Sarika – 2014 to Present – Back In The Widow’s Web

Surprise, surprise!

I left the salon after a meeting with Achilles about the fitness center. I wanted to hit Dan Dan, the Asian fusion restaurant and bar where my buddy, Chet works as bartender. I just wanted to unwind after a long day of work, and toss back a few chardonnays.

I was completely out of cigs, so I headed over to the nearest newsstand at 16th and Locust Street. I stood in line while a few people ahead of me were buying their lottery tickets. (Or as I call it, 401K for the poor) I realized I didn’t have enough cash so I got out of line and headed to the little store down on Spruce.

I get my smokes and I head back up 16th street. I get to the intersection at Locust street again, and who do I see crossing the street from me but Sarika! She’s smiling and waving.

I’m wondering how this is possible and it almost seems surreal. I know she looked up at me two weeks ago at Parc and then looked away. I just assumed she had read the blogs about her and she now hated me.

But here she is smiling and looking gorgeous as always. She apologizes for being all sweaty but she says she just came from a spin class at Flywheel across the street.

She still looks sexy as hell. Sweat beading on her forehead, her raven tresses askew and curling about her shoulders. I can see her nipples poking through her wet sports bra. I think this is how she would look after a session with me.

But I digress…

She’s lively and a bit out of breath. We catch up on what’s been happening in our lives. I talk about the fitness center and she goes on about how much she has had to travel lately for her job. She says she recently got a raise. She’s obviously killing it as an engineer/scientist. Brains and beauty.

I ask her if she’d like to join me at Dan Dan for a drink, but she said she’s too sweaty and gross to go anywhere. She just wants to go home.

She says she met a guy she likes. I think she said they met in Atlanta, but he lives in Florida. All of these long distance relationships. But when you think about it, in this day and age it’s not that bad. Sarika travels so much it’s nothing for her to hop on a plane and jet down to Florida for a few days. She can afford it and she’s accustomed to traveling.

I’m happy to hear that she’s doing well and not mad at me. I guess when she said she was reading my blog a few months ago she missed the stuff about her. Bullet dodged!

She says she has to go to Boston this weekend, but will be back next week. She’d like to meet up for a drink.

So I’m happy about this little twist. I’ll let sleeping dogs lie, and we’ll move forward from here.

Sarika is back!

 

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Nadereh – 2016 – Persian Beauty

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

I met Nedereh on the online dating platform, Clover. It’s like Tinder but I think the woman has to speak to the man first. (Or maybe that’s Bumble) She lives in Jersey City which is up near Manhattan, so she’s really far away. Normally long distance just doesn’t work. But she is going to be in town to meet with her brother. I was at Square 1682 and ran into my buddy, Church. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Seizure Salad) His phone was dead and he needed to use my charger. I always carry a charger in my blazer. He senses that I seem a bit on edge and asks what’s going on. I tell him I’m meeting some chick I met on Clover for a drink. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which is a huge drinking night. Everybody gets together with family and friends and goes out to party. I didn’t plan on staying out late, I almost never do anyway. I’m getting too old for that shit. Besides nothing good ever happens after midnight when there has been a lot of booze involved.

Nedereh texts me that she is parking. Church asks me if I want him to leave. I told him to hang in case I hated her. Besides, she was only staying for about an hour or so and then going to her brother’s house.

Nedereh arrives and she looks good. Early fifties, but great skin so she looks younger. Pretty face and a fit body. I’m drinking my usual chardonnay with ice and she orders a glass of red. I introduce her to Church. We’re at the bar and she’s sitting between us. We start chatting to learn more about each other. She’s originally from Iran. Her family came here to the US twenty years ago. She said her husband is an asshole and they have been divorced since 2002. She has one son who lives in California and works in IT in Silicon Valley. Match.com and Clover haven’t yielded any good matches for her yet.

She works in Manhattan, selling insurance through brokers. She lives in a high-rise  apartment building in one of the better neighborhoods of Jersey City. A coincidence is that her birthday is 8/6/63. I’m 8/9/62. Both Leos and although a year apart, very close in birthdays. Who knows? Maybe we could share our birthdays with one celebration next summer if this works out.

She asked about the distance factor. I knew that would come up and be a problem. I like her. She’s pretty and sexy and I think we could be a match. But Jersey City? Come on. I lived there. She might as well be on another planet. I thought helicopter and told her that, but she had a better idea.

Nedereh  thought we should drive toward each other and meet in the middle. That’s a great idea actually. It would keep her away from my Philly lifestyle and my longing to be alone, but I could occasionally visit with her in some foreign town and explore, and go on a date. Could be sexy and fun.

I don’t know. Seems like a stretch. The holidays can be such a bitch.

