Eileen – Chapter 11 – Formal and Lost Phone

Eileen texted me and told me she needed Friday off to go to her formal. She’s in a sorority (of course) at Drexel Uni and this is the event of the season. I check with Amelia, to see if she can work. Amelia, is flying to Okinawa with the Air Force Reserves on Saturday and says yes.

I’m relived because I wont be killed at the salon Friday night with her there. Eileen is eternally grateful we have her covered, and because she’s a freshman and in a sorority we have her back.

My staff is great this year like I said before. Amelia is amazing and so good at everything in the salon. I couldn’t have wish for better. Eileen is fantastic with the clients and new intake every night when we get run over with business.

These girls are simply the best I’ve ever hired in the history of the salon.

Finding staff this rich at this dollar amount is nearly unheard of in this industry. I’ve truly been blessed to have girls this good during the busy season.

So Eileen is off Friday to go to her college formal, and I work her Saturday and Sunday.

I text her Sunday night to remind her that Amelia is traveling to Okinawa for two weeks with the Air Force Reserves and that I need her in at 3 on Monday.

She’s down.

I’ll really miss Amelia, because I think we’ve become good friends working here.

But I’ll just miss her presence because I really care for her.

I text Eileen and she’s ready to work all the shifts this week.

Eileen comes in and she is sad.

“How was your formal?”

“I got super drunk and left my phone in an Uber.”

To spare my readers the drama, I will spell it all out here.

Eileen went to the formal, (I’m sure looking fabulous) got plastered due to the pressure of those around her, puked with the help of her sorority leader, wasn’t looked after properly by her sober coach, there’s video of her drunk ass being led into her dorm, lost her phone in an UBER, went to the hospital, and has been brought up on charges of public drunkeness by the college.

I would usually call that, “Saturday Night in my Twenties” but this is a nightmare for my hire.

An 18 year old girl without her phone is like a seal stranded on an ice floe surrounded my killer whales.

I feel her pain.

It’s a bad week. Baby doesn’t have her phone. which is crippling in this day and age. (I’ve felt it myself)

The salon is crazy busy, and Eileen’s doing great. Obviously for a girl her age, without a phone is like losing a limb, but she has her tablet and doing her best.

I hear the whole horror saga and really feel for her. I wish I were there so I could look after her like I would my own daughter Lorelei.

Eileen’s been a pleasure to work with this season, and I would do anything to help her any way I can. When I heard the story of her struggling to get her phone back from the loser driver I actually felt angry like a family member had been hurt.

Four days pass and Eileen is the consummate professional at the salon.

Eileen’s had a hell of a week, and I want to do something to make her feel better. Like I said, these young girls have their challenges in their lives, but they work for us. They’re the best I’ve ever had.

I recognize talent unlike most of the insecure shitstains I’ve worked for in the rat race. Just assholes that have zero talent and can’t work anywhere else and can’t do what I do.

I’m fine with that. That’s just the way of world, and corporate america.

But I’ll never let anybody that works for me suffer. Ever.

Through all of this drama, where Eileen is now facing fines and has to take computer modules on being drunk, I will support her. It’s total bullshit.

College students experiment with everything. Eileen is a good student and majoring in Criminal Justice. She’s a brilliant girl. I see that in her. She can have all of the teenage world drama she wants, but at the end of the day, she’s a terrific person I admire.

I’m happy to work with young people that are on point and they’re willing to work any job and do whatever is asked of them with a smile. That’s where I come from and Amelia and Eileen possess all of that goodness.

I realize with Amelia gone in Okinawa and Eileen picking up all over shifts, coupled with no phone and censure, she’s in a bad place.

But does it affect her performance at the salon during our crazy busy season? Not in the slightest. Because of her not having access to her cell she was actually more productive. (Surprise)

 

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

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Life In The Time Of Covid-19

“When playing billiards with my father he always said… “Don’t just make the shot that’s in front of you, son. Think of where the cue ball is going to land AFTER you hit the ball you want in the pocket. That way you’ll be ready for your next shot. And the one after that…”

If you write a blog and you’re reading this, you know we always write ahead. Just to beat the deadlines of our own publication. I’m a huge fan of planning and staying ahead of what I want to publish here. 

But tonight, I’m just going to write something for right now.

This is new to us. We’ve lived through 9/11. As terrible as that was 20 years ago, it happened to other people. It was an isolated incident that changed America forever. When I say ‘other people’ I mean the rest of the country watched in horror at the events that unfolded on TV that day, but we lost nearly 3,000 lives. (2,977 to be exact.)

We’d never seen anything like it. The worst attack on US soil in the short history of our country.

But today’s different. 

