boardwalk was awash with people and sounds. Hawkers at their games of chance, the sights and smells of sweet and fried food, and the salty air from the sea. The music and the roar of the rollercoasters. The soundtrack is music coming from a nearby carousel. (Which may be the happiest music on earth)

I’m looking at her lovely profile as she walks beside me. I can’t believe we are actually out together on a date here in this seaside wonderland. I tell her there’s a bobby pin in her hair. She quickly removes it. I hope she wasn’t embarrassed but maybe she was nervous getting ready for our date just like me!

We get to the theater and I of course buy the tickets. I was all about chivalry and being a gentleman even back then. It’s who I was and how I was raised. My dad had slipped me a $20 before I left that day, just to make sure I was covered financially for the date! I had plenty of money on me anyway. (Thanks dad!) I had a week’s pay on me, ($40!) I had to be prepared for anything!

The words, Star Wars is emblazoned on the marquee over the doors of the place.

We go into the cool air conditioned theater. The smell of buttery popcorn and sweets fill the air. We feel sticky detritus under our feet as we find our seats. I sit on her right. She looks lovely. She tucks a lock of her hair behind her ear and I see she’s wearing tiny gold earrings.

The lights go down and the film begins. I can’t believe I’m actually on a date with a pretty girl who likes me and I’m seeing Star Wars again! This can’t miss!

I have an old friend that was never good at talking to girls. He’s a dear friend and grew into a great man and we’re friends today, but back then he just couldn’t get it together when it came to talking to the fairer sex. I told him to just take her to the movies! That’s two hours where you don’t have to say or do a thing and something else is entertaining her so you don’t have to.

He took all of his dates back then to movies after that. All of them. Even his future wife!

I’m loving the movie all over again. It’s making me calm down a bit because I’m focused on the wonder of the film. I don’t know when it actually happened but I started holding hands with her! I felt her soft dainty girl hand in mine. I even did the little gentle thumb rub. It was so great.

After the movie we walked home on the boardwalk again. It was dark now and the amusements, and games were all in full swing. All the sights, smells and sounds come rushing back to me now forty years later.

We get back to the motel, and she checks in with her parents to show that she has in fact not been murdered by the pool boy. We then sit in two of the chairs that are outside of an empty room. But obviously not the ones in front of her family’s room. We sat in a pair of seats all the way down at the end in front of a vacant room where we could barely be seen.

So we’re giggling and then it happens.

We kiss.

It’s innocent and beautiful.

Sweet and soft.

I can still remember the perfume she was wearing. It was called Babe. A perfect scent for such a sweet girl. My heart was melting like a pad of butter in a pan of love.

But my curfew was approaching, and I told her I would run home and ask if I could stay out a little longer with her. But if I didn’t come back I would see her tomorrow. (No such thing as the internet or cell phones back then.) So I RUN the two blocks back to my house and tell my dad my dilemma. He sends me back out and gives me another hour.

Magic! (Thank you, dad!)

My father spent his summers in Wildwood as a youth so he knew that this was a critical moment in a boy’s life.

So I get back to Terri in under 5 minutes round trip. We’re sitting there and chatting and talking about music and stuff. There is some more smooching and hand holding. It’s a lovely gentle moment in my young life.

The euphoria of the night with her was all like a dream. I remember her softly singing these lyrics:

“If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me…”

Time flies when you’re having fun and the hour blazes by like a New York minute. I bid my sweet “Juliet” adieu and I’m off like a Montague.



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Dating and Relationship Advice – 10 Things A Good Guy Won’t Do To The Woman He Loves

All humans make mistakes and hurt loved ones. But overall you should feel cherished.

The beauty of those being treated poorly in relationships is the power and self-respect you gain through your hard knocks.

A common yet understandable error that emotionally disabled and oppressed people make is to question themselves and justify poor treatment by others.

It’s beautiful to have a compassionate heart, but when it comes to your inner circle, and especially your romantic partner, you must be unapologetic about your standards and not let your compassion for others get the best of you. In other words, don’t feed your pearls to swine.

The right person uplifts you and treats you with the respect you deserve.

If you find yourself questioning whether he loves you despite his hurtful behavior, then you’ve answered your own question: NO! He doesn’t love you and it’s not because you are unlovable — it’s because his capacity to love is impaired and you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

The majority of people do not intend to harm others. However, many do cause harm, not because it’s their intention, but because they are too stuck in their own suffering to consider the needs of others. They are not in a state of love, so they cannot possibly love you.

