Bailey – Chapter 4 – Second Date – Part 2

Bailey destroys her dinner. I’m sure she doesn’t know anyone like me that would ever take her to a place like this. She’s in the theater community. Like my ex Annabelle none of those losers have any money. I like her but I’m starting to think this has become another meal ticket for a chick on OkCupid.

I don’t want to think about that, but I do.

I think about how great my first date with Cherie was. There was chemistry and it was going somewhere. Even from the first date. Cherie wanted it more than me. That’s what we all need to find. Not this shit. Why am I cheating on Cherie with this novelty?

Because Cherie is rarely around. I like company. I’m in control of my life now. I compartmentalize everything and everyone. I can manage everyone around me. I am the Sun. All of my planets are fine and they never collide. I’m at the heart of my own solar system.

The sunny Leo.

I’ll navigate this little satellite as well.

Dinner’s great. She loves it and cleans her plate. Destroys the last of the appetizer I had no interest in. I feed her more chicken from my fork.

I thought we’d share a gelato flight but she went with one each. Double my bill. Thanks, Bailey.  The gelato was orgasmic and I knew I had touched her soul, but the gelato is so good at this restaurant all you need to do is show up and make sure you order the flight. She was so blown away by the mango I gave her mine just so she’d have more to enjoy.

Eating a flight of gelato at Gran cafe L’Aquila is like listening to a Beatles album. Every song makes you feel different.

When we’re all done I pause.

I took her hands. They’re soft, small and girlish. I caress her hands and it’s really nice. She says she has midget hands and I correct her and tell her soft girl hands are nice. It feels good to touch her. Hands tell a lot about a person and her’s are especially small, girlish and nice. (This is my favorite part of the date.)

“I remember when we met on Christmas Eve on our first date, Bailey. You were wearing all black and white. You were very stylish and it was a great look for you. I loved your top, the skirt, the patterned stockings, the boots. Really put together. Beautiful.”

“Oh, thank you!”

“Okay… So I was walking to work today, and I was thinking about you and that day and your outfit and how great you looked. ”

This is when I pulled the black bag from the floor and put it on the table. It’s plastic and she never saw this coming.

I push it to her and she opens it. She reaches inside and pulls out a beautiful black and white scarf. It’s one of these that’s shaped like an 8. Thick and soft. It’s been a cold winter and I think this is an appropriate 2nd date birthday gift for a girl I like.

I think you’d all agree with me.

Baliey is so grateful. It was an impulse buy while walking through Suburban Station today. It just looked perfect and great for her style. It goes over well. She goes to put it back in the bag and notices something else. A 4 pack of Black and Mild filtered cigars that I know she likes.  (This came up on the first date)  She’s ecstatic, and very gracious.

I like all of this and tonight’s second date has been a roaring success albeit a costly one for our hero.

I of course pay the $80 fucking bill and get our coats. I put hers on her and even pull her hair from the collar. I’m 55. She’s 28. Here I am. I know guys younger than me that are pulling their puds at home.

My life is fun and beautiful.

We get outside and she’s waiting for her UBER and fires up a Black and Mild. After tonight she seems a little more ghetto to me. Before she lights the cig I grasp her.

I kiss her.

It seems automatic and not passionate at all. I knew she owed it to me. But it was just a firm wooden bump of our lips. I felt that immediately. Not like me and Cherie. Certainly not like me and Ambria. What happened to the touching at Dan Dan? Where’s the energy? Hmm?

She chinks out her cig because her UBER is coming. Apparently it’s a big Mercedes with a woman driver. We cross 17th street at Chestnut and head to the front of Ruby Tuesdays.

The car is there and before she gets in she kisses me. But it’s still feels wooden and perfunctory. I don’t like that. But maybe I’m over analyzing.

But I’m too old for that, and where there’s smoke there’s some twenty-something stuffing her head and pouring water over your fire, Sir.

Because before this dinner there were plenty of kisses emojis and they have completely dried up.

As the door slams you say, “Text me to let me know you got home safe.”