A virus that’s transmitted from person to person like a cold. We’ve all caught colds, had the flu, stomach viruses, etc.

But nothing like this. 

A virus so strong that it’s easily transmitted and passes between people. No animals are affected by this virus.

Just humans.

This is just a taste of how fragile our existence is on this planet.

I don’t know where this came from, but hopefully we’ll find out, and create a vaccine for it.

But for right now, we’re all behaving very well in the first few days of this quarantine.

 

I tell my stories here about all of my dating foibles and relationships on this blog. I’ve been a decent dad and a fun boyfriend, but when comes to domestic relationships, I’ve never been able to submit.

I appreciate all of the friend and fan support on here, but as I dish out all of the dating and relationship advice, I’ve found that very thing quite the quandary.

I give advice on what to do on a date and how to maintain your relationships.

I’m good at that. I like to write words and lyrics.

But words are hollow unless applied to deeds.

I’d like to believe that my words mean something, and maybe make a small difference in the lives of the people that take the time to read this blog everyday.

And for that, I’m grateful.

 

For the moment, I’m employed by a restaurant in this city. So is my daughter, Lorelei. We’re both in the hospitality industry.

I worked last week. It was business as usual. We were gearing up to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and March Madness was on the way. We should have made a bundle last weekend. A payday so big it would have covered the last two months of winter.

But none of that happened. No one came in. No crazy drunken crowds of people wearing green, or funny beads, or fighting, getting shitfaced for no reason, and throwing up in plastic hats at the curbside.

None of it.

Are they all so broken that they need to drink to the point of illness to celebrate the dissatisfaction and mediocrity of their lives here in Philly on a designated day?

Nothing happened.

 

Nah, something did indeed happen.

Covid-19.

 

Saturday I normally work from 2pm until at least 11pm. I came in at 5pm and was cut at 8:30pm. It was so slow that even being scheduled was a gift from the owner. When I got there, he told me I was off on Sunday. Normally, I work from 12:30pm to 10:30pm. But I was off. I haven’t had a Sunday off since August of 2019.

Monday I was scheduled to come in at 10:30am and work until 10:30pm. My typical Monday is a twelve hour day on my feet. I don’t mind. I like to work and be busy.

But by Sunday night, I was told not to come in until 4pm that day.

By 2pm I was told not to come in at all.

Off again.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and now today… Friday.

Still off.

Why?

Because every restaurant in this city has been closed for the next 14 days because of what’s happened. I was on the phone with a friend when my daughter called and told me she wouldn’t have to go into work for the next two weeks.

I told her the same.

I’ve had my share of struggles financially in the past and also with employment. Many times by my own design.

But this was different.

Everyone in the entire industry was affected.

I think they told us two weeks so we wouldn’t lose our minds. But I don’t see this ending anytime soon.

Restaurants can only do pick up and take out. No one is allowed to hang out in any bar or restaurant in this city.

That leaves most places with scheduling one cook, a clerk to ring up and take out orders, and a delivery guy.

That’s it.

The rest of us are fucked.

Well, we’re all currently fucked.

One of my brokerage accounts is down over $7k. Bills and rent are due. So yea, if my little life is an example… then yea, we’re fucked. 

Forget me for a second. Think of the people that already have the virus.

How about the people that have it and don’t know it?

But are we?

Let me take a moment as the phicklephilly guy that you’ve been reading for the last 4 years to say a few things about this.

We’re all stuck at home and can’t go out. Income is either running out or is gone. I don’t expect to be paid anymore from my current employer. I think this could go on for awhile. But here’s what I’m thinking about, and I’m going to share it with you all.

If you have your health right now, embrace it and help others that need you.

I know that sounds a bit cliche, but hear me out…

Call or text all of your friends and loved ones today and through this weekend. Just check on them. This is the perfect opportunity for you to connect and reconnect with everyone you know. It won’t be weird. Don’t make it weird. Just call and check on them. This is your perfect opportunity. Because for the first time in the history of this country, we are all experiencing the same thing. 

This is what we have in common right now.

Exactly the same thing.

The enemy is the virus. Not a man, or a country, or a race, or an idea, or a religion. This enemy doesn’t care about your race or your religious beliefs. A virus is a living entity that wants to take you over for the last time.

As a species we’ve been a scrappy lot. We’ve successfully moved to a spot that isn’t even in the food chain anymore because we’re so good at killing everything.

We are the best and the worst thing that Earth has ever known.

But we’ve made it ours and for now, Earth is where we’re hangin’.

This is an opportunity.

Right now you have your health.

Appreciate that.

Got laid off from your job? Cut your hours? Not allowed to come in because of the virus?

Use this opportunity to plan.

