Daphne – 2014 to Present – Lovely Hostess – Hello Again

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne. I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria.

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I ran into little hostess Daphne from Square 1682 again, but first this little myth.

The story of Daphne is an example of an etiological myth, one that is strongly explanatory of why certain things in their culture were a certain way.

There are many examples of Greek myths that explain why certain religious rituals were performed, why some people’s may be named what they are, or even why varying objects, plants and animals were symbols of their gods.

The gods were known for punishing mortals for offending them, but occasionally they punished each other. The gods were a vengeful folk, and they did not take kindly to being insulted, by mortal or god. Apollo made the mistake of insulting one of his fellow immortal.

Apollo was a great archer, but sometimes he was a little full of himself. One day he caught sight of Eros, the son of Aphrodite. Eros was also an archer, and his arrows were responsible for instilling the twists and turns of love and lust in a person’s heart. Apollo teased young Eros, putting down his abilities as an archer, claiming that one so small could make no difference with his arrows.

Angry at this insult, Eros shot two arrows, one tipped in gold, one blunted and tipped with lead. The arrow dipped in gold had the power to create insatiable lust in a person, while the other created absolute abhorrence towards all things romantic and passionate. The unfortunate soul who was struck with that arrow would have no desire to love anyone. The arrow dipped in gold struck Apollo, but the arrow dipped in lead struck fair Daphne.

Daphne was the daughter of the river-god Peneus. Apollo chased down the maiden, desperate for her love, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and she ran from him endlessly. Soon, she grew weary in her running and that Apollo would ultimately catch her. Fearful, she called out to her father for help. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.

Apollo reached the laurel tree, and, still enamored with Daphne, held the tree in a special place in his heart. He claimed the tree as his special tree, and adorned himself with some of its leaves. And that is why the laurel was, and still is, a symbol of the god Apollo.

 

I had just finished chatting and flirting with sweet Lara upstairs at the salon. (See: Sun Stories – Lara – 2016 to Present – Tinderella) I came downstairs, locked the door and stood for a moment on Walnut street. Normally I would just head down the street and go home, but for some reason I just stood there taking in the sounds of the city at night.

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne.  I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria. I chatted with her and told her this is where the salon was and that she should come tanning. She said she never had, but may want to try it. I told her about how it was important to get a base tan before she goes on her next adventure. (She loves to travel)

I described the benefits and handed her a free tanning card. I think when I told her I’d put her in the best bed in the house she was sold. In my heart I would love to take her to another bed that has benefits beyond her imagination.

I love Daphne. I have loved her since I first laid eyes on her over two years ago. That beautiful face and low voice just melts me.

But I don’t really love Daphne. I love her in the true phicklephilly sense. I’m in love with the idea of her and beauty. One is in my mind, and the other is simply good genetics on her part. She had nothing to do with that.

She’ll probably never come tanning. She’ll also never meet me for a drink or lunch or anything. I know she has time, but she won’t ever do it. It doesn’t really bother me, because we’re not romantically involved. If we haven’t met up for even one drink in the two years I’ve known her, it’s not happening. She’s young and beautiful and I’m sure being hit on by dozens of suitors of both sexes on a weekly basis.

I’ll keep getting butterflies in my stomach and my heart will flutter when she appears, but I’ll just have to settle for that. She may as well be an elegant tree that I can occasionally stand beside, but can never take her away with me.

 

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Annabelle – Chapter 1 – Nice to Meet You

I get the bill. “The second one was on me.”

The title for the Annabelle series was going to be: “The Final Elegant Arc” but in light of what I’ve learned in the last year, I can no longer call it that. So I’m not going to call it anything.

My life has its moments of elegance and moments of pain, but it is far from final.

I was meeting ex-girlfriend Michelle (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – Nice to Meet You) for brunch on a Saturday. She was getting her hair done in the morning and then we would do our usual Saturday ritual. I was early as usual and her hair appointment was running long. (That kind of amazing beauty takes time. Just happy we’re still friends!)

