Wildwood Daze – Botto’s and the Office

North Wildwood, New Jersey – Late 1970s

Botto’s

One of our favorite hangouts growing up at the shore was the beloved Botto’s Arcade at 10th and Surf Avenue. It was 2 blocks from our house and was a meeting place for the local kids.

In the first half of the decade, it was a small market full of food staples, sundries, and beach stuff. It’s where we used to go to buy our kites and string. But because Russo’s Market at 9th and Ocean was such a juggernaut and go-to spot they sort of ran Joe Botto out of business. Just geographic competition. Botto, a retired Philly cop, was never happy about that, but shifted gears and turned it into an arcade much to the joy of the neighborhood youth.

Botto’s had everything we needed for an enjoyable afternoon or evening as an alternative to the beach and boardwalk. A phonebooth outside in case you had to drop a dime and make a call, and a soda machine full of ice-cold beverages stood out front. Joe’s wife normally worked during the day, giving out change for the machines inside and operating the bike rental part of the business.

The place was small, but just the right size for us kids. A regulation-sized, slate pool table in the center of the room, and a thunderous jukebox packed with 45’s of all the hits of the day parked against the front wall near the entrance. (It played A and B sides! This way, I could listen to Walk this Way and Uncle Salty!)

All around the perimeter of the room were pinball machines and video games. My favorite pinball machine, Flash was where I spent most of my time and quarters. They had some of the greats… Eight Ball Deluxe, Gorgar, Wizard, Playboy, El Dorado, and Joker Poker, to name a few.

But, they had all the classic video games of the day in there too. Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Super Breakout, and Asteroids.

Botto’s was a place where teenagers could hang out, play games, chat, flirt, shoot pool, drink soda and smoke cigarettes. The owners were cool, and there was never any trouble there. I’ve spent many a rainy day or health night in that arcade. The phrase “health night” came from my mother. She used to say to me, “You’re out every night! Take a health night!”

You never knew who you might run into while you were there, but it was always a solid meeting spot to hang and make plans for where you may be heading afterward. It was surrounded by motels so even though its core audience was kids from the neighborhood, they always got a few tourists in there as well.

Across the street was a place called Golf City. It was pretty much a waste of valuable real estate that was home to a miniature gold course. Fun for the little kids and they had a small arcade as well, but overall it was lame.

Botto’s was the cool kid’s place. I spent many wonderful times in Botto’s in my youth, but sadly it’s now long gone. What stands in its place now is an ice cream stand.

All that’s left to remind me of the original Botto’s in the brick face and the door and windows. So picture this place without the A-roof, the awning, the sign, the benches, the lights, and the rest of anything pink.

What’s left would be a pretty boring-looking spot. But, none of that was important. Botto’s was about what was inside. The people, the music, the games, and the laughter.

The Office

That’s not what it was called. It was a little game room on the third floor of The Flying Dutchman Motel.

Right there on the southwest corner of the 3rd floor!

The photo I used at the beginning of this post is the motel before they added the 3rd floor. But that’s what The Flying Dutchman looked like in the 70s.

We knew the owners and they were cool with us going up there to smoke cigarettes and spend our quarters on their vending machines in their game room.

The reason we called this little spot The Office, is because we used it not only as a place to hang out and play but to have meetings. If there was some local drama going down or some stories to be told, this was the place it all took place.

I remember trying to tell my older sister some convoluted story about some things that had gone down on Morey’s Pier or some other crazy news from the neighborhood one day. She was trying to understand what we planned to do about this matter and I simply said: “Office…now.”

We liked it because it was high up off the street. We had a view and also liked the games they had in there. Just two pinball machines and an old 1972 Pong machine. There’s a link I provided, but it was so basic it may have been the first video game ever invented. But a fun game! Pinball was still king, but video games were getting better with every coming season.

The biggest difference between this place and Botto’s was, this spot was quieter and more private. You could hang up there, sit at the card table they had set up in there, and just chat. It didn’t have the number of games and music that Botto’s had, but this was our spot. Most of all, it was unsupervised.

This is probably one of the most important aspects of this little game room.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Pinball machines are designed so that you can’t rock them around too much or they’ll “Tilt.” What that means is, if you shake the machine too much or lift it up to slow the ball down or anything else to upset the machine while the ball is in play, it’ll light up, TILT, and the unit goes off and your ball drains down the hole. You’re done for being too rough with the unit and most of all trying to cheat.

But kids are creative, cunning, learning machines. You know that if the adults come up with some solution to thwart our fun or sustained play, we’ll probably work to come up with a solution to beat it.

So while the machine was on, we’d have one kid gently lift the lower front up off its legs and stack quarters under the legs, one or two at a time. This would flatten the play area on the board but not enough to TILT the machine. We’d get that baby up as high as possible. This would slow down the gameplay and go virtually unnoticed if someone walked in.

By applying this simple remedy, the game would be easier, you’d get a higher score and rack up more free games. That was the main goal. Free games! 

This also assisted with the legendary, “Back from the Dead.” What this meant was if you were in the middle of a game and the ball somehow got past your flippers, and towards the hole… if it was moving fast enough to bounce back out of the hole and back into play, it was always deemed a miracle, which was met with cheers from any onlookers. The ball literally came back from th dead!

So, we did that all the time up there.

Sometimes I would just go up there on my own and play pinball. I just wanted a little time alone to think and reflect on my life living at the seashore all summer. It was a brilliant and unforgettable few chapters from my young life.

Braces off, skin clear, and finally emerging from puberty!

Here’s a pic of me in 1978 on the 3rd-floor sun deck of The Flying Dutchman. The Office wasn’t just for pinball. It was also a great opportunity for me to meet the vacationing talent.

Pictured: Me with Ann and Gina Dougherty on the roof deck of the Flying Dutchman Motel -1978

Yea… tough times for Chaz in Wildwood!

If you liked this story, you’ll love my next book, Down The Shore, coming to a bookstore near you Memorial Day, 2023!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Wildwood Daze – The Dolphin Restaurant – Part 2

North Wildwood, New Jersey – Summer, 1978

The girl I worked with was named Therese. (Pronounced: Terez, which makes it so much sexier and exotic) But Therese was just a nice girl who like myself had been moved to this island as a teenager. She told me she was originally from DC and went to Wildwood Catholic High School. She was 16 and I was 15 at the time. I’d be forced to move to the island the very next year, but that’s another story.

Therese said she was miserable and lonely when she first moved to Wildwood. The place was a resort and it was literally a ghost town in the winter. She said that the kids were mean to her and she described her experience in Wildwood Catholic as being like a scared little animal.

But Therese was absolutely beautiful. What made her lovely to me wasn’t just her lovely smile, sparkling eyes, and world-class legs… she had a sweet disposition. She was one of those girls who’s hot but doesn’t know it. Just a really nice, moral person. I loved her and I think she was my first “#1 most beloved”.

I knew she had a boyfriend. Some “Joe College Type” who was tall and good-looking named John. She was taken and there was no way I could compete with an 18-year-old guy on his way to university in August. It was like pitting a boy against a man. An unwinnable war.

But I was just happy to work beside her in the restaurant every day. After the morning rush, we’d clean up the dining room and start doing our side work. They were little maintenance chores we all had to do to prepare for the next shift. I would always blaze through mine early so I could help Therese. Sometimes I would even do her side work for her without her knowing. So when the time came for her to have to do it, I had already completed it for her and she could just leave.