Humans have always been great planners. That’s how we beat everything else. Plan for the rest of your life. You’re alive now. What if you get it and you die?

Embrace this time. This forced quarantine. Think! What are you grateful for? Do you really like that job you’re currently not having to go to?

I’m a writer. I’m always planning the next few chapters in anything I’ve ever written here. 

When playing billiards with my father he always said… “Don’t just make the shot that’s in front of you, son. Think of where the cue ball is going to land AFTER you hit the ball you want in the pocket. That way you’ll be ready for your next shot. And the one after that…

After that…

After this.

This global pandemic. 

That is some scary shit. 

I’m actually surprised in the moment that I write this. The the films, Outbreak and Pandemic are very popular on Netflix. Oh, the irony of our own fate! I’ve always been a huge fan of Art imitates life, imitates art.

There’s no anarchy.

Not yet.

I’ve been off work for over 5 days now and I haven’t had this much free time in years.

Monday I went to breakfast, wrote, talked with friends and loved ones, had dinner, and watched my shows. I, for once… had nowhere to be.

Tuesday, pretty much the same.

Wednesday, More of that just living and breathing thing. Daughter came home. I was happy to see her. She went to the supermarket and bought a bunch of food. She cooked dinner for the two of us and we actually sat and ate, and chatted like a real family.

It was elegant and beautiful.

We never do that.

We work in the industry and pass in the night, and crash here.

But for the first time in a very long time, we actually sat down as a family and broke bread together.

Lorelei made an amazing stromboli from scratch. She’s vegan, so she made it that way. But for the life of me I couldn’t tell, and it tasted so delicious, I went back for seconds!

That wouldn’t have happened if not for today’s circumstances.

Embrace that. Your partner. Your children. Your health. Yourself.

(ok… here we go)

You beat 250 million other sperm to get to here.

You were racing for your mom’s egg, and there were 249,999,999 dudes chasing you.

You got there FIRST.

You won.

Embrace and appreciate that. You’re partner, your children, your friends, your employer… everybody you’ve ever met got here the same way.

You’ve earned your right to be here on Earth today. 

 

Embrace what’s good in your life right now. We all have the same problems at different degrees in this life.

But in this moment… Today. You are reading this and I hope you’re okay. If my blog suddenly stops you’ll know Capt. Trips got me. (look it up!)

Be thankful everyday for your health.

Surround yourself with good people. (But no more than 10, okay? Just for now!)

Find something to do. If you’re home, find something to do with your free time. For a workforce that’s accustomed to working themselves too long and too hard, you may find this sudden stop a bit jarring.

Are you in love? Are you feeling loved? If you have it, embrace that. It’s the strongest force in the galaxy.

No love? Stop lying. Somebody’s worried about you right now. Give them a call. This is your opportunity to forget the past. All bets are off. You can call anyone, ex, old flame, enemy, frenemy…. reach out and just check on them.

I’m going to call and check on my landlord. Who knows, maybe my diplomatic charm will get her to slide me a free month during this crisis.

Think of all of the projects and other thing you’ve been saying you want to do. But you never have any time to do any of them because you’re always working, and when you have free time you need to rest from the life of work you don’t even really want.

Go clean your house. It’s Spring! Clean up. Get rid of stuff. Have fun. Take a nap. Have a drink. Smoke some grass. Call your mom.

Have something to look forward to. Remember what I said about planning? This is your opportunity to plan for the future.

The world is on pause right now.

(I wish the fucking Dow Jones was on pause right now!)

Take this time to do whatever you want. Lean into your free time.

My goal is to crack off 3 volumes of Crazy Dating Stories by the weekend. And I’m going to fucking do it.

All I do is cry about how I don’t have anytime to write because I work so many hours.

I have no excuse now.

And neither do you.

Do something. Anything. Try something new. Even if it’s you having the ability to be at home alone in the quiet of your own mind and just take a break.

Here’s your break from everything.

 

I’ve been walking the city. This is MY city. I’ve walked it’s streets. Drank it’s wine. Danced with it’s women. Taken my share of the money that’s available here. (In my jobs, you idiots!)

The city is deserted. Sure, there are some people and kids about. Folks out walking their dogs, but it’s different right now.

It’s like nothing any of us have ever seen in our lifetimes.

I’d like everyone that reads this today to contact just one person you haven’t spoken to in awhile. It’s not like you won’t have anything to say to them! We’re all experiencing the same thing right now as a species.

You can do it!

I’d like to see some comments about this idea and what you folks did.

I have a translator widget on this blog so no one has an excuse to not do it.

Contact someone, and write your results in the comments section.

Stay safe people.