I stepped into one of the shittiest hotel bars I’ve ever been in. Just because it was a block from the hair salon. The Warwick Hotel is a beautiful place on 17th and Locust. They have a restaurant a coffee shop and a bar connected to the hotel. Prime Rib is a nice spot on Locust and Tavern 17 is at 17th and Chancellor. I’ve been to this bar many times before when friends would visit the city and stay at the Warwick. The drinks suck, the service blows, the management turns over on a semi-annual basis and the way the place is laid out is in a way where you can’t see anything. There are all of these large pillars or supports that are everywhere through the bar area, and you can’t see what’s going on at the bar. The bartender may not see you and you’ll have to wait.  You can’t find your friend, etc. It’s just a suck bar.

But I thought the number 17 would bring me luck. 17 is my family’s lucky recurring number. It is very prevelant in my father’s life and I thought there could be something there. Recently my friend Trish (See: Trish – 2011 to Present – The She Wolf) asked what my birthday was. I told her 8/9/62. She said,  “What’s 8 plus 9?” I responded…17.

I walk in a little hung over from the night before. The website I worked for at the time had a huge party the night before and we were all a little shattered from it. I walk in Tavern 17 around 1pm on that fateful Saturday. It’s empty and dark. Which for once I was happy about. Behind the bar was a very tall, fresh faced, slender blonde working the bar.

I swagger up to the bar and ask for a Corona. I introduced myself and run my usual program on her. “What’s your name, what do you like to do when you’re not working here?” She tells me her name, and says she’s a photographer as her full-time gig. The Corona is crisp and deliciously ice-cold. It’s actually just what I needed.

Something tall and golden that is no longer Michelle.

Annabelle seems nice and I’m making her laugh with my fatal charm. She’s 5’ll”. Taller and leaner than Michelle. We exchange business cards. I tell her I’ll check out her website. (Michelle is still way prettier though! Michelle reads this blog!)

I text Michelle and let her know where I am. I’m having a beer and she can just come here when she’s finished.

I crush the first Corona just to knock the edge off the day. Annabelle pops the cap from another and places it front of me. It’s just as good as the first. There is no one else in this shitty bar at this time of day, and she’s happy to have someone with which to chat.

She says she does a lot of head shots for local actors in the city. Annabelle is very connected with the local theater community here in Philly. She also does some wedding work as well. I’m assuming that pays pretty good. I can’t put and age on her but she looks to be about 24 or 25.

I’m feeling better now. Chatting with this tall blonde is good and the cold beer has reactivated the alcohol still in my system, giving me a gentle but effervescent buzz.

The door squeaks and the sunny afternoon light pours into the bar. Michelle enters the bar. “Oh, and here comes another charming and lovely blonde.” I say on cue. I introduce the two ladies and we have a laugh. “Your hair looks great, Michelle”

I get the bill. “The second one was on me.”

“Thank you, Annabelle!” I tip up to what the bill would have been and gather my stuff. We say goodbye to Annabelle and head out of Tavern 17 into the afternoon to have some delicious brunch and drinks.

Then we’d probably head back to my apartment and watch Netflix, sip wine, and smoke cigarettes. I’d be in my chair and she’d recline on my sofa.

I later checked out Annabelle’s website and reached out to her on Facebook, but nothing ever came of it. I didn’t ask her out on a date or anything. I may have asked if she ever wanted to meet for lunch or something. My usual gentle M.O.

But like I said, crickets.

When you meet someone like that, and it’s brief, there is a good chance they will quickly fade from your memory. I met tons of people back in 2012. I had a job that was 50% socializing. I didn’t forget Annabelle, but I wouldn’t see her again until a year later in 2013.

And it would be a whole new ballgame.

 

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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 – Song of the Black Widow

God, she’s beautiful. I couldn’t find a stock picture on the internet to capture the delightful beauty of this girl. She is so pretty. Indian. Exotic. The type of beauty you’d almost pay for to be seen with at an event. She is probably one of the most beautiful women I know in Philly. But she recently reached out to me to come hang at a happy hour and a brand new place in Rittenhouse, called Scarpetta. Smith and Wolensky’s is gone and now that place is here. It’s in the Rittenhouse Hotel. She also mentioned that she wants me to come up to her apartment and check out her new place at the Dorchester. I am so glad I have reconnected with her. This vacuous she-devil is such a good character for this work. I am a huge fan of lovely Sarika.

I got to Scarpetta around 5:30. They’ve done a nice job with the place. It’s dark and intimate. The bar looks the same but they’ve opened up the place a bit. There’s only the one bar, but they have a lounge in the back and there is a dining room upstairs. I look around for Sarika but I don’t see her. I’m chatting with the manager and then I look out the window and see her walking towards the building.