But she doesn’t hear it, and her belly is full of $90 of food and gifts.

I never get that respectful text.

That’s critical people.

Girls, you have to do that if a man sends you home on a date. Huge mistake if you just go home and don’t tell him you’re home safe. That’s all he wants. You didn’t sleep with him. He just treated you like a queen and bought you appetizers, dinner, dessert and a scarf an cigs. A “Got home safe” would be nice just for the sake of manners.

I did get a message from her the next morning saying she would be able to go to the movies with me New years Day. She even sends a pic of her wearing the scarf I gave her.

Cute.

I tell her I’ll send her a list of films and she can pick and I’ll put it in the calendar.

So let’s see what happens…

 

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Bailey – Chapter 3 – Second Date – Part 1

Eating a flight of gelato at Gran cafe L’Aquila is like listening to a Beatles album. Every song makes you feel different.

I have been texting Bailey and things seem to be going well. Her birthday is the day after Christmas so we decide to meet up for drinks at 8:30pm Wednesday night. The day after her birthday. Based on our first date I wanted to step up my game and wow her with something unique. I tell her to meet me at Gran Cafe L’Aquila. I figured at 8:30 at night we’d have some wine, maybe a little snack and of course… a flight of their amazing gelato! World class. The best I’ve ever tasted. If you want to impress a lady, take her there.

I close up the salon and head over. The city is beautiful during the holidays. I get there and the place is swinging because it’s the week between Christmas and New Years.

There are only two seats at the bar and it’s tight. I love this place though. They have a lively staff that are all very Italian and everything about the restaurant looks authentic.

Bailey texts me that she’s 5 minutes away. I order a chardonnay. My go-to beverage when I go out. The holidays have been great this year. Between work and events, I’ve had something going on every night this week!

Bailey rolls in and we hug. It’s nice to see her again. I help her off with her coat and we clamber into our seats. She orders something bubbly.

The bartender asks if we’re having food, and I think maybe calamari. Just a snack and then later I’ll blow her mind with the gelato flight.

They give us a menu and she’s perusing it. The first page is always what they’re featuring from a region in Italy. The other two pages is everything else they serve on a daily basis. The other 10 pages is all wine, cocktails and dessert. It’s like a book!

“I’m hungry!”

I don’t like the sound of that. Nine o’clock at night is snack, wine and gelato. That’s it. But now we have an issue. But its date number two and her birthday yesterday, and it’s the fucking holidays, so I’m going to take one for the team.

My girlfriend is black, but this is classic black girl behavior. Bailey is a light-skinned black so she must be some kind of mix, but this is a lot of what they do. You all know I’m not racist. I love all women. I have all their albums. Huge fan. I’ve had three black girlfriends. I love every flavor that God can make of girls. I truly do. But black chicks will eat as much as they possibly can if it’s free. I’ll tell you where this comes from. Black people have been oppressed by everyone for hundreds of years. They never got anything and were treated like shit for centuries. But unfortunately once they’ve been somewhat accepted into white society and the workplace they get all they can. They don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s just a need, because they never know if it’s going to happen again. Maybe this could be the last time it ever happens.

Every time I’ve been at an event or a meeting and there’s black women there, they all sit together and devour as much food as they can. I know I’m not the first white person to notice this.  But in this day and age everybody is so scared to say anything. But, again… my girlfriend is black and I love her dearly. She’s the sweetest loyal lady. I’m the piece of shit going out on dates with other women because Cherie is never around. But black girls do this thing when it comes to food. It’s a shame really. I’ve seen this for decades. If there’s free food around they will consume it all because they don’t know when it will happen again.

They get knocked up by some loser, have a kid, guy leaves, and she ends up living at her parents and they help raise the kid. This happens over and over. Even my girlfriend’s sister had two kids that are being raised by the grandparents. This is a cycle in the black community. That bitch met a new guy and has gotten pregnant again. Is she going to raise this new one? She’s not even married. Oh, you can’t raise the two rugrats you have and you got knocked up again? What are you insane? These are human beings! How can you be so reckless with your family?