I remember once I had taken care of some arduous task for her that she didn’t want to do. She rewarded me with a peck on my cheek. I blushed and felt like my head was going to explode. I was so smitten!

She knew I was crazy about her and instead of it being weird, she was always sweet to me. It was so obvious. She was like my queen. I understood what Eddie the dishwasher was experiencing with his feelings for hot Sue across the street. The unattainable goddesses we desire but can never have. We just scuttle along washing our dishes and carrying our bus pans like the rodents we are.

“So sorry to hear about John getting into that boating accident.” I would say to Therese.

“What?”

“Oh… right. That’s not until next week.”

Even back then I had a twisted sense of humor. But Therese would just laugh knowing I secretly wanted her boyfriend out of the way, so I could be the king to her queen. (So diabolical!)

I knew John was leaving for college and Therese was sad her boyfriend was leaving. I was relieved that this obstacle was being extracted from the equation and maybe I could make some sort of move. It was risky, but even at 16 years old I knew fortune favored the bold. What would my idol Dave Bradley do? I needed to talk to him tomorrow on the beach.

“Just walk up to her when she’s on her own in the dining room near the end of the night and ask her out.”

“That’s it? No special instructions or any kind of move?”

“Just have a plan, my friend. Don’t just ask her out, have something you want to do with her. Think it through. Nail down a time and a day. You’ll be fine.”

“Umm… okay, Dave.”

The next night it was around 8 pm and we were cleaning up the dining room after getting run over by tourists. I went over to one of Therese’s tables as she was picking up the check and her tip. I loaded the dirty plates into my bus pan.

“Hey… Crazy night, right?”

“Yea. My feet are killing me. I’ve been running around here all night like crazy!”

“Umm… (I smiled as I looked upon her beauty. My heart thumping in my chest and my stomach doing flip flops) Therese, would you like to go to the movies with me the next time we’re both off?”

She paused, then smiled. “Sure, Chaz. What do you want to see?”

I was stunned. This was actually working. Don’t blow it… “I was thinking Animal House. I heard it’s hilarious.”

“Oh, yea. Me too. I wanna see Animal House. I’m off on Thursday, would that work?”

This was too easy! “Yea… I’m off too. I’ll get the showtimes and we’ll figure it out this week.”

“Great. It’ll be fun. Thanks for asking me.”

I smiled and went back to cleaning. I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I stared at the reflection of the young man who would be taking Therese Freeman on an actual date. This was a watershed moment. These sorts of things didn’t happen to guys like me. Or did they? I had been on a couple of dates last summer. I had navigated these treacherous waters before. She was just a girl I worked with. No reason to be nervous. Just a couple of coworkers checking out a funny film together. No big deal.

But no… this was a big deal. This was my queen. The woman I loved. The unattainable was nearly in my grasp. I needed to play it cool and not screw anything up before Thursday. I could hardly think over the sound of Aerosmith’s song, Back in the Saddle blasting in my head as the dopamine splashed all over my euphoric brain. This was the big time. A date with Therese Freeman. Dave Bradley would be proud, and his lecherous brother Chickie would be jealous.

Welcome to the NFL, Chaz!

The next night we worked the same shift again. I had already looked up the movie times in the newspaper and knew exactly where and when we were going to see this movie. “Planning is everything”, as my father used to say. We coordinated the time and Therese wrote down her phone number and address on a slip of paper.

Just having that data in my hands was worth a fortune to me. Things were definitely happening in my life! Everything was getting better. I just needed to survive this date with Therese and not screw it up.

Later, I was in the kitchen emptying my bus pan and Chickie Bradley was there doing the dishes. Therese walked in and dropped off some plates from one of her tables. Chickie immediately hit on her. (The filthy animal!)

“Hey, yo… Therese, we should uh… you know… go out some time.”

My heart sank with rage and despair. Chickie Bradley could get any woman. He was a rake and had a reputation for closing deals. He probably had so many notches in his bedpost that it was whittled away completely!

Therese smiled and spoke. “I wouldn’t go out with you if you were the last man on earth, Chickie Bradley.”

She glanced over at me, gave me a knowing grin, and left the kitchen.

As the big wooden doors to the dining room swung back behind her I could feel Chickie’s spirit exit his body. I was in my glory. I’m indestructible now. A real player in the game of life. New confidence and power coursed through my veins. This was a fantastic moment in my young life. Say hello to the new king, Chickie Bradley! Take that!

Thursday arrived and I was terrified. My anxiety was off the charts. This wasn’t just a date to the movies with a coworker. This was Therese Freeman. A date with the queen. I was a nervous wreck. I had the power and the nerve to ask these girls out, but my anxiety would be tearing me apart before the event. It was absolutely as horrible. The pain equaled the joy I had felt the other night when she said yes.

It just didn’t seem fair. Why was I like this? I wanted to go out on dates with girls but was always in a terrible state leading up to it. Little did I know, this would go on for years and years. Anxiety and depression are the worst. An unexplainable fear and sadness you carry around with you. Where your friends and family are happy and excited to do things, you are crushed with blackened fear that squeezes your heart to near paralysis.

It was so bad, that my family actually had a little acronym for me. They used to call me The ARM. That stood for Anxiety Ridden Mess. Isn’t that lovely?

Thanks, family. YOU’RE NOT HELPING!!!!

Acute anxiety disorder. How do you overcome it? I’ll tell you how. Without drugs or medicine. You’re born this way, and you literally have to keep walking toward the things you fear the most. You have to do this over and over for maybe decades. Most people aren’t willing to do this, nor do they possess the inner strength to carry out this incredible burden. You have to rewire your brain to keep walking towards that which you fear. After a while, you realize you’re not going to throw up or die from going into the unknown.

If you’re willing to do that, you’ll succeed and not only overcome it, you’ll realize something wonderful. After all of those years of being afraid and sad, you’ve become stronger in spirit than most. You’ve spent years overcompensating for those fears. You’re more charming and cool around people because you’ve been performing like that for years. You then become an even better version of yourself than you ever realized.

People will call your charm a gift of gab, or a special way with people. No. Quite the contrary. You simply practiced for years to mentally overcome your disability. I did it, and you can too.

Back to the story…

I remember lying in the bathtub in our upstairs bathroom before the date. I thought maybe a nice cool bath would calm my shattered nerves. The clock ticked away the minutes ever faster as the deadline approached when I’d have to leave the house and pick up Therese.

This is an awful feeling. Why did I even bother asking her out? This is too much for me to handle. I’m out of my element!

I pulled myself out of the tub and got ready. I want to do this. I asked for it and she said yes, so this is definitely happening. I did everything I could to calm my mind but to no avail.

I remember my dad handing me some extra cash in case I wanted to buy her ice cream on the way home from the movie. Dad comes through in the clutch again!

I walked up our street west on 8th street. I walked past the ball fields. I lingered there for a few minutes to gather my courage. I figured if I had to throw up, now would be the time. I remember one of my friends later told me they saw me milling about there and I appeared to be talking to myself. (Yea, it was that nuts.)

I get to 5th and New Jersey Ave. and approach her house. I look down and carved into the pavement is her name in the concrete. It even had the two little accents over the vowels and everything. Of course, her name should be carved in stone forever. She’s Therese!