Sarika looks amazing as always. We grab a couple of drinks at the bar and sit in this cool little area by ourselves near the window. Rittenhouse Square looks beautiful. It’s all decorated for the holidays.There are strings of bulbs in the trees and the whole park twinkle with light. She is having some sort of light pink beverage that I didn’t catch the name of, and I’m having the old-fashioned. Normally, cocktails are around fifteen dollars, but during happy hour they’re half price. So that’s something I can live with for now.

I ask her what she’s been up to and she says she’s been going on a lot of dates. Turns out that weasel she wanted to bring to my eighty dollar a plate New Years party last year has been gone for a while. I remember she was so into that guy. Apparently they were together off and on for two years. She says she wasted her best years on him and now she’s old. She’s 28! Come on Sarika, you are still but a child. She said he was a jerk to her and probably never loved her. I get her laughing, and start thinking that the black widow isn’t so bad after all. She may be smart as a whip, but she’s still a young woman navigating her way through love and life. I even joke that she probably has a blood-red hour-glass tattooed on her belly.

I do love pretty things, and she is no exception.

I tell her she looks great as always. She has been in some sunny destinations lately, so her skin is a darker brown than normal. I like it. It makes her look even more mysterious and exotic. I mention it and she immediately asks if I think it looks ugly. She always says things like that. She is so smart but so immature at the same time. She’s also a bit of a chatterbox. I think most men can’t handle that and don’t like a girl who talks too much. I don’t mind it. I like a girl who has things to say and experiences to share. I love to talk and entertain a woman, so it’s nice when I have a chatty girl so I don’t have to do all of the work. Women like a good listener and I grew up with three sisters. But what I can’t stand is what Carol used to do. Just babbling on nonstop like a tire spinning in the snow. (See: Carol 5/2014 to 8/2016 – There’s No Fun In Dysfunction)

I once read that women speak up to 20,000 words a day, compared to men, who speak only 12,000. So when we get home…We’re done!

It is puzzling how a woman this strikingly beautiful can’t keep a man. But the more you’re around her the more it makes sense. She says she’s been finding men on an app called J Swipe. It’s like Tinder for Jews. I asked her why that app? She said Jewish men normally appreciate women more, have good jobs, and have money. Sounds like she’s hunting for a husband. I think one of the challenges Sarika is facing is that she may be viewed more as a conquest. A creature to be captured and checked off of some list, because she’s so beautifully exotic.

She said she went out with a guy on Monday and even had a date with a pilot after our happy hour. So I assume I won’t be getting a tour of that gorgeous apartment in her building tonight. Sarika has a very busy life. She travels a great deal for her job as a scientist. I know she was formerly an engineer, but now I guess she’s a scientist. She makes great money and spends her other free time hopping on planes and taking little trips. It sounds like a fun life with all of the dating, and jet setting vacations, but it almost seems like she doesn’t want to be alone in her apartment. She’s crazy dating now. It’s good that she’s getting out there and meeting people after two years wasted with weasel man. But again, I can see men wanting her because she’s so beautiful, but she’s kind of annoying to talk to for any length of time. So if they get the opportunity to sleep with her they may not stick around.

Sarika is very intelligent and a nerd. I have taken her to Science after Hours at the Franklin Institute in the past. She loved it like a child. We went to see Jurassic World last summer, and Guardians of the Galaxy is her favorite movie. If my friend Duncan finds that up he’ll probably move up here from North Carolina. You would think guys would find that hot. A pretty girl who likes guy stuff and sci-fi, but it hasn’t worked. Maybe one of these many men that she is meeting for dates, will be rich and just marry her as a trophy wife. But sadly, people are funny about race in this country. They may want to sleep with a hot girl, but they may not want to bring and Indian woman back home to meet the family. I personally I have nothing against it. If you have been reading this blog, you know I love all different kinds of women. As Hank Moody says in the show Californication, “I got all your albums. I love you all and you and you included, Sarika.”

My buddy Church shows up at Scarpetta. I’m happy to see him. Once Sarika  goes on her date at One Tippling Place up the street, he and I can go to Square 1682 and have a drink. Church knows everybody in the restaurant and bar business in this town, so when he orders a drink and the server brings it over, she says, “This one is on Nathan.” He’s the GM there so Church got the hook up. I get another drink, but Sarika is only having the one so she doesn’t show up drunk for her date at 7:00.

