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. 

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

Romantic Thanksgiving date ideas

A lot of people believe that Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving unless you spend it stuffing yourself silly with food, surrounded by annoying uncles and aunts. But for couples without children or whose families are far away, Thanksgiving can be a wonderful opportunity to spend some romantic time together without distractions. So skip all of the stress this Thanksgiving and plan a special day for just the two of you with one of the ideas below.

Cook a meal together for two

While playing hostess to your in-laws and simultaneously cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 10 may seem like a recipe for panic attack, cooking a turkey together with your best guy is filled with sexy opportunities. Envision sipping wine together as you stir the cranberry sauce and let your imagination run wild!

Have someone cook a meal for you

For those of you who think cooking is a chore rather than a delight, there’s nothing like enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner out on the town. Simply make a reservation, show-up and voila! While other women are spending the day slaving over a stove, you and your man can enjoy all of the pleasures of eating a five-course, candle-lit meal with none of the work.

Stay at a B&B

Holidays are so few and far between, why not extend your Thanksgiving into a Thanks-weekend and spend four days being thankful you’re not at home?

Go somewhere warm

Or even better, chuck the idea of a traditionally chilly Thanksgiving and relax the weekend away, basking in the sun at a tropical resort. The trees may not change color in Florida or the Bahamas, but there is still a lot of holiday cheer to be found there.

Watch a parade

You don’t even need to go anywhere to enjoy a romantic Thanksgiving. Sipping hot chocolate and holding hands together while watching a local parade can be just as lovely.

Or snuggle on the couch

Don’t even get dressed! Thanksgiving is one holiday that’s made for sleeping in, so don’t hesitate to ignore that alarm for once. You can always TiVo the parade and watch it later.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen

For couples in pursuit of the true meaning of Thanksgiving, soup kitchens and charity organizations are always in need of volunteers on the holiday when attendance is even higher than usual.

Go see a movie

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is going out to the movies with my boyfriend, just the two of us.

 

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 4

I offered to show Craig a good place to get costumes. But I had to practically threaten Eric to get him to show up. The three of us went to the Lido, the costume supplier for several downtown theaters.

Some guys would roll their eyes at the thought of going into such a place. But Craig and Eric were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the place was immense, with an incredible selection. Second, the mannequins on display looked fantastic. There was a roman centurion, a renaissance courtier … And third, most of the costumes were real. Not cheap plastic, not imitation, but real, quality cloth.

Craig was impressed by a Captain Morgan outfit, but wouldn’t rent it.

– “That looks too fancy. I think I’m just a common sailor.” He settled on an oversized, brightly colored, striped shirt. It looked like a rugby jersey, to me, except that it had laces at the throat. He liked the look of a polka-dotted headscarf, too.

We found him some black boots made out of soft leather, and a wide sash to wear around his waist. Black pants that he could tuck into his boots completed the outfit.

– “I like the sash. Good for tucking a knife in, or hiding your driver’s licence.” I told him.

– “Should I get an eye patch?” he wondered.

Just then Eric came around the corner, with a bundle of clothing over his arm. He was wearing two eye patches – one over each eye.

– “Where are you guys? Ahoy, mateys!” he called.

Craig and I exchanged a look.

– “Maybe not.” he said.

Eric fell in love with a dark grey thing that looked like a vest. It was long enough to reach below his knees. It might have been appropriate if we were doing a samurai murder mystery.

But he had found a pair of boots from the Three Musketeers era, and a huge tricorne hat. I left Craig to help him find a shirt and pants, and wandered off to find my own costume.

Some people would hesitate to spend $200 – or even $100 – on a costume. I’m not one of them. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve spent that much on a fancy restaurant meal, or a sports event, or concert tickets. Some of those outings were memorable, others not so much. But a really cool costume can create a memory that will last a lifetime.

I found what I wanted: a black coat with silver trim and enormous cuffs, a soft tricorne hat, soft black boots, and a wide black belt with an ornate silver buckle. Add a large white shirt with a high collar and black knee-breeches, and I was good to go.

Perhaps a bit too splendid for Ned Mulligan, you might say. Too bad. Let the others think that I was some sort of gentleman pirate. A little deception can go a long way. Besides, when I tried it on, it felt remarkably good. And a glance in the mirror confirmed that it looked great, too.

Eric had somehow found a scruffy grey beard.

– “Doesn’t this look awesome?” he asked me.

– “It looks itchy.” said Craig.

– “How can you put a price on art?” retorted Eric. It made no sense, of course, but he never let that hold him back.

– “You look like Captain Child Molester.” I told him.

– “Precisely!” he roared. “I’ll take it!”

