Marisa – 2017 to Present – Part IV – A Blonde Moment

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

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I’m back at the restaurant. Mary is still there but she’s about to leave. “She’s in the restroom.” She says.

“I know. She text me.”

“Maybe she got lost in there too!”

I’m sitting at my table. The restaurant is nearly empty now. Out from the back comes a cute Filipino girl with blonde hair!

She gets to the table and apologizes profusely. I tell her I forgive her and we’ll move on.

The hair closest to her scalp is now blonde. As it descends to her shoulders it fades into a tawny color. She tells me that she let a friend of hers experiment on her. It looks kind of cute. A dramatic change from the black hair she had when I met her a week ago. It’s a little weird, but she’s got a cute face. I also notice she is wearing a really low-cut top that showcases her ample bosom.

She keeps asking me if I like her hair. I tell her it looks fine and that she looks cute. I don’t think she’s happy with it. I would bet you the next time I see her it’s back to black.

We order food, and start chatting. She is currently enrolled in the Community College of Philadelphia. She says she is studying criminal law. I find that impressive. She lives on her own, and the only job she has currently is the hostess gig at Sofitel. She formerly worked at Parx casino as a craps dealer, blackjack, and roulette person. She mentions that she also worked at The Sands Casino in Bethlehem. What she really wants to do is become a poker dealer, because they get to keep their tips instead of pooling them with the rest of the dealers.  I ask her why she isn’t doing anything with the casinos currently.

“It’s a long story.” She says.

She asked if I am married. I remind her that I already told her that I was married, but divorced back in 2001. She doesn’t ask about children, so I don’t volunteer it. She says that marriage sucks. She said she got married about ten years ago and divorced three years ago. She tells me she has a younger sister that is still married. She says none of the rest of her family is here in the states.

Based on the math, I would bet that they both may have been mail order brides. They got their citizenship and off they went. Her younger sister’s marriage stuck, but Marisa’s failed. If her being a total scatterbrain is any indication as to how she is most of the time, I can see why she’s divorced. Once the cute, flirty exterior stuff wears off, I can see how the interior is just a tangle of bad wiring and grinding frustration. I ask her why her marriage ended.

“It’s a long story.” She says.

I notice something else about her during lunch. She chews with her mouth open. It’s fucking gross. iI makes her look like an amphibian. How has she lived for thirty-two years on this planet without anyone giving a shit enough to tell her to shut her trap when she’s chewing.? It really is unattractive. This is only the second times I have been appalled about a woman’s eating habits. The first being Annabelle. She ate like she was raised by wolves. Just shoveling the chow into her gob at feeding time. Just awful. (See: Annabelle – 2013-2014)

I’ve been told by several people that I am a very neat eater. One should have proper etiquette at the table and dine in a civilized manner. If you eat like an animal, you were raised by animals. That, or parents that just didn’t give a shit about you enough to provide you with the proper tools to break bread with other civilized human beings.

So the problem that she is facing with communication lies in her phone. I can see that is only a fraction of the problem. She says she dropped her phone into a toilet and it fried. The college she is attending gives out free phones if you’ve lost or don’t have a phone. It’s a safety thing for the students. It’s a crap phone that doesn’t do much of anything. But that doesn’t explain a person having no sense of direction and being an hour late. I’m sort of a sap for coming back and meeting with her but, cuteness won this round.

The bill comes and of course, no wallet comes out. I’ll have to ask my accountant if I can somehow claim these lunches on my taxes. Make Phicklephilly into a business entity, so I can write off all of these stupid dates.

She says she hasn’t drank an alcoholic beverage in 2017. I then ask her why she’s been texting me to meet her for a beer late night. She said I could drink but she would just drink soda. I think alcohol is the only way I could deal with her beyond today. It would have to be brown liquor and lots of it.

She tells me she was due in at work at 3pm but has called them to say she got held up at school. She uses my phone to call, and is texting with her phone. I ask her won’t she get in trouble for coming in late? She says as long as she calls, who cares. I’m starting to see why she’s working as a hostess at a hotel bar, and no longer with the casinos.

Marisa says she’s forgotten her black button down shirt for work. She has also forgotten her shoes. She tells me she has to go to H & M to buy a shirt. I have a little time, so I go with her. We’re walking south on 17th street, and I tell her it’s probably not a good idea to keep going towards Walnut street. When she asks why, I tell her that we will literally walk right past the Sofitel hotel. It’s already almost 3:30. She really has no sense of direction.

