Valentine’s Day – I Met A Victoria’s Secret Super Model

“The minute I lay eyes on the super queen I involuntarily gasp. I literally sucked air sharply into my lungs like I never have before.”

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I’ve decided to write about all of the celebrities I’ve met in my life. It’ll probably only be once a month, and I’ll crank them out until I run out of famous people.

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my phicklephilly readers! I hope you’re in love or at least love something! If you’re not happy today, and if anyone starts talking about love, romance, hearts, cards, or chocolate, just slap them and say ‘it’s Wednesday!

It’s a coincidence and fitting that I release this piece on Valentine’s Day. Because this lady is and always will hold a special place in my heart.

This one happened about 11 years ago when I was working in Manhattan. The year was 2007.

I was sitting in a dive bar in Journal Square in Jersey City one evening after work. My buddy Howard was with me. I’m drinking a beer and reading the Daily News. On the Entertainment page was a little blurb at the bottom about how Alessandra Ambrosio was going to be making an appearance at the new Armani Exchange in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.

I think every guy has an “It” girl in life. Some movie star, athlete, or model that they just adore. In the 70’s and 80’s for me it was Farrah Fawcett. I LOVED Farrah. I owned all of her posters starting with the famous red swimsuit. I was even a card carrying member of her fan club. Always watched Charlie’s Angels and all of her movies.

But sometime in the 90’s I noticed this one model in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue that really struck me. I didn’t know her name for several years. But once you have a woman in your life and order something from their catalogue, they never stop coming. They must send them out every couple of weeks because I had loads of them coming to the house.

I eventually found out the identity of this exquisite woman. Alessandra Ambrosio. I was in love. Her perfectly symmetrical face, with her feline eyes and lovely tawny hair is a combination that drove me nuts. I absolutely have adored Alessandra for years. I know I love beautiful women, it’s hard not to. But Alessandra to me is one of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Alessandra Ambrosio was born in Erechim, Brazil on April 11, 1981. Her parents are Brazilians of Italian, Portuguese and Polish ancestry and own a petrol station. She enrolled at a modelling class at the age of 12, and at the age of 14, she was one of 20 finalists for the 1995 Elite Model Look national competition for Brazil. Ambrosio was always insecure about her large ears, and at the age of 11, she had cosmetic surgery to have her ears pinned back, though two years later she suffered complications. In 2006, she appeared on The Tyra Banks Show, and said that the surgery was a bad experience and has discouraged her from ever getting plastic surgery again.

I would love Alessandra the same even if her ears stuck straight out like open car doors!

When Ambrosio was 12 years old, she partook in modeling classes, and then began modeling for Dilson Stein at age 15. Competing in Brazil’s Elite Model Look competition started her modeling career in earnest. Her first notable modeling job was shooting the cover of Brazilian Elle magazine. Elite passed along some of her Polaroids to Guess which led her booking the Millennium GUESS? campaign. She has since appeared in advertising campaigns for Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Escada, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Guess, Emporio Armani, Moschino, Gap, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Revlon, and the Pirelli Calendar. She has walked the catwalks for designers such as Prada, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Bottega Veneta, Escada, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Ralph Lauren, Halston, Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon, and Oscar de la Renta. She has appeared in numerous international magazine covers, including Cosmopolitan, Elle, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Ocean Drive, Vogue and was the only model to appear on the cover of Glamour in the United States in 2006.

“I HAVE to go to A/X Armani Exchange on Saturday and try to see her! Do you want to go with me?”

“Why the hell would I want to go meet some supermodel? I’m gay!”

“Well she’s a fashion model and I figured you guys like stuff that’s fashionable.”

“I’m gay!”

So Saturday comes and I go to the local Rite Aid and buy a disposable camera. (Yea. I had a little cell phone back then before there were any iPhones or androids and that little phone didn’t have a camera in it. That thing was probably made by Fisher Price for all I know. A lot has happened in the world of technology in the last 15 years!)

So I’ve got my little cheapo plastic throw away camera and I hop on the PATH train into Manhattan. I get off at 32nd Street and walk East over to Fifth Avenue, The store is up around 56th Street so I need to walk north about 25 blocks. That’s a little bit of a hike. But it’s Saturday in the Summer and Manhattan is quiet on the weekends.

After awhile I finally reach the store. There’s a line of people to get in. I get in line behind this Asian girl and I go, “Is this the line to see Alessandra?”

“Oh, I have no idea. I just saw a lot of people here and I wanted to see what was going on.”

What a moron. How can she not know who Alessandra Ambrosio is?

The line is moving and I get inside.

The minute I lay eyes on the super queen I involuntarily gasp. I literally sucked air sharply into my lungs like I never have before.

I can’t believe I am standing in the same room with her. I can’t believe that I’m not seeing just a photograph of my queen. I am looking upon one of the most beautiful women in the world and the only thing that’s separating she and I is space.

I’m starstruck.

She sits down and starts signing things. I’m snapping pics and my heart is pounding. I’m getting closer!

Ohh…my love. My Queen! She is stunning! They take my name and write it on a little Post It. I assume this is because they don’t want any misspellings on the pictures she’s signing.

I finally reach Alessandra!!!

 

My arm around my queen!

