Lin – What Would Simon Say?

I was walking back from the grocery store that’s about two blocks from my house the other day. I’m carrying two big paper bags when I suddenly see Lin with her little dog.

The dog immediately pulls on the leash and its back legs starts viciously barking at me as if I’m a criminal. Normally kids and animals like me because they can sense my inner kindness, but this pup is just being a jerk.

Typical yappy dog. Lin seems in a hurry to get where she’s going. “Hi, I’m just taking him to the park.”

“Nice seeing you. Have fun.”

And that was it. Now, I’m loaded down with groceries and she’s being pulled by a precocious pooch.

But I noticed something I hadn’t before. Both times I encountered her she was seated. But today she had on a pair of black bicycle shorts and some sort of white halter top on. (Those tight compacting shorts that hold everything in)

As she walked away I stole a glance back at her.

This is not the girl I saw in her Instagram photos. In her pics on social media, she’s raven-haired and fit. A petite, cutie. But this person walking away from me no longer fits that description.

She’s blonde and packed on quite a bit of weight. Her back is chubby and her legs are thick. This isn’t good. Could she be stuffing her feelings about her ex? Has she gotten back with him? He cheated on her and she dumped him. But now she’s a little chubette and I can’t imagine him wanting to come back to a worse version of the chick he already cheated on.

Then her next boyfriend in Fairmount suddenly cut her loose too. Something’s wrong here.

Maybe she just stuffed her face during Covid? No. That wouldn’t make sense. She’s a nurse. They were busier than ever during Covid. It must be the depression of being on her own and the loss of not one, but two boyfriends. What is with these Asian girls? No offense, but this reminds me a lot of when I knew Kita from the tanning salon a few years ago. Addicted to tanning, the super bleached blonde hair. Do these girls want to change themselves because they’re unhappy in their lives? They look perfectly great with their natural hair and skin color. It’s beautiful to me. I’m a huge fan and have been for over 40 years. I’ve had a couple of Asian girlfriends and liked the way they looked.

I don’t know, but I’m getting a bad vibe about this chick and I swore no more crazies back in 2019. There just seems to be a lot of things going on with this chick.

I saw her one more time the other day. I was about half a block away from her as she was entering the building next door. She was in the hallway with her yippie dog and fiddling with the lock on the front door. I know she didn’t see me earlier and as I walked by all I could see was that back fat.

I get that if you read this you’ll think I’m being shallow. Maybe I am. But I’m not pursuing this girl. It appears that in the short time that I’ve known her, (Two brief encounters) that she’s got some issues with several things. The sudden hair color changed, twice! The rapid weight gain. Drug use. The bounced rent check. The sudden need to get a tattoo.

Where are this girl’s friends and family? She’s got a good career, but it seems she’s making a lot of wrong and desperate moves. I’ve known too many mentally unstable people during my 15 years in this city.

So, sadly… I’m going to steer clear of this one.

Oh well, like I always say: Good or bad, at least I got a story out of it.

Simon Cowell GIFs | Tenor

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

Lin – A Brief Repose

I went to Southgate bar and grill for opening happy hour, but Lin didn’t show. It would have been awesome if she’d have walked through the door, but no dice.

She probably forgot about it. No big deal.

I was complaining to my friend the other day about how I thought being a paid writer was a bit sexier than it is in reality. I pictured myself being like Hank Moody in the series, Californication. Just that cool guy, who hangs out, drinks, smokes, and parties his way around town. Bedding multiple, attractive ladies along the way.

But that’s fiction. Being a real writer who earns a living doing it is a solitary existence that takes patience and diligence daily. You can’t write 2500 words about ‘the tax advantages of solar power’ or  ‘Lead Routing for Today’s Salesforce’ if you’re hungover or messed up on drugs.

You have little free time because you’re stuck behind your keyboard for hours on end researching and writing about a bunch of stuff you know little about. But it pays the bills and keeps a roof over your head while you’re waiting for your next novel to become a bestseller.

There’s nothing glamourous about it and it’s a lonely existence. But I like writing and learning about new things. I also love the dopamine drop when you finally finish a long piece knowing you’ll be paid handsomely for it. But more likely than not several assignments are waiting urgently right behind the one you just finished that need to be done. You have deadlines that must be met. This kind of writing isn’t sleeping late, heading over to Cavanaugh’s for lunch and then writing your dating blog for the rest of the afternoon while you sip poorly made manhattans.

This is work and it’s a grind. But that’s what most jobs are. They’re not fun. That’s why they give you money to do them. These companies don’t have the talent on hand to write all of this stuff for their internal communications, websites, and their blogs. So they job it out to freelancers like me to get the job done quickly.

When I said at the top of this piece that I was complaining… I wasn’t complaining. I like having a job where I get to write all day. A year ago, I could be where I was working in some B-rate sports bar, dealing with a$$holes, drug addicts, mentally unstable whackos, alcoholics, illegal aliens, felons, and sex offenders. And that’s just the people I worked with!  (Sadly, I’m not exaggerating)

So, it’s just not as sexy as I thought it was like in the movies. But nothing is. Do you think being a cop is cool and fun? That’s a dangerous and sometimes boring job. It’s feast or famine most days.

I was simply lamenting with someone of like mind who shares this same vocation. She has so much more experience than I do when it comes to this sort of work. (She was the editor for a news agency in Philly for years, so she knows her stuff) I respect her and like her as a person and I’m so fortunate to have her in my life. She’s opened not only a new profession where I can use my talent and earn a living but a whole new chapter in the book that’s my life. So I may complain but I’m still enjoying it!

So, I was coming back from my daily trip to my go-to breakfast nook, Rachael’s in Rittenhouse. They know what I like and make me the same thing every day so I don’t have to even order when I go in. I say hello, grab a seat and they bring me my breakfast. During this long period of non-stop writing assignments it’s been a happy little break I get each morning to get some fresh air, see some people, eat a delicious meal, and then back home to work.

I was still ruminating about how my life as a paid writer was nothing like Hank Moody’s but I just thought about the money.

But I walked on the west side of 19th street today because there was some construction going on on the other side. I was walking by Metropolitan Bakery and I hear a familiar voice.

“Hello, Charles.”

Sitting there outside at one of the little tables sipping her coffee was lovely, Lin!

It’s as if the gods had heard me complaining about my boring writer’s life and decided to throw me a bone to cheer me up. They wanted to show me that I can still have a little joy in the daily grind of cranking out article after article.

She gestures to the seat across from her, “Sit.”