I think the best part of the encounter was Church. He ignored us most of the time, which was respectful. He played with his phone and ran his business. But he would chime in and occasionally and be the best wing man ever. Nedereh asked me about my music career and Church started whipping out pics of me back in the day with my band. Nedereh liked the pics of the young, skinny, me but said I looked great now. I liked that. He showered her a pic of me last year holding my axe and she liked that too. Church was there making me look totally metal and I realize that he is an amazing wingman.  I don’t require a wingman, but he was perfect. I won’t forget him for that.

Church was funny and lively and I really appreciated having him there.

In some of my Tinder pics I have a beard. I shared some pics with Nedereh and she asked me about my beard. (Middle Eastern chicks like beards) I told her it now comes in completely white. She didnt’ seem to mind and liked the beard just like Michelle did. Michelle inspired the beard. She always thought I looked good with a beard and if I wasn’t clean-shaven, it would scratch her sweet face and she didn’t like that. I told Nedereh if she became my girlfriend I would grow my beard back. She loved that and laughed.

It was a wonderful hour and I’d love to see this Persian beauty again. She was fiery and fun. I love when there is good energy with people around the holidays. It makes it so much more intense and romantic. Everyone is in the spirit.

She had to go and I walked her to her car. She was driving a Mercedes 2 series. Which is little but I don’t care about material things. I’m sure she is proud of her little coupe. She said she may come back into the citylater to party with her sister-in-law. I told her I was down but I didn’t really want to do it. I was done. I hooked her, gaffed her and brought her aboard and was done.

I actually hoped I didn’t have to go out again. I spent my energy on meeting her and being in character and that took a lot. Church was awesome and he was waiting for a friend of his to show up to meet up for a drink.

I kissed Nederah and I told her I wanted to see her again. She is a solid lady and I would love to spend time with her. But the distance thing will probably sledgehammer any of that and I have to realize that. Fucking Clover. Too much distance. I am not ruling her out because she has great energy and we definitely had chemistry.  We’ll just have to see where this takes us.

I  texted her later and I told her I was tired and had family commitments, and wouldn’t be able to come back out later, (a bold-faced lie) and she agreed she was going to stay put as well.

Church said the best line of the night: “What nationality is she?”

Me:”Iranian.”

Church: “Maybe she’ll take you hostage.”

Me: “I hope so.”

 

I have spoken to her since that night and we both agree we like each other and would like to see each other again. It’s just the distance factor.

 

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Sun Stories – 2016 – Corn Chips and String

Another day at the office…

I was working at the salon on a Sunday. Some times the weekends are when that odd things occur. It’s a courtesy day, and we’re only open from 11 to 4pm. I never know who is going to walk through our doors.

On this particular Sunday, a really beautiful, sexy brazilian woman walks in. She doesn’t even look like she needs to go tanning. Her skin is a rich caramel color. She has never been to the salon before. She completes the client consent form, and I put her in the system. I ask her what she’s trying to accomplish. Is she going to an event, or on vacation, or maybe just maintain her current color?

She tells me she wants to just get a bit darker, and only wants to buy one session because she has to fly to Boston tomorrow. I’m trying to figure what her deal is. She could be a model, or a stripper or a porn star on tour, or maybe she’s a high-class call girl. She could be none of those things, but it’s Sunday and my mind wanders to keep it interesting.

I ask her if she wants to do a stand up tanning unit or the lay down bed. She asks what is the strongest. For the best overall tan I recommend the stand up model. It surrounds you with fifty-two bulbs at two hundred and thirty watts of power. She accepts, and I swipe her credit card for seventeen dollars for the nine minute session. That’s the maximum time you can spend in that unit.

She goes into the room. There’s a five-minute prep time on the room for the client to prepare to tan. Undress, apply lotion, etc. When the five minutes expire, the unit automatically lights. I tell people who if they are ready sooner, they can simply step inside and press the start button.

Once she’s in the room, I set the timer and go about my business. It’s quiet this Sunday and not many people have come in. I frequently walk around the salon just to make sure there isn’t any detritus on the floor, or anything else is amiss.

I’m walking back from the beds in the back hallway and the brazilian babe sticks her head out the door of the room. It’s just off to the left of the front counter. The session must be finished. “How’d you make out?” I ask as I carefully approach. “I feel like I get nothing.” she says.

“Well, I put you in for the max time.”

She proceeds to open the door fully and she is wearing the equivalent of what appears to be three Doritos chips connected by a few pieces of twine. She’s lovely. The latina gives me a wry smile. I try to avert my eyes, but she places her hand on her hip, and repeats, “I feel like I get nothing. Can I go again?”

“I can’t really do that, Miss. Nine minutes is the max time we should send anyone in that unit.”

“But I get nothing.” Her green eyes glance about the salon. It’s empty. She proceeds to pull down the top two triangles of her tiny bikini revealing her ample, sunburst breasts to me. “See? Nothing.”