I introduce myself and I can’t believe I am meeting her for real. She says my name and I swoon. My name coming from Alessandra’s lovely lips.

There she is! It’s really her! I’m shaking hands with my favorite woman on Earth. I’m looking into the eyes of the object of my desire for the last 10 years. She signs the photo, and I ask if they will take a photo of me with my camera. She agrees and I hand it to her handlers. I tell them to take a few just in case.

I put my arm around her, and lean in. My hand is on her shoulder! I’m touching Alessandra! My love!

I’m so close to Alessandra, I can smell her.

This is framed in my livingroom.

I will never be the same. I leave with my little camera full of photos, and the above autographed picture.

To Charles, Love, Alessandra. (Heart. Star.)

I love her even more now. I’ve met Alessandra Ambrosio! This day has been a dream come true. I’m holding the picture and I don’t want anything to happen to it, so I run across the street into of all things, a Victoria’s Secret. (Fitting!) I approach one of the sales girls and ask if I can have a bag.

“What do you need it for?”

I hold up the photo. “To protect this autographed picture of Victoria’s Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio.”

The chick looks like she doesn’t know who Alessandra is and hands me a bag. I gently slide my treasure inside it. (puns abound) I thank the girl and nearly skip to the PATH station.

I’ve added these delicious little videos to close out this piece. I can’t watch the first one without getting worked up. I love her so much.

I met my super queen. I never met Farrah Fawcett. I loved her so much, but I met my new queen Alessandra. It was glorious day in my short life. She’ll never know how much I love her but I met her, We got a picture together, I touched her, and smelled her.

My lovely Alessandra…

 

 

 

 

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

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Sun Stories – Colleen – Oh Fudge! – Part One

“I think you should let her pay $35 and the rest in fresh fudge.”

“Fuck no. It’s $65 a month. Wait…did you say fudge?”

The game is afoot.

This pretty Irish girl came into the salon the other day. I sort of remembered from our previous location. I looked her up in the system and the memory came back to me.

“I remember you Colleen! We had some great conversations at the old place.”

“Yea, the new place looks great! I was wondering what happened to you guys and then I went online and saw your new address.”

“I haven’t seen you since last year. I know you were living in Jersey.”

“I got a job here in the city and bought a house in South Philly.”

“Congrats! Good for you!”

Shannon is a lovely, tall girl. There has a certain confidence and honor in her personality. Just old fasshioned goodness. I find that very attractive. She has a very social personality and a hard work ethic. Somebody like my sister April. Strong. A leader.

“Yea, so I want to tan and I know you are the only salon in the city that had the basic beds because I’m cash poor because I just bought a house.”

“Oooh… We didn’t bring the basic beds with us down here.”

“What?”

“Yea, we just didn’t have room for them.”

“It was like $35 for a month of tanning wasn’t it?”

“It was a great deal. I’m sorry.”

“What do you have now that’s a monthly package?”

“The All Access for $64.95.”

“65 bucks? You’re killing me. I really want to tan, but I’m just not in a position to lay out $65 a month right now.”

“I feel like you’re going to leave and I’m not going to see you again.”

“I just can’t right now.”

“Do you still work part-time at the Fudge Kitchen in Cape May?”

“I do. Best employee they’ve ever had. Why?”

“My partner, Achilles loves to eat. But his weakness is sweets. I literally can’t leave any candy here because he’ll eat it all like a piranha.”

“So what are you proposing?”

I take a risk here. “What if I ask him if you can pay your old rate of $35 a month but you get the All Access package that goes for $65 but you make up the difference in delicious fresh fudge?”

“I can do that. If you can make that deal with your partner, I swear to god I will bring you $35 tomorrow and I can get you the fudge by Tuesday.”

“Let me see what I can do.”

Shannon leaves and I promise to keep in touch with her. If this doesn’t fly, I know I’ll probably never see her again, and I really like her.

______________________________________________________________________________________

I decide to have a conversation with my partner, Achilles.

“So this girl Colleen came in the other night. She’s come here for years and has always tanned in the basic beds. But we don’t have them anymore. She recently moved to the city and got a great job at a law office and bought a house.”

“Is there a point to this story W?” (Achilles calls me by the first letter of my last name. He also doesn’t like long-winded stories or small talk. He’s a ‘get to the fucking point’ kind of guy)

“I think you should let her pay $35 and the rest in fresh fudge.”

“Fuck no. It’s $65 a month.     Wait…did you say fudge?”

The game is afoot.

“Yea, she’s doing well now but cash poor because of her new house, but she’s worked at the Fudge Kitchen in Cape May, NJ since she was a kid and keeps her hand in there to pick up a couple of bucks here and there when she can. She says she can make up the rest of the payment in delicious fresh fudge.”

He looks at me. He’s working it out. I watch his eyes.

“Thirty five cash money and two pounds of fudge.”

“Excellent! I’ll call her and tell her! Thank you! She’ll be so happy, and we’ll have retained a client! You can eat the fudge or share it or even give it away if you want!”

“Don’t be fucking giving away my fudge already W! That shit’s mine.”

“Okay…okay… I’ll broker the deal.”

“Worst case senario, she pays $35 cash and doesn’t come through with the fudge… No tanning package and I’m $35 richer. The dye is cast.”