I happily sit down and the dopamine is flowing through me. This is great! It’s just what I needed today. Two days ago I was so frustrated with a client’s demands that I wanted to pack it in. (Not really) And now, I was chatting with my neighbor. It was a tiny miracle. Just incredible luck and timing. The lift I need in my day to carry on.

“Your hair looks different. You look great.”

“Yea I got it trimmed and they frosted it.”

“Well, it looks nice.”

We chatted a bit and she stated that her schedule is usually pretty crazy. I asked her what she was doing after coffee, and she said she was going to walk up to the bookstore (Shakespeare & Co.) on Walnut Street. But then she had to go home and go to bed.

“To bed?”

“Yea, I’m working from 6 pm to 6 am for the next few days. It’s brutal.”

And here I was crying about writing industrial articles for money from 9 am to 9 pm every day from the comfort of my air-conditioned house. I told her I wished I could walk up there with her and stroll around the bookstore and look at literature, but I had to get home and write. (People like other people that are busy. Remember what I always say on this blog: “We always want that which retreats from us.”)

However, there were a few flags. Not red, but flags. She recently met me. I’ve only seen her twice. But a few things are going on here. In the last photo on her Instagram, she has her natural hair color. Black. When I met her it was sort of blonde. That’s new. A week or so later at this encounter her hair is cut in a shorter style and frosted.

Not a big deal I suppose, but she mentions that she’s getting her first tattoo and raised her arm to show me where.

She also mentions to me that she recently met up with her ex. Not “a month ago guy up in Fairmount”, but “4-year guy” who cheated on her and they split up. That’s never good. I asked her if she thinks he was trying to get back with her, and she said yes. So, he cheated because he was bored or tired of her, and now that hasn’t worked out for him and he wants his girlfriend back. This is all just pride and young person nonsense. Why did she agree to meet with him? She’s young, she was hurt when he cheated. She dumped him, and now she regrets it. She’s not happy with herself. Rudderless for the moment. The different hair. Blonde of all things. Now a tattoo. Chatting with the ex.

The flags are turning red.

She goes on to tell me she recently bounced her rent check. She’s only lived next door for a little over a month. She said the landlord charged her $20 for the bounced check fee and an additional $100 fine for the infraction. That seemed harsh. Incidentally, we both share the same landlord. I’ve never had a problem in the 11 years I’ve lived here.

This girl is a registered nurse! She’s got to be making good money working all of these hours she says she’s working. Maybe she’s just being reckless with her money. Maybe spending too much on stuff to stuff her empty heart filled with nothing but regret and sadness? Who knows.

She also mentioned that she recently acquired some mushrooms. So now she’s smoking weed and using psychedelics? Does anybody want to know that their nurse is a casual user? I don’t know if they can even do that. Don’t they get regularly tested? This girl is all over the place. Even in the short time I’ve known her, this seems like an overshare and a lot for me to download.

Red flags are now waving at me in the wind.

We chatted a little more and I pulled out my phone and typed in her name into the directory. Then I handed it to her. She put her digits into my phone and that was it.

I told her I was sorry we couldn’t hang out at the bookstore but we definitely should at some point. She agreed and kept saying, “text me. Yea, just text me. Our schedules are crazy. I’ll be around. Text me”.

So that’s a good sign. Now I have her number. I probably won’t text her for a week, because I have to focus on finishing these articles. I don’t want to get distracted by an attractive young lady. I have to get these done. But by Wednesday of next week, I’ll probably send her my contact info and send her a friendly little text to say hello.

Will I hear back from her? Maybe. I don’t know what her life or schedule is like. I may never hear from her. What if she gave me the wrong number? Nah, that would just be rude. I can’t think like that. But I’m going to text her once I’m done with all of these assignments.

I said goodbye to her and she went one way and I went the other. But I returned home energized and refreshed knowing that I had gotten to see my neighbor again and got her number. It was the better move and felt easy.

So I’ll hit her up next week.

As I said at the end of the last post about Lin, we’ll have to see what happens. But I’m already getting a vibe from this chick that she’s a bit confused and doesn’t know what she’s doing.

She may not make it to the “hang-out with Chaz” stage.

 

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

Lin – Hello Neighbor

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” – Michael Corleone (The Godfather III)

I attempted to write this a week ago, but something else came out. But I think I’m ready to focus on the story at hand. As I said in that other post,(There’s Clarity In The Truth) this could be nothing, but at least I finally have a new story for this blog. I’ve been writing about my youth non-stop for the last year! Those posts have done well and kept Phicklephilly afloat regarding content. But, to be true to the why I created this blog back in 2016, it’s my responsibility to report on things that happen in my life now.

I came out of my house the other day. I was probably headed down to Walgreens to pick up some stuff for the house. I haven’t gotten out much in the last year due to covid, but things are opening up now. I’m fully vaxxed and ready to safely mingle with the populous.

I went through the front doors of my building and there sitting on the steps of the building next door with her little dog, was one of my new neighbors.

She was a cute Asian girl with frosted hair and was obviously in her 20s. I stopped to say hello and pet her less-than-friendly animal companion. I noticed she was reading a book about chess master, Bobby Fischer.

I introduced myself and told her that was a great book. I asked her if she had been inspired by The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. She said that she had not and was just interested in chess.

We engaged in some general small talk; apartment life, Philly, relationships, where we’ve lived, how long, and how things had been through covid. There’s plenty to discuss with people now more than ever. We’ve all just come through a global health crisis and have that in common.

She stated that she had recently ended a four-year relationship because her significant other cheated on her. That’s rough. A deal-breaker for many. She had dated a guy she met on one of the dating apps for about a month, but that too had petered out. The coincidence of that last foray for her in dating is that the new guy lived on the same block as she did when she lived up in Fairmount.

She had said when they dated she was over his house nearly every day. But once she moved down here to Rittenhouse, he was done with her. Weird right? But it sounds to me as with all of these dating apps and the sheer availability of people on them with zero game, it’s easy to hook up with new people all the time. He either met somebody hotter or was too lazy to make the effort now that she’d moved across the city. I’m positive it’s one of them.

Maybe both.

She had told me a story where she was hanging in the park and some guy started to chat with her. His move was to open with a few words about her dog and maybe he had one of his own. I’ve seen this MO before and wonder why no one has invented an app where you could rent a cute dog for the day just to pick up chicks!

But this guy asked for her number and she relinquished it to him. Funny thing was, she later saw him at Vetri Pizza and he was working there. He also was wearing a wedding ring. So this clown is a player and a cheater. She found that abhorrent.