I step onto the porch and tap on the screen door. It starts to get a little fuzzy here. I don’t remember meeting any parents. Maybe her family was out or something. But I do remember Therese just chilling in her living room in a lovely blouse and a pair of white slacks. She looked awesome. I had only seen her in her waitress uniform. Here she was. All ready to go on a date to the movies with Chaz.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the walk to the theater. Probably work and general stuff about our friends and families. I was too terrified to be on record mode during that trip. I think Animal House was playing all the way down at the Shore Twin which was on Atlantic Avenue, west of Marine Pier. (Later, Mariners Landing)

I still have half of the ticket from that night. I even wrote her name on it and kept it to memorialize the event.

The film was great. Animal House is one of the funniest comedies ever made. The late, great John Belushi is brilliant in the role of Bluto Blutarsky. This movie solidified his stardom.

Therese laughed a lot and I knew this was a good choice. I always later told my friends who lacked experience with dating to always pick a movie. I would tell them that it was two hours you get to spend with her and you don’t have to talk or seem interesting. You let the movie make the night great and fun. If she’s having a good time at the movies, then she’ll associate you with fun and exciting feelings. It’s just science, folks.

I had a wonderful time that evening and so did Therese. I was happy to just spend time with her and be close to a girl I really liked. She was the sweetest thing. I walked her up to her doorstep and sealed the evening with a kiss.

I probably skipped all the way home that night. My older sister was there and asked me how the evening went. I gave her the thumbs up and was happy I survived it. She knew I was nervous about it and was worried about me.

It was pretty great to be the only guy that got a date with Therese after her boyfriend went off to college. I think being brave and a gentleman goes a long way. Women just know.

I didn’t really see Therese after that summer. I moved on to a job at Hunt’s Pier. We did stay in touch a little though. I still have her letters. She went into the medical field. Of course, someone as sweet as Therese would have a job where she helps people.

I ran into her once back in the 1990s in Stone Harbor, NJ. I was staying at my wife’s family’s shore house up in Avalon. I was standing out on 96th Street while my wife was in some shop.

I just suddenly saw Therese standing there like an apparition from my past. It had been over 15 years since I’d seen her. My heart leaped at the sight of her. She still looked smoking hot.

I said her name and she turned. It was an amazing moment. After all of this time, here she was. We chatted a bit and caught up.

Thoughts of the gift shop suddenly bursting into flames and my wife dying in the fire and Therese having to comfort me with my sudden loss came to mind… but only for a second. (Oh, stop it… I’m kidding!)

I noticed she had a little brace on her arm near her wrist. I asked her what had happened and she told me she had rheumatoid arthritis. I found this heartbreaking but told her my mother suffered from the very same thing. I thought, how can there be a god when this kind of stuff happens to perfectly wonderful people? It’s not fair.

It was great seeing her and I couldn’t wait to tell my family who I had run into in Stone Harbor that day. They all knew I adored Therese since the 70s.

I haven’t seen her since, but at least we’re friends on social media!

I’m so glad I have all of these great memories to wrap myself up in and share with you. Thanks for reading this. I really enjoyed writing about the restaurant and of course my queen!

Thanks for saying yes that day in 1978 and going on a date with me. It meant the world to me.

I will always love you, Therese!

Here’s a pic of Therese I found on Facebook. It was taken around 2012.

A stunning beauty!

On a final note, I earned around $500 that summer. I was becoming a serious self-taught musician and decided to make an investment. You can see what that was here.

Want to learn more about RA? Go here: https://www.aiarthritis.org/

or here: https://www.facebook.com/IFAiArthritis

or here: https://www.facebook.com/TerezFreemanHumphrey/?ref=page_internal

If you liked this story, you’ll love my next book, Down The Shore, coming to a bookstore near you Memorial Day, 2023!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Wildwood Daze – The Dolphin Restaurant – Part 1

North Wildwood, New Jersey – Summer, 1978

I was turning 16 years old that summer. I had had great success working as a pool boy the summer before at the El Morro Motel. But I wanted to do something else. So working as a busboy at the Dolphin Restaurant seemed like a good progression. There was a small salary plus tips and free meals so it just made sense.

Now that I think back on my time as a pool boy at the El Morro Motel, I was earning a flat $40 a week. But I worked 7 days a week from 7 am till noon. Then I had to go back every night at 7 pm and bring the cushions in from all of the lounge chairs around the pool. So I roughly worked over 35 plus hours a week there for $40. That’s like a dollar an hour! (As Napoleon Dynamite would say)

It wasn’t a bad job at the Dolphin because I normally worked days and some nights, but the night shift was from around 4 pm until 7 or 8 pm. It would be busy in the morning for breakfast, then quiet down around lunchtime. Everybody would be at the beach so the place was dead from 1 pm until 5 pm.

Then it would pick up again as families and groups came in to grab dinner before heading off to the boardwalk for the evening.

The owners were a nice Greek couple. Bill and Lanie. Bill ran the line in the kitchen and Lanie was the hostess and cashier out front. The Greeks are brilliant people. They start these restaurants, work their butts off and bring their whole family over to work. The Dolphin was also in a great location. Close to the beach and surrounded by motels. So there was always plenty of foot traffic from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

This was the sign on the roof of the restaurant. How cool is that? A life-sized dolphin that rotated on the sign. A creative, retro artifact. That had to be expensive to design and construct. That’s pride, baby.

Here’s the actual feature restored to its original glory. (Photo courtesy of the Wildwood Historical Society)

The job was easy. I liked the people I worked with. The waitresses were all nice and so were the setup girls. Waitresses were normally around 16 or 17, and set up girls and busboys were 14 and 15 years old.

We had a great time working together. We liked and hated all the same things working in a restaurant. Especially when a huge family would roll in and had kids. The dreaded high chairs for babies. We all knew there’d be plenty of food to clean up off the floor! But for the most part it was a fun and lively place to work.

I remember when I turned 16 that summer the girls had a little party for me and got me Supertramp’s latest album, Breakfast in America. Which seemed fitting based on our vocation and the image on the album cover.

Breakfast in America - Wikipedia

I just realized something for the first time. The image is the view from the window of a plane. The waitress represents the Statue of Liberty and the table in the background is New York.

How did I miss this back in 1978? I guess I was too busy listening to my Aerosmith albums!

Anyway, it was nice to have a job where I was surrounded by other people. When I was a pool boy I was an army of one. It was just me working as the entire maintenance crew for the motel.

But now there was a whole cast of characters I worked with every day. There were all the macho Greek guys working as cooks in the steaming hot kitchen, the ladies working in the dining room, and the wait staff.

One afternoon I was walking across the parking lot about to enter through the back door. We all went inside that way. You’d go in, turn right into this little room and find an apron to wear for the night.

Standing outside in the parking lot, leaning against the wall was one of the Greek cooks. I forget his name. Just picture a tan, swarthy-looking, Mediterranean guy with a head full of black curls and a bushy mustache.

He was smoking a really fat joint. He sees me and offers me a toke. He says: “Smoke pot? Here…” and points the joint at me. Not wanting to appear to be the wimp I was, I took it from his fingers and hit it. Just one hit. That was it. I thanked him and went inside. Mission accomplished. I’ve paid the gatekeeper and showed him I’m cool too.

It didn’t hit me until I sat down at the middle table with all of the rest of the wait staff before our shift was to begin. We would all hang there and Lanie would go over any last-minute specials and whatever else we needed to know.

