Antonia – 2012 – Possibly a Mob Front?

“The square shaped balding man burst through the kitchen door with two glasses of water for us, and in a very loud and deep voice, he explained that it was his birthday, and we would eat what he felt like making us.”

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Well, this one time I took my friend Antonia to dinner at (what seemed to be) a front for some type of illicit activity.

She had just moved to a new area, and we wanted to check out the local shops and restaurants. While we were wandering, we stumbled into a tiny Italian place. Back home, the small hole-in-the-wall restaurants always have the best food, so we were excited to give it a shot. Big curtains were covering the entry windows, so we had no idea what was inside until we trudged through the door.

Inside, we were met with emptiness and silence. We both immediately thought the place was closed, and I spun around and searched for the store hours posted somewhere on the door. While I was looking, we heard a heavy THUD as a young woman barked “I’ll be right with you!”

She appeared, greeted us confusingly, and asked us ‘what she could do for us’. Which, looking back, is probably a red flag. But we were naive and hungry, so we said we were there for dinner. She looked puzzled but motioned us to follow her to a booth right by the entrance.

She then disappeared into the back, and we heard a muffled conversation between our hostess and a man. The consensus was basically they were not prepared for us or didn’t know how to proceed. I asked my date if she wanted to split, but she insisted we stay for the story.

The square shaped balding man burst through the kitchen door with two glasses of water for us, and in a very loud and deep voice, he explained that it was his birthday, and we would eat what he felt like making us. We whole-heartedly agreed.

We waited around thirty minutes, and he again returned with three large bowls of spaghetti and meat sauce. He placed two bowls in front of us, and one next to me for himself. He sat with us and ate. We had light and awkward conversation with him during, and he kept asking us jokingly if we were cops or with the health board. He was incredibly nervous about us, so my date kept cracking corny puns or awful jokes because he would forcibly laugh at anything designed with humor. We talked about our lives, the cities we’ve lived in, our pets (he had a teacup Chihuahua named Princess) and his wife.

He decided we were good people and didn’t charge us for the meal. We wished him a happy birthday, he hugged us, and we went on our way. Easily the best spaghetti I’ve ever had in my life. The restaurant, unfortunately, no longer exists.

 

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Madeline – 2011 – Fire and Desire

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Here’s one that happened a few years ago…

I met Madeline at a party thrown by friends. It was a big party. We had a great time talking and dancing for a couple of hours, and, we ended up exchanging phone numbers.

I spoke to my friends after the party, trying to find out a little more about her. They didn’t know who I was talking about, but there had been about fifty people or so there, so, it wasn’t surprising that they might not remember everyone. Shiela, my friend’s wife, said she “sort of remembers a redheaded girl arriving with some others from their office.”

A couple of days later, I called Madeline. She seemed pleased to hear from me. We chatted, and ended up making plans to meet for dinner and a show later in the week. I offered to pick her up at her apartment, but she said she didn’t live too far from the restaurant where we were going to meet, so she’d just meet me there after work.

As usual, I arrived at the restaurant first and was able to be seated right away. Madeline called my cell and said she was running about five minutes late, but would try to hurry. I thought it was very considerate of her to call especially since she was only running a few minutes late. Half an hour later, I didn’t think she was that considerate. God I hate lateness, but at least I was somewhere I could have a cocktail.

Madeline arrived at the restaurant with another couple whom she introduced as “friends from work who wanted to meet you.” She apologized for taking so long, saying that traffic had really slowed her down. I mentioned how that was weird  since the day before she’d told me she only lived five minutes away from the restaurant on foot. She laughed and said, “Oh, silly, I live close to this place but I work pretty far away.”

The couple laughed with her, and didn’t make a move to leave. As the waiter brought two more chairs to the table, Madeline said, “I hope it’s okay if they join us for dinner.” What was I supposed to say at that point? Uh…no, I really just wanted to get to know you better and having these people around just makes it harder?

 

Surprisingly, the dinner went fairly well, Madeline’s friends were pretty funny, and we laughed a lot. Once the dinner was over, I said, “Well, it was nice meeting you all, but we should get going if we’re going to make it to the theater in time for the show.”

Madeline and her friends got quiet, and started fidgeting a bit. Finally, the woman said, “Oh, I’ll ask him, you two cowards.”

I was thinking, “Great, now they want to come with us to the theater.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. The woman looked at me and continued, “We all really like you, and think you’re a great guy. Madeline, myself, and my husband would like to invite you over to our place for some games.”

“I blinked, then said, “Thanks, but, we’ve got theater tickets, and I’d hate for them to go to waste. Maybe another time.”Madeline took my hand and said, “Oh, you’ll like our games better than the theater.” Then she winked at me.

 

I was really confused, until they explained that their relationship was more than friendship. Madeline was their partner and they wanted me to join them in swinging.

I was shocked. I mean, I barely knew Madeline and here she wanted me not only to sleep with her, but…with her two friends during our FIRST date!!

I refused, saying I didn’t know them well enough to play like that. I asked Madeline if she still wanted to go with me to the theater, but she said “No, I’m in the mood to play, so we’ll just call one of our regulars.”