I took them out for beer and wings afterwards. Craig turned out to be a decent guy, as I had anticipated. He found Eric funny, and we had a few laughs.

 

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7 New Year’s Resolutions That Can Be Toxic AF, Because You Are Enough as You Are

http://va.topbuzz.com/s/ZcMTxcp

 

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

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Thanksgiving Tradition

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s one from 2016

My family has always celebrated Thanksgiving, but Christmas was always our big holiday. I’m always welcome at my older sister Janice’s house every year. She has a big house and we refer to her place as Holiday Headquarters. There was one year many years ago when I was invited to go to my other sister Gabrielle’s house all the way down in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Back then I was newly divorced, and I just didn’t feel like making the drive all the way down there. My daughter was little then and with her Mom and that side of the family for Thanksgiving. I was just happy that my ex-wife was out of the house and out of my life for that matter. I was looking forward to a day of listening to music, watching movies and eating and drinking. I like to be alone. I’m a very social animal, and I get my energy from those around me, but I just wanted a day of sweet nothing and solitude.

I lived in Woodbury, NJ back then. I drove over to the local convenient store and picked up a box of frozen Ellio’s Pizza. It’s a cheap and tasty treat I have loved since I was a lad. The lady at the counter says, “I hope you’re not eating that for Thanksgiving!” I coolly replied, “Oh, no. My daughter loves these things. I always keep them in for her.” (a bold-faced lie)

That night I happily sat on my sofa watching some cool movies, drinking Ketel One vodka and tonics, and eating my delicious Ellio’s Pizza. I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. I was grateful to have a family that cared about me and most of all that little Lorelei was in the world.

So I joked around with my sisters about that day, and of course they felt bad for me. They didn’t want me eating frozen pizza and drinking liquor by myself on Thanksgiving, but that’s what I really wanted to do that day. So it’s sort of become a family joke every year for Thanksgiving. It came up again this year, when I declined my sister’s invitation. It’s not that I didn’t want to see her, but I’ve seen her a lot lately, and my parents have passed, so what’s the point? Once the main anchors of a family die, usually the children retreat to their own little families. She understood and we’ll all get together at her annual holiday party in December at Holiday Headquarters.

I went to the Midtown Diner and had a huge breakfast at the counter. Scrambled eggs, bacon and french toast. It’s too much food, but I crushed it all and it was delicious. I went back to my house and did some writing. Lorelei escaped the clutches of having to spend Thanksgiving with her mother. She went to her boyfriend’s mother’s house. She’s a hard-core vegan and made some really creative dishes. I’m glad she’s happy and I’m sure they were glad to have her there for the holiday.

I finished a chapter, and wanted to get something to eat around 4:30. I left the house and walked down to South street. Everything was closed, but I didn’t feel like going into Walgreens where I’d have to get something to heat up or bake in the oven. Then I looked to the left and remembered there was a new 7-Eleven a block away.

I stopped in and was surprised at all of the people in there buying stuff. Maybe I could start a little Thanksgiving club with them. They could come over with a load of 7-Eleven food and I’d supply the booze. I picked up some things and headed back to the house.

The city was deserted. Dark and eerily quiet because everybody was off doing their family things. I got home, went to my desk and fired up an old episode of Columbo on Netflix. I poured myself a vodka and club soda. I don’t drink Ketel One anymore at home. Too expensive. I only have it out now in a martini, straight up with a twist. My current brand is Platinum X7 by Sazerac. A 1.75 bottle is $20. My favorite thing to mix it with is Polar club soda with lemon that I buy by the liter at Walgreens. I tore open the small bag of Lay’s potato chips. Then opened the box that contained the quarter pound 7-Eleven hot dog, and spread mustard along its length.

Changed it up this year! Wanted to send a pic to all of my sisters but decided against it.

A man who can sit in a room alone and be satisfied is a man that has found inner peace.” – My Dad

 

 

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Petition – Help Get Mac Mart To The (Reading Terminal) Market!

Sign the petition to help get Mac Mart into the Reading Terminal Market!
— Read on www.ipetitions.com/petition/help-get-mac-mart-to-the-reading-terminal

Dating and Relationship Advice: Eight Wallet Friendly Date Ideas

Apparently dating is for the emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially ready. Emphasis on financially. Dating costs money but that doesn’t mean it has to break your bank. There are different activities you can enjoy with your partner that will leave you both happy and your wallet smiling. Fancy dress up and expensive dates are lovely but they certainly can’t be an everyday thing, sometimes all you need is to get back to the basics with that special someone in your life.

I have a list of 8 different ideas that I think you should try out. You know I recommend nothing but exciting things so make sure you try out at least one of them; you can thank me later!