While I was waiting at the bar to get my drink, Church chatted with Sarika. I was a little glad that it took the bartender a little time to get to me and make my drink. Normally I don’t like that, but I thought it would give Church a chance to talk to Sarika.

I get back to our little area by the window. We all chat a bit more. Sarika has to go soon, so she heads back to the ladies room. Church tells me she wouldn’t stop talking and it was driving him crazy. He’s been on edge lately, and listening to Sarika go on about something was annoying him. He said something to the effect, “I wanted to put a gun in my mouth.” He said she is so vacuous and self-absorbed and all she talked about was herself.

He once said that about another attractive girl who talked a lot. He was in a car with her and she was talking non stop and he said, “I wanted to leap right out of the car while it was going 70 miles per hour down the highway.”

Sarika returns, and I put her coat on for her. I tell her I will pay for the one drink she had. She tells me she’ll get me next time. I give her a kiss on the cheek good-bye and she’s off. I get the bill for my two old-fashioneds and her dainty drink. It should come to over $22 plus tax. I look at it and it’s only $15. So I got the hookup because I was with Church.

Dude certainly has the power.

I think next we’ll do a happy hour with my friend Carly.  So the night went well and again without incident.

So maybe my pretty little arachnid is finally growing up.

I love Sarika. She is beautiful, and I enjoy her company, if nobody else does, and I can’t wait to see her again.

(Oh… and if you’ve somehow found this and other stories Sarika, I’ll understand if you cut me off. The truth always hurts more than fiction)

 

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Michelle – Chapter 7 – New York City – Saturday

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

After the magic of the Wishing Stone, things seemed to move forward in my direction. The right direction! Michelle’s 28th birthday was rapidly approaching at the end of May. People were all asking the perfunctory: “What are you doing for your birthday?” Where it’s like, great… Now I have to come up with something. But she was telling people that she’d like to maybe go to New York City for the long weekend. She knew I had lived and worked in Manhattan for the last couple of years before I came back to Philly. We were chatting about it. I asked her what she was planning. She wasn’t sure but was definitely thinking of getting out-of-town, and NYC seemed like a good spot.

Based on how volatile things had been leading up to this moment, I had my reservations about us going away together. There had been so much back and forth with us, and as much as I would love actually spending time with Michelle on a weekend day, it just seemed like for some reason it just wouldn’t happen.

It was a Friday, and her birthday was on Sunday. I had picked up a little gift bag of goodies for her and hid it under her desk while she was away from it. She was very surprised when she found it. It wasn’t anything really valuable. Just stuff she liked. I probably had a couple of packs of Parliaments in there, her favorite Orbit gum, maybe some granola bars. Just little stuff. It was sitting on her desk, and we were chatting, and that little weasel that I told you about in Michelle’s first chapter comes over. He’s like: “Oh gum, can I have some?” Michelle is like, sure. But the best part for me was knowing the following:

  1. This guy is so far in the friendzone that he might as well be a blood relative of hers.
  2. He doesn’t know the gift bag with the gum is a present from me, or that it’s even her birthday.
  3. I enjoyed watching him really struggle with the cellophane to open the gum.
  4. She’s going to NYC with me and no one at our company knows we’re an item.

Weasel realizes it’s her birthday, asks her what her plans are for the weekend. She tells him she’s going to NYC. He asks with whom? She says, “A friend,” and smiles.

The afternoon went by and I don’t remember if I walked her home, but I probably did. Either way, on Saturday I was back in Jersey awaiting her call. She wanted to get some rest and leave for New York later in the afternoon. But based on the past events I prepared myself for her to bail. I was out that day with my friend Vicky. We stopped at Marshall’s or Ross because I wanted to pick up some new shirts. I was telling her the whole tale of what I had been through with Michelle. We were in the car ready to leave the parking lot when my flip phone rang. I answered it. It was Michelle. I was expecting the worst. She said if I could come by her place around 3:30pm she’s be ready to go to NYC.

For some reason I was astounded. I told her I’d be there, and went home to pack. Vicky was very happy for me. I put some things in a bag and fired up my ’94 Taurus wagon.