I had this stupid grin on my face and all of the girls instantly picked up on it. They were all laughing at me, and I couldn’t believe that it was instantly apparent I was high. I did my best to hide it from Lanie so she wouldn’t send me home for illegal drug use. During my shift, I confided in one of the other busboys named Grover. He was an older friend of the family but a cool dude. He said he had gotten high once before work and it made him feel like everyone in the restaurant was staring at him.

Since he said that to me, I now thought the very same thing. He had implanted a fresh paranoid thought in my hallucinogenic head. I looked around and everybody WAS staring at me. (They weren’t but I thought they were. They were just glancing over at me because I was part of the staff. But in my stoned brain I thought they were staring and knew I was baked!)

I spent most of the night giggling my way through my shift.

“Why you so silly tonight, Charlie?” Lanie asked in her broken accent.

“I… I don’t know. I just guess… I’m just a silly guy sometimes.”

Totally lame response, but I managed to get through my shift.

Lanie had a sister or a cousin that came to work there for a period of time. She spoke zero English and was sometimes really annoying to be around because no one could understand what she was saying. It was really frustrating. So one night when she was getting on my nerves… anything she would say to me, I would respond with a big smile and say a bunch of nonsense to her. It helped pass the night and I sort of liked that I could say whatever I wanted to her without any repercussions from the owners. I just kept smiling and bussing my tables.

There was usually a rotating cast of clowns that worked as dishwashers. Most notable was this guy named Eddie. He was the classic loser. The guy who resembled something out of a 1950s teen drama. The stained T-shirt, the slicked-back hair. The punk who always wanted to run with the cool guys and outlaws, but was always caught by the cops because he was too dumb to pull off any kind of heist. He had the worst job in the restaurant and the one that took the least skill and finesse, but he seemed happy enough doing his job. Sadly, he was socially inept and everyone just sort of tolerated his presence.

One day he starts going on about this girl he’s in love with. He describes her as the most beautiful girl on the island, and he’s going to make her his girlfriend. We had no idea who he was talking about. We figured he made her up! Also, in a town like Wildwood in the summer, how could anyone make such an assumption? The island was teeming with beautiful women!

But one day he reveals that she’s the ice cream girl from across the street at a shop called The Corner Store.  So we decide to see what’s up. Turns out she’s the eldest daughter of the owner of the Corner Store. Her mother used to work at the Provident National Bank in Philly back in the 70s with my father. I didn’t know any of this at the time, but Eddie was right. Her daughter Susan was a spectacular beauty. Dark tan, tawny hair like Farrah Fawcett and piercing blue eyes. Drop-dead gorgeous but unassuming. She was probably simply doing her job and was cordial to Eddie and he instantly fell in love with her. But I get it…

I had designs on one of the waitresses that I worked with at the Dolphin. Back then and for many years after that, I put women on a pedestal. Actually, I put certain people on pedestals for no reason other than I thought they were awesome. I think it was tied to my low self-esteem. I was just happy to be in the presence of the cool and the beautiful.

There was this guy who would work there sometimes as a dishwasher at night named Chickie Bradley. He was cute but all the girls knew he was a womanizing devil. He had an older brother named Dave who was super cool though. Dave ran an umbrella stand on the beach at 5th street. Dave was cool because he had his own apartment for the summer and would let me and my friend hang out at his umbrella stand with him. He was probably 18 years old at the time so he was basically a man and light years ahead of me in terms of any sort of masculine powers.

I would stop over his apartment and he would put on The Rolling Stones latest album, Some Girls and that’s what really got me into the Stones. He’d always offer me a cold bottle of Miller and I felt like such a big shot just to be in the same room with Dave. He was just so cool. But a nice guy who would let younger guys like me hang out. I knew I couldn’t go on his nocturnal adventures with him because I was too young, but it was just nice to hang.

He once told me that his landlord was talking about throwing him and his brother Chickie out of the apartment they were staying in for the summer. When I asked him why he said that the neighbors were complaining that it looked like they were running some kind of brothel out of the apartment.

I thought this was amazing. Just knowing a guy that could have so many girls and get them to come over all the time. This was beyond my imagination. I barely had the courage to even talk to most girls to try to get a date. But these guys were apparently lotharios that could just pull in the ladies with their wit and charm.

I remember Dave had some sort of problem with his larynx. It gave him this low hoarse voice. But that made him even cooler. When I would appear before him, he’d always say:

“Hello. my friend.” In that dark voice.

Dave was my idol.

A super cool dude, whose cousin I would later date 7 years later. But that’s another story. (Don’t worry. I’ll get to them all!)

However, there was this one special girl with whom I worked at the Dolphin that I found especially appealing.

To be continued tomorrow…

If you liked this story, you’ll love my next book, Down The Shore, coming to a bookstore near you Memorial Day, 2023!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

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What Is Glamboozling? This Dating Trend Is Unbelievably Annoying

I kind of like saying the word, Glamboozle…

With all of the wacky dating trends that happen in the world, I feel like I’ll never run out of material for this blog!

It sucks being all dressed up with nowhere to go. But do you know what sucks worse? Getting all dressed up with the intention of going somewhere, only to have your date cancel at the last minute. If this has ever happened to you, then I’m sorry to say you’ve been subject to a dating trend called glamboozling. Glamboozling means that you’ve blown out your hair, given yourself a mani, and even spent 30 minutes perfecting your winged eyeliner only for your date to send a text saying, “Sry. Can’t make it tonight.” And honestly, I can think of few things worse than wasting a great cat eye because of an unreliable date.

According to Plenty of Fish, a staggering 58% of singles have been glamboozled. As Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist, previously told Elite Daily, canceling plans on the day of should only be done if you have a really valid excuse — and if you don’t have one, then your date deserves more notice. “[You] should have a good reason to cancel a date last-minute, because otherwise, that’s just rude and inconsiderate,” she said. And not only does flaking on a date pose an inconvenience — it’s also a terrible waste of makeup.

Glamboozling is a new dating trend
Ashley Corbin-Teich/Image Source/Getty Images

Luckily, if you want to avoid being glamboozled, there are a few signs that indicate your date is likely to cancel. According to Julia Armet, Head of Matchmaking at Tawkify, if your date has already postponed your meet-up once, there’s a good chance they’ll do it again. “Avoidant types have trouble solidifying plans,” Armet previously told Elite Daily. “Interestingly, you’ll also see the same ‘postponement’ mentality in people who have commitment issues. That can emerge deeper into relationships. Odds would say for these types: they’ll flake on you.” So basically, you shouldn’t get dressed up in your best outfit if the person taking you out has asked for a rain check in the past.

Another sign your date is probably going to flake: They’re difficult to get a hold of the day of the date. If you haven’t heard from them at least an hour before your date, then you might want to wait before curling your eyelashes. And if you want to make sure you’re not stood up, Armet suggested texting or calling your date ahead of time to make sure they’re still on board.

Glamboozling is a new dating trend
visualspace/E+/Getty Images

Of course, the reason glamboozling stings so bad doesn’t just have to do with wasting a good hair day. As Dr. Alexandra Solomon, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, previously told Elite Daily, when a date cancels on you, it can ignite feelings of vulnerability, whether it’s your first date or your 100th date with someone. You might feel as though your date doesn’t value your time or prioritize your relationship, no matter how serious that relationship may be, and that’s not a great feeling.

My advice: If you’re glamboozled, find an opportunity to show off your outfit anyway. Rather than sulking, the best way to beat this dating trend is to call up a friend and make other plans. You can’t always prevent a date from being canceled last minute, but you can decide how you’re going to react.