She asked me what I did and I gave her a short history. Musician and artist turned banker for 20 years and Ad exec for 10. I told her how I grew tired of being stuck in a cubicle all day and started to work in places where I could be around different people. Just work a job and go home every day. The last couple managing restaurants here in center city. I wasn’t particularly good at any of that and restaurant work just isn’t for me. I just don’t have the head for that business. It’s a grinding and vulgar industry and I want nothing to do with it ever again. It seems it attracts the worst people and that’s just not a match for my life.

She said that she worked as a nurse at Jefferson Hospital. I thought that was cool and that she was a bright girl. She even mentioned how she was interested in architecture and how she’d like to learn more about that.

Somehow books and writing came up, (probably all me!) and I told her I was currently doing commercial freelance writing for several different companies. I handed her my business card and told her to enter my name into the search bar on Amazon. She did this and of course, all of my books appeared. I loved it when she held her phone up to me and I saw the cover of Angel with a Broken Wing.

“You wrote this?”

“Yea, that and a few others.”

Lin said she loved books and literature and thought that was pretty cool. She even blew my mind when she said, “You’re like the most interesting person I’ve met in this city.”

That’s when the dopamine dropped in my brain and I felt all of my fatal charms returning to me after being in quarantine for over a year. That part of me that I’m so good at, but haven’t used in so long. I thought my powers were gone, but apparently, that’s not the case.

I loved the surge of meeting a new attractive lady. But this wasn’t some nice gal from Tinder. This was my neighbor. I had to tread carefully. We chatted for a while and it was really nice. Lin is someone I’d like to hang out with. She loves books, so maybe a visit to the Philadelphia Library or some small book stores around town. Or, maybe some conversation over a coffee or a cocktail. I would love that. Just the rush of hanging with someone new and interesting and of course, easy on the eyes.

She now had my business card and I purposely didn’t ask her for her number. Too soon. Too much. She’s right next door. No need to rush. She’s not going anywhere.

But since that initial meeting, I had thought about her and how I’d like to hang out with her. She just seemed nice and it would be fun to hang with a new person.

I told her that Southgate, the Korean BBQ bar and grill was opening up their inside bar on Friday and I was going to go there. She was free to join me there for a drink if she wanted but I just threw it out there. She may forget when the day comes or not bother coming, but as I said before. I have no expectations.

I’m just sliding down destiny’s rainbow, like always.

We had chatted for over forty minutes and she had to go in. I still had to get something to eat and pick up some stuff at the store, so we said goodbye.

Of course, I looked for her on social media and found her. Everything seemed happy and normal enough and there were no red flags. I figured at some point we’d cross paths and chat again.

Then I got buried in commercial writing assignments. They hit like a freight train. When it rains, it pours, and be careful what you wish for. I had wanted to be a freelance writer for a while figuring if I could just make some money doing it, it would support me, the blog, and my freedom to compose books. Just like the poet Robert Graves once said; “I raise dogs to feed my cats.” What he meant was, do what you have to to survive, so you can do the things you like.

Anyway, so here we are into the new year and this is my first new Phicklephilly story about meeting a new person. I’d like to get to know Lin and spend some time with her. As I said before, this could all be nothing, but if nothing else, she could be a nice person to hang out with and grab the occasional refreshing beverage.

I have no expectations.

But, we’ll see what happens.

 

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

Let’s Talk About Body Image For Asian American Women

In a tug of war between two cultures, many Asian American women are left in the dark.

Asian American women deal with pressure from all levels on body image. (See: Kita – Addicted to Tanning)

Navigating body size and image as an Asian American woman, especially as a daughter of immigrant parents can be difficult,” says Rachel Kuo from Everyday Feminism.

Asian Americans often come from two different cultures: their cultural heritage and the American culture. Because of that, Asian Americans feel ambivalent, caught in the ambiguity of the in-between. For women in this community, body image is a large issue.

The Cultural Pressure from Asia

The ideal woman in East Asia is feminine, slim, and pale-skinned. I only saw women who fit these standards in film, media, and advertisements when I visited Japan and Taiwan. Selling fat-burning pills? I would see a beautiful, slim woman with a bottle of pills in her hands on a poster. It sends out the message that beauty is the norm. It’s supposed to be effortless.

Because of that, being overweight is synonymous with laziness and lack of self-care. In East Asia, people are quick to point out your weight in casual conversations under the veil of concern. If you’re overweight, how can you find yourself a partner? These kinds of words reinforce how beauty is used as a tool to oppress people, especially women.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3cHhWnhtdp

While it’s true that East Asian people are genetically predisposed to health concerns, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, having a lower body mass index (BMI) than their Caucasian counterparts doesn’t dismiss the issue of body-shaming under the excuse of health. Unfortunately, the body size isn’t the only problem in East Asian societies.

The skincare and cosmetics industries in these countries also feed into this beauty standard through popular products such as skin-lightening cream, sunscreen, and foundation.

In South Korea, the country where K-beauty originated from, extensive skincare and makeup routines are seen as normal — a form of self-care. While that may be true to a certain extent, the pressure to maintain a perfect body and the resulting “Escape the Corset” movement demonstrate the oppressiveness of South Korean society.

From my understanding, pale skin symbolizes wealth because it means a person didn’t have to work under the sun. The conflation between skin tone and beauty comes from a historical context when rich people had the luxury to earn money in ways other than farming. This holds true even today in East Asia, as evident by celebrities and models in China, South Korea, and Japan.

 

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

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

What Happens When Your Girlfriend Finds Out You’re into Trans Women

When cis women find out the men they love are also attracted to trans women, their reactions can be devastating.

Wen’s girlfriend never expected to see transgender porn on his phone. No one knew he’d been hiding his attraction to trans women since middle school. Despite the discretion, deep down, Owen optimistically hoped his fear was unfounded; “I always figured she’d find out and be so accepting that I’d feel like I never should have hidden it,” he said. He was wrong.

Instead, Owen’s girlfriend was devastated, the 22-year-old recalled. At first, she cried and interrogated him: Was he gay? Was she just a prop for him to look straight? Why did he hide this from her? Then, she got mean. Over the course of a month, Owen said she used his sexuality as a weapon against him. According to Owen, she pitilessly mocked him, remarking on how disappointed he must be that she doesn’t have a dick. He obviously “wanted to be a bottom,” he recalled her saying; to “get a good fucking.” Sometimes, when they were intimate, Owen said that she would climb on top of him and mockingly simulate fucking him in the ass.

She ended the relationship in March. Though she didn’t say, Owen knows why: “What did my attraction to trans women have to do with my attraction to her, a cis woman?”

Owen lives in Upstate New York, and was taught to respect trans people from an early age, he said. But the shame he received from his girlfriend made him question himself. “I immediately tried to change, [after] six-plus years of loving myself,” he said. “I unfollowed all the trans girls on Instagram and Twitter.” He stopped watching trans porn, too.

But abstinence was ineffective. “It just made me desire trans women more,” Owen said. “I couldn’t go back.”

He’d love to have a healthy, public relationship with a trans woman. But it feels unlikely. He doesn’t really know where to meet trans women, and if his next girlfriend is a cis woman, he expects to keep this secret from her. The trauma of being shamed by his ex has marked him with paranoia. If found out again, he’s afraid he’d be ostracized completely, “scarlet letter style.”

Owen is one of the countless men who are attracted to trans women but are too afraid to say so publicly. I’ve reported on this for years, but the coverage rarely draws these men out of hiding. In July, though, an interview I conducted with four straight guys inspired many such men to speak up, across the internet, onto countless social media timelines, and in emails to me. Their reasons for hiding may seem obvious, a blend of homophobia and a fear of being stripped of their masculinity.

But there is another source of pressure to conceal trans-amorous desire that may be even more powerful, yet has long gone unspoken. I have seen it myself many times over since I first transitioned—and I saw it again quite recently, wrapped up in many of the notes men wrote after reading my article. They had all been impaired by the same, devastating rejection by cis women in their lives.

Owen’s story is the most typical example of this rejection, and perhaps the most damaging, but the stigma against trans amory is much more complex than that story alone. The rejection doesn’t always come in the form of transphobia. Sometimes, it’s a matter of misguided advocacy.

Allie, a 31-year-old cisgender woman in London, was in an open relationship when she learned her boyfriend was attracted to trans women. At first, she wasn’t upset. Allie has many trans friends and considers herself an ally. But her commitment to that alliance began to disrupt her understanding of her partner’s sexuality. Allie began to worry that her partner was a fetishist, dehumanizing trans women as sexual objects—what’s known in the LGBTQ community as a “chaser.”

That’s shorthand for “tranny chaser,” a term referring to men who secretly fuck trans women, and fetishize us as pornographic fantasy objects: chicks with dicks self-created for male consumption. This is how we’re typically treated by men, and have been for decades. Understandably, many trans people reject empathy for them. We’re forced to endure expansive social assault every day, while they literally hide from it. Trans culture is defined by resilience, theirs is defined by fear and a pattern of sexual discretion that at best breeds mutual loneliness, and at worst violence.

“I was really concerned that having a specific attraction to trans femininity meant essentially disqualifying trans women from total womanhood,” Allie said. “An attitude I saw on the internet a lot was that anyone who was specifically attracted to transness or trans people was a chaser and that chasers are gross and horrible and objectifying.”

[If you’re a cisgender man who is attracted to trans women and want to share your story, contact diana.tourjee@vice.com (you can keep your story anonymous).]

Rather than outright, angry rejection, Allie told me that her failure to her partner was quieter, spread over time. “This little internal conflict I was having was actually on a path to destroying my relationship,” she said.

This is the danger in stereotyping all trans amorous men as chasers. Many are just discovering their sexuality, or finally, want to be honest about who they are. They may well be living with severe anxiety or depression due to their reasonable fear. So the outright rejection of all men expressly interested in trans women ultimately alienates whatever a number of trans amorous men are capable of, or actively are trying to overcome that fear. The men in this article are not chasers. They’re an example of people who desire an authentic, fulfilling connection with trans women; rejecting them has only caused harm.

Allie finally realized the unfairness of her position. “Like a lot of imperfect people who want to improve the world, I am imbued with a sense of moral outrage that sometimes inadvertently motivates me to speak over the people I’d want to advocate for.” People like the trans woman that her partner is currently dating: “If she feels loved for who she is in every way, including for her transness, and doesn’t mind that my partner likes that about her—then how the fuck is it my business?”

Although well-meaning, Allie said she now realizes that her thinking was flawed and based on the idea that anyone who loves trans women is abnormal—an idea nearly as harmful as thinking that trans women themselves are abnormal.

“They’re two sides of a coin,” Allie said, “the total value of which is that transfeminine people have a desire for them negated completely.”

Whatever the motivation behind the rejection, it’s clear that the shaming can have deeply harmful, lasting, and violent effects—for both men, and for trans women.

For Lucas, a 40-year-old man from Brazil, the consequence has been a lifetime of depression. He’s been attracted to, and dated, trans women since he was a teenager, but, neither friends nor family knew or know about it, he said. In 2011, he began experiencing depression, which he attributes to “a long time hiding and not having anyone to speak about my attraction and involvement with trans women.” At that point, though, it was manageable.

Then, in 2013, Lucas fell in love with a trans woman named Natasha. “At the time we met, she was in prostitution, and I was a client,” he said. “We became friends and went to the movies, bars—just regular things every couple does.” It was the happiest time of his life.

After a year of dating Natasha, Lucas was tired of hiding and felt it necessary to finally share this increasingly important part of his life with another woman he loved: his sister. Like Owen with his girlfriend, Lucas optimistically hoped that his sister would accept him. Instead, she went into a rage. She said she couldn’t understand why he was “doing this to her and to the family,” he recalled. She threatened him, promising that his “life would be ruined” and that his whole family would turn their backs on him if he didn’t end his relationship with Natasha. He believed her. “I thought I was the worst person in the world because of what my sister said.”

Horrified at the thought that his sister’s promise of ruin would come to pass, Lucas set fire to his life. In the days and weeks that followed, he slowly removed himself from Natasha’s life. But Natasha, he says, was obviously the one, and pushing her away tore him apart. He began thinking about suicide and has continued contemplating it ever since. “I could not carry on,” he said. “[My sister’s] words marked me for life.” His sister never mentioned it again. “I regret the day I spoke to her about it.”

Today, Lucas has a son and fears that openly dating a trans woman would negatively impact his son’s life. He says he’s shared his attraction to trans women three times in his life and has received a negative reaction every time. “So it just feels like you are alone, and will have to deal with it yourself for the rest of your life.”

Lucas used to be a relatively healthy, happy, handsome man in love. While his sister has spent six years forgetting what she said, he has struggled with the desire to end his life. “I take medicine to get out of bed, and to go to sleep,” he said. “I really wish the world was different. I feel like I am an actor living a soap opera in which I hate my character, and what he represents.”

 

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

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

Karate Lessons

Philadelphia, PA – 1975-1976

I was picked on and bullied in Fel’s Junior High School. I never experienced this in grade school. It just didn’t happen there. Maybe all the disfunction in families comes to a head when kids reach the age of puberty, but I just don’t know.

It was hell for me for much of the whole 3 years I spent at Fel’s Junior High school. It felt more like a juvenile detention center than any sort of educational facility. When I think back on my life my memories are pretty sharp and I have great recall and detail. But when I think back to Fel’s, there isn’t much info. It’s as if during those formative years my mind blocked out much of that horrific pain to save me from mental illness later in life.

There was a show on TV at that time called Kung Fu. My parents used to watch it and my dad loved it. I remember watching a few episodes and although I never saw the pilot, I knew what the show was about. It seemed that this Chinese/American guy wanders around the American west and gets into these different situations. Normally there would be some bad guys who would get their butts kicked by the main character each week.

I thought it was all very cool, and Kung Fu and Karate were hot back in the 70s. There were lots of movies about the subject. Even the Green Hornet had a chauffeur named Kato that could do karate. It was Bruce Lee, who sadly died back in 1973, but he had already established himself as a bonafide star in his short time in show biz. He was the real deal.

I figured if I learned kung fu or karate, I could defend myself from all of the animals at school and in my neighborhood. I remember I had gotten a book about Judo and was reading about some simple moves, and I guess maybe I put it to my parents one day that I’d like to take karate lessons. It just seemed practical, cool and I liked the idea and philosophy behind it all. You have this amazing fighting skill but you only use it for the forces of good. You never pick a fight, you only use it to defend yourself and your loved ones. That’s like some superhero stuff right there. I figured that would be perfect for me since I loved comic books and the dudes that were in them defending the world against evil.

So, my parents signed me up for karate lessons. I remember it was $10 a week and back then and my father thinking that it was kind of expensive.

They sent me off to American Karate Studios in Rockledge Pa. That sounds far away, but it was just a bus ride away from my house. I would go there I think a few times a week. For my dad’s money, I would get 2 group classes and 1 private lesson per week.

I would finish school and then walk north on Oakley street to Martin’s Mill Road and hop on the N bus. Which I think either doesn’t exist anymore or they’ve simply changed the name of the bus route. I googled it looking for any old photos online and came up with this:

https://www.yellowpages.com/philadelphia-pa/mip/american-karate-studios-464769411

https://businessfinder.pennlive.com/1977929/American-Karate-Studios-Philadelphia-PA

Could that place still be open?

I would carry a plastic bag that had my Gi in it. That’s the white outfit the karate guys wear. I thought it was super cool and felt like a real kung fu dude when I wore it. It really allows the freedom of movement when you’re doing your moves.

Here’s a couple of old photos my sister dug out of me wearing my karate Gi doing some moves. Future Kung Fu Dragon!

A photo on the wall of my mother on her wedding day hangs on the wall behind me. Check out that ancient vacuum cleaner in the corner!

Anyway, I remember there being a series of belts you had to earn to move up to be a kung fu master.

Everybody started out as a white belt. That’s the beginner level Then you moved on to an orange belt. Then a purple belt. Followed by blue and then green. There were 3 degrees of brown, and 8 degrees of black.

The dream was obviously to become a black belt karate master. That would take years and years to achieve and I didn’t see myself ever getting there. But if I could learn enough moves, maybe I could defend myself against the minions in the neighborhood who picked on me.

There were a couple of kids that were already members and they wore some of the higher level belts. There was a little guy who had a green belt and he was really fast and had killer moves. I figured if that kid could do it, so could I. There was also this girl who was older than me who had a purple belt. She was really cute and always wore her hair back in a thick braid. The only way I ever saw her was with her hair back and in her Gi. I kind of had a thing for her, but I basically didn’t exist in her world and would never have a chance to get to know her. At least in some way, I was invisible to her… like a ninja!

The group classes were rigorous and filled with a bunch of skinny kids like me. We would exercise the moves that had taught us, like snap kicks and punches. It was fun to play/spar with the other boys because it was like we were fighting but no one really hit anyone else.

Once the instructor made us put a smaller kid on our shoulders and we had to do a series of front snap kicks. So while there is this kid sitting upon your shoulders you had to kick to the knee, midsection, and face to an imaginary adversary in front of you. This all had to be done without putting your kicking leg back down. It felt like some real next-level kung fu stuff!

Another time during the exercise and strength training portion of the class, we had to all lie on our backs on the mat and lift our feet up 6 inches off the floor. This was a great way to strengthen the muscles in our core. But the crazy thing was, they would make you hold it up until it was nearly unbearable. Then the instructor would walk through us and step on our stomachs. It didn’t hurt because our stomach muscles were so tense but it was wild. You wouldn’t think that would work but it did. He stepped on everybody. No pain. Future kung fu dragon!

My favorite part of attending karate lessons was the private lesson with my teacher. That’s where you learned all of the new moves and skills associated with your belt level. It was really cool. Like, if someone grabbed you by the lapels there were a series of moves you could perform to immobilize and destroy your opponent in seconds. I love this!

There’s also a dance you learn along with your training. It’s called a kata. It’s a series of punches and kicks you do in a formation and you have to memorize it and be able to perform it. It included many of the basic techniques that you were being taught for your belt level.

(I just got up from my desk to see if I still remembered any of that kata. Guess what? I went right into the routine like it was yesterday. Wow!)

Thank you, Sensei!

I even ordered some cool patches for my jacket. I had a round patch on the back of my jacket with the American Karate Studios logo on it. I also had a tiger and a dragon patch on each one of my sleeves. I was going to be like Kwai Chang Cain in the Kung Fu show on TV!

By the time the semester ended and I was supposed to go to the shore for the Summer I took my test, with one of the owners, (who was a black belt) and I passed! I earned my orange belt!

Of course, my dad said, “They better give you that belt after all the money I gave them for those lessons!”

I should have drop-kicked him.

Karate lessons were a welcome little repose in my tortured life back then. I think it really helped me. I never used any kung fu moves on anybody, but it did feel good learning something new, get some exercise, and be with other kids like myself.

Thank you American Karate Studios and to all of the staff who were kind to me and taught me some cool fighting skills!

 

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

Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Band Maid

miku kobato

Band-Maid (stylized as BAND-MAID and formerly as BAND-MAID® until March 2016) is a Japanese rock band formed in 2013. The band combines a rock sound with a maid image modeled on Japanese maid cafés.[9] Originally signed to Gump Records (an imprint of the Platinum Passport artist management and talent agency), they switched to major label Nippon Crown‘s sub-label Crown Stones in 2016 and later moved to new sub-label Revolver Records in 2019. For international releases they have been with JPU Records since 2016.

Band-Maid on Amazon Music

Band-Maid’s image is modeled on maid café hostesses, with the standard uniform adapted to match each member’s personality.[10] In interviews, they explained the concept came from founding member Miku Kobato who had previously worked at a maid café in Akihabara.[12] This theme is reinforced by the band, who refer to their male fans as “masters,” their female fans as “princesses,” and their concerts as “servings.”[50] The band’s “submissive” maid appearance is meant to contrast with their aggressive rock style.[10][51] They decided to have two vocalists to allow a larger variety of music with two different voice types.[12]

BAND-MAID New Album Releasing on December 2019 - Creatinity World

500+ Band Maid ideas in 2020 | maid, japanese girl band, band

Kobato loved Japanese enka music when she was a child, and Tokyo Jihen led her to rock.[52] She attended a vocal school around 2012, but started playing guitar with the formation of Band-Maid the following year.[53] Atsumi started singing when she was 14 and Band-Maid is her first band. Tōno is a big fan of Carlos Santana, has played classical piano since she was a child, and began playing guitar when she joined her high school band club. Hirose is a fan of Deep Purple and Maximum the Hormone, particularly the latter’s female drummer Nao Kawakita, and also played trombone and piano. Misa likes Paz Lenchantin,[52] The Smashing Pumpkins and Jimi Hendrix; she started playing piano at around 3 or 4 years of age, and also played trumpet, alto horn, and guitar.[10][12][50]

Just Bring It: An Interview with BAND-MAID - A-to-J Connections

Pin on Pr0n

English Translation :
Breaking New Gate
I raise the volume within my earphones
So that the dull noises will be erased
Those guys are waiting for the chance to trip and fall
Hey you, I shall let you hear this
This world is always faulty
I’ll be out of control if I just standstill
Even if these rampaging feelings of mine gets abused
I don’t care, just step forward
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
On this symmetric flat road, I can’t find any interest in it
Just breakin’ new gate (HEY!!)
Regret means escaping from the hand of evil’s conspiracy
With the thrills, the greatest pleasure of all, I live on
Miku Kobato | ファッション, おしゃれ, 女性
I always see the scenery I don’t want to see
Imprisoned in a room of four walls
A dove creates an arc on such a small sky
Who are you, as I look above
The struggle seems to be real and steady
Even I self-affix myself, I’ll still go out of control
If I can’t be saved by tears
Just enjoy and savor it!
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
I should be changing, these unanswered fears into madness
Just breaking new gate (HEY!!)
Tear up and throw away the erased blank pages
To what lies beyond my resolve, along with thrills, I devote my body
This world is always faulty
I’ll be out of control if I just standstill
Even if these rampaging feelings of mine gets abused
I don’t care, just step forward
I’ve gotta be on my way (HEY!!)
On this symmetric flat road, I can’t find any interest in it
Just breakin’ new gate (HEY!!)
Regret means escaping from the hand of evil’s conspiracy
This greatest pleasure of all, gets me going
To what lies beyond my resolve, along with thrills, I devote my body
Band - Maid
Now listen to what these ladies can do!
This band kicks ass!

 

Wanna be a better guitarist? Click this link to learn the secret!

https://beginnerguitarhq.com/guitar-exercises/

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

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

‘Parasite singles’: Why Young Japanese Aren’t Getting Married

Tokyo (AFP) – A sharply dressed crowd of Japanese singletons shuffle awkwardly around conference-room tables, exchanging small-talk and CVs in an attempt to find a marriage partner — all of them accompanied by their parents.

One 38-year-old woman, who declined to give her name, said she “didn’t have the courage” to find a spouse and move away from her mother, who had come with her to the match-making party.

“I didn’t have many good opportunities to meet someone,” she explained, adding: “My workplace has lots of women but not many men.”

Roughly a quarter of Japanese people between 20 and 49 are single, according to government data.

And while people of this age routinely express a wish to get married, outdated social attitudes and increasing economic pressure is making tying the knot more and more difficult, experts say.

Sociology professor Masahiro Yamada from Tokyo’s Chuo University told AFP that the norm of single people living with their parents until marriage means there is less immediate pressure to find a partner.

“They think it’s a waste of time to have a relationship with someone who does not meet their conditions” and can afford to wait for a better catch, he said, dubbing these people “parasite singles.”

Although long-term financial security with a husband or wife is seen as important, the difficulty of finding affordable housing adds to the incentive to stay with mum and dad, he said.

One 74-year-old man at the party, on the hunt for a suitable bride for his 46-year-old son, pointed to another problem: overcoming shyness.

“My son is a salesman. He’s good at dealing with customers but he is very hesitant when it comes to women,” said the father.

Why was his son not looking for himself? He was too busy with work.

– Workaholic Japan –

The same father said his eldest daughter was married but his youngest, a doctor living in the US, is single at the age of 34.

He said he is worried for her, “as I’ve heard it is hard for female doctors to find partners”.

Shigeki Matsuda, a sociology professor at Chukyo University in central Japan, blames the country’s falling marriage rate on a phenomenon known as “hypergamy”.

“Japanese women tend to seek men with stable employment and education levels” higher than them, he explained.

Anecdotal evidence from the match-making party seemed to bear this out, a small queue of women forming to exchange contact details with one of the men who, it emerged, had the highest income of the group.

“The high ratio of unmarried men and women won’t change unless more women accept the idea of marrying a man with an income lower than herself,” said Yamada.

In addition, many people meet future spouses in the office in workaholic Japan, and there are fewer opportunities as jobs become more precarious.

In the decades after World War II, Japan rebuilt its economy largely via huge corporations offering ultra-dedicated workers a job for life — but that pattern is changing rapidly and job security is declining.

Since the early 1990s, the ratio of non-permanent and contract employees has risen from around 15 percent to just below 40 percent, according to labor ministry statistics.

– Focus on love –

“Lower levels of income and an increase in the number of extremely unstable jobs — with the fear of getting sacked at any time — are not helping people to think about getting married and having a family,” said Shuchiro Sekine, head of a trade union representing contract workers.

Even if these workers hope to find a partner, with less job security and lower income comes less chance of finding a spouse.

Six out of 10 men aged between 30-34 with a classic “salaryman” job were married as of 2017, according to a government study issued this year, whereas only 22 percent of male contract workers the same age had a wife.

Those at the Tokyo match-making party are the lucky ones, Sekine told AFP.”Those on lower incomes wouldn’t even think about attending.”

Despite these barriers, do such events help? Shoji Wakisaka, head of the association hosting the party, said there was no firm data but there had been some successes — if limited.

“About two percent of participants on average find a spouse.”

One single woman at the party said it was an “efficient” place to meet others who want to get married.

“You can’t exactly ask passers-by if they are married,” her mother added.

A marriage counselor at the party, Noriko Miyagoshi, implored would-be lovebirds to forget the finances and focus on Cupid’s arrow.

“You shouldn’t be making a lot of conditions,” she told participants.”I hope you choose the one you genuinely feel you’ll be able to get along with.”

 

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

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

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SUN STORIES – Tales From a Tanning Salon, Now Available on Amazon

Yes. It’s now available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

I was working at a local media company here in Philadelphia. One of my advertising clients was a tanning salon. I became friendly with the owner. He was always complaining about his staff. I asked if I could start moonlighting there for some extra income.

He immediately hired me. One shift became two, then three, and within a month or so, I became full time. I was tired of working at the media company where I was currently employed. A publication that was no longer relevant in this city. Print was basically dead… but tanning salons were hanging by a thread.

But I enjoyed working there. It was a fun job. I met a lot of great people during my time there. But with every job, there’s always challenges… and temptations.

Sun Stories: Tales from a Tanning Salon, takes you on a sunny, and sometimes dark journey of my time working there. It’s filled with funny, unique, and sometimes cringe worthy tanning stories. But there were other forces at work there. What began as an easy part time gig, slowly evolved into a story filled with love, obsession, sex, and misadventure.

When I was editing Phicklephilly 2, I had a revelation. I realized that Phicklephilly 2 was all about the relationship I was in with my girlfriend, Cherie. The love affair, the passion, and the infidelity of that glorious celebration of two people coming together.

But, I looked at Sun Stories, and saw that it ran parallel to Phicklephilly 2. It was a complete documentation of my work life during that period. Phicklephilly 2 was about my relationship with Cherie, and Sun Stories was my work life.

They’re both happening at the same time. I have to release them together.

That’s my whole life between 2016 and 2018. It’s everything. I have to release them both.

Cherie. I loved her. But after Michelle and Annabelle, I was now armed with how to navigate my future relationships. Secure myself and see what happened. I’d never enter into another relationship without my armor on.

I was working at the media company that was the last cool paper in the city. When I think about going to that publication, I think of Ronnie James Dio. He once said that when he joined Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy Osbourne, he called it, the second coming… or going, of Black Sabbath.

That’s how it felt when I joined this dying publication. I loved all of the people I worked with there, but knew the paper was doomed. It’s greatest days had come and gone. I only did it because I was about to be fired from the start up where I was working. I had such high hopes for what I was going to build with that little start up. The money was great, and I’m forever grateful for that. But they never followed through with the investors to build it out into a national site.

That site is dead now.

It was heartbreaking for me to leave them, but I’m sure the owner was relieved he no longer had to pay me. Why did he never follow through? It makes no sense. I guess I’ll never know. We could have built something wonderful. I jumped to a local free publication and made a go of it. That old publication was in a state of flux, and the changes that unfolded for that sweet paper destroyed the very thing it once was. I worked hard at what I’m good at. Acquiring accounts and building the business.

But the writing was on the wall. They had brought in a fool to run the daily operations. He systematically destroyed the advertising department at the paper. Can you imagine that? The guy gets a job to grow a struggling business and all he knows how to do is ruin it.

He did that. All of the meetings. The Monday morning kickoff meeting. The Wednesday Sales Meeting. The Thursday One on One. He should be horse whipped. He broke the spirit of everybody who worked there.

There are no clients in any of your foolish meetings you silly asshole.

How could he be such a failure as a leader when he seem like such a nice guy?

Detritus.

My father passed away, and I was fed up. I was the only sales guy on the floor. Rocco was a fixture and an account rep. He can’t sell. The new manager brought in a couple of retards, and I could see there was no future there. The place was a rotten husk.

It kind of sucks, because back in the day, I LOVED that publication and the CITY PAPER. They were god to me. If you wanted to see what was up in Philly, they were the papers you grabbed. They were in honor boxes around the city. I would always read them every week. Everything I needed to know was in those sweet papers.

But, here I was working at this anachronism. It was over. My daughter will never touch a newspaper. It’s over. It’s been over since 2008. Print is dead.

Oh, but here we go…

Tanning is dead too.

I had a client who actually spent money with me to advertise his brand. I did my best for him. I believed in his products and services. I gave my all. I came up with creative ideas because I cared. I wrote killer copy for his ads. I did what I’m good at.

I liked it so much, I went to work there to escape the dungeon of selling print advertising in a paper whose epitaph had already been written.

But I had no idea it would open a flower I had never seen before.

This is the most lurid book I’ve ever written.

So let’s begin.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

 

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

My new books, Phicklephilly 2 and Sun Stories, are now for sale on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

James – Southgate

Phicklephilly is back and going out on the town again! I’m so happy to have some new things to write about!

We’ve been locked up for over four months. Covid and being quarantined has taken a toll on all of us. When this is over things will definitely be different. The way we work, socialize, and connect with each other.

Some of the restrictions have been lifted in our city. Food delivery’s been huge. But we can all agree we miss going out and having a drink and a bite with a friend. James and I usually try to get together at least once every other month when times are good, but that’s been impossible for the past four months.

I’ve enjoyed facetime and zoom calls during this challenging time. But it’s just not the same as real human interaction. I think one thing that this quarantine has taught us is that you find out who your real friends are. I was initially a little butt hurt when I didn’t hear from people I thought were my friends. I spoke with a close friend about this and explained to her my plight several months ago. She said, “Those people weren’t really your friends. They were simply your happy hour buddies.” She was right and that gave me clarity in regard to who I’d be spending my precious time with in the future. Those people were my ‘friends’ when I was taking them to big events where they could get dressed up and be seen. Surrounded by beautiful people, free drinks and free food. I really liked these people and thought we were friends, when in reality they just attached themselves to me like sea lampreys and basked in my light.

The lights went out back in March and I haven’t heard from any of them. Not even a “How you holding up?,” text. Nothing. When I thought back to my relationship with these so called friends, we never really hung out and did things that friends do together. I was just a free drink, fun event, and meal ticket for these folks. I know people who have worked in the hospitality industry and they agree. These people were their friends as long as they were being invited to cool events and pounding free drinks. Anyway, lesson learned and I won’t be hanging out with any of these vacuous, self-absorbed fools anymore. But I digress…

James and I have been friends for I think around seven years. I could check previous posts about this man, but I think we met for the first time back in 2013. I was with Michelle at a fashion event that he was running at the Armory here in Philly.