I ended up paying for dinner for three, then, going to the theater on my own. I still had a pretty enjoyable evening, after I gave my extra ticket to a lady standing in line. She was grateful, and assured me she wasn’t a swinger.

Nah… I’m just kidding. I gave the tickets away to a couple at a nearby table. We all split the check, and I went back to their place for an insane, sex drenched, kinky night.

Phicklephilly is a dating and relationship blog, not a sex blog. Use your imagination!

 

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Kylie – 2012 to 2015 – Broken Wing – Part I – Reconnected Rebound

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I met Kylie a few years ago after Michelle had broken up with me but we remained friends.  (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) I had met Kylie when she was shooting some photos for Philly Weekly. (See: Kylie – 2012 to 2016 – Broken Wing – The Rittenhouse Cocktail & Fashion Event)

I hadn’t seen her really after that, but back in May of 2014, my then boss and I ended up getting invited to go out on a tour boat for a few hours on the Delaware River. There was going to be free wine and snacks so we jumped on that cruise.

It was just a small party boat, that gave tours up and down the river in the spring and summer. It was beautiful day to be out on the water. There were a few other folks from the media there too  but one I noticed in particular.

Kylie is memorable for a few things. She has a very unique stacked bob hairstyle and a set of world-class legs on her. She’s probably only 5’2″ but she’s a runner and really fit. So every bit of sinew,musculature and balance is packed into those shapely stems.

So we’re chatting, and she’s looking hot with those legs out. The crackers and cheese are happening and the wine is flowing. We’re laughing and I feel like there’s a connection at some level. We’re reminiscing about the Rittenhouse cocktail event two years ago.

She tells me she’s on this gig to get some shots for Philly Weekly but they don’t pay much. She is still working with this older guy who has his own studio down in Old City. He’s been a professional photographer his whole life. When being a trained photographer really meant something  before it went all digital. Now every swingin’ dick in the city can just pick up an expensive digital camera and call themselves a photographer. Most wouldn’t know the difference between F stop and the F word!

She works with this older guy… we’ll call him Jim. He owns the business and he pays her to shoot some of the jobs he gets. I would think if you aren’t doing a lot of consistent commercial work and a bunch of weddings you probably won’t make much money. But over the years this guy has been pretty successful.

The cruise was a really nice way to reconnect with her. We exchange numbers and decide to meet up for a drink. So I’m feeling pretty good when I get off the boat.

It was maybe a week or so later, and we met up at Milkboy for a few drinks. Milkboy is a bar/music venue at 11th and Chestnut street. There are a bunch of people there I know and they’re treating us great. Somebody took a pic of the two of us and we looked pretty cozy. And of course everything has to go up on social media. I look back on my life back then and I was just as bad as everybody else if not worse. I put pics up of everything I was doing. Now I almost never post anything on my personal Facebook page or Instagram. I just promote phicklephilly on those platforms now.

Back then when I was Annabelle, I would post pics of us all of the time. I also had us locked down as “In a Relationship” on Facebook. So if you’re in a relationship and things end it doesn’t stay between you and your significant others. Every asshole that you’re “friends” with on Facebook know that it’s over. That’s like being a celebrity and breaking up with your spouse. The world knows. That must be horrible. Because I have 5000 “friends” on Facebook and everybody knows when it’s over. I will never let that happen again.

But… Annabelle didn’t know what she wanted back then. She probably still doesn’t, but if this pic of yours truly and Kylie pops up in her feed on facebook, it’ll look like I have moved on in less that 30 days after she dumped me.

Well, let’s see what happens.

Damn you, Annabelle.

 

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Church – 2012 to Present – Angel’s Envy – Part 2

“Did you touch them?”
 
“Yea.”
 
“You’re killing us, Liam!”
 