I got to her building and text her. She came down with her bags. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. It was like a dream come true. Here I was seeing Michelle for the first time on a weekend. We were going to New York!  She gets in the car and asks if we can stop at the Starbucks down the street so she can get a coffee or a tea. I pull around and she goes in and gets it. I was a little annoyed because we were already getting such a late start. I wanted to get on the road, and now we were making a stop already. But it was probably just my anxiety about the whole trip in general. Since I had just come back from NYC a year ago, it was an easy drive.

It’s super expensive to stay in NYC. I knew of a nice motel where we could stay across the river in Jersey City. It’s a really quaint, clean little place. We get there and go into the lobby to inquire about a room.

They say they are booked all weekend.

“Is there another hotel in the area?” I ask. “Sure. Go north on this road a ways and it’s up on the right. It’s called the Skyline Motel.”

“Great, thanks!” We drive over and come upon something we didn’t expect. The Skyline Motel is an old place on Tonnelle Avenue. We pull into the parking lot and walk up to the lobby. But you can’t go in because it’s just an Indian guy behind a bullet proof glass like a teller window at a bank in a bad neighborhood.

“Long or short stay?” He says. Okay. When a proprietor of any motel or hotel asks that question it only means one thing. I’ll translate that for you. “Do you want the room for an hour to bang the person you’re with, or will you be staying the night with us?” We paid and he gave us the keys to the room. We went upstairs. I swear, we walked past this skinny hooker at the payphone putting her shoes on. This place was one of “those places” The whole vibe of the place was sketchy. But it was the only hotel in the area, and we would just go with it. Michelle didn’t seem to care.

Actually, the room was really clean. The bed was clean. The bathroom was all new and looked great as well. Good hotel in a shitty area. Oh, there was a mirror on the ceiling over the bed. We drop our gear and secure the room. A few minutes later we’re in a taxi to the Path train. Once there we we walk through Journal Square. When I lived up there, I used to call it Mos Eisley. Because at night, Journal Square was a den of scum and villainy.

We hop on the train into the city. It only takes about 20 minutes to get there. We get off at 32nd and Sixth on the edge of Korea town. We walk a few blocks. Manhattan is enormous. It truly is an amazing city. I love Philly more, but New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. We step into a pub and have a few drinks and some food. We’re happy and having a fun day so far. We walk up to Rockefeller Center. It’s Memorial Day weekend, so the weather is warm, and the city is a little quieter because people go away for the holiday.

We’re having a drink outside. We start chatting with this older couple that are pretty much doing what we’re doing. Just hanging, and enjoying the evening in the city. We’re just having a great time, and at some point they leave. A short time later, we look down and we see that they have forgotten a bag with some things in it. We look inside and there are some tourist looking stuff, but there is also some medicines. It’s something the man probably needs. Michelle and I in true fashion, spring into action. We may be two crazy kids on the loose in NYC, but now we’re on a mission. It’s actually a good thing that it was 2008. That’s 9 years ago. Because there is actually a AAA hotel guide in there. I flip through it and the Waldorf Astoria is circled in pen. Can you beat that?

We head over to the hotel. I’ve never set foot in there. It’s beautiful. I see all of these bottles of Dom Perignon around the lobby as if there were some sort of event there that night. I think if there is a way I can clip one of those bottles out of here I will. Michelle and I used to sometimes steal stuff back then. Nothing big, like cars or anything, but stuff like glassware from bars. I don’t even know why. We walk up to the front desk and tell them what happened, and ask if the people we met are staying there. We tell them we’re not trying anything funny, just trying to help. They take the bag and call upstairs. The people are staying there! The guy is surprised and relieved. I don’t even think he realizes that he had lost his stuff. He tells us he’s coming down. A few moments pass and he appears. We hand over the bag and he looks inside. “Well I can’t go without that! Thank you so much. Let me buy you both a drink.”

All we heard were the words: “buy” and “drink.”

He bought us both a glass of chardonnay. I think we had two rounds.  He paid for the first round and then we paid for the second. We bid him farewell, and he went back up to the room. Philly is expensive, but New York is super expensive. I think it was $14 a glass. Maybe more. Regardless, we were relieved that he bought the first round or we would have had a $56 bill plus tip. You’re looking at $60 for 2 drinks each. Nightmare!