Black women are amazing and have to put up with a mountain of shit in their lives. Just being born black in this country is a setback. I’m blessed to have been born into the family I was and they were somewhat normal. We all have our crosses to bear. But I know what this little encounter is going to turn into.

I remember Bailey telling me about issues with her mother. I haven’t heard too much about dad. But come on… both nostrils pierced, the septum, and the Medusa. Oh, and the tattoos. You’re screaming for someone to look at you and please pay attention to you. I’ve met dozens of you. In all races, shapes and sizes, dear.

Bailey suggests we get a table. Fuck. I can already feel the wetness from my debit card leaking tears into my back pocket. I talk to the bartender and he sets it up.

We head upstairs and get a table. They check our coats and give me tickets. Bailey isn’t accustomed to this level of service and hospitality. This is a first rate joint.

She takes forever with the menu. That’s okay. When I brought Kita here she did the same things. I forget girls in their twenties are overwhelmed by monster menus at fine eateries.

I already know what I want. I get the same thing every time I come here. Grilled half chicken, rosemary potato wedges and asparagus. Done. I’m just sipping and waiting at this point.

There’s two families across from us with cranky babies. I want to toss those little fuckers over the balcony. But I’m a parent and I have restraint. I hate my friend Marigold’s kids and my friend Rob and Laura’s kid but I don’t have to raise them. I only have to see them once a year and that’s enough! I did a good job with my daughter Lorelei and she’s turned out lovely. You have one shot. Be a fucking parent. Put yourself aside and do a better job than your parents. Take the best of what they did and do better and be firm and gentle. It’s not that hard. Be patient and love them. They’re children! They’re like puppies, train them and break them in!

Baliey finally settles on a dish and we’re good. Conversation is good and she looks great. She’s all in black and looking cute.

The server, Karina comes back and takes our order. But before she does that, she asks if we want an appetizer. (As a sales guy I love the upsell, but don’t pull that fucking shit on me with this hungry girl) Of course Bailey wants a fucking appetizer now. (Goddammit!)

“Oh… yea.. lets get the mozzerella plate shrimp thing.”

I’m not going to touch that shit. It’s 9:30 at night. I just wanted a light snack and now I’m fucked for a full blown dinner here.

Appetizer comes out and Baliey rips into it. I never touch it. She devours most of it and when the dinners come out Karina asks to take it away and Bailey keeps it. She’s going to kill any food that comes to this table. That’s her personal goal. Just like at Dan Dan Christmas eve. She devoured everything.

I get it now.

Dinner was nice. I actually cut a piece of my amazing chicken off and give her the first taste from my fork. (I haven’t had a bite yet, but I want her to taste first because I’m a gentleman.) Bailey assures me she’s okay with germs but I wanted her to try it first off a clean fork. She loves it of course. Yea, it’s great grilled chicken under a hot stone. I knew she’d love it.

To be Continued Tomorrow…

 

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Kita – Chapter 37 – Second Date – Xmas – Part 1

“Is there a time between now and when you leave for Florida that I can see you outside of this salon for lunch or dinner?”

“Open your calendar.”

“Is there a time between now and when you leave for Florida that I can see you outside of this salon for lunch or dinner?”

“Open your calendar.”

So it was on for my 2nd date with Kita. I set it up at one of my go to lunch spots and headed over there.

Misconduct is a nautical themed sports bar. I arrived a half an hour early so I could chat with my friend Mary the hostess. (See: Mary – Unexpected Table for Two) Unfortunately because business was slow they cut her early. The place was dead which I like but of course some idiot was responsible for playing the music too loud in the restaurant. That happens more than less and Mary and I both hate it. Why would you crank the music up during lunch when there are business people there and then be stupid enough to leave it at that level when the place is nearly empty?

I mentioned it to my server and she didn’t seem thrilled about asking whoever controls the volume to turn that shit down. If it weren’t for Mary and the great food there I’d boycott that place. She either didn’t make the request or the person ignored it because the music stayed at the same level the entire time I was there. But… I’ll let that go and we’ll go forward.