Ruthless motherfucker, but that’s why I love him.

This is beautiful. I’ve been a million dollar producer in the banking industry and in advertising for the last twenty-five years and now I’m retaining clients using nothing but sumptuous treats.

I call Colleen from the house phone and leave a message.

“Hi Col, it’s Charles from the salon. I have some good news. Give me a call back.”

I’m working and tanning the ladies like I always do when the phone rings. I give her the details.

“Really? He went for it? I’ll be in tonight!”

Let’s see if Colleen holds up her end of this extraordinary bargain…

 

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

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Cherie – Chapter 6 – Be Careful What You Wish For – Part II

“Show me where there was a hole in your pants.”

“You’re driving!”

So she fires up the car after some more kissing and off we go to Dave and Buster’s. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a big arcade down on the waterfront. It’s got a big restaurant area, a section with a bar, a billiard room, and in the back, this giant area with all sort of games where you can do just about anything. But you can also win a bunch of tickets and then turn them in for shitty prizes. The place is great for families and couples because there is tons of stuff to do and everybody loves it. We powered up our cards with points and went to town. She did really good on some games and I got 500 points on the Wheel of Fortune game.

I think our favorite game there, hands down was Jurassic Park. I love dinosaurs and all things Jurassic Park. Cherie loves games where we can team up and just shoot the shit out of stuff with automatic weapons. It was glorious. I read somewhere recently that if you do something exciting on a date, they will associate you with excitement. Bear this in mind. We are getting lost in the game, taking out raptors and T-Rex’s right and left. We kept re-upping with our cards, to keep the game going. We did this several times because we were having so much fun, until we realized that a couple of little boys were waiting to play. We hopped out and turned our weapons over to them! We both agreed we could have sat in that booth all day destroying Jurassic Park and it’s inhabitants all afternoon if we had the time and money.

We had earned a bunch of points but we were really there just for the fun, and never redeemed them for any of the junk they had in their little prize shop in the back. Maybe next time if we need a couple of plastic spiders or teddy bears or decoder rings.

So after two hours of games, we headed to the parking garage to fetch the car. At this point Cherie has been with me for over 4 hours. I check with her to see how she’s with time and all, and she’s fine. Being from Pottstown, She doesn’t know the city like I do, so I’m her co-pilot and navigator. We’re heading west on Spring Garden, and I have her throw a left on 19th street. I figure that’ll bring us right down into center city and we can get some sort of dinner. We get to Vine, and there’s a detour. Okay, I get it. Lot’s of construction going on in Philly. City is growing. That’s a good thing.

So now we’re heading west again. But we can’t turn left again anywhere. The Police have more streets blocked off. We get out to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and everything is still blocked off. There’s some sort of event going on out front of the PMA. Lots of people and little white tents. If Cherie had been on her own she would have been totally lost. We kept heading west unable to turn left and head back. I suggested we turn right and go north. We drove up a winding street out in Fairmount and I had her turn right on Poplar. That’s how far North we were.

Although we were basically driving around for an hour, I liked that Cherie described it as a road trip. I told her if she just stayed on Poplar and kept going, we’d get back to center city. We chatted about different things, work, school, family, etc. At some point I told her my ripped pants story. She laughed and asked where the hole had been in the other pants. We had been a little frisky earlier and there had been some suggestive flirty talk so things had changed a lot since 1:30 this afternoon.

I told her about this guy I used to know who always thought about things mathematically. So if you went on a date and you were out for say, 2 hours, that was just a date. But if it was longer, like say over 4 hours he would count that as 2 dates. Make sense? It did to him. She says, so technically we’re no longer on our 3rd date we’re on like our 5th. I laugh and say yes, according to my friend.

She goes, “show me where they were ripped.”

“You’re driving!”

We stop at a light and I take her hand, and slowly raise my left leg and place her hand there under my crotch. I know this is an extremely forward move, but it was playful and I think she really wanted to touch me. So I say, “right there.” She says, “okay” and rubs the spot gently. The light turns green and she has to focus on driving. We laugh about the whole silly hole thing. We basically spent the next 20 minutes looking for parking. Maybe it was  a half hour. But instead of it being stressful and annoying like you would think it would be, it was a lively road trip as she called it. We were just enjoying each others company and were having a good time. Cherie is so patient and laid back. It’s wonderful.

It’s dark now, and we finally find a spot for the Saab down at 23rd and Christiansen. She’s like, “are we really far away from everything? Because I don’t know the city.” I exclaim, “After that trip, I don’t even know where I live anymore!” We laugh and smooch and get out of the  car. I ask her if she’s hungry and she says yes. We’re walking north on 23rd street now. I see this guy walking carrying a pizza box. I tell her that whenever I see that it always makes me smile, want pizza, and maybe follow him. I ask her if she could go for some piping hot delicious pie. She says she can and I tell her I know just the place. They do brick oven and they even have a bar there.

We go into Mix Pizza at 21st and Chestnut. I’m a big fan of this place. She doesn’t want any weird kind of pizza even though they can make you any combination of sin you want on your oven baked pie. She’s so easy to get along with. We order an 18″ half pepperoni, half plain. My favorite. She gets a root beer and I get a diet coke. I look at the cocktail menu. She asks me if I want a drink and I tell her I don’t. I just don’t feel like drinking. Little does she know, she’s the drug I am currently on.