Church and I step out into the warm afternoon sun. We sadly run into this little troll from the Trestle Inn that loves us both. She literally looks like she has troll or hobbit in her family. She’s awful. We hug her and it’s absolute torture for me and my comrade, but we have to be nice.
Church brings the car around and Liam and I get in. Church is doing his usual rage driving and Liam starts talking.
There is a hip crazy waitress that works at Sofitel. We all love her. She’s a tall brown-haired beauty. She has damage, but who cares, she’s pretty. Church is cranking Ozzy in the car and we’re all feeling good.
Liam goes on to tell us that he’s been to this waitress’ house to drink and she always breaks her tits out. We love and admire this lovely woman and can’t imagine her doing this.
When you go to a bar and love and respect the staff, and you suddenly hear something like this, it’s like seeing nudity in People magazine on the counter at Rite aid. When you hear about your friend and server breaking her tits out with her co workers at a party it creates all sorts of new thoughts in your mind..
We’re driving Liam to work and Church and my brains are exploding because all we can think about how his co workers tits swinging free and somehow we are there. We really like her and find it hard to believe she does shit like that. But the more we think about her and her past, we sort of pull it together.
“Did you touch them?”
“Yea.”
“You’re killing us, Liam!”
We drop off Liam at Sofitel. Church and I are laughing as he searches for a parking spot. He’s the king of finding spots in the city. I don’t know anyone that can always manage to find a great space, usually right near wherever we want to hang out.
Church decides we’re going to crash the Angel’s Envy cocktail party at Dandelion. I’m already buzzed, so I’m down for anything. We walk in and tell the hostesses we’re with the Angel’s Envy party. Without even asking who we are or if we’re on the list they tell us to head upstairs.
Upstairs at Dandelion is nice. London’s culinary revolution cames to Philadelphia with this unique gastropub. Cozy rooms and intimate bars create a storied, Old World aura, while updated seasonal takes on British food make up the menu.
The event is being held in what’s referred to as “The Dog Room.” The whole room and bar is all done up with everything canine. Pictures of dogs, and little figurines on the shelves. Even the brass rail that surrounds the front of the bar is held in place by a row of brass bulldog heads chomping down on the rail. I always said they should hide one cat in there somewhere, and if you can find it among the dozens of dogs in there, maybe you get a free drink.
Now this is a party. The owner of the brand is there, and everybody is plowing delicious food and sipping bourbon cocktails. Church is chatting with his buddy the local rep for PA.  I take a bite out of a delicious slider and take a photo of it in my hand. I send the pic to Prova and tell her she’s missing free food and drinks. I tell her to grab an UBER and get down here.
Crickets.
The owner of Angel’s Envy makes a little speech, and they pour shots of the bourbon for everyone to do a toast. Church is on the wagon, and his buddy is working, so they literally pour their shots into my glass. So when we do the toast I pound down 3 shots of bourbon in one gulp.
I run into a few people I know in the industry and chat with some attractive ladies that are also present. So since 3pm this afternoon we’ve been having a wonderful day.
So after the happy hour/party we head over to Sofitel for some quiet frivolity. The bartender that went with us to Karma earlier is there with Liam. He talks shit on Prova saying she had “an agenda” to take us to Karma. Like she had ulterior motives. I don’t like how this clown was invited to a free bourbon tasting. Ate the food, drank the cocktails, and then disappears from Karma and doesn’t even finish his drink. He just scampers off to work. Then talks smack on one of my dear friends.
But all is forgiven because I can’t control the hearts and minds of others and I’m friends with Prova, not him. I hang out with her, I drink at the bar where he works and we really come to see Liam and some of the girls that host and serve there.
(But Prova has already texted me back and says she is on her way down.)
But he tells an interesting story. He said when he was younger he was riding in the car with his family. They were in the car on their way to New York. His dad has Philly’s local rock station on. The song Iron Man by Black Sabbath came on the radio. He had never heard it before and he instantly loved it. He asks his father who sings that song. His pop says some guy named, Ozzy.
So one day when he’s 12 years old, they stop in a music store. He can’t find the song on any of Ozzy’s records. He ends up walking up to this old hippie, and asks him about the song. The hippie takes him to the section where Black Sabbath’s CD’s are located. He pulls out the album entitled Paranoid and hands it to him.
He had some birthday money from his grandparents so he bought the album and has loved Sabbath ever since.
I really liked that little story. You’ve been redeemed!
Prova shows up half in the bag. On Church’s orders he tells her to get some food. I’m happy we’re all together. Good hospitality and good people make for a lovely day!
I go out for a smoke. I run into my favorite homeless guy outside. He always tells me a joke, so I give him a dollar or two to get him something to eat.
I tell him I may start to write for One Step Away, the homeless publication here in Philly. I’m feeling drunk and get a little misty about it. He senses it and moves on to get his hamburger at McDonald’s. I watch him shuffle off down the street and around the corner. I stub out my cigarette, and walk back into the warmth of the beautiful hotel Sofitel. My friends are there and so is a crisp glass of chardonnay and free bar snacks.
My thoughts return to my homeless guy. But I smile and chat with Prova and the gang and take a sip of wine.

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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Johnny R. – 2009 to Present – Needle in the Groove – Part 2

I remember in the past we used to call the Gold club “The Death Star.” Johnny and I would be out at happy hour and we’d be walking around trying to figure out where to go next. After a few rounds we could start to feel the pull of the club. It was like a tractor beam that would just start pulling our little drunken rebel alliance feet over towards 15th and Chancellor. If you know anything about Star Wars, that’s what the Death Star did to the Millennium Falcon.

After our hilarious experience at Locust Rendevous, we headed over to our favorite dive bar McGlinchey’s on 15th street. McGlinchey’s has cheap drinks and you can smoke in there. I’ve written about it before. (See: Johnny R. – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues) It’s a den of scum and villainy. But we love the place. The surly staff, the crashing bottles as they are thrown into the trash, and the filthy bathrooms all add to it’s bygone era charm.

We get there and we look for a pair of seats. (Just writing about this place makes me want to have a cig right now) Normally when it’s cold there are a few empty seats near the door. We’re in luck and we’re not too close to the door. We walk up to the bar chairs, and they’re empty but there’s all these bags and clothes and one crutch lying on the bar rail. (Nothing surprises me at McGlinchey’s)

We ask the guys to our left if it’s their stuff and they say no. We ask the bartender if anybody is sitting here, and he says no. Then he turns to some old coger that’s sitting around the corner of the bar and tells him to move his stuff. Why the old guy dropped all his stuff over here and then went and sat over there, I’ll never know.