At least I’m at my favorite table, #12. It’s a high top by the front windows and close to the hostess and service area. It’s also the quietest spot in the restaurant.

I get a text from Kita.

“On my way!”

“You’re the best.”

“I’m in an Uber pool so I’ll be there soon.”

Uber Pool takes a little longer because they usually have a couple of people in the car and the driver has to drop them all off at their destinations.

I see her come in the door and I walk from the table to greet her. She looks so cute in her puffy winter coat. She gives me a big hug, her hair smells delicious.

We sit and the server brings her a water. I already know what I want. I get the same thing every time I go there. Chicken tenders with dipping sauce, and a small bowl of mac and cheese with a side of sriracha to share.

I notice that it seems to take little Kita an exorbitant amount of time to decide what she wants to eat. It’s cute now to watch her struggle with all the choices on the menu. But I’m sure that shit would get super annoying if I were in a relationship with her. You know, you get to the restaurant, you’re hungry, she’s running late. You already know what you want and she’s taking forever to decide between a salad or a sandwich.

I’m just saying… I’ve been at this awhile.

So Kita can’t make up her mind and actually sends the server away twice. The music volume hasn’t been lowered, and now I see our waitress sitting across the room at one of the tables against the wall and is eating.

This server sucks, but I get it. We’re her only customer, she probably put her food order in because it’s dead now and she can actually finally get something to eat before happy hour when the place is cranking in here. But because Kita can’t make up her mind, she probably is like, “fuck her I’m going to eat.”

So when Kita finally knows what she wants the server lets us rot for awhile. I really wanted to thrash her in a bad Yelp review, but this is my last little Christmas lunch date for awhile with this cute baby. So I can’t really get upset because I’m just stupid happy to look across the table and see who came all the way down here into the city to have lunch with ME!

Kita is young, fit and beautiful. She can have lunch with any guy she wants. But I asked and she’s sitting here with me and I adore her.

The server finally drags herself back to our table and thankfully, Kita is ready. We order and then settle back into warm conversation. We talk about the holidays, our families. She tells me her Dad is such a high ranking official in the military she’s doesn’t really know what he does. But she shows me some pics on her phone of her dad and mom flying in what appears to be a small jet. They’re sitting what almost appear to be big plush chairs you’d have in your living room.

“Is that a Gulf Stream?”

“Yea. That’s how my dad gets around. in a Lear Jet.”

“Holy crap! I can’t top that with anything. That’s so cool. Did you or your sister every get to fly on it?”

“No. But if my dad was in Philly and was headed back to Florida, I would most definitely fly on it with him. But I can’t fly on it by myself because that would be a waste of the taxpayers dollars.”

“Speaking of that, what do you think of our current administration?”

“I can’t speak on that because my father has to embrace the President because of his high ranking position in the military. That’s all of his buddies in there. He hangs out with a lot of those guys in Washington.”

“Wow. That’s interesting.” I decide to veer away from that subject.

We’re talking about tanning and the salon, and I don’t know how but we chat about some of the interesting characters that come through on a daily basis. She spends so much time there with me she’s even met a few of them. She has a good memory, is organized, and very bright. She just lacks experience.

That will come, and I can help.

 

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Madeline – Fire and Desire

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

Here’s one that happened a few years ago…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Liz – Bridal Blues

“How dare you stand me up?”

Probably one my worst two dates were with one girl in particular. This was a few years after my first marriage had ended. In this period I had been on lots of awkward dates, lots of lovely dates, but never had any where I really clicked with anyone.

Anyway, a friend suggested I should go out with a friend of hers. She was sure we’d be a great match, so she gave each other our email addresses.  She lived in a city around 70 miles away, (Seemed a bit far for me) so we emailed and called each other quite a few times over a couple of weeks and seemed to get along quite well, so we decided to meet up and go on our first date. She said that the coming weekend she had a friend’s birthday party to go to and suggested that I be her “plus one”. The party was being held at a restaurant in the city where she lived, and it was decided that I would meet her there.