In my mind I’m thinking, “What would Achilles do? What would Achilles do??  What would Achilles do?!!”

“Um…do you have cash?” I chirp.

She turns away, her raven locks swirl as she reaches for a twenty-dollar bill on the table in the room. Her breasts swing as she turns.  There is no corn chip sized piece of fabric in the back, just a bit of string. She’s basically naked in front of me. She takes a step forward still exposed, and hands me the bill. I try to hold my gaze on her emerald eyes, but it’s a struggle.

“Okay so you do me again?” she purrs, giving me a sly smile.

“Y,yes… I’ll reset the unit to do you again…”

I go to the register and ring in another stand up session. I pull out the three dollars change from the twenty, and set it on the counter to give her when she comes out. I write a note in the system to have Achilles ask me about the Brazilian lady.

Her session ends. I hear the door open again. I slowly turn to the left. “You see? Much better this time!”

She’s completely naked. She looks the same color to me. But I now see her waxed vulva instead of the dorito sized piece of fabric that was once wedged neatly into the moist junction between her caramel thighs.

Giggling she slams the door.

A few minutes later she emerges from the room. Thankfully, this time fully clothed. (Thankfully? Who am I kidding?) She struts past the counter, grinning. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome. Oh, miss! Your change?” I hold out the three singles.

“You nice man. You keep tip.” And she was gone.

I feel like I should have been the one doing the tipping…

 

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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Sarika – 6/2013 to Present – The Return of the Stone Fox

I reached out to Sarika, not because I like her, but I wanted to find out what she was up to with her life. I was just going to meet up with her for a drink, but my buddy Rocco hooked me up with two VIP tickets to Taste of Philly. So I decided to take her to that.

Taste of Philly is a big event that two large publications put on each year at the Crystal Tea Room. The Crystal Tea Room is a big event spaced owned by Finlay Catering. It’s actually on the 9th floor of the building Macy’s is in on Market Street. They gather a large group of food and beverage companies together in a few big rooms. They sell tickets for $35 a piece and hundreds of people come and stuff their heads, and drink their faces off all night. It’s a fun event and I always run into people I know. It’s nice to see and be seen. VIP is invited to arrive at 6pm and then at 7pm they let the rest of the animals in. Normally we hang for two hours and then bolt. Where else can you drink and eat that much food and booze for $35 in Philadelphia?  But we did it for free and VIP thanks to my man, Rocco. (See: Rocco – 2015 to Present – Amanda Peet)

I go to Square 1682 and wait for her. She arrives shortly thereafter. She looks absolutely beautiful as always. Her skin actually looks a little darker. I comment about it and she says she’s been traveling. She says when she’s not working she takes little trips. So she has obviously been going to places that have lots of sunshine. But even with darker skin she actually looks more exotic and even hotter. Just a stone fox.

She has a really good job as an engineer for a scientific research company. She has been there for over a year now. She had a romantic affair with one of her co-workers at her last place of employment and it didn’t end well. So she ended up leaving and having to switch jobs. Super hot, but can’t keep a man.

She tells me she moved from her crappy apartment on 19th street. She now lives in a really posh high-rise in Rittenhouse. Initially when I asked her to meet for a drink she invited me over to her place. Now I know why. She wanted to show me her awesome new apartment. She showed me some pics of her views, and they are spectacular. It’s a one bedroom and she’s only paying $1500. Which is a great deal for the location and the amenities of living in that building. I bring her up to speed on my life and she tells me what she’s been doing.

It sounds like she has a bit of a lonely life. Works all the time, and has to travel extensively for that job. Traveling for work is exhausting. I’ve lived that life. She makes great money, but instead of coming home and resting, she’s taking these little vacations all of the time. It’s almost as if she is running away from her life. Always trying to escape something. Maybe she’s trying to forget something. All of her past brief relationships have all ended in heartbreak.

She always comes off very blunt and honest. She’s extremely bright but she’s also cunning and a bit mean.But that wasn’t the case tonight. She is perfectly well-behaved. I asked her what ever happened to that guy she was seeing. (The one she wanted to bring as a date to the $80 a plate New Years event I invited her to last year.) She dismisses me, saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.” She always says that when her relationships end badly. So he probably dumped her or cheated on her and then dumped her. It happened to Halle Berry and Jennifer Anniston. It always just amazes me that a young woman who is beautiful can’t keep a man. (Sarika is definitely one of the most gorgeous women I know) I am sure they are captivated by her beauty initially, but once her best representative falls away, she reveals her true self. A vacuous, mean-spirited girl who cares for no one but herself.

Rocco arrives with the VIP tickets. It’s great to see him because it’s been awhile. I am sipping my signature chardonnay with ice. Sarika is sticking with water because she says she’s trying to lose weight. She’s smoking hot and doesn’t need to lose any weight. But it always seems like she is on a diet. What woman isn’t? It’s kind of sad.