 

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10 Things Deep Women Will Never Tolerate In A Relationship

Deep women are strong women.

They know their worth. Besides, they know exactly what they want and what to avoid in a relationship.

The bar is raised high, so if you are in love with a deep woman, here are the 10 things she would never tolerate in a relationship.

1. Disrespect is unforgivable

If at any point you make a deep woman feel like her time isn’t valuable for you, or she is not your top priority, you can kiss her and your relationship goodbye. These women know exactly what they’re made of, and they don’t need anyone who doesn’t appreciate them the way they should. They know they deserve better. Most importantly, they know how to get better.

2. Empty excuses never work with a deep woman

Just take responsibility when you’re wrong. A deep woman will never tolerate empty made-up excuses. It’s much better to admit it was your fault, and to apologize than to twist the story and think of fake pretexts. Deep women are intelligent, they know how to spot a fake excuse, so don’t bother.

3. Deep women hate being controlled

You can’t try to stop a deep woman from being herself. Neither you can control her. When you are in a relationship with her, it doesn’t mean she’s yours. She is not a trophy you put on the nightstand. If she wants to do something, she will, regardless of your actions against it. Moreover, if a deep woman feels like you’re taking her freedom away, you are probably going to be history in no time.

4. Lying and cheating disgust deep women

It’s simple – don’t lie. Deep women can easily recognize when someone is lying to them, especially if this someone is their partner. You need to be open and honest with a deep woman. Otherwise, you won’t even have a chance with her. As for cheating, it shouldn’t even cross your mind. Some girls might forgive you after finding out you’ve had an affair. But not this one. She knows she has better things coming her way. A cheater is not worth her time.

5. Don’t waste her time if you’re not sure how you feel about her

You either get in or get gone. If you get gone, then stay gone. A deep woman doesn’t need someone who isn’t sure of her. If you haven’t made your mind about your feelings for her, better don’t while away her time. She is not going to wait around for you to decide whether you love her or not.

6. Never hold a deep woman back from her dreams

Deep women are ambitious and visionary. They know what they’re capable of and they already have a plan to achieve everything they want in life. As a partner of a deep woman, your job is to support her and stand by her as she becomes the incredible woman she is destined to be. Holding her back from her dreams won’t do any good for you. If you can’t provide the support she needs, better leave her alone.

7. Don’t even think of manipulating a deep woman

It’s difficult enough to outsmart a deep woman. Manipulating her would definitely be a tough task. In case you somehow trick her into doing things or going places, she will quickly see through your intentions.  Your mind-games won’t last long, so better don’t even think of starting them.

8. Deep women don’t accept emotional abuse

These powerful women can spot a toxic person in just a few minutes. They will not stand for someone with emotional abusive behavior. The minute they sense such a destructive attitude, they will do anything to make sure they never see or speak to that person again.

9. Never neglect a deep woman

If you are in a relationship with a deep woman, she needs to feel like she is always your first choice. Maybe so far work came first in your life but now you better rearrange your priorities. She knows her time is priceless. If you dare to neglect her, she won’t bother waiting for your attention anymore.

10. Deep women don’t settle

A deep woman’s fire soul wouldn’t let her settle for no less than she deserves. She knows what she needs and what she can offer. Anything less than that just isn’t worth her time and attention. This may sound a bit selfish at first. However, it means that deep women are aware of how valuable and strong-willed they are, and this helps them get rid of any negative energy in their life. It’s not selfish, it’s genius.

Deep women are focused on their goals and they know how to get there.

It would take less than a split second for them to spot who is good for them, and who simply isn’t worth it.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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I’m a ‘sugar baby’ who gets paid $500 per date – here’s what it’s really like to date sugar daddies and get cash, gifts, and 5-star hotel stays

  • A freelance writer in her early 30s is sharing her experience as a “sugar baby.”
  • The writer, who has been granted anonymity to protect her identity, said sugar daddies pay her upwards of $500 for a date with her.
  • She also receives gifts like shoes and clothing, trips across the US, and access to five-star hotels and fancy restaurants.
  • Read on for a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a sugar baby, from the way she vets potential sugar daddies to how she spots a scammer online.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Six months ago, I decided to become a sugar baby.

My reasoning was simple. I’d grown frustrated with dating men in my city — maybe I’d just had one too many Tinder dates end in mediocre conversation. My day job offers me control over my schedule, since I don’t work a traditional 9-to-5. I wanted to supplement my income and have some fun doing it, so I decided to try finding a sugar daddy.

For the uninitiated, “sugaring” is a form of dating in which one partner financially supports the other, often in the form of cash or gifts. As a woman in a major city with an appreciation for societal deviance, I figured the lifestyle might suit me well.

Whether it was exhaustion of millennial swiping, or maybe the thrill of experiencing life outside my usual means, I found myself creating a profile on the primary website for sugaring connections — SeekingArrangement.

In the half-year since then, I’ve met some highly interesting people — not to mention I’ve received thousands of dollars in cash, trips across the country, access to five-star hotels and restaurants, and expensive gifts like shoes and clothing I never could have ordinarily afforded.

Read on for a firsthand look at what it’s really like to be a sugar baby.

Before I found my first sugar daddy, I needed an idea of why I was sugaring

Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Like with regular dating, if you dive into the sugaring lifestyle without an idea of what you want, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Do you want a cash allowance, and do you have a set amount in mind? Is it certain bills you want covered? Do you want gifts, shopping, and travel? Having a clear idea of what kind of “sugar,” or exchange, you want for the relationship is key.

How about the actual dating part — do you like dating older men? Because sugar daddies tend to be older than the women they date. How much time do you want to spend with your sugar daddy? And does your current lifestyle give you the freedom to do so?

In my short time as a sugar baby so far, men have paid me $500 per date and bought me designer clothes, $400 dinners, and stays at 5-star hotels I could never afford on my own

Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

In the six months since I became a sugar baby, I’ve started relationships with men who pay me $500 per date and have purchased me shoes and outfits from designers I could never afford on my own. I dined at restaurants where the bill was $400, and we’d still leave hungry. I spent weekends tucked away in five-star hotels, lazily ordering room service with cringeworthy markups.

While I enjoy expensive dinners and staying in fancy hotels, ultimately I was searching for a friendly relationship that provides a cash allowance. Some men don’t wish to provide an allowance, and I avoid meeting and dating those men, often called “experience daddies.”

It’s worth noting you should never become a sugar baby just for the money

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

If you’re considering sugar dating solely for the money, it will be much more stressful, since it’ll become a second job.

Sugar dating amplifies the faults of regular, or “vanilla,” dating. You may receive messages from, go on first dates with, and be ghosted by far more men than in vanilla dating. And it’s a bad idea to depend on sugar as a primary source of income, because there’s never really any guarantee of stability.

Additionally, financial desperation makes you vulnerable to malicious men who have no intentions to provide sugar, or it might influence you to date men you otherwise wouldn’t consider having a relationship with.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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Wealthy Tech Exec, 30, Describes His Costly Addiction To Asian Massage-Parlor Sex: ‘I Love The Ego-Stroking’

Michael is the founder of a tech startup valued at $10 million. Living alone in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City, the 30-year-old is the picture of success.

But over the past six years, he has shelled out more than $20,000 on his weekly vice: visits to massage parlors for sex.