When someone you are romantically involved with does not show you tender care and empathy, it’s because they live in such a narrow psychological world that all they can manage to do is greedily protect themselves. This means taking as if there were famine, and not sharing because to do so threatens their continued existence, or so they believe.

They do not love themselves, for when you love yourself, you inherently love others and life itself. Those who love themselves know that all of humanity is connected; that not caring for others is cutting off one’s nose to spite their face.

You will know that you’ve found a good guy who loves himself and can, therefore, love you when he never does these 10 things. Here are the signs that he doesn’t love you:

1. He puts destructive habits before you.

10 Things A Good Guy Won't Do To The Woman He Loves

Addiction blocks a person’s ability to love. Period. If the addiction is to substances, their love is even further diminished because it alters their mental and physical states.

Very few things in life are guaranteed, but you cannot ever be deeply loved by a person with addiction because they will always put their object of addiction before you. Addiction is inherently narcissistic and self-destructive.

2. He threatens you physically, emotionally, or verbally.

This one seems obvious, but those of us who have been threatened and/or abused know the insidious power of the abusive cycle. Not only does it lower your self-worth, but chemically, the lows that come with abuse are so severe that the feel-good oxytocin released into the bloodstream when the abuser “loves” you again becomes addictive to you.

But this pattern is not love any more than a heroin habit is love. Nor should you go through such dramatic chemical and emotional swings. Real love is grounded, trustworthy, and stable.

3. He pressures you to do things for him that you don’t feel comfortable doing.

10 Things A Good Guy Won't Do To The Woman He Loves

A classic sign of self-centeredness, a person who pressures you into doing things for him that you are not comfortable doing has no regard for you. You are an object to him, to be used for his own power source.

If you are an empath and giver by nature, you must especially watch out for this trap. You feel good by giving, he feels good by taking — it’s the perfect storm that leads to destruction and classic dysfunctional relationships.

It has nothing to do with love and everything to do with low self-worth and a search for identity through another person.

4. He repeatedly fails to keep his word or lies to you.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz brought the importance of this reality to light. It’s been said that it’s better to live in a tent if you must than to live in a mansion with a man you can’t trust.

Your romantic relationship is one of the most intimate relationships in your lives, and what allows it to be intimate is trust. Without trust, there is no relationship. Trust is the very foundation of your relational home. If he does not keep his word, you are not safe with him.

5. He ignores or neglects you.

10 Things A Good Guy Won't Do To The Woman He Loves

Someone who really loves you knows how special you are. He shows you care and attention because he truly cherishes you. People who are neglectful are not available for love — to themselves or anyone else.

They are stuck at a very young level of emotional development and no matter how fantastic you are or what you do, he’s simply not capable of giving you the care you deserve, and he never will be.

6. He speaks in a manner that is rude, crude, or disrespectful.

You need for the person you’re with to be a real mensch (Yiddish for a person of integrity and honor). Someone who speaks rudely in general and especially in your presence does not honor you, themselves, or anyone else.

We teach people how to treat us. Putting up with disrespectful talk tells them their words are acceptable. Even something as common as a man using the word “girl” to describe a grown woman is patronizing, demeaning, and sexually twisted. We don’t call grown men “boys” because it would insult their maturity and masculinity.

When you have an unpleasant bodily reaction to the words someone uses, there is usually a very good reason for it. It’s because they are unloving.

7. Shows or acts on an interest in pursuing other women.

It’s healthy, normal, and natural to feel attracted to other people whether or not you are in a relationship. To act on this attraction is something different altogether. Commitment is a sign of love and devotion. If someone is not committed to you, they do not really love you.

If you have a sick child, you are required to take time off of work and self-interest in order to care for that child. Abandoning your parental duties because other things are more appealing to you would mean that you don’t truly love your child. The same is true in romance.

8. Acts like your needs are a burden or inconvenience in his life.

One of the most self-oppressive things you can do in relationships is to pretend that you don’t have any needs. We all have a need to be loved, appreciated, and cared for on emotional and physical levels.

If you suffered neglect or abuse as a child, you likely subconsciously believe that you are a burden, but it’s not true! You deserve a mate who is capable of treating you like a precious gem worthy of the best.

9. He criticizes, disparages, or belittles you.

10 Things A Good Guy Won't Do To The Woman He Loves

Generally speaking, criticism beats a spirit down. Most people criticize themselves enough. The last person we need to hear more negative feedback from is our partner. There is a difference between a person who offers helpful suggestions and one who criticizes.

The latter causes you to feel bad about yourself. Don’t tolerate it. Not for one second.

10. He makes the focus about him, constantly demanding your time, energy, and attention.

A healthy, loving partner appreciates your love but does not demand it for his own ego gratification. Anything that’s imbalanced, including relationships, is subject to disease. Relationships are a two-way street about each person sharing with each other.

You’ll have an intuitive sense when someone is sucking your energy. Pay attention to that inner knowing because it will only get worse.


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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – Terri – First Love – Part 2

I was excited at the prospect of taking a cute girl out on a date. If felt like the planets were lining up. I was working at the motel doing my usual glamorous scrubbing of the tiles when sweet Terri appeared and came out to chat.

“My dad said it was okay for me to go out with you on Friday.”

Those words exploded in my young mind like fireworks forged from dopamine.

“Great! It’s a really good movie and you’re going to love it. I’ll pick you up at 7 tomorrow?”

“Sure. I’m excited.”

This was like a classic boy meets girl fable. Boy is from the city. Everyone hates him and he’s ugly. He goes to the seashore for the summer, his skin clears up, get a job and meets a pretty girl from another town from far away and they go to the fair.

My anxiety was running super high the day of the date. I had lived with anxiety my whole life. People that don’t have it don’t understand it. They can live such better lives. They can just be happy, calm and do things without some weird crazy fear.

My sister Janice is a perfect example of a clear minded, stable person. I was so messed up my family even came up with an acronym to describe me. ARM. Anxiety Ridden Mess. I know that sounds cruel, but I actually coined the phrase and they just went with it.

When you have anxiety, it creates all kinds of bad symptoms. Mine was panic attacks, sense of dread of being in danger, paralysis, and worst of all physical illness.  I always had this fear of throwing up in public in front of whoever I was with at the time. At the heart of my disorder was the fear of something new, or different. I wanted badly to date girls and kiss them and hold hands with them, but the fear of actually having to do it was debilitating. Things that bring most people joy and are fun, just grind my mind and gut into powder. I remember that shit starting when I was around 6 years old, and will write about it another time. Let’s get back to the story at hand.

Read more here: (Because this is a dating blog and not a site about mental disorders)


Hours before the date I was having bad anxiety.  Restless, I even took a bath. I hadn’t done that since I was a little kid, but I thought it might calm my nerves.

It didn’t work. The deadline was approaching. I knew I had to force myself to do these things if I wanted to ever overcome this disorder and have a semblance of a life.

I’m actually feeling a lot of anxiety just writing about this moment in my life.  My stomach is upset, and my shoulders are tight, and I’m on edge. I’m sitting at a table in the corner of a restaurant I frequent. I had lunch here earlier. It’s Misconduct where I have taken several dates and is a place of comfort. But I’m still having the fear composing this piece. I didn’t think this would happen, but it feels like I’m right back there before the date in 1977.

But I’m not, and I have to tell this story. Once it’s finished I’ll feel better that I finally got it out. Writing is one form of therapy that has really worked for me my whole life.

I just ordered a Manhattan hoping that’ll knock the edge off the fear. Anyway, back to the story…

So, I get dressed and try to look my best. My stomach is empty so I can’t throw anything up. That was my usual go to move back then, but that can cause headaches and weakness of spirit later. I pull myself together, look in the mirror and take a deep breath and head out the door to the motel.

I should be happy to be finally going on my first date with a cute girl. But what I’m feeling will haunt me well into middle age. I’ll just have to learn how to cope with it. Back then there was no medicine or therapy for kids like me. If there were I never took anything or talked to anyone. Part of me is glad I never took any medicine for it. Because where I am in my life now is a better place mentally than I’ve ever been.

“I used to be at war with my demons… but now we’re all on the same side.”

I know anxiety and depression so well and their symptoms I have rewired my brain to head them off faster and earlier so that they can’t get the upper hand, but it’s still a fight. It’s called evolving and coping. Something my own father never learned how to do. I never knew he suffered from OCD and high anxiety. I just thought he was uptight and controlling and got pissed off a lot. Rage is one of the things that dissipates anxiety.  I learned this one  day I was driving to a first date with a girl shortly after the separation with my wife. I was so scared and nervous I had a double plastic bag on the seat next to me if case I had to pull over and puke before the date. I hated the feeling and also throwing up, but it made me feel better after I did it and I could go through with the event.  But somebody cut me off in traffic on the highway and I got angry. The fear vanished. In that moment I understood a part of myself and my father that not even he knew. That shit works, but is only a band-aid, not anywhere near a long-term solution for treating your anxiety.

I’ll wrap this story up tomorrow!



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Dating and Relationship Advice – Should I Confront a Cheating Girlfriend?