 

“Don’t be the tree that falls and makes no sound.” – Phicklephilly

 

 

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

Crazy Dating Stories – Volume 1, is Now Available for Sale on Amazon

If you liked Phicklephilly, you’ll love Crazy Dating Stories. These are tales from the last 20 years of my dating life.

Phicklephilly the book, is a story about me moving to Philly and beginning my search for true love in our fair city.

Crazy Dating Stories is the most insane, irreverent, disgusting, and funny tales from my dating life. Everybody has stories like these, and I’d love to hear them. We’ve all been on a Date from Hell!

I went back into my history and dredged up the wildest, weirdest things that have ever happened to me while dating.

While writing and compiling these dating stories, I realized I’d been on so many I couldn’t fit them all into one book. So this is the first of a trilogy. I hope for my sake there’s never a Volume 4!

I’ve decided to make them available on Amazon Kindle and then eventually in paperback.

With everything going on with the Coronavirus and most of us having to stay home from work, now would be the time to grab a copy and get some good laughs at my expense!

You won’t be disappointed!

If anything, you’ll feel sorry for me. You’ll wonder, why did this guy hang in there as long as he did on these dates?

Now we know the answer.

To eventually get a funny story out of it!

 

You can buy it here:

 

 

MORE TO COME! 

 

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

Eileen- Chapter 7 – She Returns

I have to admit it. I’ve been missing my hire Eileen. She’s has only been here a few weeks and only works Thursdays and Fridays.

I’ve made it very clear that I absolutely adore this round of hires for the busy season at the salon.

Amelia and Eileen are both beyond outstanding, and crush anyone else we’ve ever had here before.

I see Eileen working here very Spring while she makes her way through law school at Drexel.

Amelia is hitting on all cylinders as usual, but Eileen has to go on Spring break. We’re all ready or these little eventualities when it comes to employing college age girls. We’ll work around it like we always do. I’ll do what I can to fill in and Achilles is simply resigned to the industry.

I know it’s happening, but Eileen is my hire. I really like her. Her experience as a hostess at Olive Garden in St. Louis has served her well here at our salon.

She’s always sweet and calm when she’s dealing with the clients. She’s picked up our system like lightning. Eileen is charming and beautiful.

She’s always dressed appropriately but the thing that she does that knocks it out of the park is her make up.

It’s never over done.

It’s absolutely perfect.

I like feminine women and girly girls. I grew up with three sisters and understand the dynamic of women. But Eileen’s make up is flawless every day. Eileen comes into this salon looking amazing every day.

I love that.

The face of the brand should look great, be friendly, tan and professional to sell our services. Eileen is all of these things.

I couldn’t be happier after all of the garbage that’s passed through this business.

Amelia and Eileen are like a sassy breath of fresh air that this salon so desperately needs.

Sadly it’s all lost on Achilles. He’s out of here at 3pm everyday.

But, I look forward to spending time with these wonderful women EVERYDAY!

We have a great time here. We work hard and we run all night, but it’s a fun job.

 

Eileen was gone for Spring break. We managed, but I missed her. I was standing at the counter when she suddenly walked in the door. Her lovely face. That smile. The warm soft voice. The rivers of raven hair. I was surprised to see her.

“Eileen…. I missed you!”

“I know. I’m back, so can I tan?”

I’m there killing it with Amelia and I’m happy to see my charge, but I was hoping for a little, “Miss you too”

It’s okay. I can’t except anything from an 18 year old girl back from spring break.

“Can I go tanning?”

I send her to 6 for the full-time. The Cadillac. 52 tubes. 180 watts, 600 watts in the face tanners. Eileen’s half German and Turkish….she takes it and she knows it. Good melanin.

We’re busy this time of year. Amelia and I are in the weeds.

We run the night and take care of all of our tanners. Eileen will be back next Thursday.

A girl comes out of room 6 with a necklace in her palm.

“Yo, I found this. Maybe it belongs to someone.”

I toss it in the drawer at the counter with the rest of all of the lost jewelry, rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. that gets left behind at a tanning salon.

 

Hours later I get a text from my employee.

“OMG Charles I think I forgot my necklace last night after tanning,.. Please tell me you found a necklace????

“Omg! We did!”

“Thank the lord. Omg!” That was a Christmas gift from Thomas!”

“Necklace is safe and sound.”

 

So we’ve had our little challenges with our new staff but I love them both and we’re ready to rock through the busy season!

More fun stories to follow!

 

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

Rebecca – Chapter 11 – A Rare Bird – Part 2

I met Rebecca 3 years ago on a date. Rebecca has recently made an appearance in my life so I thought I’d re-run this series so everyone won’t have to go back and search for her series to catch up. Enjoy!