In light of Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s recent charge of solicitation at a Florida spa, Michael (who asked that his name be changed) tells Phicklephilly about what he calls his “addiction.”

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I’m a typical millennial guy. I live in the Village, work in tech, hang out with my friends — but I suppose what sets me apart is my rub-and-tug addiction:

In New York, you can get anything you want. On the same block, you can go to the hardware store, grab avocado toast and get a happy ending, all before 11 a.m. One of my go-to places is right next to a fancy sushi restaurant that charges $60 for a caviar roll. It’s so easy to get anything, that it’s also easy not to think what I’m doing is wrong.

It all started after my longtime girlfriend and I broke up six years ago. I needed instant gratification — and I found it in the massage parlor. The sex just happened. I didn’t even have to ask for it. It was so transactional, I figured it was harmless.

Within a few months, my visits became a regular thing.

It’s the same thing every time, the flirty greeting of “Hey, baby boy.” Then I lie on the bed and it’s back massage, leg massage, flip over, tug, clean up, out. Forty dollars for the house, forty for the tip. There’s a mutual understanding that this is part of the scope of services.

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If I’m being honest, my addiction has held me back in dating. I’ve never had trouble meeting women. When I started, apps like Tinder were starting to get popular, but I didn’t want to wait to meet up with a girl, go on a date and woo her. I just wanted to get to the sex.

The paid experiences have ruined me.

I went out with a woman last summer and she used her hand on me. But it was awful, and just not the same as a professional.

I love the ego-stroking I get at the massage parlor, the way they call you “big boy.” You almost trick yourself into thinking that the masseuse is into you. There’s also the illicit thrill of getting away with it. One time the masseuse gave me oral sex with a condom on. It’s exciting — kind of underground and crazy that it’s happening at all.

Top Dating websites Aamp asian massage parlor reviews renton

I have to admit, it’s easier not to know the real-life circumstances of these women working in the massage parlors. If they’re forced to do this against their will, that’s horrible. But who wants to think about that when you’re just trying to escape for a bit?

I can’t deny that doing that job all day has to be gross, disgusting.

When I first heard about Robert Kraft, I was shocked. He’s 77. If I’m still doing this in my 70s, that’s just sad. It also really made me consider the legal consequences. I just assumed that the act isn’t technically illegal because I’ve never had to ask for it.

The expense can be easy to justify, too: Maybe the $20,000 I’ve spent helped me focus on my business, netting me 10 times that amount in productivity.

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But sometimes when I think about the money I’ve spent, I get mad at myself. I’m definitely too dependent on it. I’m addicted. Instead of going out with friends after work, I’ll go to the massage place.

I’ve been in Miami for a month for work, and I’ve done it down here three times after searching for Asian massage parlors online. You look for telltale signs like photos of hot girls. It’s also a dead giveaway when you have to ring through two doorbells just to walk in.

If I was dating someone, I like to think I would stop — but I don’t know.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on June 20th, on Amazon!

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Rebecca – Chapter 17 – The Return – Part 2

I’m just happy she’s appeared with almost magical timing as my relationship with Cherie is being scattered by the white wings of destiny.

How’s your romantic life, Rebecca?

“Total shit. Nothing. I’m never good at that. I don’t want to get into it right now. It’ll just spoil the moment. Are you seeing anyone?”

Interesting how Rebecca deflects everything back to me. I haven’t seen or heard from her in two years. Every time I ask her a question, she pushes the dialogue back to me. Where has she been? What happened over the last two years in South America?

“I met a girl on Tinder a year and a half ago and it was good for a while, but it’s not so good now. I think the relationship may be riding off into the sunset.”

“Really? What’s she like?”

“Black girl. Pretty. Fit. 28 years old. Has a 7 year old son. Never married. Ex pays support but doesn’t spend much time with his son. White guy. Cherie worked at MacDonald’s for 10 years and is now in her senior year getting her BS in Psychology. She’s majoring in neuroscience and works at Children’s Hospital. She’s a great girl and going places, but like I said, it feels like she’s under so much pressure with work and her kid, I can feel it affecting our relationship.”

I paused. I thought about how much I’ve been struggling with Cherie lately. Everything. I thought how much I loved everything about Cherie and then how our relationship was failing. Why was I telling her all of this?

“It is what it is, Rebecca.”

“What does that mean, Chaz?”

I took a healthy sip from my cocktail. “I think the distance factor, plus we’re always apart and busy has put a lot of pressure on us.”

“Do you miss her?”

“I enjoy her company, but I never miss her when she’s gone. I know that sounds cold, but I enjoy my time alone. I really do. It’s hard now that I’ve gotten older to start the machine to be energetic and romantic. This place in my life… I like to interface with people and activate my energy, but having to be that… is somewhat difficult.”

“Do you mean sex?”

“No. That’s automatic and one of the very best parts of our relationship. It’s always good with Cherie.”

“Really?”

“Yea, It’s just the distance and schedules that’s killing this relationship. I’m not on the dopamine rush I once was with Michelle and Annabelle. (Type either of these names into the Search widget on the Homepage and you can read both their series. Read Michelle Before Annabelle) That was foolish behavior then, but happy just to be with Cherie… but ready for her to leave at any time.”

“I can only imagine what you think of me.”

“I haven’t seen you in a two years, but come on Rebecca, you have cred. We have a little history. We can hang. What are you asking?”

“Look… I’m sorry for all of the flake in the past, but I’m working in the city now. I’m at Penn Medicine. Can we at least hang occasionally?”

I don’t know. Are you up for all of that?”

“Do you still have the hookup at Square 1682?”

“Of course….”

“Can we just meet and chat over life and free chardonnay?”

“Oh course, because we’re getting killed here for drinks right now. I never go anywhere I  have to pay full price for anything.”

“Well I want to sit with you in your favorite bar and be in your life, Chaz.”

“Yea, but we still have tonight. I’m happy to see you.”

Rebecca flipped her hair and grasped my hands. I can smell the sweet faint fragrance of either her perfume or her hair. It’s intoxicating. Her gaze penetrates my soul.

Those emerald eyes.

“Chaz, I need you in my life. You’re so good.”

“I know stuff about life but I just want to go home and watch Netflix. I mean, not now, but that’s what I normally do because I’m so busy with work and I’ve compartmentalized my tiny social life.”

“I get that. Even in the last year I’ve realized what’s important in life. My health, surrounding myself with good friends and family, working to keep a roof over my head, and paying down my damn student loans.”

“That’s pretty much what your whole generation is going through now, but it’s good if you’re starting to see what’s really important in life. I’ve kind of cleared out the detritus in my life over the last few years. I cut off all the crazy women, and recently had to let go of some of the men friends I’ve collected in my life. I like to work as you know, but in order to meet my obligations, I need to work quite a bit. I don’t mind it at all, I love to be busy, but when I’m off from work I need to decompress and do what I want. It’s usually only one day off a week and for right now, that’s all I need.”

“I know, right? I’m usually on the phone all day and dealing with doctors and stressed out with patients, that by Friday I’m just ready to cut loose and go crazy, or collapse on my couch for the weekend!”

“Have you seen anyone romantically?”

I’ve been back for over six months now… I’ve been on some dates. Some longer than others.

“Oh… six months? So you’ve been back awhile.”

“Yea, I’m sorry. I just needed some time…”

That’s weird. She’s been back from South America for over six months and I hear nothing? What the hell? Gotta stay cool. Don’t want to blow this, but it doesn’t make sense.