On our way out, Michelle is admiring the bottles of Dom around the lobby. I tell her I had thoughts of trying to steal one, but I didn’t. “Do you know why I didn’t steal one?” I ask. “Because it would be wrong, and bad karma after our good deed tonight?” She says. “That’s a great answer, Michelle. It really is. But it’s wrong.” How so?” she asks. “I didn’t steal a bottle because it would have been wrong. I looked closely at those bottles on the way in. I didn’t clip one because they are all empty.”

We laugh on the way out and are feeling energized from helping someone, while being a couple in NY. I have no idea what time it is because I am so caught up in the moment. We stop at another bar. I know there are plenty of bars in NY that stay open until 4am. We’re having drinks and a great time. An hour or so later, we stumble out of the bar and back to the PATH train. We hop the train back to Jersey City. As the train rises out of the tunnel and climbs the bridge across the river, the car is filled with golden sunlight.

“We stayed out all night!” Michelle exclaims. “Great night though.” I say.

We hop in a taxi in Journal Square (Mos Eisley) and have him drive us back to the Skyline Motel. Maybe it’s too early for the hookers and junkies to be out yet. We get there quickly. Michelle suggests we pay for tomorrow night right now, because she wants to sleep through 11am checkout today. We pay the man behind the bulletproof glass and head up to our room. The great thing is, the curtains are really thick. I pull them closed, and it is once again night in the room. We get out of our clothes, but I don’t think in front of each other. She changes in the bathroom. We’re exhausted.

Sometimes we do good things. Sometimes we do bad things. Today was good. I’m just happy to be with Michelle. I can’t believe my good fortune in meeting her.

We crawl under the sheets and fall asleep.

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you that when the day is over, I wish we could do it ll over again.”

Tune in two weeks from now for the thrilling conclusion to Michelle – NYC – Sunday

 

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Sun Stories: Olivia – Flirt – Part II

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

From time to time over the summer, Olivia would come in and chat a little bit before her sessions and it was a small slice of paradise for me. Don’t get me wrong, there are dozens of women that come in the spa every day that are really good talent. But there is just something about a small percentage of them that just light me up. I think what it comes down to is, they are obviously attractive but there is something else. They have to be a little engaging. We have hundreds of active clients right now, and I would say under 20 really do it for us. Olivia would talk about her life a little and how she is dating some guy but it’s not working out. (Me, so happy when I hear that!)

One day a former colleague of mine was in town to meet me for lunch. After lunch he wanted to go to the spa. Yes, the same one where I work part-time. We get there and the waiting room is packed. The Temple girls are all going back to school, so they are all back for their treatments. He grabs the last seat and I’m just standing there surrounded by all of these women sitting around waiting. Who walks in but Olivia. She walks right up to me and hugs me. “Where have you been all of my life.” I swear she said that. We’re chatting and to me everyone in the room disappeared. I saw only her. The loveseat opened up when a few of the girls were being waited on, and Achilles from behind the counter says “Will you two sit down!” We laugh and she says “Yes Dad!” And I say, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me!” We takes a seat and she’s telling me about school, and work and stuff, and I’m loving it. This is the high point of the day. She tells me she is working this Friday, and says I should come up and visit her. She says she’s hostessing so she’ll be able to chat all night. I tell her I’ll see. She goes tanning, then off to work.

Of course I don’t go. After working at the spa until 8pm and then cleaning up, I’m ready to just go home and have a drink, and watch Netflix. I’m not getting on the train and going all the way up to Fishtown at 9pm. Not happening.

A week passes and it’s the next Friday, and who comes strolling in at 7:30. Olivia. She looks amazing as always. The great thing is, it’s dead on Friday nights and we can chat. The first thing she says is, “Somebody was supposed to come visit me last week and never did.” I apologized and explained why and she was fine with it. Her phone died and I told her I had a charger. She comes around the counter to plug-in and starts showing me all of these pictures of her family. Of course they are all Aryan greatness, and she tells me everyone has blue eyes. It’s a big family. I think like 5 kids! All good-looking. I’m looking at her beautiful face right next to me and her lashes are so long, and I simply adore her. I’m mesmerized by her beauty.