Fall of 2016

What am I supposed to do with what Rebecca just said?

I was about to profess my love to her and he just told me she’s possibly leaving for South America in the next two weeks.

Three to six months? What the hell? How is this happening?

Not now! Not when I’m so close to maybe having her as my girlfriend!

 

But it’s happening.

Everything in the bar vanishes around me. I can only see her face and her voice is completely gone. I only feel the searing pain of her going.

I can’t let this take me in the moment.

“Chaz…  I know this is kind of sudden and things have been so great with you. I… I don’t know what to say. I really like you.

She pulled her dark mane from it’s enclosure and let her locks tumble about her face like ribbons of sadness.

I’m so transparent. She can see I’m dying. I can’t let the fear in. Nothing is as bad as I think as it is… as long as I don’t let the fear in. I’ve lived my whole life this way. Conditioning my brain to cope with fear and loss.

Rebecca clasps my hands. I feel the paradox between the softness of her hands and the hardness of her words like her well manicured nails.

It brings me back into the moment. Which is paramount for me to deal with this and not lose my composure. I won’t freak out. I will just be overcome by sadness, and I can’t let that happen. I have to be happy for her.

Just like everything else in my life. All of the adversity. I just have to act happy and live through it. I’ve been doing this my whole life.

Why is it suddenly so hard here?

I’m older. I’ve gotten good at this. I’ve trained my mind to pedal slower, just breathe and get through it all with a smile.

“It’s only three to six months, Chaz.”

“I know and I’m really proud of you, but…”

“But what?

“I’m really going to miss you, Rebecca.”

She continued to hold my hands. Her dark eyes searched my face for answers where there was only one.

She took one hand away and pulled her chocolate locks behind one ear. She exhaled through her nose. Her lips pursed in thought. I watched as emotions washed over her lovely face. She sniffed and I saw the beginning of the glistening tears in her eyes. Which brought the same emotion to mine.

Oh, this is a bad moment. Things are accelerating. I need to pull myself back in.

“I know. It’s an amazing opportunity. I… I really like you, Rebecca. I suppose it’s been pretty obvious.”

A tear gently slid down her soft cheek. “C’mere, you.”

Rebecca leaned in.

It was all happening in slow motion. Like I was watching a movie except I was the hapless supporting actor that gets burned in the final reel.

She gently kissed my lips. I felt and tasted her sticky lip gloss. I could smell her. It was intoxicating.

It smelled like love, lust and sadly, the bitter scent of loss.

“I’m going to miss you so much too.”

“Rebecca…” My voice cracked. “I understand. I want you to go forward. I love my time with you.” (I had to choose my words carefully to protect my own heart here) “But, just know I’ll be thinking of you. I hope you do great work and have an amazing adventure. You know that. But…”

(I’m going out on a limb here.)

“What?”

“I was just hoping that maybe when you get back, maybe we could pick up again and hang out again. But I understand if by then, you’ve moved forward with your life.”

“This is so hard, Chaz.”

“I know. Please… don’t worry about me. I’ll be here working in Philly and doing what I do. Hey, you’ve vanished before, and here I am!”

She smacked my arm and made that sweet smirking face I love. “Stop it! You know this is hard for me. Dude, you know I like you. I’ve told you how you’re not like all the guys I meet and know. That’s why you have so many female friends. They all know your different.”

“Okay… okay… Wait. Tell me more about how awesome I am.”

“You…Such a Leo.”

Rebecca put her arms around me and hugged my tightly. I didn’t care who saw at the bar. Nothing mattered. In that moment I wanted to tell her that I was in love with her. I really did. But I couldn’t do it. Not because I was afraid, but because it was not the time.

It was her time.

Not mine.

I had to be careful.

“Let’s get out of here.”

“You got it.” I settled up the check. It was $20. (Thank you Roman for the glorious hookup! Spend the $50 tip on your son!)

We stepped out into the cool Autumn night in Philly. The corner of 17th and Sansom was quiet. Just a couple of homeless people milling about the church across the street. A sad dichotomy to the wealth on this side of the street.

“I’m exhausted.” Rebecca keyed in and UBER on her phone.

They come so fast.

So fast to take her away from me.

They all leave me.

All of them.

It’s okay, because I know that life is fleeting and none of us really own anything. We just have it for awhile and then we’re all gone from here anyway.

Rebecca clung to me to quell the chill of the October night.

“You’re my favorite person, you know that, Chaz?”

“Same, Rebecca.”

She looked up at me with those emerald eyes. She looked up and down 17th street as if to see if her mom was watching. On tiptoes she kissed me. An initial smooch, then a pause to gauge my response. Reading my face.

It was my turn to strike.