Rocco pounds two martinis into himself. Which surprised me, but then I thought to myself, he still works for one of the companies that puts on tonight’s event. They have recently been bought out by their distributor, and I hear the new management are a bunch of assholes. So maybe Rocco needs a little medication before he faces all of those clowns that will be there tonight.

We head over to the event. We get there around 6:20pm. But there is a huge line outside waiting to check in and get up the elevators. Apparently they are not ready upstairs and they missed the 6pm VIP opening. That is not good. But being the arrogant punks we are, we just blaze by everyone and go to the front of the line. We didn’t even get out little paper bracelets to say we were VIP. We tell the angry mob that we are VIP and work for the company that puts on the event, so technically we weren’t lying. Sarika is delighted by our attitudes.

The event was good and the food and drinks were delicious. We just kept going back to the VIP bar and getting refills. Sarika was drinking and stuffing her head with delicious treats. So there goes that supposed diet. But we’re all having a great time. I run into many people I know and we are all getting a solid buzz on. Then something extraordinary happened.

I’m walking along with Sarika by my side and I see someone I haven’t laid eyes on since 1979.

If you didn’t see someone for 35 years you may not recognize them. The same would go for you. 35 years is a long time. But with the advent of social media, I recognized him. If I hadn’t been connected to him on Facebook, we would have walked right by each other like strangers.

I say his name and he recognizes me as well. I hug him and I am so happy to see him. He was the bass player in my first rock band. I remember him as a skinny, awkward teen with long blonde hair, who wore glasses and had a shaggy little beard.

Now he’s a big fat guy with a full grey beard and short grey hair. At least he didn’t go bald. He introduces me to his average looking wife who is in her 50’s as well. I’m making a big fuss over him, and start singing lyrics to a song that he wrote. I have that kind of memory. He’s smiling and laughing. His wife asks who I am. He tells her I was the singer in the group Renegade back in the seventies. She’s amazed. He says I look the same, just a little older. He then says that he now looks like Santa Claus. (He sort of does resemble that jolly old elf) I tell him he looks great. He glances over at Sarika, and I introduce her. He looks back at me and says, “I see you haven’t changed.”

That sly compliment is better than money to me.

We go on our way and keep munching and drinking our way through the event. Michelle would have loved an event like this. We run into a few more people we know and it’s a fun night. Sarika is very well-behaved and I’m having  good time with her.

After awhile we’re getting tired, and decide we have seen everything that we wanted to and we head out. We thank Rocco for the tickets and say goodnight. I walk Sarika back to her place but don’t go up.

Sarika has redeemed herself… for now.

 

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The Return of Rebecca – 9/2016 to Present – Cypress and the Oak – Part I

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia, searching for true love.

It had been a while since I had heard from Rebecca. She certainly made an amazing impression upon me on our first date. It didn’t make sense that she “ghosted” me after our very first meeting. It felt like it had been a couple of months, and all I heard was the deafening sound of crickets. I did text her twice in that time to meet up for a drink and just never heard back. This has happened before. I know this other little hottie that is always saying she wants to meet me for drink, but can never pull it together.

But then out of the blue she texted me. “Sooo sorry for being off the grid. Can we meet up for a drink soon?” I told her I could do Monday or Wednesday. She picked Monday. I liked that because it was sooner. I asked her if she had any preference. She said for me to pick the place. I wanted somewhere that was nice, but not some place where we’d stick out like a sore thumb. I had a few days to figure it out. I have to come up with a place where they knew me, but I’d have some privacy. I decide to meet her at 1 Tippling Place at 6:30 the next Monday. “Great! I always wanted to check that place out!” was her reply.

1 Tippling Place is a really cool, living room style cocktail bar. It’s located at 20th and Chestnut streets. The outside is really nondescript. Just a glass and steel door, next to a large window. If you blinked or sneezed while walking by you’d miss it. But inside there is all kinds of neat comfy furniture and coffee tables. The artwork is eclectic and the room as a whole is nicely appointed with interesting artifacts. The cocktails are first-rate. They really don’t serve any food. I mean they have some little hors d’oeuvre, but that’s about it. You go there for the quality drinks and the atmosphere. I also enjoy the snarky attitude of the lead bartender. When you first meet him you think he might be gay. Then in walks his smoking hot girlfriend. It’s one of my favorite bars in the city because it’s an original that has real character.

I arrive early. I always like to get to a place early to scope out the scene and get the lay of the land. I chat with the owner. She’s awesome. Normally she’s in and out during the day, and then leaves around 7pm. We’re pretty tight. I’ve even walked her home on occasion. I normally don’t order off the cocktail menu. I just tell the bartender that I want something dark and spirit forward. They make it and I drink it. It’s always good. I will say that the place is a little expensive. Most of the drinks cost between $12 and $14.