Found his first post:

https://atomic-temporary-111921946.wpcomstaging.com/2017/07/24/james-2012-to-present-modeling-agency-mogul/

You can begin Michelle’s 24 part series here:

https://atomic-temporary-111921946.wpcomstaging.com/2016/10/31/my-michelle-2007-present-part-1/

James and I have always loved movies. Great films as well as horrible turkeys. We just love all things movies. I consider him one of my best friends here in Philly and he’s joined the ranks of my enduring friends. He’s a cool, smart guy who runs his own talent agency.

So after four months in quarantine, we decided to throw down the gauntlet and meet up for one of our now famous, ‘Hollywood Happy Hours.’ Scheduling seems harder than ever with everything that’s going on, compounded by the restrictions put upon us by this pandemic.

I’m happy that things are happening again. I used to always have stories from my life and series going about all of the fun people in my life. (Especially all of my crazy dates!) I’ve found without being able to go out and make new stories, I turned inward and have been publishing stories from my past. I hope people enjoy them and I’d like to publish a book about them maybe next year. But things are opening up now, and I’m starting to get out again. I’m ready to return phicklephilly to its former glory as a place with fun new content from my present life.

James and I were set to meet on a Wednesday, but something happened with one of his cats and he had to rush him to the vet. $1000 later, and the cat is fine. We bumped our meeting until Thursday, but his girlfriend got rear ended in her car out in Manayunk and that caused a wrinkle in her bumper and our plans. But she insisted he still get together with me. (Thank you, Amy! Glad you’re okay.) After making sure she got home safe, he hopped in a Lyft and headed down to see me.

We met at a place about a block and a half from my house. It’s a Korean barbecue bar/restaurant, called Southgate.

https://www.southgatephilly.com/

It used to be a neighborhood dive called Tangiers. It was a beloved spot for the people of the Graduate Hospital neighborhood to hang. Cold beer, good burgers, wings and board games. You could always run into someone you knew there. But like many places here in center city… out with old and in with the new. I’d never been to Southgate because I was locked into going to my spots uptown like Square 1682 and Harp and Crown. Places where I knew the staff and got the hookup.

I love when James comes down here to Rittenhouse. I always feel like I should make more effort to go hang with him in his neck of the woods, but he says he likes to come down to center city. A place filled with cool stuff to do, and places to go, and beautiful people. I can’t understand the attraction!

Because of the pandemic, you can’t sit inside of any restaurant, but if they have outdoor seating they’re open for business. So I grab a table for two and my buddy arrives. It’s great to see him in the flesh! There he is! He lives! Within in minutes we’re settled and sipping refreshing cocktails. It was a nice evening and a welcome repose from the heatwave we’ve been in for the last month. We caught up on all things about life, his agency, phicklephilly, family, and published books. Did I mention movies? There was much discussion about all things film, past and present.

Our night started around 7pm and there’s some rule now where if you’re going to take a table you have to order food as well as drinks. I suppose the space is so limited they make their money from the food and they don’t want people taking up tables just to get hammered. I got the fried chicken; soy and spicy, and he ordered bao buns and the bibimbap. I’d never heard of either of them, but he seemed to like it. The food and drinks were delish and the staff was on point. We even had the honor of meeting the owner. A charming gentleman who came out to chat with us.

It got to be around 10pm, and Southgate was closing for the night. (Time always flies when we’re hanging out together because it’s always a lively event) We paid our checks and tipped mightily. (They need it!) We decided to head two blocks west on Lombard to another local spot called Lou Bird’s.

https://www.loubirds.net/

I’ve only been to Lou’s one time before. It was New Years Day about three years ago. I was with my friend Mary. You can check that out here:

https://atomic-temporary-111921946.wpcomstaging.com/2017/06/06/mary-2014-to-present-brunch/

https://atomic-temporary-111921946.wpcomstaging.com/2017/06/07/mary-2014-to-present-chapter-2-new-years-day-brunch-2016-part-two/

Since the troubles hit our fair city two months ago… race riots, protests, fires, looting and general despicable behavior by a few bad actors, I just haven’t had any desire to travel uptown to hang out. I’m tired of dealing with the homeless element, and just couldn’t look upon the destruction and sadness that has befallen our fair city. So I’ve been trying some of these places near my house with great success.

I had stopped at Lou Bird’s for the first time in so many years after I finished the final draft of Angel with a Broken Wing. This was back in mid June. I decided to celebrate by taking myself out for a cocktail made by someone other than myself. I sat at a little table by myself and lovely Sarah the server took very good care of me. I vowed after that day, that Lou Bird’s could become my new ‘spot.’

So we get there, and it’s dark but there are plenty of seats. They stayed open until 11pm so we had some more time. We found a table in the street, because they’ve roped off a section on 20th street to have more seating space. (genius!) I got a Manhattan and James had a beer. Sarah was there and she looked after our needs. I’m sure she’s even prettier without that mask! But within an hour, they started picking up the tables and it was time to go. James and I were left standing on the corner wondering what to do.

“I don’t feel like going home yet.”

“I don’t think anything else is still open now, James.”

“Can we go to your place and drink?”

“Boom.”

So we get back to the batcave and I grab some beverages. We decide of a couple of spiked seltzers, Bon & Viv make some great ones.

https://www.bonvivspikedseltzer.com/

We both do a shot of bourbon and sip our drinks. Our conversation once again turns to movies. I tell him how many bands and comedians are doing shows at old Drive In movie theaters. There are a few left still standing after so many years since the advent of home video in the eighties. Which leads me into tales of some of my adventures at the drive in movie theater that we used to go to 35 years ago in Rio Grande, New Jersey. It was amazing, and I have many memorable stories from that wonderful place. I had recently watched a terrific documentary about a drive in movie theater that’s still alive and well in Lehighton, PA. It’s about 75 miles northwest of Philly. You can find it on Amazon Prime, It’s called, ‘At the the Drive In.’

https://www.mahoningdit.com/

Since we both love film and the movie experience, James tells me he’s never been to a drive in and that we should go.

“We should go to one for your birthday.”

“I don’t know if there are any left around here. The one on in the documentary is really far away.”

“We’ll figure it out. I want to do this, Chaz.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

We wrap up the night, and I assumed it would be forgotten. I knew it’s something we both wanted to experience, but I was okay if it didn’t happen for my birthday. I never make a big deal about my birthday anymore. I just feel like I survived another trip around the sun and I’m grateful I still get to be in the world for another year!

He gets into his Lyft and another great night is on the books with my dear friend James. Things are opening up, so at least I’m getting out of the house and spending time with people I care about. I’m very fortunate to have them in my life. I love my alone time to create and reflect, but I get my energy from being around people.

We’ll see what happens…

 

 

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https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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