  1. Picnic. You can do this from anywhere actually, just let your creative juices flow. Picnic on the back of a truck, the balcony of your house, at the local park or depending on how daring you are; on a roof top. I suggest you try out a sunset picnic which can later turn into a star-gazing date. I’m such a romantic, I know!
  2. Movie. Alyways a good move for the gent that isn’t a good talker or lacks game. You enjoy a film for two hours and you don’t have to talk!
  3. Coffee. It’s winter this part of the world and any date that guarantees to keep you warm is more than welcome. Cake at my favorite coffee place is USD3 a slice for any cake of your choice and coffee is USD2. It will give you a chance to enjoy as many cups of coffee as you please because the cake slices are huge and one cup of coffee will not do justice to it.
  4. Cook. Nothing like a home cooked meal made with tender loving care. The plus side of cooking together is that you and your partner get to bond and have some intimate time together. Instead of spending a lot of money eating out you can get your favorite ingredients and prepare your favorite meal plus dessert!
  5. Ice cream. Now this is the best date idea ever because ice cream doesn’t cost much. You will just have to make sure it’s a sunny day so that you get to enjoy the beautiful weather together with your ice cream and get to take a nice stroll together and hold hands. When was the last time you did that?
  6. Fun Run. There is always a run of sort taking place. Just so you know, I host Fitness In The Park events every month and they are FREE. Exercise will give you a chance to challenge each other and also release those feel good hormones. And, I read somewhere that exercise and great sex are best friends
  7. Drinks. Become a mixologist for the night. Take a trip to the liquor store and get your rite alcoholic beverages. Instead of going out on that Friday night stay at home and experiment with different alcohol mixtures. Make sure you create a music playlist that will have you dance the night away. The great thing is that if you pass out you will be in the comfort of your home.
  8. Comedy. There is no excuse not to go for something that will leave you in stitches. Comedy is a sure way to look at life from the fun side and if you two are trying to bring some laughter back into your relationship this is a sure way to forget about the fighting and get some humor into the mix.

I hope you try out these ideas and let me know how they work out for you. By the way, the ideas are open to both men and women. Ladies, surprise your man with one of these dates sometime soon and men, if you have not been taking out your girlfriend perhaps this list might help.

What activities do you get up to in your area that don’t break your budget? I would love to hear them.

 

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Roman – 2013 to Present – Tell Me Your Best Tinder Date Horror Stories

Maybe this will make you feel less bad about your last awful date.

When meeting a Tinder date for the first time, where do you go? A bar across town where you’re less likely to run into people you know? Perhaps a romantic wine bar? Somewhere intimate that will impress your date, somewhere you can be alone?

Alone, of course, except for the one other person who’s along for the ride: your bartender. The modern bartender has a front-row seat to the world of online dating, and for every success story, they’ve seen a dozen awkward interactions (to put it mildly). Enduring and observing the Tinder date is now an established part of the job description for your local bartender—for better or worse. I spoke with my favorite bartender in the city, Roman from Square 1682. (See: Roman – Rock n’ Roll Bartender) Here are some tales from the front lines of internet dating from a bartender’s point of view.

Three’s a Charm
I was witness to a particularly crowded first date. “Once I saw a guy show up to a date with another woman,” he says. “Unsurprisingly, it didn’t go as planned.”

If It Ain’t Broke
Some guys have the Tinder date down to a science. “Tinder Tuesday” was the nickname for a customer at a former workplace. “He came in every Tuesday with a different girl, ordered the same thing, used the same lines, offered to split the same dessert, and asked the girl back to his place at the same time.” Hey, if it works…? “He either had great game, or he was a serial killer.”

Politics and Doggy Bags
“Bless these poor Tinder souls, It can’t be easy!” He tells the story of a recent date that “completely derailed” after politics became part of the conversation. (“Never a good first-date tactic,” he notes.) “The guy paid out their check before they even got their appetizers. They both stormed out, but then a few minutes later, the girl came back and asked for the remaining courses to be packaged up to take home with her.” Gotta admire that, though: Roman calls the move “ballsy, tacky, and kind of amazing all at once.”

One for the Road
I once witnessed a real winner at a former workplace. The guy had two topics of conversation: “He talked about his ex constantly, and about how when he was in college the CIA—which he obnoxiously referred to as ‘the Company’—tried to recruit them.” The woman silently stirred her drink until the ice melted, at which point the man went to the bathroom. Immediately, “she asked me for a shot and signaled her intent to leave him with the bill.” Down the hatch and out the door.