I took her in my arms and kissed her deeply. She responded in kind. Her full lips yielding to my kiss. It’s as if we had practiced this scene many times before.

Saying goodbye.

Our kiss was glorious. Just like always.

Always new.

Always final.

It was beautiful.

I’ve had the honor to kiss many women, but Rebecca’s kisses were like a flower opening before my eyes. A miracle of life and beginnings that always had a finite destination.

When I open my eyes, I see her there in my arms before me. Looking right at me. Smiling. Bright. Shiny. New.

I love the new ones.

But they all drive off the lot with new owners.

“My Uber is here. Text me tomorrow?”

“You bet.”

I watch as my favorite nurse in Philadelphia boards the black sedan before me and disappear up the street.

That final kiss blown and a wave, and she’s gone.

How many times has this happened?

I’ve lost count.

But why does this one feel so exhilarating and painful in the same breath?

I’m not getting any younger. I have no illusion that middle age is what it is for me. All of my rare little birds will eventually fly away.

Is writing this blog simply an extended epitaph to my romantic life?

I think it is.

I keep dating these younger women expecting a different outcome. But it never happens. But I know better. I already know all of the answers to my dating and relationship woes. But I continue to chase these beautiful birds across the field and every one of them flies away.

But I know why.

I think the brief pleasure of having them in my life at this point is enough. I think I’m really done. I think Cherie finished my off. She’ll be the last real one. (As real as that was!) Why am I even thinking I could have a future with Rebecca? She’s Kate, Tara, Melissa, Judith, Michelle, Annabelle and Cherie all rolled into one.

I grow and evolve as a man in this world and become a simpler, happier person but I continue to cycle through all of these young women. I know that every one of these relationships will end the same way, but I just keep doing it over and over.

So maybe it’s not about how it just happens that I’m always dating young women. What it’s really about is the fact that for some reason I’m trying to find something that’s been lost somewhere.

I should get down on my knees and thank God any of them have given me a chance. I’m long overdue to be finished. Maybe that’s why Keith Richards is still kicking. There’s just a part of us that never grew up. There’s a part of men that are seeking the love of a young women that’s missing a crucial part.

We look at women our age as women we associate with our mothers. We love her and miss her and always wanted her love and never really got it.

So we turn to the eternal flowers of youth that are fleeting. We keep reaching for those fresh flowers but they all wilt and nearly die in our hands.

Our sad bouquet stands before us. Vibrant, beautiful and so ready to fight gravity and reach for the sun. Her roots yield to gravity in the Earth and take hold in someone else’s garden.

But never mine.

I realize I never grew a garden.

I’m surrounded by glass, concrete and steel in this fine city of Philadelphia.

I feel comfortable and happy here. These have been the happiest times of my life these last thirteen years.

Magical.

But I feel things slowing down. I continue to work like any other artist. Funny, how I still refer to myself that way. But that’s the way I feel.

My father used to say: “Walk among them but never join them.”

He was right, but I think I may have twisted that a bit.

I’ve had so many people come into my life. Some I’ve pulled in myself. The strong gravity of my personality. That’s really all I have. My personality and my natural ability.
But that’s all it takes sometimes.

But like a great white shark I will always die in captivity.

Many men have settled into marriage and domesticity. But there are those of us that can never do it. So many who shouldn’t do it. It only works out half the time.

I don’t like those odds.

But if you don’t settle down and get married you wander the earth like me.

I’m happy, but sometimes I think about being single as opposed to being married.
“I could be married and get free boring sex and feel annoyed much of the time, or be single and be lonely but be free to do whatever I want, when I want.”

I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m just going to live my life the way I want to for as long as I can. I’m not doing anything wrong, but I should probably figure out why from such a youthful age I always was surrounded by young, attractive girls.

What’s the piece I’m missing?

If anyone reading this can help me out I’d appreciate it.

Well, I’m going to text Rebecca tomorrow and hope for the best.

But I know the best may not even be something I want.

 

 

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Zoe – Chapter 2 – The Real Deal

So, I know I have been creating all of this drama at the salon with who’s going to be my number 1. I’ve done this my whole life. I could walk the mall with my friend Spinner, and we always had to choose our favorite girl that we saw that day.

That was 15 years ago, but I’ve always carried that with me. I’ve cut all of the bad drama agents from my life that have been so well documented in this blog. But at the salon I have always had a top 10, a top 5 and a number 1.

It’s silly I know, but when you have no drama or pain in your life you sometimes create little fun games for things to make the job you’re in more interesting.

If you’ve been following phicklephilly, you’ll know that I’m always searching for my number 1.