I ask her if she’s ever had anchovies and she says they’re nasty. I agree. I go on to tell her this story about this girl I used to go out with when I was in California in the early eighties with my band. She loved anchovies. So we would order a pizza and her half would be anchovies and mine would be plain. But the horrible rub was this. The pizza is hot in the box when you get it. That nasty, salty anchovy juice would bleed over into two of MY slices. So technically she was getting 6 slices and I was getting only 2 slices of what I liked. It was gross. But I loved her so it didn’t really matter. She asked a little more about her. I told her I was 19 at the time and she was 18, and that I had met her through a girl I worked with at this restaurant. I also told her I relieved her of her virginity. I didn’t mention that she was black. She was my first black girlfriend. I don’t know why, but things are still new and I just didn’t want to get her gears turning that maybe black women are a fetish or a thing that I jump into once every decade or so. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but I have to be careful with this lady’s heart.

The pizza comes and we tear into it. It’s delicious. She picks up her slice and starts eating it but it’s hot. I tell her to be careful that the hot cheese doesn’t slide off and slam into her chin, burning her beyond recognition. We laugh about it. I of course am eating mine with a knife and fork. Cherie’s amused about this but says she likes that I am such a neat eater. Most men devour and attack food. I carefully dissect my food and then consume it. She doesn’t care and compliments me on being so sweet and such a gentleman. It’s nice to be appreciated. At the end of the meal we still have 4 slices left. When I go to Mix and I’m really hungry, I normally get the 12′ pie. I can crush that thing. I figured there were two of us and I didn’t know how much she would eat. But we’re basically done. I ask the guy to wrap it up. He says it’s still good for later. I agree.

I pay the bill and head back to the car, which is far away but it’s a nice clear night. I’m carrying this big pizza box as we walk south on 21st street. I have suddenly become the man I see on the street that I want to follow. I’m the guy with the pizza. I ask her if she wants to take it home and she says not really. I’m not really a leftovers guy, and don’t feel like carrying this huge box anymore. I want to hold hands with Cherie.

We get to 21st and Sansom and I tell her I want to make a quick stop. She’s fine with it. Just like she’s fine with everything. I may have never met a woman who is this easy-going in my entire life. I hang a left on Sansom. I tell her how much I like Sansom street. It’s just this little narrow street between Chestnut and Walnut but it has so many different cool places on it. The Ritz movie theater, Helium Comedy Club, performance spaces, bars, restaurants, record shops, a comic book store, a gay porn place, I mean everything. I should do a chapter about a tour that I take and go to every place on Sansom in a day.

We get to 19th street and walk past Cavanaugh’s bar. There’s an alcove that appears to be a loading dock for the back of maybe Boyds department store on Chestnut. There’s usually a few homeless people getting some shelter in there. I see a man, in ragged clothes with a pile of his stuff. He’s not one of these street grifter types we have here in Philly. This man is really homeless. I cross the street, with baby in tow, and approach him with the box in front of me. “Did somebody order a pizza, half pepperoni?” I say, offering the box to him. His eyes light up, and a smile appears on his weathered visage. He takes the box and thanks me. “You’re welcome. God bless you.” I say as we walk away. I look back and he is tearing into the pizza.

“You’re a good guy.” she says, rubbing my back with her hand. I smile and say, “Movies, arcade games, road trip, pizza, and feed the homeless? I’d say this has been an epic date.” Cherie agrees. We walk hand in hand all the way back to the car.

I know I’m writing about my personal life and the experiences I’m having with women in my life here in the City of Brotherly Love, but I’m not one to kiss and tell. I’m trying to keep this story classy. It was late. Somewhere around 10pm. We made out in the car for a bit. The radio never came on once. Not even when we were on our road trip. We were just enjoying our time together. A friend of mine had asked me recently that when I went on these dates with these women, did I miss them after the date was over? Was there a longing for them. I flatly told him, I sort of enjoyed my time with them, but for the most part I was relieved it was over. I could go back to the batcave, have a drink and a cig and get back to my quiet life. But this girl was different. It’s like we didn’t want the night to end. We would have just sat in her car and made out like a couple of teenagers. There was a point in the night when she just had that dreamy look in her eyes. I could see it and I know I had it too. That feeling is magic and hard to find at my age. But it was late, and she had to drive back to Pottstown. I wanted to be considerate of her time too. She drove me back to Rittenhouse and we said our good nights. More kisses.

We decided that because of our busy schedule this week we couldn’t do a lunch. But we did nail it down for next Saturday. So this is moving forward. I asked that she please text me when she got home to let me know that she arrived safely. She promised she would. I got out of her car, and went into my building.

Wow. That was a 10 hour date. May be a record this early in the game. Feels like a match.

I went into my apartment and turned on some lights. I went back downstairs, and she was gone. I stood on my stoop and lit a cigarette. It tasted glorious. I just wanted to be out in the fresh air and pull on that cig, basking in the afterglow of a perfect day with a lovely charming, woman. I’m having real feelings for this girl. Will it last? Who knows. I’m just going to enjoy this and let the universe unfold as it should. If it works out will she want to get married and have kids, and then it will end like the last three?