I arrived, she texted me she was running late, but she was with the guest of honor, so it wouldn’t start until she arrived. Eventually she arrived, with the birthday girl…  my ex-wife!!!  Well, that was awkward! My ex and I hadn’t parted on good terms back then.  I suggested I should leave, but my date said she wanted me to stay. I remained polite, as did my ex, but it kinda put a damper on the evening. It turned out my date and my ex had been childhood friends, had fallen out of touch, and had encountered each other only a few months prior. Consequently my date knew nothing about us having been married. After the evening my ex briefly spoke with me, and wished my date and I well. My ex suggested we should get along well.  OK, so after the initial shock, the evening ended on a positive note. But I didn’t really get to know my date at all.

The next week, I was invited to another party with my date. This was pretty uneventful, and to be honest I can’t really remember any of it.

I was getting along well with this girl, but still hadn’t had any alone time with her, so the following weekend we decided to go out for lunch on the Saturday.

This is where things went sideways.

I was to pick her up, but she wouldn’t give me her address. She said her place was hard to find, so I should first go to a particular strip mall, call her once I was there, and then she’d give the directions to her place. So once I arrived there, instead of giving me directions, she told me to wait there and she would meet me there. OK, this was a big warning sign, but I went along with it.  I had to wait for nearly an hour, and got to the point where I decided I would leave if she didn’t show up by a certain time – she arrived just before the deadline.

She arrived, but had a friend with her. Apparently that’s why she was late. She hadn’t seen the friend in years, and she happened to drop in this morning, so she invited her along. This was supposed to be our first date with just the two of us, but apparently not. She seemed to have issues about being alone together, but maybe the story was true.

Anyway, I suggested we all jump in my car (My black Mazda Millenia), but she insisted we take her car, and I had to ride in the back. Her car was an old Mazda (the shitty 3 series) – it was a mess inside, had no air-conditioning, springs were coming out of the back seat, it was horrid. In retrospect, I should have told her not to bother right there, but I went along. She decided that we would go to a swanky restaurant in a resort town about 50 miles away, so off we went, with her and her friend in the front, and me in the back. Her and her friend talked the whole way, with absolutely no conversation including me. Not that I could have been included, the noise in the car was so bad, that I couldn’t hear anything they said anyway.

We got to the restaurant, and again her and her friend talked the whole time. I was only included in the conversation occasionally. I may as well have not been there. Well I was there for one thing – her and her friend left me to pick up the bill, for all 3 of us!

The return trip was a mirror of the trip down, except my mind was absolutely made up, that I wasn’t going to bother seeing this girl again.  So we get back to the strip mall (thank goodness my car was still there unharmed, as it was a sketchy area), and she says to me that we need to talk.

OK.

She starts by telling me that she really enjoys my company but that I’m too demanding on her time (what?), that I can’t expect to see her every weekend, and she thinks it best that we stop seeing each other. At this point I’m just agreeing with her, because I really didn’t want to see her again and if she’s breaking up (not that we had anything to break up from), then as far as I’m concerned she’s saving me the hassle. Inside I’m happy, outside I’m trying to look a bit disappointed but agreeing with her.  But, when she said we stop seeing each other, she hadn’t finished her sentence. She didn’t mean stop seeing each other completely, she meant stop seeing each other as regularly because…

Because she was planning our wedding for June the following year, so we had heaps of time to see each other before then.  To say I was dumbfounded is the understatement of the century. I didn’t know what to say, and didn’t say anything. I just got in my car and drove home in shock. We had been on 3 dates, had never spent any alone time together,  I didn’t even consider that we were “an item”, definitely not engaged.

We were supposed to get married! We were (my name) and Liz! We were “Chiz! My friends could refer to us as Chiz!”

Should I just move to another country at this point?

After I got home, I didn’t contact her, and she didn’t contact me, so I figured maybe she was just trying to shock me out of her life.

Some time had passed and I was happy, had started seeing someone else, and had pretty much forgotten about crazy “fiancee” lady.