So he comes and hauls it over to his area and we sit down. We look over to our right and there’s an attractive brunette sitting by herself at the bar. That’s rare for a dump like this. She’s obviously doing what most people do nowadays. They have their faces in their phones. Of course some other old guy starts chatting her up. He seems harmless enough.

“You can see that girl is visibly uncomfortable.” says Johnny.

“Agreed.”

I order my usual. Their shitty house white wine with a side of ice, and Johnny gets a bud bottle. He grabs a few singles off the bar and heads to the jukebox. He always has a good sense of what to play, and soon the music is overtaken by eighties and nineties rock. He usually spends a solid fifteen minutes over there picking songs, so I start chatting with the bartender. He’s a tired looking middle-aged guy wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. I compliment him on his wardrobe choice. We start to discuss about how we both saw the original film in the theater back in 1977.

I started to write about that experience in detail but decided because it was so epic, that I’ll give it its own space in the future. It’s a great story, but this post is about today with Johnny, so it’ll have to wait. The bartender complains about all the stuff wrong with him now that he’s old, like arthritis and what not. I thankfully have none of those problems and I’m only one year younger that him! It’s probably because I have suffered so much emotional, mental and romantic pain in my life, maybe that was enough.

Johnny and I are chatting about our usual stuff. What’s going on with life and work, how he’s annoyed by his girlfriend, music, what shows we’re watching, etc. But one thing that he tells me has struck a chord. He tells me he has started writing his blog again! I really wanted him to do it, and he says he’s written three things so far, and wants to call it Tales from the Gutter. Which I think is a brilliant title. He’s just going to write about his life experiences and things that piss him off. I love it, and I can’t wait to read and be his first follower!

He asks about my blog and I tell him what’s been going on with it. He’s amazed that I’ve completed all of my Monday through Wednesday posts for the next five months.

“What? So, if you dropped dead today, your blog would continue to publish for the next five months?

“Exactly. It’s a written and scheduled.”

“You’re a prolific motherfucker.”

“That I am Johnny. Now let’s get over to the World Famous Gold Club and do what we came out here to do today.”

Eighties hair metal band, Ratt is playing on the jukebox as we walk out the door. We walk north on 15th Street until we get to Chancellor Street and bang a right. On the corner is an Applebee’s that no one I know ever goes to. I once picked up an order of chicken fingers for one of the strippers at the Gold Club. That’s what the Gold Club is; a gentleman’s club. Funny how they call strip joints gentleman’s clubs now. I have rarely seen any gentlemen in strip clubs. It’s usually a bunch of frat boys, douchebags, sad married guys, or creepy sad old men. There is a thrill to going on occasion. I never go alone. I actually don’t really care for such places. I know Johnny digs vice and I wanted the third time I included him in my blog to be interesting. But he knows that.

This side of Chancellor doesn’t even look like a street. It’s just the side of Applebee’s and then you walk a few more steps and at the end of what resembles a filthy alley lined with dumpsters you come upon the entrance to the little strip club. If you kept walking past it you would literally enter the parking garage of the Park Hyatt.

I remember in the past we used to call the club “The Death Star.” Johnny and I would be out at happy hour and we’d be walking around trying to figure out where to go next. After a few rounds we could start to feel the pull of the club. It was like a tractor beam that would just start pulling our little drunken rebel alliance feet over towards 15th and Chancellor. If you know anything about Star Wars, that’s what the Death Star did to the Millennium Falcon.

We enter and the place is pretty dead. It’s dark, but I like that. It’s like you step out of the sunlight of the outside and suddenly enter this other world of booze and flesh. Colored lights dance about the room, and the joint smells of stale beer, cheap perfume, and shame. On the stage is some fat white chick writhing around on the floor. Johnny likes a curvy gal, so he sort of digs her. We take a seat at the back-end of the bar against the wall. If I have to sit at the bar, this is my favorite spot. I can lean against the wall and watch the dancers from the side of the stage.

I order a cheap glass of chardonnay with a side of ice, and Johnny get his usual. The bartender is a cute little black girl that looks like she’s in a really shitty mood. I mean like: “Just kidnapped and put on Le Amistad, shitty mood.”

“Day shift is looking a little rough there Johnny.”

The curvy gal approaches for tips for her dance. I always give a dollar. I don’t need to stuff it between their breasts or in their G-string. I just put it in their hand. I’m sure they get groped and felt up enough. She’s actually very sweet and friendly. Most of the girls usually are. But that’s part of their sales pitch. Their sole duty is to separate the patrons from their cash. But I believe this girl is genuinely sweet. She’s chatting with Johnny and  I glance down at her pale thigh and see that she is, or was a cutter. There is a set of  four short scars just bellow her bikini line.

Check it out here: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/cutting-self-harm-signs-treatment#1

I’d write about cutting, but I don’t know much about it. Apparently it’s more common in girls than boys and they cut themselves to ease the pain of some sort of mental anguish. It’s really sad. Most of the women I’ve met that are or were cutters, suffered from anxiety and depression. So it stands to reason, if you’re an overweight girl who has had the misfortune to end up taking your clothes of in a club for money in front of dirty old men, there’s certainly something that drove you into this vocation.

I’m sure it wasn’t anything pleasant.