She glances past me at the other computer and asks what that is on the screen. I was working on phicklephilly on the other unit. I admit that I write this blog about people I meet in Philadelphia. She inquires deeper, and I admit that it’s about all of the women I have met in the last 10 years. She says she wants to read it and I should send her the link. I’m completely under her power at this point, but see a wonderful opportunity. I tell her I can’t do that because I don’t have any of her contact info. I give her my phone and she writes her name with some emojis next to it. A smiling sun, cherries, and a bomb. I don’t know what any of this means, but I don’t care because I am so happy. I now have her contact info. I tell her that if we meet up outside of here, I will have to write about it. I think she likes the idea of the attention. I tell her I change all of the names and use stock photos for the pics on each post. She says I should use her real picture, and I tell her I’ll think about it. She actually uses the words “Text me and we’ll go out on a date.” At that moment I was so excited, I wish I could have tied my belt around my head so that it didn’t explode like that dude in the movie, Scanners.

Ha ha ha! Yeah!!!!

Of course I say: “Are you sure? Like brunch or meet for a drink?” She says, yes. This is all very surreal, but I am overcome with euphoria. I tell her I’ll keep and eye on her phone and she goes back for her session. When she comes out she hugs me and says to reach out to her. I give her the phone, which she nearly forgot. Then off she goes into the night.

I’m super happy at this point. So as I’m closing up and settling the register, I put on some triumphant music.

The next night around 1:30am, my phone rings and it’s her. But I’m asleep! The next morning I see that she called, and there is a voicemail! I can’t imagine my luck. I wonder what she will say? I play the message and it is two and a half minutes of muffled static.

Later, I get this text: “OMGOSH I butt dialed you by accident!! I did it to like a bunch of people bc my phone was in my back pocket at work haha oops!”

I waited a few hours (because that’s the cool thing to do so it looks like you have a life)

Then I responded: “Blame your butt all you want. You know you wanted to call me! ha ha”

Crickets.

Sigh…

 

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

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

Michelle – Chapter 5 -The Lowes, Sofitel and Beyond

It was a Friday night. Michelle and I were scheduled to work a recruitment event at the Lowe’s Hotel. It was sponsored by our recruitment partner Monster.com. We got everything all set up in one of the small banquet rooms off the main bar/restaurant area. Our designated representative from Monster was there. He told us he wasn’t going to stay long, but there was one thing, and only one thing I had to remember. “Don’t forget to take the big Monster banner with you when the event is over.”

As people came in to the event we all split up and began networking. The conversations were flowing just like the booze. As the event wore on people were getting more drunk. I was chatting on one side of the room and Michelle was on the other. I was talking to this girl, who ended up giving me her phone number. I can’t for the life of me even remember why. She was cute but pretty banged up from drinking. You know how it is. It’s a recruitment event. A lot of young people looking for jobs or seeking better jobs come to these kinds of events. They come in, drop off their resumes, drink their faces off for free, and then leave.

Michelle and I worked that event for probably 3 or 4 hours. We were drinking the whole time. I think mostly just pounding wine. But we worked in advertising, so for the most part, we could handle ourselves. Once the last person was gone and it was just the two of us left, it was time to clean up. I remember Michelle went out for a cigarette. I didn’t smoke back then. I had been tobacco free for 10 years. I sat with her outside the exit still sipping my wine from a plastic cup.

We went back in and started dismantling the signage. I’ll never forget what happened next. We had the huge banner on the floor and were rolling it up. She was rolling it up from one end and me at the other. As she rolled it closer to me she went right in for the kiss. Right on the lips. It was beautiful. I was in love. Smitten!

The heart isn’t really capable of holding onto large-scale events. But little moments like that mark you deeply and can sustain themselves for a lifetime.

Michelle told me that there was some sort of after party at the Field House. It’s a big sports bar over by Reading Terminal. So we head over and I’m carrying the huge rolled up banner around with me. The party is upstairs. I remember two things. This one guy, that whenever I would step away from Michelle for any reason, be it to get a drink or go to the restroom, he would magically appear. I remember seeing him do this again and again.  He would just be standing next to Michelle wide-eyed and smiling as he stared at her with obvious admiration. It was kind of funny. The other thing I remember was this little gay dude. He wasn’t a little person, but he was really short. There was this one point where he and Michelle did what what they call “a walk off.” I think it’s a term they use in the modeling community. Michelle being a former print and runway model, she knew how to do it. It was funny to watch this 5’11 tall blonde locking arms with this little dapper dude and do a walk off. I think they did a few of them. It was just a funny sight that I remember.