Probably. But for now, love is in the air and I breathe it in deeply, and blow it out in a cloud of smoke into the autumn evening.

P.S. I did get that text from Cherie and hour later and she was safe and sound. We agreed the day was epic and amazing. I wished her only sweet dreams that night. Maybe I would dream of her too.

 

 

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

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Alice – Karma

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts about my friend Alice, she’s a deadly IT recruiter. (See: Alice – The Cute Recruiter)  I met her when she placed me in a job a few years ago. She was so good at recruiting that she got tired of not being able to earn more and keep more of her money.

Three years she started her own IT recruiting firm. She finds quality candidates for companies that pay top dollar for these people.

Anyway, Alice rolls into the salon today and asks me to look at something on her phone. It’s a message from some guy on LinkedIn. I don’t know if she was going to be doing recruitment for him or what.

 

What a dick, right? That’s just some old fuck being mean to an attractive young lady for no reason.

So she blurred out the idiot’s name and reposted it with this response on LinkedIn.

 

I believe that’s a fine, mature response to this clown’s statement.

Well, it went viral!

156,152 views.

She’s even been contacted by The Huffington Post.

She was going to come into our new fitness center for some personal training tomorrow, but she had to cancel. Because she’s going to New York City to be interviewed by Entrepreneur magazine!

Well done Alice! I wish you the best of luck and am proud to call you a friend and adore you as a person.

xoxo

 

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

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Cherie – Chapter 5 – Be Careful What You Wish For – Part I

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

Saturday arrived. I woke up relatively early. Philly had periods of showers but the rain was supposed to stop around 1pm, so that was good. I didn’t want another rainy day date with Cherie. But actually I was looking forward to seeing her so the weather didn’t really matter.

I stopped by the salon to drop off some detergent and bring my friend Trish some fives for the register. She was hung over from a night of Jameson at Tattooed Mom’s with her friends on South Street. She stopped drinking alcohol about a year ago, because she said she didn’t like how she behaved on it. Said it made her angry. Trish is angry anyway and I can only imagine what a nightmare she is on booze. That’s probably part of the reason she can’t function without smoking marijuana everyday and drinking oceans of coffee just to get through the day. I’ll be writing a chapter about her in the near future but for now I’ll stick to the events of today.

I give Trish the fives and she hands me a twenty out of the register. I’m walking across the lobby to take a seat and chat with her for a bit when she says. You have a hole in the back of your pants. I’m like, “Stop checking out my sweet ass.”

“Seriously dude. You have a huge hole in your pants. Don’t you feel that?”

I reach back and sure enough, there is a pretty good-sized hole there.

“I didn’t want you going out on your date today with a big old hole in your pants, dude.”

I joke that maybe I could guide Cherie’s hand to it in the movie theater for some cheap thrills.

“It’s the 3rd date!”

“I hate that shit!”

I tell her I agree. I don’t know if you all know this but a lot of young people are under the impression that the 3rd date equals sex. Which I find stupid. In all seriousness I would rather get to know someone and if there is a mutual attraction, the sex should just happen as a celebration at some point. There should never be a deadline related to intercourse. That almost sounds predatory.

So I head back to my apartment to put on another pair of jeans. I grab a pair and realize I haven’t worn them in a while. Like two years. They are a 36 waist. I now wear a 32 waist, but can do a 34 with a belt. They’re just too big and I look ridiculous. I grab another pair. Another hole in the seat. What’s going on here? Did I wear out the seat of two pair of jeans? I know I see the occasional mouse here in the building but what sort of butt munching rodents do we have around here?

I find a pair that are in decent shape with no holes in the seat, and put them on. This will have to do. I go downstairs and summon an UBER. While driving down to Columbus Boulevard to the multiplex, I chat with my driver, Hanna. She asks me what movie I’m going to see. I tell her the lady I’m taking likes scary movies, so we’re seeing, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil.’ Some how she gathers from our conversation that my date is younger than me. She asks, and I tell her she’s a little younger. She tells me about a male friend of hers, who is 50 something and was dating a woman in her 40’s and just wasn’t happy. He said that women his age were all carrying all the same baggage. He’s now dating a woman around 30 and says that younger women are just more fun. I say that I agree, but when you date younger women they all eventually want to get married and have kids.  She says that her friend is always up front about that sort of thing. Maybe I should have been clear about that in my last 3 failed relationships. And here I am being driven to what could possibly be a 4th similar destination.

She lets me out and I go into the lobby and get in line for tickets. The movie starts at 1:50 and it is now 1:30. I get the tickets and as I turn to wait for Cherie, she appears. On time. Early. I like that. It’s really nice to see her. Even though it’s only been four days since our last encounter.

Her hair is up in a bun, exposing her lovely slender neck. makes me think about how I kissed that neck on Tuesday. She’s wearing a yellow blouse, and light brown slacks. They cling to her shapely legs.

We are about to enter our auditorium and we notice the floor is really sticky. Someone must have spilled a soda there, and they tried to mop it up but didn’t get it all up. Now I’ve been to plenty of movie theaters in my time, and have jokes about the sticky stuff and detritus that is on the floor of the theaters, but this was really sticky. I had to laugh out loud. I practically had to curl my toes to keep my shoes from being pulled off by that sticky floor. Just a classic ‘out at the movies’ moment.