I look at my watch. 6:20. Hope she isn’t late.

Hope she shows up.

Five minutes later the door opens. It was like one of those moments in those 80’s teen comedies, when everything moves in slow motion and they play some cool song. Rebecca enters the bar. I take a deep breath. Her dark hair is up, which always looks so sexy on the right woman. Her ripe lips an exquisite pout. She is wearing a burgundy cocktail dress. It comes to mid-thigh. She is wearing black sheer stockings and elegant black high heels. She looks amazing. I’m blinking my eyes trying to focus on this vision.

I immediately stand to greet her. She hugs me, and I am more intoxicated by her beauty and lovely fragrance than any cocktail that could be crafted at this bar. “Rebecca,” is all I could say. “Shall we get a table?” she replies. I nod, and guide her to a quiet table in the corner so we can chat. “You look lovely. I feel under dressed ” I say. “Well I haven’t seen you in a while and I like to dress up.” she responds.

We order a round of drinks. I have my usual dark power, and she goes with something equally strong. Interesting. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe she likes a heady drink or maybe she needs a bit of courage. We chat about what we’ve been up to and she’s telling me about work, and some of the challenges she obviously faces in the medical industry. Then she says, “I suppose you’re wondering why you haven’t heard back from me in a while, and I am sorry about that.” I tell her it’s okay and I’m just happy that she is here tonight.

“Remember how I told you that I went out with that man who was older than me and I didn’t feel any chemistry after four dates?” “Didn’t that guy get married? He didn’t try to…?” “No…no. Nothing like that. I just wanted to preface what I was about to tell you, that it doesn’t feel that way with you.” she says. Now I’m getting a little worried and a little confused. “Do you mean you do feel chemistry with me or you don’t?” I ask, feeling a slight searing heat in my heart. This could go be a short date.  She smiles and takes my hand. “I do like you. It feels different just being around you. You’re not like anybody else I know.” I visually sigh in relief and she reads my expression. I need to be cool. “Don’t worry, I’ve thought a lot about where my life is and it sometimes can be confusing.” I reassure her that whatever she is concerned about I understand, and will listen.

Women don’t want men to solve their problems. Men are all about solutions. They like to fix things. Women are more about their feelings. That’s why men define themselves on what they do, and women define themselves on who they know. The way to a woman’s heart is really quite simple. Don’t tell her what she should do, or how she should do. Just listen. I’m just happy at that moment that I am the one who is present to listen to whatever it is she needs to get off her chest.  I just hope she can’t hear my heart beating.

Rebecca takes a sip from her drink, not breaking her gaze with me. Looking into me with those brilliant emeralds. “Two years ago I met this guy on Tinder named Derrick. He was around my age. As you know guys my age basically suck for the most part. They don’t know what they want or who they are yet. But he ‘Super Liked’ me on Tinder. And… I did the same on his profile so I thought it was kismet. I know now I only did that because he was really cute and not much else. Isn’t that why most people swipe right for the most part anyway?”

“I suppose. But I’d like to think that some of us are more thoughtful when it comes to matters of the heart.” I reply. (Bold faced lie.) She seemed smart in her profile, but I know I swiped right because she was smoking hot.

“I know right?” she exclaims. “Thank you! But I guess I was dumb and just being superficial. So we exchanged numbers. It all happened so fast. We met up, and it was fun. He seemed kind of full of himself and his band. But he was good really good-looking. He invited me to come out and see his band play and we’d hang out after their set. So I get dressed up and go to the bar where their playing. Derrick was the lead singer. I was kind of hoping he’d take me on a proper date, but I thought that would happen after we got to know each other. I suppose it’s not a bad way to meet someone for the first time. You’re in a bar surrounded with people so it’s not like you’re meeting a stranger in some isolated place. I also prepared myself for the fact that he was the singer in the band and usually they are surrounded by willing girls. I mean, you told me you used to play guitar in a band in L.A. Weren’t you always around a bunch of girls?”

“Sure. There were a lot of girls and guys at our shows. We played hard rock, so our audience skewed more male than female. But I had a steady girlfriend at the time. I was committed to my relationship with her.” (Bold faced lie)

“Well you’re one of the rare ones.” (I wonder if she can see the devil horns sticking out of my head?) Anyway, so I’m at the their show. I didn’t want to go to a bar alone, so I took my roommate Amber with me. We had an agreement that if things went well with Derrick she’d either hook up with someone there or UBER it home. I mean it wasn’t a real date so I don’t think there was anything wrong with bringing my friend with me as backup.”

“What kind of music did they play?” I ask, hoping to get insight about the boy through his musical tastes.

“It wasn’t emo, but it sort of sounded like that. I guess it was more post hardcore.”

This guy already sounds like a douche, I thought. She takes another sip and this time her eyes are down. I can see this is hard for her. “Okay. Please go on. I’m listening.”