She sees a Forever 21 on Chestnut street. We hang a right into there to find the shirt. I notice her sense of humor is like Eliana’s.  (See: Eliana – 10/2016 – Part 1 – Third Time’s the Charm) Sort of a poke fun at you humor. They say something, you believe they mean it, then they say, “Just kidding.” But this happens over and over again to the point of it being annoying. It may be something that is just part of their culture, but I don’t care for it. American’s have a hip sense of humor and some other culture’s humor is silly to us. Look at humor on your local hispanic channel. There’s nothing clever or ironic about any of their humor. It’s mostly silly. Almost vaudvillian in nature.

I don’t know my way around Forever 21, but I have no problem being the only guy in a store full of attractive young women. If Marisa can’t find her way to a restaurant on a major intersection in Philly, there’s no way she knows where to find a dress shirt in a retail outlet with two floors full of stuff. She starts wandering around and I simply ask one of the sales ladies. They direct us to where we should go. I actually found the right shirt for her. I have three sisters and a daughter. I know my way around women’s clothing stores.

She is going to get the shirt and now we’re looking at shoes. I ask her size and she says five. I find a nice pair of dress shoes in her size. She likes them and for some reason thinks they are 30% off.

So we’re all set. We go up to the counter, and she starts looking at stuff to hold her hair back. She let’s another woman go ahead of her, and I don’t know if she found anything. We go next and the cashier is ringing up the sale. The shoes are $27. She asks the girl if they are 30% off and the girl says no. I tell her that $30 is cheap for that sweet pair of shoes. But Marisa tells the girl to take them off the bill because she doesn’t want them now. Okay, so just the shirt.

She swipes her card and it is declined. the whole deal is off. I assume there isn’t even enough in her account to cover a $15 shirt. I don’t know if she expected me to step in and pay for it, but if that’s what she thought, then she can kiss my black ass.

We end up leaving the store empty-handed having basically wasted an hour where she should have been at work. She tells me she brought the wrong card. I know that the “wrong card” usually means, “No money.”

I walk her down to Sofitel, and before she walks down the alley to go in at the service entrance, she gives me a hug and a kiss. I watch her as she goes, to make sure she gets in okay.

To sum up this ordeal I would say this. She’s a cute girl with a nice body. She looks younger than her thirty-two years. I would take her to the movies, if I felt there was any sort of future with this girl. But I kind of don’t like her. She had a chance to just have a nice free lunch today, and she fucked it up royally. I think the chewing with the mouth open just ruined it for me. she’s an unmade bed in all aspects of her life.

But… I would sleep with her. But that’s it. Just a purely physical and sexual coupling. I don’t want to hang out with her again. It was just too painful for me. This poor soul is just a scatterbrained idiot. But I am very forgiving, so you never know.

Maybe being a blonde suits her.

 

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Dina – 2011 to Present – Lil’ JAP – My New Broker

“Jews are good business people. Your financial advisor, lawyer, and accountant, should all be Jewish.”

I met up with Dina the other night at Tria. Tria is a wine bar in center city.  There are actually four locations. We met at their newest one, down in Fitler Square. It’s literally four blocks from my house. I think it’s my favorite one out of all of them now. I’m sure the old money in that neighborhood bitched about a bar going in on the corner down there. But I’m sure once they saw how nice it was they probably relaxed.

Dina arrives with a plan. She has worked in financial services for the past few years, and now she works for her dad’s firm. They’re good people, and I have known Dina for over six years. I decided I should invest some of my funds with her. I like her, and know what it’s like to be a broker. I used to do that job years ago when I worked in banking.

She was a total pro when she gets to the bar. We catch up, and then she breaks out the paperwork to create my account. I had given her a few stock ideas, but we both agreed they weren’t aggressive enough. The stuff I was looking at was almost like debt instruments. Bonds. I want equity and growth. I have to think of leaving something to Lorelei for the future. I tell Dina I’ll start with a small amount just to get the account open. Once it’s up and running for a month or so, I can plow more into it.

Dina, is young but has the soul of an old Jewish lady. She’s wise for her years. One of the things I like best about her, is her ability to cut through the bullshit in life and know what’s important. She knows a lot about me and this blog. She has always totally agreed with the lifestyle. Sometimes, I feel that some of the people around me are a little judgemental of what I do. I get it, and that’s their hangups. If they had the guts, they’d already be living the lifestyle and I’d be wanting to emulate them.

But Dina is very cool, and accepting of who I am. She has always embraced our friendship and nothing is too far out or over the top in regard to my exploits. She also has a good eye for identifying the “crazy” in some of the women I meet. I’m glad Dina is in my life and I know my money is with the right person.

Dina: “Jews are good business people. Your financial advisor, lawyer, and accountant, should all be Jewish.”

I’m sold. I’m meeting with her again tomorrow for lunch, and we’ll get this deal started.