Until some 6 months later, I was at a function and she happened to be there. I politely said hello, and her response was literally “Hi. Did you know there’s a ball on next Friday night at [venue], I’d love to go but I refuse to be asked out a week before. Oh, there’s [friend], bye”. I thought it was weird, but didn’t think any more of it.

That is until about 11pm the next Friday night, when the phone rang. “How dare you stand me up?”
“Huh?”
“I waited all night at the ball, but you didn’t show up.”
“I never said I was going.”
“You’re a terrible boyfriend for doing that to me, I’ve devoted 6 months of my life to you, and you can’t even take one night out for me. I don’t want to break up with you, but maybe we should.”
“Uh, yeah, maybe we should.”
In the middle of sobbing I was called every bad name under the sun, before she hung up.

That was more than a dozen years ago, and thankfully haven’t seen or heard from her since.

Recap: Date unwittingly invited me to my ex-wife’s birthday party. Third date she brought someone else along and expected me to pay for them all. When I thought she was breaking up from something that never was, she announced our wedding date. I considered it over, but six months later she rang me to break up because I stood her up for a date that I hadn’t agreed to go on.

 

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Ann Marie – Rose Among Thorns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Annabelle – NYC – Chapter 11

I heard this loud bang under the car like she had hit a pothole that was covered in snow.

The holidays were upon us, and we decided the limit to spend on each other was $200. I would have no problem blowing $200 on my girlfriend.

I went out and got her all kinds of clothes and underwear and a robe, and other goodies I know girls like. She got me a ring. (Which shocked her mother and sister because a ring represents so much in our culture. I love that ring, and still wear it to this day. It’s just a steel worry ring with black accents. It feels like rock and roll so I wear it on my left middle finger everyday. I should probably take it off but it’s my thing now.

She also wrote a nice card and inside it were 2 tickets to see a Shakespearean play in New York City! I was excited to see it. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was the real deal. British actors performing the play just like they had 400 years ago.

So the day arrives. (It was around New Years 2014) I go to her apartment, and she rents a zip car. I heard that we were supposed to maybe get some snow later, but for now the weather is fine.

The car is a compact, and maybe 10 years old. She sets the GPS and we’re on our way. About half way to NY, the GPS, craps out. It just dies and stops working all together.

“Oh no! How are we ever going to find our way to New York City now?” Annabelle exclaims.

“Don’t worry sweetie. I used to live in New York. We’ll just follow the signs like we used to in the olden times.”

She laughs but I can tell she sort of half believes me. Young people today have never used a map or have had to navigate anything. They have all of that in their phones now. You could put me in a car pointed in any direction on the east coast and I could find my way all the way to California without even using a map. But these kids today, without their phones are lost. But that’s a small price to pay for youth and beauty by my side.

I get us into the city and we park the car in a garage for the day. This really is a great present.  The show is not untill 8pm tonight so we’ve got the whole day.  We stop at a cool spot for lunch and beer.

Then we head downtown to the Museum of Sex. You heard me right. There is a museum for that shit in NYC. Annabelle is all about exploring new things, and it was my idea so we went. It actually wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. But they have a lot of interesting exhibits. The works of William Kent, the sex lives of animals, sexy toys and sculptures, a whole exhibit about Linda Lovelace. Some erotic video.

I remember this huge video screen in one room where it’s just a woman deep throating a guy’s cock. It just loops over and over. It’s pretty amazing to see that incredible feat on a 12 foot TV screen. But like I said, the place is not that great. I wrote both our names in a little heart and tagged it in the bathroom. I don’t normally ever do anything like that, but it just seemed appropriate to have our names immortalized together forever in the bathroom of the Museum of Sex.

Later we stopped at a cool cocktail bar and chatted with the locals. Then on to an art gallery. I always enjoy my time with Annabelle when it’s just the two of us. Whether we’re at a museum, or the zoo, or just eating a meal I cooked for her at home. It’s always good. Once you bring in her chaotic work life or insane theater stuff, it just ruins everything. If we could just see each other occasionally and focus on each other it would be great. I get bored hanging around her apartment with nothing to do when she’s editing pictures or whatever else. (Or sometimes not even home!) I’d rather be home sipping some wine and watching netflix.