And you thought me and Johnny going to a strip joint was going to be fun and erotic. Well, I write what I see and what I feel.

There’s now an attractive Latina girl onstage. She’s kind of hot. After her song she comes over to us. That’s another reason to be at this end of the bar. We get them as soon as they come off stage. I actually find it sexy if an attractive girl is a little sweaty. Latina comes over to me and says hello. We do the fake name exchange. They obviously don’t use their real names.

Incidentally, in this blog all the names have been changed, and the photos are just stock pics I’ve gotten from the internet. Obviously to protect the identities of the people I write about. I tried to find attractive ones that resemble what they look like in real life. But why I’m saying all of this is, the reason I call my friend Johnny R. is because when we would be in the Gold Club he would always introduce himself as Johnny Rivers. Like the singer, who is probably best known for the song, Secret Agent Man. (Which I love! I always used it as my intro music when I used to do stand up.) There were other times he’d be hopped up on coke and Adderall and he would just yell out: “I’m Johnny Rivers!” really loudly in the bar. I always enjoyed that.

So we’re chatting with lovely Latina. Curvy Girl has gone off to make the rounds for more singles and possibly give a lap dance to some hapless gent. Latina has a good body and a nice face. I give her a dollar for her dance and so does Johnny. Both of her nipples are pierced. I suppose some people like this but I really don’t like piercings or tattoos. Does it look kind of hot on a stripper? I guess so, but it’s not my cup of tea. What are nipples for? Right. Where do nipples go? Right. I don’t want to feel any metal in my mouth at anytime. I wore fucking braces for three years. The only metal I want in my body is Heavy Metal! And that goes in my ears and into my heart! I don’t want to put my lips to some girls pert nipple and feel the click of cold steel against my central incisors.

So I guess we’re all clear that I’m not a fan of body modification in any form. Evolution made you beautiful. Leave it alone!

Johnny looks at her breasts. “Did that hurt?”

“No.” is Latina’s reply.

How can driving a sharp piece of metal through a part of your body that’s loaded with nerve endings and blood vessels not hurt?

Okay. No more metal nipple talk.

She goes on her way to make her rounds. Johnny decides he wants to get a lap dance from Curvy Girl. He feels that he can talk her into having sex with him or at least getting her to give him oral sex.

If you know anything about strip clubs, for the most part there is a huge “hands off” policy in place. If you touch any of the girls, you’ll usually be ejected. But not at the World Famous Gold Club! Johnny has had sex with like five different strippers from there over the years. It hasn’t happened in the last few years, but he hasn’t been in the city as much as he used to be.

That, and the place was raided a year or so ago for that very thing. Prostitution. But that’s the charm of this dirt hole. I never have to worry about that sort of thing because I don’t get lap dances. What’s the point of paying $20 per song while some hot nubile girl wiggles around on you and gets you all worked up for no payoff. Well, that’s true for most fellas but apparently not if your name is Mr. Johnny Rivers! He’s never paid for sex ant a strip club.

So he goes off with Curvy Girl to the back room. I’ll be interested to hear how that all goes in a little while. I look over at the stage and there is a really fit black girl sliding around the pole like a lovely ebony serpent. Her body, a lean vessel of sinew and muscle. Already she’s my favorite girl in the place. I know what I just said about lap dances, but I’m a leg man, and her legs are killer. She’s smoking hot.

She comes off the stage and right towards me. I love her! “Hi.” she says in a low sexy voice. Her body is absolutely slammin’. She looks me in eye, takes my hand, and places it on her left breast. Her nipple is like a rubber bullet pressing against my palm. (Just writing this is making me want to stop in there and see if she’s working tonight. Vice!) I gently squeeze her breast and she smiles. Then I release her.

“You’re beautiful! I’m a leg man, and man…if your legs aren’t spectacular.”

“Thank you.”

Johnny returns. “Oh, and what bit of ebony delish is this?” She says hello and gives us her stage name.

“You can touch my legs if you want to.”

I am smitten by this dark temptress. I couldn’t resist. I reach down and just run my hand up the back of her leg. Exquisite. I hand her a few more bucks.

“Do you want to get a private dance with me?”

“You’re the prettiest girl in here. Do you mind if I catch up with my friend, and think about it for a bit?”

“Sure thing. But if you get a dance with me I’ll make your dick hard.”

She slinks away with feline grace. I want that ass, but I don’t do lap dances. I think it’s just a waste of money and gets you nothing in the end. I guess I could make this example: I like to drink. You buy a bottle of something for about $12 and drink it. Over the next few hours of doing whatever you’re doing, you get a buzz, relax, feel good, socialize, or just chill out and let go. So for $12 you can have a great night.

If I go to a casino, I spend $20 because I’m not a gambler and never have been. I burn through that $20 in under 15 minutes, and I’m done. I don’t get off. I don’t feel good, and I’m out $20. Now I know it doesn’t work that way for real gamblers. They get high on the action, not the winning or the losing. Just the action. You see, I need some sort of payoff. I need the reward and with booze I get it, and with gambling I don’t.”