We go in and decide that we both like to sit in the back of the theater. I ask her if she wants anything to eat. I suggest some delicious buttery popcorn. She says it’s ok but doesn’t like how it can stick in your teeth. She says she likes chocolate, but not dark chocolate. I tell her I love dark chocolate. She smiles and knows what I mean. I really do prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but I also love the color of her skin. I go and mortgage my house at the concession stand on exorbitantly expensive snacks. Medium popcorn, medium cherry coke, bottle of water, and a bag of snickers minis for baby. $21. The food was as much as the tickets. The kid behind the counter even told me I could upgrade to a large popcorn and a large soda for $.50 more. I compliment him on his up-sell, but politely decline.

I get back to Cherie. I get all of our snacks and drinks squared away and sit down. “How did you know I loved Snickers?” she asks. “Well I’m funny and you like to laugh, so I figured, Snickers. she smiles and we settle into the previews. There aren’t many people in the theater. I like that. There’s also no late arrivals and no one is sitting in front of us. I love that as well. People are getting seated and chattering a little but that’s acceptable during the previews. We’re whispering closely. Then we kiss. It’s really nice. I feel like a teenager. I haven’t smooched in a movie theater in years. It was so sweet to hold hands too. She rubbed my arm and caressed my hand, and I was even so bold as to rub her leg and knee. It was all very gentle and romantic. What a refreshing difference from the crap women I went on dates with a few months ago. But I’m really enjoying this elegant romantic odyssey.

There is one rub that I have to mention. It’s happened a few times since then. We call it the C-Block, or the CBs. Cherie and I are in the very back row of the theater. All the way in the aisle to the right against the wall. There is only one way out. Doesn’t some pair of fucknuts sit at the very end of the aisle? This couple just sort of drops it there. One row down would have been fine. But they are right now, in OUR aisle. They could have sat anywhere. There weren’t that many people in the theater. It’s just a human thing. Homo Sapiens are such social animals they have to be together all the time. I can tell Cherie doesn’t want them there and neither do I. But there’s nothing we can do. Nothing but make a bunch of trips to the snack bar and the bathrooms. This way we can thrust our delicious firm buttocks right in their stupid faces.

Oh, never mind. It’s just annoying, we just wanted some private time to neck in the back of the theater!

The movie was a pretty by the numbers horror flick. I’d give it a solid three and a half stars. Demon possession, scary children, and good sudden frights do make you jump. We shared the popcorn and the candy. It was lovely. I was happy to be there sharing this Halloween treat with her.

After the film, we went outside. The sun was out and the rain was gone. It had been warm during the week, but had suddenly turned chilly in the last couple of days. Cherie always has trouble finding a place to park in the city, but down by the movie theater there is always loads of parking spots. We walk over to her Saab, and hop in to get out of the chill. We’re chatting about our next move, (which I have already planned) and more kissing ensues. She tells me she was hoping I would agree to sit in the back of the theater so we could neck. It appears this girl really likes me. She says she likes how soft my hands are. It makes me think of Captain Quint when he grabs Matt Hooper’s hands in the film Jaws, and says “You’ve got city hands, Mr. Hooper, from counting money all your life!” That, and the scene in Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” when one of the men on the farm puts petroleum jelly in his one glove to keep is hand soft for when he touches his woman. I don’t know why my mind flashed to those two images but for a moment they do.

I suggest we go over to Dave and Buster’s to go play games together. She likes the idea. I will say this about my lovely neuroscience major. She is very bright and quick of wit, but extremely laid back and easy-going. She’s from California, and this chick is chill. I always compliment her about her sweet disposition, because I really like that about her. Peaceful is good. She tells me, that between her two jobs, going to class, and taking care of her son, she has to make many decisions every day. She says she likes how I take charge, and just tell her where we’re going and what time it’s happening. I always have a plan and take the lead. She finds that attractive. So take note male readers, many women like to be told what you’re doing with them and where you’re taking them. Women are great negotiators and communicators, but when it comes to picking a lunch spot, just tell them pizza or sushi or just take them somewhere they serve different stuff and go. I have to give thanks here to my late father in regard to the clock. If he told you something was going to happen, or we were going to be somewhere at a specific time, it happened without error. He taught me that your word is your bond, and always be punctual. Like Beau Bridges says to Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, “Punctuality is the first rule of show business.” Life itself is like a giant long series. You’re the star of your own show. Make it a fun, exciting show if you can. To sum up: Girls like a take-charge man.

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

 

 

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

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Train Show in York, PA – Saturday

I saw this one woman who was easily over 300 pounds. She was walking by and she didn’t even look human. How does one get like that? How does one maintain that kind of weight? What does that do to your skeleton? She looked like an unmoored zeppelin. Then there was this other fat guy that almost ran someone over as he sped by on his rascal. Speeding and on his cell phone? Security should have hopped on their battery carts and chased him down until they could pull him over and give him two tickets!