 

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Mary – 2014 to Present – Chapter 3 – New Years Day Brunch 2016 – Part Two

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

Normally, a dating post like this one would appear on a Monday. But since I’m publishing three days a week now, to preserve continuity with the events of New Years weekend, this is technically the fourth installment of the events that occurred over my New Years weekend. Clarice, Carly, and Mary is a 4 part series that should be together.

Here’s where we left off yesterday!

We enjoy our free drinks and I pay the bill, but I told Mary that since she’s had so many medical woes lately, I wanted to do something for her. she’s been paying dutch normally when we go out, and I appreciate that. It’s New Years day of 2017, and I enjoy her company. I want to do something for her.

We step out into the late afternoon December sun onto Broad street. The parade is still going full force. We have to wait between sets to cross the street and head west on South street. I’m pretty sure Mary’s not done yet, and wants another drink. I like that in a woman. Chick’s got stamina. I respect that.

We walk up to 20th and Lombard and we decide to check out the new place called Lou Bird’s. It replaced whatever forgettable restaurant was across from Pub and Kitchen. I’ve never really been a fan of Pub and Kitchen. Not thrilled with the menu and the drinks are expensive. Lou Bird’s is owned by the folks behind Happy Rooster, so that’s a step in the right direction. Inside it is a very cozy bar. Back wall is brick. Only a few people in there, and a family at a back table in the other room. It’s a very comfortable woody bar. The barmaid is attractive and sweet. She is young and seems to lack some knowledge but she’ll do just fine.

Mary orders a stinger. I haven’t heard of that drink in a long time. A real old classic. It’s a pretty simple recipe. Just brandy and white creme de menthe. It can be served on the rocks or up. Mary goes for on the rocks. I have to tell the bartender how to make it. She doesn’t have any brandy so I suggest some the Remy Martin sitting on the shelf behind her. Cognac is brandy. The only way they can call brandy cognac is if it’s distilled in the cognac region of France. (You all knew that, right?)

I go with a simple Manhattan, up. Always a solid choice. It’s a really nice neighborhood bar. I like it here. Small place, all dark wood. Side wall is bare brick. I like that there are windows behind the bar so you can see out. We’re there for a bit, and mary insists on paying. This is always a good thing. I can see she’s got a buzz on. I like her a little tipsy. It’s New Years!

After our drink I tell her I’ll walk her home. We leave, and start walking north up 20th Street. We get to Chestnut street and Mary thinks we should stop in El Rey, for a final. I can’t say no at this point. I’m having such a wonderful fun-filled weekend. Little does Mary know, but I’ll be back at El Rey for happy Hour this week with Clarice.

El Rey is quiet. Mary orders a wine and I get a can of Tecate. I guess this could be considered a nightcap. Once we’re done there, we start to head for her building. At 20th and Market there used to be a vacant lot with an old food cart out front. Now there is a beautiful high-rise with a CVS downstairs. Across the street is a brand new Wawa. How the city has grown and changed over the last ten years since I came here.

Mary is laughing and tells me the food cart isn’t gone, they just moved him to another spot. That’s when I kissed her lips.

She’s drunk. My kiss is welcome.

She locks her arm in mine and I walk her to her building. She’s raving about what a wonderful, perfect day she has had with me. I have to agree with her. I kiss her again. Then she kisses me. She does this a few times. Her lips are soft and a bit more relaxed now. A bit more passion. She likes me. I’m going to see her more in 2017.

We say goodnight, and I wait until she is safely inside before I turn and make the sweet walk back to Rittenhouse on the first day of the new year.

 

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

Mary – 2014 to Present – Chapter 2 – New Years Day Brunch 2016 – Part One

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

Normally, a dating post like this one would appear on a Monday. But since I’m publishing three days a week now, to preserve continuity with the events of New Years weekend, this is technically the third installment of the events that occurred over my New Years weekend. Clarice, Carly, and Mary is a trilogy that should be together.

Since our first date Mary and I have met for lunch at Capital Grille and also at Square 1682 again for drinks. We went to Capital Grille because she said she’s known the bartender for fifteen years. She says she gets the hook up. I dig the hook up when I get it so I was down. The lunch was delicious and the company was good. Poor Mary, was having some oral pain for some dental work she needed done, so instead of steak she went with the salmon. But at nearly sixty-nine years of age, she’s hanging tough and looking good doing it. I did the burger to keep the cost down, but in the end we didn’t get any hook up. Good news is, Mary kicked in over forty dollars towards the bill, so Mary is clutch. The moral of this story is, if your name isn’t Phicklephilly or Church, you don’t really get the real hookup.

So this would technically be our fourth date. Mary’s cataract surgery was complete and the vision in her right eye is now clear again. After my date New Years Eve brunch with Clarice, (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) and the wedding set up with Carly, (See: Carly – 2014 to Present – New Years Eve) I was ready to spend New Years Day with Mary.