I love women and sex. I have been addicted to the feeling of love, and not really been in love. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s how it worked. You meet a woman, there is the spark of romance, and if there is chemistry the payoff is hot love and sex. Huge payoff. I think love is the best drug in the world. If we could have sex all the time and feel loved, we’d probably have a lot less problems. I think the greatest feeling one can have, it to love and be loved.

But hey, I digress. That’s why I can’t invest the $20 in the lap dance. I get the action and zero payoff. Now I’m sure Johnny has a whole different view on this issue. Because he likes to gamble, and as we know in the past he’s paid the $20 for the lapper, and gotten a blow job out of it or straight up banged the stripper bareback. Yea…bareback. Like I said. Johnny’s a gambler.

Let’s see if his little foray with curvy girl paid off.

“So, what happened back there with her?”

“I don’t know what’s going on. The last few times I’ve been here, the girls won’t do anything sexual.”

“Think you’re losing your touch?”

“No, it’s probably because the place has been busted so many times. Do you think I’m starting to look like a cop?”

“Well you are Irish Catholic and approaching middle age, sir.”

“Really? I’m not even forty yet, asshole.”

“Wanna blow this place?”

“That’s a lot of dudes. I think they’re here for the ladies, not to get sucked off by you.”

“Let’s go. I’ll call you an UBER.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Johnny R. – 2009 to Present – Needle in the Groove – Part 1

Another fun day with my friend who loves vice.

I love this day. I finally get to write about Johnny R. with a little vice because I planned it that way. Art imitates life.

I sleep in on Saturday, because it’s the only day I  am technically off from my two jobs. The real day off. That’s plenty of time for me, because I like to work.

Johnny texts me that he will roll into Suburban Station around 1pm. I have to get out of this bed. I am drifting in and out of the arms of Morpheus and listening to NPR. I have to go out and be with my dear friend.

His train is coming in and I am walking towards the station. He says he is busting for a piss and is going to Tir Na Nog. That’s the closest bar to the train station, and a beloved spot for him because they have a satellite dish and play all of the liverpool soccer games that he loves all the time. I don’t get it because I’m not a sports guy but he loves it. I know when Johnny says he’s heading to Tir to take a piss that means he’s going to be drinking 5 minutes after that, so I need to get there sooner than later.

I arrive and he looks great and we’re happy to see each other. Tir Na Nog is obviously an Irish bar on 16th street near Arch. It’s a good spot but normally is a sausage bar. Lot’s of dudes and sports fans. Never my cup of tea. I prefer hotel bars with pretty nubile waitresses eager to please me.

Johnny is sucking on a bud bottle and seems surly. He says he has no coke or adderall so he’s probably going to behave but be tired later on. I don’t mind. As long as I can spend time with my friend and we get our kicks, I know we’ll all be better for it and his wallet won’t hurt tomorrow. (Nor will his soul)

He tells me he hates the raven haired Irish female bartender that’s currently on shift. I love his rage about everything. I ask him why, and he tells me that he sat here with an empty bottle and she ignored him and went to talk to her friends at the end of the bar. Normally I would hate this too but I have a little surprise that I didn’t see coming for my friend Johnny.

Johhny: “I fuckin’ hate her. Shitty service.”

Me: “Hello Sheila! I haven’t seen you in a while. How you been?”

Sheila: ” Hey, great man, I’ll come by the new salon soon!”

Johnny looks at me incredulously.

Sheila: “Hey, this round is on me.”

Johnny: “How?”

Me: ” She tans at the salon so she doesn’t look so pale when she goes back to Ireland every year.”

Johnny: “Wow. Thank you.”

Me: (I point to me and then him) “Honey… vinegar. It’s all good dude.”

That was a huge savings and an elegant meeting spot for me and Johnny. It had history, soccer and free drinks in it!

We head down to Locust Rendezvous for some food, because all I’ve had in the way of food today was beer. We get there and the place is chill. We sit in our usual seats at the end of the bar and I order a Yards Pale and some chicken fingers. Johnny goes for the plain grilled and I of course go for the buffalo.

Locust Rendezvous is a clean little dive down at 15th and Locust. Local crowd. The food is good and cheap. The staff is consistent and sweet. They have a fantastic $5 burger lunch special there. Check it out if you’re ever in Philly. Worth it! We’re chatting and sipping our beers. Johnny with his Bud bottle as always. The food comes out and it looks great. Johnny complains that his chicken is tough but he bitches about everything. It’s actually endearing and one of the reasons I love him. It’s like hanging out with comedian Bill Burr.

Our day is unfolding beautifully, until he gets a piece of chicken lodged not in his throat but in his esophagus. He has a thing. It’s not serious but you know how deadly chicken and it’s bones can be to humans and dogs.

Johnny pauses. I turn. “Are you okay, dude?”

“I’m fine. Just a piece of chicken that needs to keep going to my stomach.”

“Is there anything I can do?” I’m getting worried about my friend.

“”No. I just need to go to the bathroom.”

I’m concerned, but it’s his thing and he knows how to deal with it. Chicken is dense and you gotta take little bites.

I continue to drink my beer and rip into my delicious “moist” buffalo chicken fingers. After a few minutes he comes back and he’s fine. I’m relieved and he’s still pissed about his dry chicken. But that’s just Johnny. It didn’t kill you, so eat it brother.