Saturday was the final day of the show. I pack up my gear and head to the elevator. I get in and hit the button for the lobby. I hear giggling approaching and a dainty hand grabs the door before it closes. Seven teenage girls that appear to be on some sort of sports team all squeeze into the elevator with me. They’re all attractive and fit so maybe this is a sign that today will be a good day.

Janice arrives a few moments later in the lobby and we check out. We head over to the fairgrounds and I’m relieved that this is the final day. I’ve made a couple of grand here already and hope to close out strong today.

We get to the hall and go to our tables. We grab some breakfast sandwiches and chat. Today the show ends around 4pm. I suppose it’s so people can break down all of their stuff and get home at a reasonable hour. It’s a massive show and I’m sure there will be folks here into the night. Speaking of “massive” I am appalled at how many people are overweight and out of shape at this show.

I saw this one woman who was easily over 300 pounds. She was walking by and she didn’t even look human. How does one get like that? How does one maintain that kind of weight? What does that do to your skeleton? She looked like an unmoored zeppelin. Then there was this other fat guy that almost ran someone over as he sped by on his rascal. Speeding and on his cell phone? Security should have hopped on their battery carts and chased him down until they could pull him over and give him two tickets!

After breakfast I headed to the Men’s room because, well, middle age. You eat in the morning the digestive system kicks in. But my God, I’m in the stall and the place is full of dudes in the other stalls,  I kid you not. The place smelled horrible and it sounded like a high school marching band warming up in there. Or think of a guy with Parkinson’s disease trying to unload a set of drums from the back of a van. It was that bad in there! I got back to our table as fast as I could.

“Hey, Jan…What if we wrapped up a train in paper and simply called the package, Mystery Train?”

“You’re crazy. We’re not doing that.”

I have noticed something during this whole experience. On day one we were full of piss and vinegar thinking we had the greatest antique train collection around. We had price tags on everything and knew that dad’s stuff was all nice and worth every penny of what we were asking. But we’re at the biggest train show on the east coast right now. There are thousands and thousands of trains and collectors here. We sold a couple of things day one, but it’s a huge event and it takes a couple of days for people to see everything. These are toy train collectors. They know what stuff is worth. Yo, on the other hand, always think your stuff is worth top dollar. By day two I told Janice to remove the price tags.

“We can’t do that. Everything has to be marked.”

“Okay, then how about we just move the price tags to the bottom of the trains. The tags are still on them but they have to ask. That shows interest. It also opens the conversation and creates a dialogue so that I can sell them.”

I’ve worked in sales my whole life. It should work. Also by day two we started to feel a little desperate. Sure that train set is worth $1200 in its present condition. But to whom? My dad? He’s dead. We should probably negotiate the prices a bit.

“But…”

“Do you want to haul all of this shit back to the house with empty pockets or do you want to liquidate these assets?

“You’re right.”

“Let’s blow out some fucking trains!”

And blast them out we did. My father left us with one important rule when it came to selling trains: Sell only complete sets. (That means engine, tender and the cars.) But there was a moment on day two when we had a flurry of sales and after the dust settled we both looked at each other realizing we had broken up some sets and only sold engines and tenders and left behind a bunch of cars.

I raised my hands up to my face. “Janice…I think we just did some very bad things.”

“I know… We broke dad’s cardinal rule.”

But here’s the great part. We ended up breaking up some sets. But we actually sold off all the cars that had been left behind by the end of the show! So the “crimes against toys” that we committed had some how been righted by the gods!

I’m not going to collect trains. My daughter doesn’t want them. If someone offers me $350 for something that I don’t want and have absolutely no use for, they should have it. Maybe we think about not selling the trains but putting these beautiful toys into the hands and homes of the people who really will love them. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas story to me. That’s how we’ll live with ourselves for what we’ve done.

So we blow out more sets of trains today. We had one guy from New York walk away carrying four boxes full of our trains. My pockets were bulging with cash. We had guys we chatted with that were really wonderful people. We’d see them everyday. They loved trains and had lots of money. We discussed some post war O gauge stuff we had at the house. They were very interested in those pieces as well as the cabinets in the house my father had custom-built to house all of these beautiful sets of trains. These guys were serious collectors with houses full of goodies.

Put them in the hands of those who love them so that they can continue to live on and bring joy to people. They won’t be just all in a box somewhere like ashes in the ground. They will continue be immortal. Just like our father’s memory in all of our hearts and minds. He won’t ever really be gone until the black wings of death scatter our days.

We came here with 31 sets of trains and we’re only leaving with 13. That’s a pretty good haul. But the best part of this entire three-day odyssey was the time with my sister. She’s been wonderful and we’re really good travel buddies. It’s rare when you grow up together, then you both go off and live your lives. She goes off to college, and I go off to L.A. to play rock. She gets married and you get married. You live in different places and maybe only see each other once or twice a year at the holidays. You have your own lives and friends and children just like most people do. But then there is a death in the family. That tragedy brings you all back together. Well. I suppose I shouldn’t call it a tragedy. Death becomes us all.

But there is an event like this where you are called upon by your closest sibling to come to her aid thirty-five years later and you both get in a car and travel somewhere and sell a bunch of trains. You’re with that person all day for three days. You eat together, hang out, and laugh your asses off like you’re both back in high school again. Those three days with Janice in York were some of the very best days of 2017.