By this time, I was too drunk to drive home. For whatever reason, we couldn’t go back to her place to crash. I would have been fine sleeping on her couch. Maybe her bitch face roommate was there entertaining or something. I still have the huge banner  with me. (See, you thought I left it at the Field House, didn’t you?)  I don’t remember whose grand idea it was to go to the Hotel Sofitel at 17th and Sansom Streets. We didn’t even go to the Liberte bar for a drink. I just went up to the front desk and ordered a room. We got up to the room and went straight to sleep. I don’t even remember what time it was or anything. But nothing happened between us. We just crashed.

The next thing I know it’s morning and I hear this little rustling of paper at the door. I open my eyes and look over. There is a sheet of white paper on the floor. I slip out of bed and go pick it up. I turn it over. It’s the bill.

$300 for one night! $300 and I didn’t even get laid. Maybe it’s not too late! She’s still asleep. When she wakes up maybe she’ll want to… What am I thinking? The only time ANYTHING happens between us that even resembles affection or romance is when she’s impaired. She’s trying to get back with Delaware Dave and when she gets drunk she acts out with me. She always regrets it. I know she has feelings for me but she’s conflicted. Funny how this will rear its ugly head down the road on several occasions. When she awakens she’ll be really hung over and then she’ll have to leave. Who am I kidding? We’re not going to hang out. I’ll just go back to my little apartment in Jersey.

We get ourselves together and I show her the bill. She’s horrified. She vows that’s she’s going to give me half. She’s hung over and so am I. We leave the hotel which all seems like a blur now. We walked up to this little deli at 16th and Arch. She wanted to get some food. Something healthy. I wasn’t in any mood for food. I’m still carrying around the giant banner. Maybe I had folded it in half by then, but it was still ridiculous. Like an eight foot vinyl scarf.

Michelle tells me she has to drive down to Delaware to see Dave. Apparently they’re supposed to hang out with some friends of his from Hawaii. I remember the day was overcast like my mood. We part ways and I walk back to the parking garage with my banner. I toss it in the back of my station wagon. I make my way back to Jersey. I’m frustrated with how things are going. It doesn’t seem right. She hangs out with me here in Philly, but her heart is in Delaware. She’s known this guy since they were 15. She’s 27now. When you’ve known someone that long they’re like family.

I take it easy the rest of the day. I reflect on where this whole thing is going with Michelle. I was cleaning some things out of my wallet, when I come across the name and phone number of the girl from last night’s event. I text her on my flip phone. (You read that right. It’s 2008.) She texts me back and we decide to meet up on Sunday. Like the song says; “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

I don’t even remember her name. We’ll just call her Sue for this story. We meet up on Sunday around 1pm at the Continental Midtown. We’re at the mezzanine bar upstairs. She’s young and attractive. She tells me she was out late the night before with her friends and still felt a little banged up. We order some cocktails and let the conversation flow. We get a decent afternoon buzz on and go out to explore.

We ended up the Bellevue Hyatt. That’s where Nineteen is located. But we didn’t go into Nineteen. We ended up watching a trunk fashion show on the same floor. It felt like something I’d much rather being doing with Michelle, but like I said, Sue was present. She was a little sassy and had some attitude, but I really didn’t mind. This was a decent band-aid on my heart for the day. After the show she grabbed me and started making out with me on the elevator ride down. It was good, and I had felt the energy earlier in the day, but she said she waited because she didn’t believe in PDA. (Public displays of affection). For some reason we went to Lucky Strikes. I don’t even know why. It’s a bar and bowling alley. I had only been there once before for a corporate bowling party. We ordered pizza and fries and washed them down with a few beers. We didn’t even bowl and had no intention of doing so.

After a while she tells me that she has to go home and let her dog out. I walk her home and I decide that I don’t really like this girl. She just seems like a vacuous idiot. We say our goodbyes and I tell her I’m going to give her a call.

I’m walking back to the parking garage and I check my phone. I hadn’t looked at it all day. People didn’t do that back then. No smart phones back then. There is a voicemail from Michelle. I listen to it. She says that she read the screenplay treatment I gave her. She liked it and said she looked forward to seeing me on Monday at the office.

That was the highlight of my weekend.

A couple of days later at work, Michelle returned a music CD to me that I had lent her. I think it was a record by Julie Cruise. I opened it later and inside the jewel case was a check in the amount of $150.Her half for the room.

I never cashed it.

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all over again.”

 

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 Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on Wednesdays at 9am EST.