Listen, Buddy
Listening skills are often the last straw for people. “I watched a man totally blow it by being a horrible listener and talking over his date,” he says. “She told him that she was a psychologist, and then one minute later, he asked her what she studied.”

Zero to 60
Of course, not all Internet dates end badly. In fact, Roman says he once saw a date that went remarkably well…remarkably quickly. “I saw two people go from meeting and shaking hands to making out and leaving together within 15 minutes.” Congratulations to the happy couple!

 

 

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Dating and Relationship Advice – Mystery Date

Want to add some spice to your existing relationship, then go on a mystery date and get ready to reap the benefits. Women love surprises, they like mystery, and they like it when their man cares enough to plan a day dedicated to them. Now I am like you, I am lazy, and after I have been in an established relationship with a girl and I already know the sex is there when I want it, why do I need to go to the trouble of having a mystery date? You do this to keep her interested in you and make her fall in love with you all over again. Why am I talking like you need to already be in an established relationship to have a mystery date? Well you don’t have to be, but it’s a little more difficult to pull off on the first date or two then it is after a few months.

Let’s explain what a mystery date is.  It consists of a date where you say, “Babe, I’m taking you out friday.”  She may ask, “Where are we going?” To which you respond, “Not telling, this is a mystery date.”  And this is about all the details you will give her.  You plan out the evening and she spends the rest of the week dreaming up what you possibly have in store for her.  Too easy.

Now there are 2 levels of mystery dates you can take your girl on, let’s examine each one.  You will soon see why you won’t do a mystery date at the beginning of a relationship.

Beginners Level

This is the only time you can get away with a mystery date on a first, second, or third date. It’s simple, “Hey I’m taking you out on Friday,” she gets excited because you don’t tell her anything else, you plan the evening, it can be dinner, trip to the zoo, picnic at the lake. Any basic date. The only thing about this is you don’t tell her.  Maybe mention what kind of clothes she should wear, but you could leave it up to her and then pack a sweatshirt if your plan is to have dinner under the stars.

Advanced Level

This level of mystery date involves a bit more planning, but it will be a lot more fun for your girl. This has you planning out every detail of your date and usually involves two or more places of interest. Start off by telling her to block off an entire day, such as Saturday. It’s best to come up with a location that is a little out-of-the-way, so you can build up the suspense of the drive. Tell her nothing, in fact if you have access to her clothes, pick out the clothes for her to wear. Everything from casual wear for if you are going to hang out down town or at the zoo, something fancy if your date will take the two of you out at night, or even some sexy lingerie if you plan on staying the night together.  The point is to have everything ready for her, so that she will feel comfortable with letting you take charge. This is where the details are important. Say you plan on taking her to the city, going to the local zoo, then to the hotel to change and go out on the town.  If you pack her bags for her and she forgets her hair straightener, she will not feel sexy when going out because her hair, “Isn’t perfect.”  And it can really bring down the evening. The point of all of this is to show that you care because you dedicated your time and effort to plan a day just for her. It really does not matter what you do or the amount you spend, just that you took the time for her.

Execution

Like any good plan, the success of a mystery date lies in the execution.  It all starts with planning.  You must decide where and when you’re going.  You must call ahead to get tickets and reservations.  If you need access to her clothing, you need to plan ahead to either have her roommate let you rummage through her items before your date, or steal a piece of clothing or two from her each time she sleeps over.  This is not something you should plan the night before.

Building Suspense

All your planning would be for not if she is not excited by your idea of the mystery date, so we are going to make it fun for her and make it feel as though she is in control.  We can create the element of surprise through predetermined courses of action and a little simple magic. Let’s say you have decided that you will be taking your girl to the local concert at 1 pm. At 4 pm you will take her back to the hotel room where you will shower and change, out to dinner at 6pm, and then night life and dancing, before heading back to the room to end the night.

To spice things up, we are going to create three scenarios for your girl to choose from.  Have her pick from three envelopes, inside each envelope have, “City Date” written inside of each. City date refers to your plans to go downtown.  Just make sure she does not see the other envelope.  What you have done is create an idea that you have planned three separate dates for her, building her interest in you, when really you just had the one date planned.

Another idea is to lay out three outfits for her to choose. I would lay out a casual sun dress, something she would wear when clubbing, and lingerie.  Based on what she chose, that would be the date. This way at most you would only have to plan two dates.  If she chose the lingerie you know you won’t be going anywhere that night.

The key in all of this is to plan ahead. If you have to make reservations or buy tickets then ensure you make her pick the right date, or don’t give her an option, just take her.  If you’re flexible then plan a couple different scenarios, it can turn into a mystery date for yourself as well.

Was this helpful? I’d love to hear your feedback in regard to this post!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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