It means nothing, but it keeps my active mind amused. I’ve had so many, and they come and go for different reasons. (All ridiculous but fun)

Michelle once said I only pick my top 10 because they are the prettiest girls that come in the salon. (In the beginning, she was absolutely right) but now my little game is about attendance and attentiveness. Kita turned into something else, Delaney failed, and Anastasia, has hope.

But I think my new list will include just great people I really like and have fun talking to.

But I think about these things.

I no longer am sitting in a cubicle, wearing a silly suit and tie, and going to meetings. I no longer sell products and services that have zero value to unwitting clients. I offer real solutions to customers and make them happy.

It’s a brand new day to be out of the rat race and it is exciting.

Most people buy into the American dream and do what we all did. Go to college, become a debtor, (prisoner/slave) get an internship for little money. Pay back your student loans for decades. Work you’re ass off for some shitty company with shitty managers and be stressed out all of the time to earn a decent paycheck. All the while being exhausted working on your next relationship hoping you can find a good mate to marry, settle down with, and/or marry and have a kid with.

The American dream.

Total bullshit.

But… it’s what we’ve been taught, so that’s what we did, and continue to do.

That lie is still alive today.

I see today that many people don’t like to work.

Work is the foundation of human existence.

If you hate what you’re doing or the people you work with, quit. Go do something else. Everybody thinks they need to make a bunch of money.

We’ve all been taught that Louie Vitton bags, Coach bags and Mercedes Benz and a big house and everything else are signs of success. All lies.

None of it will make you happy in your heart.

I’ve had it all and none of it made me happy.

It’s all bullshit.

You know what’s important?

Your health.

Good people and/or family in your life.

Having something to do everyday that makes you happy and helps others.

To love and be loved. (Hard one)

Something to look forward to every day.

Forgive everyone. Why should you drink the poison hoping your enemies die? They don’t care. Let it go. No one should live rent free in your head.

Ever.

Life is too short.

Zoe is a lovely girl.

She’s smart, sweet and has a great sense of humor.

I am always playing my “Who’s my new number one game” with myself.

It’s fun, because I have no drama from any crazies in my life anymore but I enjoy picking the best of the best in every aspect of my life for fun.

But after all of the girls that have come through here, Zoe has been consistent.

I’ll tell you why she’s the apex of this little exercise.

Zoe comes in on a consistent basis.

She’s always sweet and fun to be around.

I’ve upsold her to the premium package and she deserves it.

She listens to my stories and genuinely loves them.

She laughs at all of my jokes.

She always asks what’s going on with me and wants to hear any new crazy stories I have.

No one else cares what’s going on with this Leo.

She’s a beautiful, sweet woman, that is as attractive as her wonderful disposition and personality.

I decided that after all of this time she went from Top 10, to Top 5 to Number 1.

We both know it’s all a silly game, but it holds a certain weight.

Zoe, has been going to Temple University for two years and working as a server at a local watering hole. But recently she got an internship at a corporation that works with government, politics and non profits.

I’m proud of her and she’s making her way.

I decided that i wanted to do something for her, because I consider her a part of our businesses’ core family. (Even Achilles likes her, so that’s good, because he’s a curmudgeon)

When she would come in I would greet her as Top 5.

Zoe giggled (Love her giggle) and would be happy she was special.

Then I greeted her as Top 3.

Finally, after all of the failings of all of my other candidates, I decided that sweet Zoe should be my number 1.

It’s a meaningless title, but it means something to me. (And hopefully to her, because she’s clearly my favorite.)

Zoe is actually flattered (I think) by the title and I really mean it because she’s just so darn nice.)

I embrace this and decide to do what I’ve always done for my Number 1’s (Even though they haven’t deserved it, but again it’s all about me) I get Zoe her favorite tanning lotion. We don’t even carry it anymore but I need to get the best for my Number 1.

 

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Sun Stories: Tis’ The Season

The salon is insane. We’re busier then we’ve ever been.

Tis’ the season. It’s Spring and everybody needs to get tan. Most people think that the busy season would be the Winter. It’s cold, dark and Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in for most of us here in Philly.

But that simply isn’t true.

Sure we have our regulars and the folks that come in to prepare for winter vacations and SAD, but Spring is our Christmas fourth quarter at our tanning salon.

People going on vacation, prom, formals, weddings, formals, and just getting your base on for the summer are in high demand. We have 140 people roll through here a day on our 10 sun beds and one spray tan unit.

Sun Myst around the corner is a failure. Old city Tans died a year ago. Hollywood Tans vanished years ago. We’re the last and best tanning salon left in Philadelphia with the best most modern equipment and best pricing.

But… for some reason, this year I have the greatest part-time staff ever.