“So, yea… dating?”

“Yea, and like I said, I’ve been in a few short relationships, but those guys turned out to be assholes. So they’re gone.”

“What happened?”

“The usual, Chaz. Hot guy, seems nice but ends up just being a clumsy oaf.”

“The classic toads every girl kisses before finding her prince in her late twenties.”

“Yea, but what if I kiss all these toads and there’s no prince at the end of the journey? My lips are dry, Charles.”

Most girls in their late twenties after being burned out from empty dating, settle on a guy they think is less worse than all of the other shit they’ve dated previously.”

“Really? Do you know anyone like that?”

“I do. So I know it can happen.”

But I’m only 23! Am I going to have to wait for years to find Mr. Right?”

“Don’t rush it, Rebecca. Let it happen naturally. You can waste your time swiping left and right on a bunch of leftover losers, or simply let love find you. You’re a beautiful young lady. Make good choices and good things will happen.”

Rebecca eyed me skeptically.

I did the same. Am I stepping back into something I don’t really want? I don’t want to be the mentor guy anymore. I can’t let Rebecca’s wiles pull me back into that role. The ear to listen. The shoulder to cry upon. The quiet port in the storm.

“I guess. Anyway I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. Do you mind if we call it a night?”

“Sounds good to me, dear. I sure don’t miss those days of meetings and deadlines anymore.”

“Yea. You’re lucky you don’t have to deal with that shit anymore.”

“Never going back.”

We get the check and Rebecca kicks in half. (Great girl!)

We step out into the dark alley of Ranstead street. We walk up to 20th and Market while she summons and UBER.

“I really appreciate you meeting up with me tonight, Chaz.” She grasps my hands in hers.

“It was my pleasure. It’s always great seeing you, and I’m glad you’re doing well and on the right track.”

A dark sedan pulls up to the curb. “Oh, here’s my UBER. Text me about Square 1682?”

“I will.”

“Promise?”

“I promise!”

Rebecca hops up on her tip toes and plants a swift, sticky kiss on my lips.

“Gotta go!” She giggles.

I watch as she gets in the back seat of the car. Her blue dress rides up her thighs and I briefly marvel at her caramel colored, well turned legs. The door shuts and she looks at me for a moment through the window. She gives me a knowing, sly smile and then waves, as the car pulls away from the curb and disappears in traffic down East Market.

She did that on purpose and knows I was checking out her gams.

I begin my walk home. It’s been an interesting night.

My mind still spinning from Rebecca’s sweet kiss.

I’m about a block from my house when I get the text.

“Home safe! Thank you for a wonderful evening. It was sooo good to see you again!”

“You too, dear.”

“Text me about Square! xoxo

 

God, I live a charmed life.

 

Oh shit! I forgot to set up a date with Kita!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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Rebecca – Chapter 16 – The Return – Part 1

“I look down into my vermilion Manhattan and contemplate my life. The brandied berry offers no quarter.”

I texted Rebecca back with a warm response. Not too much exuberance. Let her know I’ve been busy and that it was great to hear from her.

I had to be cautious. I’ve cut all of the crazy people that caused me pain out of my life.

Not that Rebecca had done that, but at this point I had to be careful.

I just have to be cautious now because I don’t want any drama in my life anymore. I only surround myself with good people.

Period.

“I know you’re busy, and I know I’ve been absent, but I would really like to catch up with you and see you even if it’s only for one drink.”

No matter what’s going on with Rebecca or any of the other women friends in my life, I can’t refuse if they reach out to me.

I’m overjoyed at my age that I get to spend time with these lovely ladies, and they trust and respect me enough to want to hang with me.

I’m honored.

“Where shall we meet?”

A day passes.

“Ranstead Room, Thursday night after 8pm.”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then. Looking forward to catching up.”

I have to keep it light.

Quite frankly, I’m counting the days. We have history. Our previous dates. Unrequited love. Lust. I don’t know. I don’t know what this is, or what she wants. But somehow I’m driven to meet her. For god’s sake… this girl’s been gone for two years!

I’m a beauty addict and I can’t resist the draw of a lovely girl. I could be in the worst mood, and if a pretty girl comes in the salon and chats with me, it all falls away.

I understand the drop of dopamine, and live for it to extinguish my ever-present anxiety and depression. No one knows what it’s like except those that have it, but it’s a real thing. Some of us have risen above it without medicine, because there wasn’t any when we were growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.

 

I’m sitting in the Ranstead Room. It’s a back alley bar that’s sort of a speakeasy in the city. I know Rebecca knows about it, or I would have guided her properly, but she’ll be here soon.

I’m at a booth.

Alone.

I have a very expensive, toxic cocktail before me. The room is always dark. Dark blues, and R&B fill the room. Tasteful paintings of nude women adorn the walls. The bar is illuminated by candles. The men’s room is adorned with a photo of a young, handsome Ron Jeremy. The music that plays is some sweet R&B from the 70’s. This place is Disney perfect for a cool retro speakeasy in 2020.

What am I doing here?

I just want to have a drink with my friend, I assure my lying self.

I miss Rebecca. I’ve been struggling with Cherie and her schedule. I’m not justifying, we’re fine, but it would be nice to meet with Rebecca for a minute and catch up.

What if she doesn’t show up?

I look down into my vermilion Manhattan and contemplate my life.

The brandied berry offers no quarter.

 

The air in the bar moves…

The door opens, and everything changes.

A young woman enters the bar. She’s 24. Her hair is brown and flows about her face like ribbons of dark chocolate. She’s wearing a one piece dark blue dress. It clings to her every curve. It ends at the beginning of her caramel thighs. She’s wearing heels that have ribbon straps that are tied around her ankles.

Her legs are spectacular.

I’m stunned.

She runs her fingers through her hair and throws it off to the side in a wave, as she strides toward me. Her skin is darker from the South American sun.

I’m speechless.

“Is this seat taken, sir?”

I’m losing my mind even after a potent cocktail at the sight of this exquisite beauty.

“Umm… It’s yours… Rebecca.”

Why does she always have this power over me?

Don’t question it, Be cool.

“Can I get a Cosmo?” she says as she eases into the booth like a cat. (Totally wrong drink to order in a place like this)

Rebecca looks so beautiful I want to bash by head on the table. But I must remain cool so I don’t lose my 50 years of experience.

God… She’s breathtaking.

She places her order and the drink arrives. “Did you bring me here to hide me, Chaz?”

I like that she called me Chaz.

“No. I just like this bar for its discretion.”

Rebecca takes my hands in hers. (dainty fingers tipped with manicured white polished nails)

“It’s good to see you again, Rebecca. You look amazing. It’s been so long. What’ve you been up to? I thought you were going away for three to six months, but you’ve been away for two years.”

“I know… I thought maybe you forgot about me.”

“Well, yea, I kinda did.”

“What?”

“I’m kidding! Come on… what was it like? I’m just happy you’re okay and you’re sitting right here now.”

“You look good too. Maybe a little older…”

“Stop. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,”

“No… I’m sorry. I just meant you looked good. Distinguished.”

“Alright. Decent save. So… what was it like down there?”

“It was amazing working with all of those people in South America. An eye opening experience. I’m sorry I was out of touch, but once I got down there I sort of lost touch with everything but the work.”

“Really? It was that immersive?”

“Yea. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

“Well, I’d love to hear all about it!”

“Can we wait to get to all of that until next time?”

“Umm.. yea. No problem.” (odd)

“To be honest, I’ve been a bit lost, Charles.”

I like that she’s using the real name, too.

“That’s okay, I’ve been there too.”

Rebecca squeezed my hands, “I’m tired of that.”

“Yea, I mean… me too.”

“I’m really happy to see you. You’ve always been amazing to me.”

“Rebecca, I’m just happy to see you.”

“Yea, but you’ve always been different to me. You’re not like anybody I know.”

“I get that a lot. Because I don’t want anything. I just like being alone.”

“Me too, but I’m happy you agreed to meet me tonight.”

“How’s Lorelei?”

She’s great. Went from hostess, to food runner to server at Bar Bom Bon and is killing it. Still vegan and in a relationship with Kyle for the past 5 years. So, solid kid.” (While describing her my signature move is to whip out my phone and show the person I’m talking to a recent photo of her.)

‘That’s great. I’m glad she’s doing well. Wow, she’s so beautiful.”

Everybody says that about my daughter. It’s like they’re amazed that came through me.

“It’s great to see you after all of this time, Rebecca. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

“Why?”

I don’t know. I just felt that we were in two different worlds, and you’d moved on like so many others. We’ve lost a lot of the old crew.”

“Oh, thanks a lot, so I’m like ‘so many others’...”

“No. I just thought that young people get busy and they move on to career, relationships and family.”

Rebecca took a long pull on her drink. “Not all of us, Chaz. What are you up to?”

“I’m doing everything I can to never go back to the rat race. I work at the salon and will be managing a restaurant in Rittenhouse next month, so I think I may finally be able to escape corporate America’s prison. I just like to work, And there’s a way to do it if you’re just willing to work hard. Most people are too lazy for that. I think I’ve finally found a happy balance to my life.”

“How’s your social life?”

“It’s good. Monday after work I went home and watched Netflix, Tuesday met with my friend and closed my favorite bar, Wednesday, had dinner with Church, and last night I took my employee out for gelato at one the best restaurants in the city. So, rockin’ while I keep all wheels on the ground. How’s your life been?”

 

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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Rebecca – Chapter 15 – Reprise

“I never want to retire. I’m not a workaholic, but I love to be busy. I want to have something to do every day for the rest of my life until my sister Janice pats me in the face with a shovel.”

Please go back and read: (Rebecca – Dark Wings of Destiny – Chapters 1 through 14) to fully understand the history I have with this person.

Present Day

Just when I thought everything had gone to shit with Cherie, I get a text.

It’s Rebecca.

I haven’t heard from her in over two years. I don’t even know what she’s been doing. I thought she was gone forever.

So much has changed in my life since meeting Rebecca. I’ve been on a million dates, I’ve changed jobs, I’ve had a sort of girlfriend for over a year and a half. That’s what it is and has been well documented here.

Cherie and I are teetering between love and loss. I’m fine with whatever way it goes, but it would be nice to retain the passion we once had. I think Cherie wants that and so do I, but our schedules are killing us both.

Cherie’s 40 miles away, super busy and so am I, but when we’re together it sings. But lately it’s been really difficult. Cherie’s texts tell me so.

Her life, the distance, her son, her family, her jobs, school, finals, graduation, and beyond.

We’re in two different worlds right now.

Well, we’ve always been in two different worlds.

Cherie’s a 28-year-old attractive, smart, girl faced with the reality of growing up and going forward in her life.

I’m a middle-aged guy who’s realized that corporate america and sitting in a cubicle is bullshit and would rather work two jobs really hard than work one he hated. I love my life at the salon and the restaurant. I’ve found the happy balance.

My daughter Lorelei works right down the street. It’s great. There’s harmony in that.

But when I got the text from Rebecca it threw me for a loop.

I really like Rebecca and she’s always been flighty, but I always loved her company. I know she was trying to find her way in this world and I was always there for her, like I’ve been for all of my friends… but Rebecca was different.

I kind of loved Rebecca.

I would say in a “phicklephilly way” but I think there’s something more than that here. I know it seems crazy. Rebecca’s 24 years old, but if you’ve read the previous Rebecca posts, I always felt a connection to her.

I’ve never been after her. I’m not after anybody.

They always come to me.

But Rebecca has always had a certain pull that the other ones don’t possess. Rebecca haunts me when she’s gone, but I never feel that depressing loss I have with the others. Maybe because the others are just a dopamine drop and I miss the rush of their beauty once it’s gone, but I’m relieved because they were trouble.

Rebecca was never any of those things.

Rebecca was always herself. Honest. Vulnerable. Beautiful.

She thought enough of me to spend time with me.

I’ve lived a charmed life. I really have. I’ve survived on my charm, sense of humor and skills.

Nothing more.

At my age, I’m delighted at my life. I know so many men my age that are lost and confused. It’s so sad.

I love knowing exactly who I am at my age and what I want. After half a century on the planet I finally got it right and it feels joyous.

I never want to retire. I’m not a workaholic, but I love to be busy. I want to have something to do every day for the rest of my life until my sister Janice pats me in the face with a shovel.

My life is rich in experience and memories. I can wrap myself up in them every night like a warm blanket. It’s really lovely after 50 years of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

I’ve rebuilt my broken self into an elegant old analog machine that runs so well in the digital age. I work with young people. I love that I can inspire them with my experience just like my dad did when he was my age.

I’m grateful that everyday I get to wake up again, and nothing hurts, and everything’s working. (everything!) The sun is shining and I look forward to the day.

For years I was mired in corporate life. Wearing a suit and tie, going to meetings, working for assholes who couldn’t do what I could do, but were only there because they had no where else to go.

All a joke.

I want to work.

My sister Janice says, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

She, like my father is only quoting because they’re not the best in original thought, but yes! She’s right, or whoever wrote that bit.

So here I am, in a relationship that’s been distant but’s still alive. For me this has been a great relationship, because unlike all of my other relationships, this one actually met my perfect relationship model.

I know I’ll feel some backlash on this, but it’s been perfect for me.

All of my other relationships have been traditional. Boyfriend/girlfriend. Living together, and moving towards a destination I’ve already experienced and been killed in virtual immolation, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support.

I’m never getting married again. Definitely not having any more kids.

My last three relationships have been with younger women and I know how this looks. I did not pursue these wonderful ladies. It just happened.

But the definition of crazy is, doing the same thing over and over hoping you get a different result.

That’s not me, but, my last handful of girlfriends have been young and beautiful.

The ends were inevitable.

They were all doomed before they began, but they were all wonderful. Thank you one and all, girls!

So here I am at a precipice with Cherie, who is the sweetest woman in the world and whom I love very much, and the prospect that she could shit-can me any day now, simply out of not having any time to see me.

We’re amazing when we’re together and I absolutely adore her. I should probably go to her graduation on Friday, but I know I won’t because I hate getting up early anymore and I don’t really want to deal with the whole event in general.

I probably should go.

It would mean the world to her.

Do I really want to meet her family?

She’s worked so hard for so many years. This could be the thing that fixes us.

I really don’t want to go, but I don’t want Cherie gone from my life.

Ahhh… what should I do loyal readers?

 

I reluctantly texted Rebecca back.

“Hey. It’s been a minute. I feel like we kind of left it all hanging. Hope you’re doing well.”

A day passed…

“Charles…. I miss you. I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch. Been busy with work and life. Up and down. Can you meet for a drink?”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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