I finish my meal and I know what’s going to happen. Since all I’ve consumed has been beers and buffalo chicken today and that has been breakfast and lunch, I need to go. It’s called middle age. You put something in your body and the system turns on and things start moving. I tell him I’ll be right back and I walk to the back of the bar to the men’s room. It’s funny because the bathrooms are labeled. “Nuts” and “No Nuts” and they have pictures of a boy and a girl squirrel. It’s pretty obvious what bathroom has been appointed to which sex, but I just wonder why they went with that theme here. It has nothing to do with the bar.

I really have to go. The machine is running and I need to deal with this. Forgive me readers for going here. Some of you may hate anything bathroom related, but I promise if you stay with this scene, you’ll enjoy it.

I go into the “Nuts” bathroom because I have a pair, and I tie my button down dress shirt in a knot at the bottom so it’s away from all of the action. Every time I do this I always think of Rod Stewart tying the bottom of his shirt and looking gay. Nothing against the gay community or Rod, (No pun intended) I love gay people but this move always makes me feel a little gay.

I drop my drawers and have a seat. It’s a tiny bathroom. Just one commode, a sink and that’s it. Just me, my phone and my thoughts. I’m cool. I’m having a good day with my pal who’s at the front of the bar probably sipping his beer and playing with his phone.

I finish and life is good. I feel relieved and I’m having a great day with my dear friend. Hopefully there’s more fun and deviltry to come. So I’m ready to get up and I look around. First casually, then frantically. There’s no toilet paper in the men’s room. Not a stitch. Not a square. Nothing! There is a little soggy wad next to the toilet on the floor in the corner. I’m not touching that!

What the fuck am I going to do? I can’t wipe!

I’m panicking now. I’m trapped in the Nuts room and I can’t leave.

Wait! I brought my phone in with me. I’ll call Johnny and tell him my situation and he’ll tell the bartender and someone will run back a roll to save me!

I pride myself in knowing where all of the liquor stores and clean bathrooms are in this fine city. I’ve done this my entire life. Sometimes I get tummy troubles and a man need to know where to get a clean restroom. This comes in really handy with the fairer sex. But I’m being held hostage by my dirty ass right now and I have failed myself as a good bathroom vigil.

I grab my phone and call him. You can’t text your friend at the bar when you are trapped in the bathroom. You have to call! He’ll pick up. I’m with him right now. I dial his number.

Ringing…

“Pick up…”

“Pick up…”

“Pick up Johnny….”

“Pick up you fucking asshole!”

(voicemail) “You have reached (phone number) Johnny is not available…”

“Are you fucking kidding me???”

How is everybody chained to their phones and you are literally sitting at the bar with me in the same bar and you are on your phone and I am calling you and you are not picking up you fucking asshole???

He never picks up.

I’m stranded in this bathroom. I want to kill him. I really want to kill him. I’m going to kill my friend next time I see him.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I have been in worst situations so I need to get creative and do what is necessary. I get up off the seat with my pants around my ankles and turn my butt toward the sink. I hop towards it and get to the sink. I grab the porcelain and hoist my ass up onto the sink. Apparently the sinks in Locust Rendezvous are strong enough to support the full weight of a grown man. I reach back behind me and turn the spigot on. The water is running now. Is it the hot water or the cold? Should I turn them both on?

I feel like a little kid now. Sitting on a another toilet with my little legs dangling in the air a foot of the ground because I’m small. I reach back to check the temperature of the water with my hand. The water feels ok, so I realize the inevitable. I lean forward and get my ass as close the water stream as close as possible to my sweet star fruit. I reach back and literally scrub my asshole with my bare hand under the fresh stream of water from the faucet.

How do they even open their bar on a Saturday and not even check the bathroom situation? At the beginning of my shift at the salon I run patrol on the whole place. Well I suppose this is how you earn the title, “Dive Bar.”

So I scrub my asshole clean until it squeaks. There isn’t even a way to dry my butt because they have an air dryer for your hands in there. And I am not going to be able to do the gymnastic to do a head stand on the sink and get my balloon knot up under that blower to dry off my turd cutter. (Yea, I’m using creative names to make it even funnier than this sad situation already is.)

I hop down when I’m done and am actually a little proud of myself for my resourcefulness and creativity in a bad situation. Urban survival techniques!

I thoroughly wash my hand with their soap. I use it copiously! Then I get to take advantage of their modern hand air dryer in the bathroom with NO TOILET PAPER! Because if they had any paper hand towels I would have totally ripped them up and wiped my sorry ass with them. If it clogged up the toilet I would have been fine with that because that’s your punishment for not doing your fucking job and checking the bar before your shift! Now you have a REAL mess to clean up, lazy! (I kidding…I wouldn’t really do that)

So I walk out of the bathroom and back to the bar with my super clean, still wet ass and I see Johnny just sitting there sipping his beer.

“You wouldn’t believe what just fucking happened to me in the bathroom!”

“The redhead blew you?”

“Really, dude? No! there was no toilet paper in there and I had to use the sink as a fucking bidet on my butthole!”

“(Nonchalantly) Oh…I saw that you called.”

“Why the fuck didn’t you pick up?”

