Clarice – 2016 – Chapter 3 – Champagne Lady on a Beer Budget – Part One

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

After our New Years Eve date, and the date the next day with Mary, I started thinking about my money. I’m approaching this correctly, but operating at this level has a price. Limited time and resources. But when you have a solid pool of candidates, it puts you in a position of power. I’ve begun to realize this as I make this journey. Valerie was my maiden voyage. I was in the mindset, that if I didn’t feel something deep, I couldn’t go forward with her. She was simply an expense, and there was no return on my investment. June, was fun, but I simply wasn’t attracted to her. Fair enough. If one or two fall off, there are always others waiting in line to get onboard. But I really like Mary. She’s cool and fun, and had great history. I’m attracted to her. Same with Clarice. I want her, but I can’t be dropping a load of cash every time I see her.

There are always a few out there circling now. That’s good. That gives me the advantage. The other big advantage here is that I’m younger than both of these women. Normally I’m the old guy dating the younger women. I have real value, but youth is king. An older man will always be beholden to a younger woman due to her obvious youth and beauty. But if the tables were turned, it now puts me in the position to call the shots. What if I simply tell Clarice that I really like her and love spending time with her, but I can’t drop that much coin on her anymore? What’s the worst thing that could happen? The older woman leaves me because I’m not buying her enough drinks and dinners? Fine. She’s a gold digger and always was a gold digger. What do I get from her leaving me? One less expense that’s not yielding me any return on investment.

Mary has been pretty good with paying dutch on some things, so the issue is not with her. It’s with Clarice, and I’m about to solve it.

I told Clarice I was available on Wednesday evening and would like to see her. She agreed. Clarice texted me the night before and asked me what we were doing. The reason I hadn’t locked it down was because at the time I was struggling with how I was going to solve this situation.

I decided to simply call her. Just talk to her the old fashion way. She answers the phone: “To whom do I owe this great honor?”  I find that endearing because I say that when I answer the phone when somebody I like is calling me. She wants to know what we’re doing. I flat-out tell her that I really like her, and want to spend time with her, but I can’t spend fifty to a hundred dollars every time I see her. She says she agrees, and says I need to be more creative. I like that answer and it’s not a farewell. She suggests she just come to my apartment. (I find that a bit forward and a veiled suggestion for sex) I tell her Lorelei lives with me and I can’t be dragging strange women through the house with my kid there. I can tell this caught her off guard. She was married thirty years ago, but the marriage yielded no children. So she never thinks about kids. I also mention that if she likes, she could kick in on the bill occasionally. She says that since she just spent a bunch of money on a load of food for a holiday party she recently threw, that’s not happening.

Which tells me some things, about our confident, empowered, CEO. Good looking lady. Former opera singer. (No money in the arts) Runs a company (or maybe just works for a company) that sells marketing materials to companies for promoting their brand. She’s the CEO of a company that does marketing for non profits. (Non profits have no money to spend) It sounds like a company she made up which makes her the CEO. Just like my friend Alice is the CEO of her company. She revealed that she is looking to get a job with the African-American Museum here in the city. (She’s looking for a job!) Hot lady has no money!

So even though she is eight years older than me, this further lowers her value. But… she is charming, beautiful and fit. I am attracted to her, and I will use all of this to my advantage without doing anything dramatic. I will simply be myself and change the game.

I was seeing a client down at 12th and Locust, (It’s a gay bar) and when I walk out at 4:15 I hear someone calling my name. I look around and don’t see anyone I know. Then I see a familiar car parked right there. It’s Church!

“What are you doing down here?” I say.

“I was gonna ask you the same thing.”

“I’m seeing Jay at the club to pitch him my new bar leadership program.”

“Or you’re hanging out in a gay bar!” he quips.

“Yea, and you’re parked in your car out front of that gay bar cruisin’ for dudes.”

“Hop in, I’ll give you a ride, sailor.”

I told Clarice to meet me at El Rey, at 20th & Chestnut at 4:45. It’s best to get there before 5pm because the happy hour fill up because it’s so awesome. Dollar tacos, two dollar Tecate, and five dollar margaritas. How’s that for getting creative?

We’re parked out front of El Rey, and I see Clarice walking towards the bar. “Okay, this is my five o’clock appointment, dude. Thanks for the ride. I’ll meet up with you at Sofitel after seven.”

I wait for her to go in, and Church doesn’t ask who I’m meeting with so I don’t mention it. I head in and she’s at the bar taking off her coat. I stride towards her and nearly call her by her blog name by accident!  We hug, and squeeze ourselves into the seats at the bar. It’s a little tight. This used to be the old Midtown Diner III. They kept the affixed seats and the counter when they remodeled the place into El Rey.

I explain the happy hour to her and after a few tries she gets it. She goes with the margarita, no ice. I grab a Tecate. She gets the drink and doesn’t like it. They served it on the rocks which is wrong. She says the drink is super tart. She is making dramatic faces to prove it. I’m finding it annoying. Former opera singer/actress drama. Too much. She grabs the bartender and he fixes the drink. No rocks, and I tell him to add a little more triple sec to lower the tart signature.

Clarice says she’s not a tequila fan, but she’s trying to keep with the “Dating on a budget” program that I am now enforcing. I like that. We order six tacos. So right now the bill would be thirteen bucks. I can live with that. (for now!)

We are chatting and I’m making her laugh as usual. She is beautiful. I ask her how her last date went. She said she cancelled it. Just wasn’t feeling it. I knew it. Once you’ve heard Led Zeppelin, you don’t want to listen to any other crappy bands. She tells me more about her ex husband, and some other guy she dated for five years. I’m feigning interest as usual. It seems to be working.

She shows me her profile on OKCupid, another dating site. She wants me to read her profile. It’s actually really good, it shows a smart, confident, independent woman. I like that. “That’s why men are intimidated by me.”

“I can imagine. But I dig a confident woman. Especially one as pretty as you.” The picture she has posted of herself is spectacular. She looks like a gorgeous woman in her forties. I notice the age posted on the profile says she’s fifty-six. I point to this and she laughs and says, “That’s my OkCupid age.” I laugh and get it. She looks great and ratcheted back her age five years. “I’m really impressed with that pic of you, Clarice.”

“Cause my tits look so good?”

Read the thrilling conclusion to this story tommorow! Where we’ll answer questions like: Will our hero win the heart of the girl before he runs out of money?  Do her tits really look that good?

 

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