I’ve worked my butt off month after month maintaining this salon’s excellence with my partner Achilles. We’ve been through a lot and if you’ve been reading phicklephilly you know we’ve been through the ringer with staffing.

Hell, that’s why I came here in the first place. I did his advertising when I worked at the now failed Philly Weekly. I was looking for a fun part-time gig because I like to work. I saw the lithe clients and thought it’d be fun.

I was right.

Achilles was always complaining about his staff. But you get what you get for the price you pay in the hospitality business. Staffing was the bane of his existence until I came along.

I worked a lot of shifts and brought the salon to its current level like any job I’ve had in the past.

Excellence.

That’s all I can do.

If you’re going to do a job, do your best. Period.

I’ve spent 30 years in the rat race and mired in corporate America and it sucks. Sure the money’s there…but what a price we all pay.

I see bright-eyed college girls tanning for their events and then I see them a year later pale and broken in a corporate job. $50,000 in college debt starting their lives in some shitty job.

So sad.

Not the vibrant students I met a year ago.

Shit. I was in L.A. working as a short order cook and playing in a band when I was 20.

My own daughter Lorelei doesn’t even want any part of collegian life. She’s lived with me here in Rittenhouse for the last three years and has a great job in the restaurant business. She’s kicked it since high school. She’s been promoted three times since then and is killing it in the industry. That and being in a solid relationship for the last five years with her boyfriend. I’m a huge friend of this boy. He’s a good man.

Baby’s doing well.

 

My staff is amazing this season. Amelia and Eileen. I couldn’t have dreamed better employees.

Amelia with her smarts and charm. Her work ethic simply lights me up. She’s so forward thinking and industrious at 24 yrs old. When I work with her I feel like shess an extension of me in the salon. The things I’m dealing with… laundry, customers, maintenance, new intakes, cleaning… Amelia’s on it. When I work with her it’s like working with a better,  version of myself.

I’ve worked in corporate America my whole life. I’m a deadly sales guy. I’ve done every job and I’ve murdered it.

But the biggest problem I have always faced was being a sales manager.

I’m a salesman.

Like my mother’s father before me. I live to go out and sell.

I know what makes a good salesman.

I’ll correct that in a minute…

A good salesman serves his clients with quality products that meet their needs.

To me that’s a rep.

A great salesman is a guy that gets off on closing the deal while he’s meeting the needs of his clients desires but still meeting their needs.

I was a financial broker in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  I remember my boss asking us why we all got licensed to sell brokerage. It was during the Clinton administration and the economy was booming. It was a great spot to be in. (I like Bill, fucker that he is, but he had nothing to do with it. It was just the cyclical scale of commerce in the world and Clinton lucked out. Don’t fool yourself America.)

He said it was so we could make a lot of money.

Every guy in the room agreed with him.

I liked my boss but I silently disagreed.

I knew from my 20 years of selling VCRs,TV’s, liquor, and whatever else he was wrong.

Sales isn’t about money.

It’s about getting off on closing a deal and not about making money. It’s about providing a quality service to your client and building a relationship with them.  Providing long term wealth for their family was paramount.

The wealth you amass is not about making that money. It’s incidental to the hard work you did to provide your client with a valuable service.

That was always my goal.

I always knew, that if I did good honest work by my customer the reward would come, and it always did… automatically.

I made thousands and thousand of dollars at every job I ever I did.

Sadly, my poor life choices sucked my efforts from me.

An ex-wife I had to pay child support to for 15 years, and all of the other bills that come with wealth and possessions.

But I never minded. I paid my bills and I soldiered forward.

I love to work and I love all of the good people in my life.

Sure I worried about money, but we ALL do. That’s just part of life.

But I always knew I could make more. I can always generate more revenue. That’s what I do.

My father retired at 62.

He did zero after that.

I would have loved to seen my dad working in a deli, or a wine store or an antique store. He would have killed in any of these businesses.

Pablo Picasso was found dead at 92 working on a sculpture.

I don’t want to be that old, (I’m sure everything hurt by then!) But I want to be that.

I’m 58 years old. If I get 20 more trips around the sun I’ll consider myself blessed, but I’m cool with less. (Who gives a shit. Phicklephilly lives forever online!)

This piece was originally supposed to be Chapeter 7 for Eileen, but we’ll get to her in a second.

I never know when the blood is going to gush good emotions.

I’m going to write about Eileen and Amelia because as I said they are the best girls I’ve ever employed at our salon.

I’m so proud of both of them and cherish their dedication and friendship.

We’ve obviously got new Sun Stories to tell… so stay tuned.

Thank you!

 

Thanks. I hope this was helpful. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this piece.

 

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

Buy Phicklephilly the BOOK on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly