Bailey and I had planned on our second date to go to the movies on New Years Day. She said she had to check in with family but would let me know for sure the next day. So if she wanted to bail then she could simply tell me she had obligations on that day. Then we could set it up for another time.
But she got back to me the next morning with a solid confirmation that she was good to go for an afternoon matinée. I send her a link to the Ritz theaters over the weekend so she can look at the lists of films currently playing in those theaters.
She gets back to me in a little while and wants to see I, Tonya, the dark comedic film about fallen ice skater Tonya Harding. That sounds awesome. That’s the one I wanted to see too. We locked that decision down Saturday and I send her a calendar invite. Bailey accepted it immediately. The 2pm show at the Ritz at the Bourse building.
As time went by after our last date at Gran Cafe L’Aquila, I was feeling less amorous about Bailey. But I thought it would be something to do on my day off. I don’t get many days off and it would be fun to sit in a theater on a bitter cold day and watch a movie. The huge presence in the dark, the buttery popcorn, M&M Peanuts and a soda. Can’t beat it. Maybe it wouldn’t cost me and arm and a leg. But it probably will. If she wants to get drinks and food after the show it’ll bankrupt me. (Kidding, but I stopped doing this kind of dating a year ago. Why am I such a sucker for young, fit women?)
Sunday I worked and closed the salon at 4pm. My buddy Church came down and we went to Marathon for dinner. It was glorious. It was so good I wrote a solid Yelp review for them the next day. Just a low-key New Years Eve with a dear friend of mine. He even brought me a space heater to keep my daughter Lorelei a little warmer in our drafty old Rittenhouse apartment. The holidays have really been busy and fun this year.
The next morning I get to sleep in because it’s New Years Day and my first day off in over three weeks. I’m lying in bed just snuggled down and reading stuff on my phone. I’m also tackling major life decisions like; I could get up around noon and shower and be ready by 12:45. Walk from 18th and Pine to 5th and Market in the Arctic temperatures, and get to the Bourse before the 2pm show at the Ritz.
Around 11am I get this text:
“Hey Charlie Happy New Year. I have some miserable news. Please don’t hate me. Over the past 48 hours I went from sore throat to a full throttle cold. I can barely breathe and I’m sweating like crazy. I hate cancelling, can we reschedule for later this week?”
“Oh my gosh! Of course. Get some rest.”
“Ok. Thank you. I will.”
Are you folks thinking what I’m thinking? Yea. New Years Day Hangover. She’s 28 years old. She went out last night with her friends and got hammered like every other 28-year-old in this city.
I text my friend Karina. “Are you guys open today?”
“Yes! but I won’t be there until 5.”
I shower up, get bundled up. Grab my laptop and head to Cavanaugh’s. Normally on a Monday they have the 1/2 off Cheesesteaks, it’s quiet and I get great service from Karina.
I get there and it’s packed. No one is eating. Everyone is drinking. I hate New Years. I go downstairs and the music is playing too loud and it’s busy down there as well. What did I expect it’s fucking New Years Day! Who can drink like this? It’s gross. Who wants to be shit faced by 4?
I know the bartender downstairs. She’s nice and I tell her I’m going to stay. She proceeds to tell me that there is no 1/2 off cheesesteaks today because of the holiday. They don’t need to run any specials when the place is mobbed. Fuck Me! I hate drunken crowds but I’m going to grin and bear it. I order my food and everything’s on point. I just have to get my armor on and the rest of the day will be great. I think I’m the only guy in here with his laptop open and actually dining.
It was a stressful meal but delicious all the same. I throw the bartender $17 in cash and I’m out the door with my gear. I walk the two blocks east on Sansom Street to the Hotel Palomar. Into my favorite hotel bar, Square 1682. It’s quiet, warm, bright and I’m happy. I get a water and a glass of chardonnay with a side of ice. It’s about 3:30 by now so it’s okay if I have a glass of wine before 5pm on New Years Day.
There’s a girl behind the bar that I don’t know. She must work the shifts when I don’t come here. My man Roman (See: Roman – Rock n’ Roll Bartender) will be in shortly. I nurse the single chardonnay for nearly an hour. I’m happily typing away about Bailey and our second date. Funny… I’m writing about our second date on what was to be our third date.
I love this bar. My most beloved in the city because I have so many great memories with so many great and crazy people. Of course without Roman, the whole thing falls apart, because he’s the connection.
I typed away and Roman took over. Now it’s a party. Over the next couple hours I plowed through 5 glasses of wine, wrote 3 new blog posts, met a lovely group of people from Maryland, and even charged up one of their phones. They were feeling no pain when they arrived and continued drinking at Square. They were going to go to El Vez for dinner and then hit the dive bar, McGlinchey’s. They just want a bar they can smoke in, but I warned them that the place is a bit banged up.
I’m having a lovely day. I like being the guy at the bar getting all of the attention. The people leave, and I’ve had enough. I get the bill and it is a stunning $5.50. I tip another $5 on the card and place another $20 in cash in the book. Roman is simply my favorite bartender in the city. Maybe the world.
I pack up my gear and walked home in the bitter cold. I don’t mind. I’m well bundled.
I get home at the end of the first day of the new year with a smile on my face. My daughter follows shortly after and we’re happy to be home.
Around 8pm I get a text from Bailey. “Hey. How was your day? I’ve been sedated most of the day.”
I don’t get back to her. She needs to know I’m too busy to get back to her.
The next day I’m at the salon and I return her text. “I had a great day! Hope you’re feeling better.”
She gets right back to me. “I am. Thank you.”
And that’s it.
I did stalk her on social media (Facebook) to see what she’s been up to. Surprisingly, she does make mention of catching a cold and being sick.
I’m going to do nothing at this point. If she wants to see me again, she’s going to have to reach out to me now. She’s going to have to offer availability and yield to my schedule.
Sorry Bailey, I see why you’re alone at 28. You had an opportunity for something wonderful and you just don’t get it. The second date was what really drove it home for me.
So we’ll see what happens…
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