“So they end their set and we’re hanging out. Me, my friend Amber, Derrick, and his lead guitarist, Simon. We’re drinking and laughing and having a good time. We’re at this table all the way off to the back. I’m sitting next to Derrick and Amber is across from me with Simon in a booth. Amber likes to party. Simon is ordering shots and beers and we’re all getting pretty buzzed. I feel like I’m really liking Derrick. He’s going about how important the music is and all of that stuff, but I don’t care I just think he’s hot. Next thing I know Amber is all over Simon. I look at Derrick and he’s on me. We’re just making out like crazy. Normally I’m not like that but I think it was the drinking that made it easy. Plus I wanted him cause he was so good-looking. It was fun.”

At this point I’m wondering where all of this is going. We order another round.

“So we decide we want to go someplace else. We leave the bar and start walking. Simon pulls out a couple of joints and we’re all smoking. Just smoking weed walking down the street. We didn’t care. We’re all giggling and Derrick has his arm around me. We end up some really dark bar. I don’t even remember where it was. We’re drinking and we’re all pretty messed up. The place is full of people. We’re in the back. Derrick is like, Do you ever go skiing? and I’m like, yea, I have been but I’m not that great at it, but I have good balance. Then he pulls out this little bag with white powder in it. I assume it’s cocaine. I go, Oh… skiing. I had never done coke before, but I know Amber has and she says it’s great. So they look around all paranoid and shit, and literally start spooning it out. Derrick does a hit and then offers me a bump. I just do it. I don’t know why. Amber’s like, “gimme some!” Then she and Simon do some. I couldn’t believe it. Doing coke in a bar? It felt cold in my nose, and I could feel this clear euphoria. It almost felt sobering to do it. But different. Higher. Intense. I can see why people love it so much. You were in a band in California. You must have done it right?”

“I saw what drugs did to my peers. I was more of a beer and whiskey guy. I smoked weed occasionally but never really liked it. A little drugs an alcohol can loosen the mind to create, but I knew people who did loads of drugs and it literally sledgehammered their talent and destroyed them. So no. I steered clear of coke.” (White lie) Get it?

“Oh well that’s good. But anyway, I know I’ve been blabbing on about this. Long story short, these guys come back to our place and we end up fooling around with them. It was crazy. I guess we were all just caught up in the moment. I think we stayed up most of the night. Well, Derrick and I ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend after that. It felt like he really loved me. I loved him.” She takes a sip and a deep breath, looking off into the distance, as if trying to visualize a faded past. An image that vanished in her rearview mirror long ago.

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

“We went out for about a year. It was intense. We moved in with each other. Amber had gone off to school anyway so it was perfect timing. Things were great at first. But they always are in the beginning. We always did things together and went places together and partied together like a really great couple. I know he was focused on his music and really wanting to make it. But there were a lot of times when he wasn’t around. Times I wouldn’t hear from him and couldn’t get in touch with him. A girl starts to wonder what’s going on. I even started spying on him. Going to places they were playing. He wouldn’t see me, but I wanted to know what he was up to. I wanted to trust him, but you know when you get that weird feeling in your gut that something’s wrong. Well, his behavior had become more and more erratic. I know he was doing drugs but I just wasn’t into it like he was. We just weren’t connecting like we did in the beginning. Like maybe he was just tired of me.”

“Sometimes he would even get really mad about things that didn’t make any sense. Well, one night I followed him after he left me to do a show, and I saw him making out with this redhead at a bar. He wasn’t even playing with his band that night.  She was like all emo or whatever with tattoos and shit. I was devastated. I just jumped on the train and went home.”

“I’m sorry I’m telling you all of this.”

I could see that her eyes were wet with the beginnings of tears. “It’s okay. You can tell me. I’m here.” I took her dainty hands in mine. She sniffed and nodded, holding back the tears.

“That night he had the gall to come home and try to do it with me. I pushed him away. He got all mad at me and I told him what I saw. He denied it at first, but I told him I followed him and saw him. He got really mad and started throwing stuff around. He broke this little snow globe he gave me in the beginning. At that moment I didn’t even care about the globe. He had already broken something far more precious than that stupid thing.”

Okay, now I was getting upset. “My God, Rebecca. I’m so sorry.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. She took a healthy sip of her drink. I wiped the tears from her face with my thumb. She hugged me. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s not your fault, Rebecca. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

She sniffed and I offered her a cocktail napkin. (Note to self: Start carrying a clean handkerchief in your lapel pocket.) She wiped her face, and her nose. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

My bartender showed up at the table. “Is everything okay?” he asked. “Yes…yes. She’s just suffering a loss.” I replied. “I’ll bring you another round, yes?” I glance at her. “She smiles and blinking her eyes, nods in affirmation. He quickly returned. “These are on me guys.”

My man at Tippling is always on point.

“Okay, so that was over a year ago, right?”

“Yes. He took his stuff and left me. I was crushed. Destroyed. I cried for months. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I drank so I could get some sleep. When I would wake up in the morning, I’d  just go to the bathroom and dry heave over the sink.”

I could see she was struggling. “So did something happen recently?”

Heavy sigh. “Yes. He reached out to me on social media. I had blocked him from Facebook and in my phone, but I was on Instagram and he got to me that way. I had a panic attack when I saw his name.”

“Let me guess. This happened sometime after you and I went to the Museum.”

“Yea. I know it’s so stupid. He said how he missed me and how he was wrong and had grown so much. And like the idiot, I unblocked him in my phone. We met up and as crazy as it seems I was actually happy to see him. He looked a little older and a little more haggard, but it was still my Derrick. We were at a bar up in Northern Liberties. Things felt different. Time had passed. Too much time. I had grown and healed. But old habits die-hard. I just wanted to take a look at him. He said he was really sorry for what he had done. He said it hadn’t worked out with the redheaded slut. She actually ended up cheating on him with some drummer in a band that opened for them. I was actually kind of glad to hear that. But I’m sure he didn’t feel the loss that I had experienced. I had scar tissue on my heart from what he did to me. But I couldn’t let him tear open the sutures and open my old wounds. I work in a hospital emergency room. That shit hurts!”

Rebecca actually laughed at that moment. It had been the first time the whole night. That sound was like magic to my ears. I smiled a knowing smile. Because she didn’t know that I have been down that road twice in my life, and it’s a nightmare.

Love is a many splintered thing.

“So yea, that was a two months ago. I told him that I’m glad he was doing well, but I had moved on after a year and that I was in a relationship with a really nice guy in financial services.” She laughed again. “I could see he was disappointed, but I couldn’t let myself go through that shit again. It was a small chapter in my life and I had to draw the curtains on that dead body. He had me, and he squandered it. I think in that moment he realized that it was really over for good. It was hard to do, but I told him I had to get home to Cole, my investment banker boyfriend. He hugged me, and I knew I would never smell him again. it was like pulling the plug on a fatally injured patient.”

“So that was it?” I took a sip of my rye infused medicine.

“Yea. I went home and put on and episode of Stranger Things and ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and had a good cry. So… that’s why I disappeared for a while. I just needed to think about some things and move forward with my life. So, I’m glad you met up with me tonight. I’m sure you never expected our second date to be this confessional. I really appreciate you listening to all of that, but it felt really good to get it out. I was like a little tree blowing back and forth in the wind, but now I feel more calm. Like the storm is finally over and I’m safe.”

“Well, I’m glad you trusted me enough after one date to see me again and confide in me, Rebecca. Like my profile says, I’m a good listener.”

“Yea…Thank you.” Taking my hand again in hers. “You’re like a strong tree. Good roots  with unwavering branches.”

“Yea, and my bark is worse than my bite!” I snapped. She cracked up. Rebecca was back.

“You’re awesome.” she said as she again hugged me tightly. Oh, that lovely slender neck and her fragrance was sobering.

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

“There’s a great bar called Mix that is one block from here that has delicious 12 inch brick oven pizzas.”

“That sounds like the greatest idea I have heard all day! Do you think I’m over dressed or pizza?”

“I’m sure you’ll pass they’re rigid dress code, Rebecca.”

And with that she pulled from her hair the thing that was holding it in place, and those rich ribbons of dark chocolate tumbled over her lovely shoulders.

It’s hard to believe that this story could get any better at this point, but it does. The bill came and my guy placed it on the table. I reached for it to access the catastrophic damage to my bank account that 6 drinks at 1 Tippling Place would cost me… plus tip.

But Rebecca was faster, and she grabbed it first. “Uh uh. This is on me.”

I was in shock. My face, a mask of disbelief and mute protest. “Are you sure?” She looked at the bill. “Yep.” She whipped out her credit card and stuck it in the flap, as she nodded to the bartender.

I instinctively reached for my wallet. “Can I at least help with the tip?”

“Put your wallet way.” She said firmly, giving me a wry smile.

“Will you at least let me buy a lady some pizza?”

She ran her fingers through her hair, fluffing her dark locks. “I’ll think about it.”

The bill returned. She signed it and handed it back. ” Come along, Sir. I’m hungry.”

I liked that she called me Sir. I also like that she took my hand, and led me out of there. When we were outside she locked arms with me. I was in heaven. We’re on our way to eat delicious pizza.

 

Tune in for The Return of Rebecca, Part 2 in Two Weeks!

 

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Sarika -6/2013 to Present – River of Betrayal

I was down at Harbor Park down on the Delaware River, two summers ago. I remember I was stumbling about with one of my bartender pals, Myles. We her drunk and stoned and just grooving on the lights and checking out the ladies.