“I just thought you accidentally butt dialed me.”

“Yea! My butt was crying out for help and you left it literally blowing in the wind!”

“Alright. I got lunch. Wanna go to McGlinchey’s?”

“Dude! I needed your hel… You got lunch?”

“Yea.”

“Okay. I’ll buy the first round at McGlinch…”

“I hate when you abbreviate everything.”

“It’s my thing. It’s what I do.”

“We know. Let’s go.”

We step out onto 15th street headed to the foulest bar in the city.

“Why couldn’t you have choked on that piece of chicken.”

“What?

“Love you….”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Ann Marie- 2015 to Present – Rose Among Thorns

“Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!”

I did some work in the morning, and then was to meet up with Church for lunch. We met at one of my favorite Monday lunch spots in Rittenhouse. Can’t beat a $5 cheesesteak and fries or tots to kick off your week at Cavanaugh’s.  I get there and of course my girl Ann Marie says hello and immediately delivers to my table a water and diet coke. She always uses my name and provides outstanding hospitality. I always get the same thing when I go there on Mondays and she knows exactly what I want. It’s a little slow in this sports bar, so Ann Marie hops up in the chair across from me and we start chatting.

I ask her how her trip to California was with her Mother. Ann Marie is getting married in October so she and her mom and sister went out there to pick up a special Vietnamese wedding dress.

While traditional clothes of Vietnam have always been very diverse depending on the era and occasion, after the Nguyen Dynasty women began to wear elaborate Ao dai for their weddings. These dresses were modeled after the Áo mệnh phụ (royal Áo dài) of Nguyễn Dynasty court ladies. The style of the Nguyễn Dynasty has remained popular and is still used in current-day Vietnamese wedding attire. The difference between the Áo mệnh phụ and the typical Áo dài is the elaborateness of its design. The former is usually embroidered with imperial symbols such as the phoenix and includes an extravagant outer cloak. This gown is preferably in red or pink, and the bride usually wears a khan dong headdress. The groom wears a simpler male equivalent of the dress, often in the color blue.

Apparently she’s having a Vietnamese wedding and then a Catholic wedding after that. Then there is the reception of course. So basically Ann Marie’s wedding day is going to last from 11am till the last person stumbles out of the reception.

An engagement ceremony usually occurs half a year or so before the wedding. In the past, most marraiges were arranged by the parents or extended family, and while children were sometimes consulted, it was nearly always the parents’ final decision. It was not unusual for the bride and groom to meet for the first time at the day of their engagement. However, in the last few decades, Vietnamese women and men marry based on love rather than arranged marriages.

Preparation for the traditional Vietnamese wedding begins with choosing a date and time for the marriage ceremony. This is decided by a Buddhist monk, Spiritual leader, or fortune teller due to the spiritual nature of the occasion. This tradition may change if the family is Catholic. (Which our westernized Ann Marie is)

The wedding consists of an extensive set of ceremonies: asking permission to receive the bride, receiving the bride at her house, and bringing the bride to the groom’s house. Both Vietnamese and oversea-Vietnamese who desire to have a hybrid traditional Vietnamese and Western-style wedding will often incorporate the last two ceremonies with the Western-style wedding.

And then obviously at the end of the ceremonies, there is one reception for the two families and guests. Sounds like it’s going to be a big day for our girl.

“I told my bridesmaids to just keep me hydrated and energized to make it through a very long day!”

I’ve known Ann Marie for a few years now. We never hang out, I just know her from the sports bar. There are a million sports bars out there, but your staff is really what makes the difference. That goes for any business. There are bars I go to and I love the guy that works every Monday night, but I wouldn’t set foot in that place on a Wednesday if he’s not working.

Ann Marie’s great. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s really cute and fit. There’s a group of construction workers that come in and drink some afternoons and they only come in when Ann Marie is working. They love her like we do. There were days I would be sitting at my table in the back and I would be working on my laptop. I’d pop out for a smoke and one of the guys would be out there and we’d be chatting. Next thing you know he’s sending me a drink back to my table. Just good hard-working fellas.

I remember another time I was sitting at the bar and I was eating my sandwich. That same group of guys were there and they were drinking, laughing and busting on each other. The one guy says something like, “Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!” Of course the guy laughs but doesn’t disagree with them.

I think to myself… “Fuck! That’s why I always used to sit at the end of the bar in the Spring and Summer, so I can check out Ann Marie’s legs. If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m a leg man. Ann Marie may be petite but she has well turned legs.

Church arrives and we order our food. We go with the special. He goes with fries and I choose tots. This way, everybody wins. The place gets busier and Ann Marie is running around taking orders and serving at the bar.

Church and I are chatting after lunch and Ann Marie cruises by. “Can we get the check? I thought you were keeping me here.”

“I’m going to keep you here forever, dear.” She says with a wry smile.

That’s what I’m talking about. You come for the $5 cheesesteaks, you stay for that kind of hospitality and charm.

Update: Ann Marie has since left her post at Cavanaugh’s to pursue a career in Marketing. Oh well, hopefully her replacement can live up to the high bar set by Ann Marie. Oh, and if you’re reading this dear, You’re going to be a beautiful bride to a lucky gentleman.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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