We walk to the theater. We’ve got some time so we go in and find our seats. The theater is beautiful.

The play begins and the acting is first-rate. They are performing this version just as they did four centuries ago. The only illumination on stage is candlelight. There are literally wooden chandeliers with big white candles all around them. Some times they melt and even fall onto the stage!

During the intermission, Annabelle wants to get us some water and use the restroom. During the first half of the play there was a guy a few rows ahead of me that somehow looked familiar to me. But when the lights came up I take another look at him. His people have gotten up and left and he’s just standing around stretching like I am. I realize he’s actor Timothy Oliphant from Justified and Deadwood! He looks at me and I look at him. He’s much better looking in real life than he is on TV.

“Timothy?”

“Yea.”

I go over and shake his hand. “I love you on Justified! I’m watching season 3 right now!”

“What’s your name?”

I apologize and tell him my name. I was delighted Timothy Oliphant wanted to know my name! We chit-chat a little bit, and because we’re in New York City and at a Shakespearean performance it just didn’t feel cool asking to do a selfie with him. It was just a private moment between two strangers who happened to be in the same place at the same time. Except one of them is a famous actor.

Later when Anabelle returned I quietly told her what had just happened. She had no idea who he was because she doesn’t ever watch TV and isn’t in touch with current media at all. So it was lost on her. But I was excited. No big deal.

The show was wonderful and I am so grateful for this unique Christmas gift. It’s been a perfect Winter’s day with the woman I love.

After the show we headed back to the garage to get the car. It’s probably a bit after 11pm.

It had already started to snow.

Heavily.

We head out of the city. The snow was really coming down. I remember getting on interstate 95 South. We had gone some distance but were still way up in North Jersey.

I heard this loud bang under the car like she had hit a pothole that was covered in snow. The right front tire blew out. I looked at the mile markers. We were 10 miles away from the next rest area. I told Annabelle to put on the hazard lights and slowly move into the right lane. I knew the tire would soon shred, but at least it would be cushioned by the snow-covered ground, so it may not shred as quickly and we’d be driving on the bare rim.

This was a harrowing experience. Total white out of a snowstorm, 90 miles from home, 10 miles from a rest stop, and tractor trailers roaring by our tiny battered car. I was trying to hold my shit together, imagining either the car becoming disabled and we’re stranded on the highway during a snowstorm in the middle of the night, or a giant truck simply smashing into us and killing us both.

That 10 mile drive was one of the longest of my life. We couldn’t go very fast because of the tire and the snow. I was feeling a lot of fear. I have to say, Annabelle kept the car on course and kept her cool during the harrowing drive.

After what seemed like an hour we finally limped into the rest area where there was a garage and some mechanics on duty. I was never so happy to see those guys!

They were all amazed we made it in there in one piece. I was so relieved just to be in the warm garage, off the highway and out of that car.

Annabelle called Zipcar, and told them what happened. They asked that she pay for a new tire on her credit card and they would reimburse her.

So we took some pictures of the damaged wheel and posted them on Facebook. While writing this I remembered I may still have those pics in Annabelle’s pic file on my Facebook. I don’t really go on Facebook anymore because I no longer care to share with the world what I’m up to and have no interest in what you had for lunch today.

I found the pics! Here they are. Shredded!

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It was around 2am by now, but we were both wide with adrenaline from our crazy trip.

The guys got the new wheel on and we were on our way. But the snow was getting worse as we pushed on back to Philly.

After what seemed like the rest of the night, we finally rolled into the city around 4am. Annabelle dropped me off at my house and I kissed her goodnight. I trudged through the snow up to my building and went inside.

Annabelle later texted me that she had dropped off the car and had gotten back to her apartment safely. I was so thankful it all worked out and proud of how Annabelle had handled the whole situation.

What a night!

 

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