We say goodbye to Lenny and his lovely wife and I load what’s left of our stuff back into the SUV. We drive back to Philly, both a bit richer. Not by the Benjamins in our wallets but with love in our hearts.

Can’t wait to get home to my beloved city!

 

 

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Train Show in York, PA – Friday – Part 2

I’m thinking my sister Janice is like my dad at York and I’m more like his brother Jack. Jack was my uncle. They used to come here every year when they were both alive. Janice knows a lot about the trains and eats well. She’s brought her own healthy food and sandwiches, etc. I’m like Jack, eating trash food all day and drinking booze. Plus, I’m the funny one like my uncle was.

I sell an orange 256 to a really nice guy named Forrest for $400. He’ been a return client and we love that.  Bo cruises over to look at our trains again. He works his shit again and says we’ve already sold everything he wanted. The odd thing is a guy named Vince came over and bought all those trains that Bo had his eye on. Now I’m thinking Vince was one of Bo’s minions and Bo got exactly what he wanted at the price he wanted it for. He takes me over to show me his 10 tables of stuff. It all looks pretty lame to me but I don’t really know what half the stuff is worth I’m looking at.

Back at our table I’m thinking my sister Janice is like my dad at York and I’m more like his brother Jack. Jack was my uncle. They used to come here every year when they were both alive. Janice knows a lot about the trains and eats well. She’s brought her own healthy food and sandwiches, etc. I’m like Jack, eating trash food all day and drinking booze. Plus, I’m the funny one like my uncle was.

One irony was I met a guy who is with his son from Long Island. It’s the son that like pre-war O guage and it’s the son that got his dad into trains and found out about this annual show here at York. I’m not saying there’s hope for the train collecting market. It’s that a kid got his pop into trains and not the other way around.

I go outside to smoke a cig I meet a black woman and light her cig for her. Her name’s Barbara, and she tells me she works all of the events at this place all summer just for fun and extra cash. She said she likes that when there are concerts out here she gets to see all of the acts for free.  She also goes on to say she gets a widow’s pension of $2000 a month.

“I’m sorry.”

“Worth it for all he put me through.”

Then I run into Forrest and his father and son. Three generations standing right in front of me. I tell him how it must be good luck that I keep running into him, because he keeps buying stuff from us. He tells me a story about how he was once in Korea and he saw a beautiful model sailboat in the window of a shop. He went in and inquired about the ship. The merchant told him $100. He told him thanks anyway, but he had to catch a train and go to the airport. But there is an old korean superstition that if the first sale of the week is on Monday, you’ll have good luck the rest of the week. So the guy is chasing him all around the store trying to sell the boat to him.

“No. It won’t fit on the plane. I have to catch a train. No, thanks.”

“Ok. $20.”

Cut to: Forrest sitting on the plane back to the US with a big model sailboat on his lap.

Forrest also collects fans. Actual plug-in fans to keep a room cool. Those kinds of fans. He shows me photos in his phone of his fan collection.

“You should say to people, Hey, wanna see a picture of my Fan Club?”

We all laugh and head back inside. He looks at the Hiawatha. “$500? I’ll sleep on it.”

He also looked at a little silver streamlined train, and walked away from it. “I’ll sleep on it.”

Later his son came back and bought it himself! We gave him a junior collector discount. We love these guys and find out that they’re staying at the same hotel we are. They go off and tour the show some more.

But then we later realize as we’re shutting down our table that we forgot to give Forrest the boxes that go with the trains he bought from us. But that gives me an excuse to go to the front desk and talk to hot Angelica again!

When we do finally get back to the hotel, I scamper up to the front desk and tell Angelica my plight with the boxes. She tells me she’ll call Forrest and let them know we left them for him.

I head up to my room for a cocktail and some Nat Geo on the tube.

An hour later Janice is at my door ready to go to dinner. Tonight we decide to dine out at this little hick diner at the foot of the hill. I love a good diner and Jan tells me this is where dad and Jack would always eat, so it must be good. I earned more in sales today than Janice so the rule we made up is, winner buys dinner. So I order a steak and we have a lovely and lively dinner.

Later on I’m up in my room having a nightcap and decide that after this episode of dateline, I’m going downstairs for one smoke and then off to bed. Downstairs I walk through the lobby and out the front door. I smoke my cig and there’s just one drunk guy out there. He doesn’t say much because he is more than half in the bag. I walk back in and check out the snack bar.

“Hey!”

It’s Angelica! We start chit chatting and I’m loving her. She’s going to school to be a police officer. I’d love her to snap the cuffs on my and take me in for some rough interrogation. She could strip search me anytime. But I digress. She also tells me her fiance wants to open a fitness center. I tell her about the salon and how we’re putting a gym in it. She likes that story and then I go into the real reason we’re here in York. She finds the story touching and listens intently. I tell her she has been one of the high points of this trip for me. (Not really, but what can I say, I’m charming.)

“Take my picture so you’ll remember me.”

Done.

What a sweet beauty right? You are looking at the hottest girl I’ve seen in this God forsaken town the entire time I’ve been here. Now I can go back upstairs to more dateline, a drink and then off to bed. It’s been another wonderful day.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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