I remember looking off to my two o’ clock and seeing this stunning Indian beauty in a blue and white striped shirt with white slacks. She really struck me because she was so lovely. Just an ethereal, exotic beauty. She was with a group of girls, so we just kept walking. Myles had a girlfriend at the time and I wasn’t in the market, so we just browsed.

I never really thought of that Eastern beauty again, until I was chatting with my friend, Keila. She was showing me some of her friends in her phone, and I was suddenly like, “Wait a second! Back up! Who is that?” “Oh, my friend, Sarika?”

I told her how I saw her at Harbor Park and was immediately taken by her beauty. “Can you introduce me to her?” I squeaked.

So a few weeks later I was at an event with Keila, and she had her squad with her. Sarika was there. Keila knows everybody and has tons of contacts so it stands to reason she’d be friends with hot Sarika. She introduces me, and I proceed to tell her the story of how I had noticed her at Harbor Park weeks before.

I became friends with Sarika. We would meet up for drinks, and I was just happy to be seen in public with such a deadly beauty. I would take her to fashion shows and she would be hotter than the models on stage. I kid you not.

I learned that Sarika was a nerd. As hard to believe as that may seem, it’s true. She worked as an engineer. She would rather go to the Franklin Institute after hours with me than sit in a bar or go to a club. I found that incredibly hot. Because most nerds aren’t hot. I mean my friend Trish is hot, but not “Sarika” hot. We would hang out quite a bit. I started to realize that she didn’t have many female friends. She was seeing this pretty boy type, but I think he wasn’t that into her. Which I didn’t understand. How could you not be interested in someone who lovely? The more time I spent with Sarika, the more I started to see that she was vacuous and really self-absorbed. She would say things negative about herself only so you’d say, “Oh no you’re not. You look great.” Why would she need that?

Then I heard a story from my dear friend Alice. She was in New York with Sarika, and Alice was visiting some people and one of them was an ex that she was still friends with. Alice stressed to everyone that she still had some feelings for him. Which if you were a normal person you would be careful about what you said or did around them. So they’re in a taxi, and Sarika starts flirting with Alice’s ex right in front of her. Then goes so far as to laugh and make fun of Alice. I hear this story later, and I find it hard to believe, because Sarika has never done anything to me. But I’m not a girl.

Then I hear another story about how Sarika was flirting with Keila’s then boyfriend. She would do it right in front of her. Keila knew this was breaking the code. You don’t pull that shit on your friends. Granted, at the time she was dating this rich guy that looked like Woody Harrelson’s brother with down syndrome and the HIV. I didn’t understand that mess.

So what was up with Sarika? Was she really a Black Widow? My female friends would ask me why I still hung around with that shrew, and my answer was always the same. “She’s never done anything to me.”

New Years 2016 rolls around. I have tickets at the Pyramid Club for a $70 a plate event. Who do I want to be seen with in all the pictures on New Years eve at the Pyramid Club? Exactly. I don’t even have to say her name.

Well, it’s like the day before and I get a call from her and she says, “I’m trying to get Jim a ticket but it looks like it’s sold out.”

Ok. I know she has been seeing Jim off and on for a while now. First that smacked ass wouldn’t commit to her, because he probably was still banging his ex that he said he was ‘still ung up on.’ Maybe he didn’t want to commit to a brown-skinned girl.  i don’t know. But if you are my first choice to go to an exclusive event, and you agree, I don’t expect you to bring a date. It’s just rude. I didn’t expect to be kissing Sarika at midnight. i just wanted her to go with me. Sure i would have loved to have been with her, but i knew that wasn’t happening. She was just a friend, and the best darn bit of arm candy i knew.

I jus got really pissed at the infraction and sort of cut her off. I ended up taking some other loser chick that I could get to go with me last minute. I shouldn’t call her a loser. She’s clearly not but it just wasn’t the same. It was however one of the most sober new years eves I’ve ever had.

I started to think about some other times I was out with Sarika with some other women friends there. Sarika would sometimes make fun of the other girls. It’s kind of bizarre. Here is this tragically beautiful girl, who knows she’s gorgeous and smart as a whip, and she’s kind of an asshole to those around her. But I will tell you this. In the time I’ve known her, she’s never once been in a stable loving relationship. So there’s that.

My father used to say, you should be able to be friends with men and women. It’s a good balance. He also once said, “Go through this life and hurt as little people as possible.”

So watch out for karma, Sarika.

Update: It’s been over a year but I recently ran into Sarika and we have made some amends. I am supposed to meet up with her this month, so we’ll see what’s up. Sure she’s probably still a self-absorbed asshole.

But God, she is beautiful…

Phicklephilly!

 

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

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about related characters, such as male and female friends and acquaintances, on Wednesdays at 9am EST.