Question: I’ve been with my current girlfriend for about 2 years now. We live together and to me everything has been going great. We have a family phone plan and I pay the bill so of course I have access to her phone records for obvious reasons. I noticed she has been calling this one number quite a bit this last statement. The other night I came home and she was on the phone, when I asked who she was talking to she said, “Her Aunt.” and then she became jumpy and nervous like she was guilty of something. I think she’s been talking to her ex. She was with him for about 4 years before me, but he was abusive to her and cheated on her all the time. Do you think she’s messing around with her ex? I don’t know when she could because she comes straight home after work and nothing seems out of the ordinary. Should I confront her about this?

Answer: Is she cheating on you? Probably not right now, but if you don’t do something to fix your current situation she may soon start. Women in relationships don’t actively pursue other guys to sleep with, however they will pursue voids they have in their current relationship. Does that make sense? You are not fulfilling 100% of your girlfriend’s needs, and so she is starting to look elsewhere to get those needs met.

This very thing happened with me and my ex, Michelle. (See Michelle – A Brand New Day) She would call her ex when she was angry/drunk with me. She wanted to get married and have kids someday, and I wasn’t going to that having already had a kid and paid out $125,000 in child support over 15 years. Funny thing was, she ended up back with him, married and they have yet to attempt to start a family. But anyway… back to you.

It sounds like the two of you have a communication problem. She’s looking for someone to talk to. She turned to her ex because they have a lot of history together. I doubt she wants him physically but he’s filling an emotional need for her because he understands her. She can talk to him and he will listen. You’re asking me if you should confront her, of course you should. You need to sit her down and explain that you’re the one she needs to come to with problems, you are there to listen to her. If you aren’t then she’ll find it somewhere else and your relationship won’t last. You sound like you have become comfortable in your relationship, however your girlfriend is still having issues. She’s probably dropping hints that something is wrong, you just haven’t been able to pick up on them because she hasn’t come out and directly told you. You need to recreate the spark that kept the two of you together for 2 years and work out the issues you currently have. Some of the things she has to say may hurt, so be prepared for what comes out. The most important part here is to not get upset. She’s telling you the problem. You can either get mad and storm off and the issue remains, or learn from it and work to fix it, making your relationship stronger then ever. Here’s how we’re going to do it.

Call her up or send her a text and tell her you have a special night planned together. This will get her thinking about you all day long. You have a lot of issues to talk about so you will need some place quiet and seclusive. In your case I would make her dinner at home. Pick up some flowers and wine and cook her a special meal. Dim the lights, set the table with flowers and candlelight. Play some light music in the background. Create a special night for her. Now when she asks what this is all about be honest with her. Tell her, “Baby I feel like we have lost our connection, we no longer have the spark we once had. When I look at you I can see that there are issues that are bothering you, I just want you to know I’m here and we can talk about it.” Now sit back and wait for it all to come out. Stay strong, if you care about this girl then you will listen to what she has to say, learn from it and move on. If not then things just weren’t meant to be. Best of luck to you.


Was this of any help? Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you!


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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – Terri – First Love – Part 1

I was working at the motel one morning, and I noticed this cute girl sitting outside of her room in one of the chairs out front. I said hello to her. I really couldn’t chat with her because I was too busy working. (See: Wildwood Daze – El Morro Motel)

The next morning she was there again. We were the only people outside of the motel at that hour. We chatted a little bit and got acquainted. She was a really nice, sweet girl from Pittsburgh. I couldn’t believe it took 6 hours for them to get to Wildwood. That sounded like forever in a car to me at the time. She was down with her parents and her two brothers. She was 13 and I was 14. I noticed immediately that people from non metropolitan areas that are hard like Philly and NY, are just generally nicer people.

By the third day she would come out to the pool and chat with me. It was great. Terri wasn’t like any girls I knew back home. (Not that I knew many because I was such a loser) She was so nice. I asked her what her family had done and seen while on vacation. She told me and said they were doing amusements on the boardwalk tomorrow and Cape May the next night.

I was scrubbing the tiles in the baby pool, and I asked what about the day after that?

She said that they were probably just going to hang at the motel or in the neighborhood.

“Why do you ask?”

“Because I want to take you out to see Star Wars.”

“Really? I’d love to go. Let me ask my parents.”

My heart was a flutter. My life had been absolute garbage up until this summer. I couldn’t believe a cute girl actually talked to me let alone wants to go out on a date with me. This was a watershed moment in my life where things could actually improve for me. My anxiety was running high but I was feeling like the wheel was beginning to turn.

Let’s see if it happens in tomorrow’s post!



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