These have been my kind of holidays and I think I finally got it right. In December I saw my family in the middle of the month at our annual holiday party.

Fantastic.

Like I’ve said before I’ve never been a fan of New Years because it’s drunken amateur night. Just can’t do it. So this year, I’ve managed to build these little meetings around the holiday, without actually having to participate in said holiday.

I decided to take Mary to brunch at the City Diner at Broad and South. It was formerly Juniper Commons. A Kevin Spraga restaurant. It was an abject failure. They had eighty different gins. You could pick your club soda from a load of different flavors. It had a diner decor and played 80’s music throughout. I had brunch there when it first opened. I had this magnificent pancake concoction. Best ever. The two times I went back my buddy Church said the burgers were sub par, and another time I had brunch with Trish there, the food outright sucked. Who wants gin, let alone eighty different kinds?

The place went under in less than six months. Bitch, please.

A Greek family came in and turned the place into a twenty-four hour diner. Crushing it. perfect spot and perfect idea. Like my partner Achilles over at the salon, the Greeks just know how to get it done. Wait until some big shot goes in and does the whole build out on the restaurant and wait for it to fail. Then go in and open your restaurant and all of the stuff is already there to make it work.

Genius.

I meet her there and we’re all set. I called a few days before and made a reservation for a window booth on the Broad street side. The mummers parade goes right down Broad street all day on New years. Perfect vantage point to dine while watching the parade go by. Mary is impressed. It’s what I’m good at. Being at the parade can sometimes be a shitshow, but being behind glass and away from the crowd and noise, it’s a delight.

We have a really nice Irish girl who will be our server. It’s about 1:15pm at this point. I order a Yards Pale, and Mary goes with the prosecco. How about that? Two different dates in two days, and they order the same thing. Just goes to show, ladies dig bubbly when it comes to day drinking. Place is swinging. Very busy. Juniper Commons was never like this.

Mary and I are chatting and catching up on what’s been happening in our lives over the holidays. The server comes by and we’re not ready. That always happens. I get chatting with someone and forget to look at the menu. She returns in a bit and we’re ready. Mary goes with the Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, and I have the french toast deluxe. Deluxe means they give me a sizable slice of ham, two pieces of bacon and a single sausage. Just a glorious brunch item. Order is in, and now it’s maybe 1:40pm.

We chat away, and order another round. The diner fills and several large parties come in. We’re laughing and talking as the parade rolls by. The people watching alone is almost better than the parade, and we’ve got a court side seat.

Time goes by.

More time goes by.

And even more time goes by.

We’re not starving but it’s been an hour and no food.

An hour!

At a fucking diner!

At Midtown diner they crack that food off to you so fast you barely tell them what you want and it’s in front of you. And Little Pete’s? Lightning. We can’t figure out what’s wrong. The server comes over and apologizes, several times. We’re not angry because we’re enjoying each others company the time sort of just rolls by. But we should be a little cross about this situation. The server tells us it’s the kitchen’s fault. They have had a few large tables come in and they are in the weeds. But that’s not our problem. I understand the challenges of the service industry and so does Mary…first hand.

Once it’s an hour and a half, and we’re about to order our third round, the server returns once again. She apologizes and is really sweet. We tell her it’s not her fault. I suggest that we pay for our drinks, and when our food eventually comes out after two hours, we eat it and tip her up to what the whole meal would cost, but the manager or owner comps our lunch. In theory this seems fair.

But the server tells us that they are Greek. (we know this) Any shortcoming that occur in the diner are the fault of the server. But we tell her she is completely innocent in all of this. She insists they will take it out of her pay and she’ll get in trouble.

Well that sucks. I can’t let that happen. We tell her we’re rescinding the offer and to forget we ever said anything. We express this with great earnest because she’s under enough stress, running around all day serving hungry cranky customers. I drop the idea.

Mary agrees. We’re cool. The server tells us just two more orders ahead of us and they’ll bring us our food. We’re both a little buzzed at this point and are still having a lovely time.

A few minutes later our orders from nearly two hours ago finally arrive. Fresh and hot just as if they were delivered minutes after we ordered. Presentation looks solid, and we’re both satisfied. We tear into our platters like hungry children. (#firstworldproblems) it’s all delish!

The server comes back and tells us if we want another round it’s on them. I think we’re square. It really wasn’t bad sitting there with Mary chatting away on a beautiful day. We’re finishing up and she gets a glass of wine and I go with a cocktail. The Scofflaw. It contains Crown Royal, dry vermouth, grenadine, orange bitters, and an Amarena cherry. Not a bad, spirit forward drink for a diner at 4:30 in the afternoon.

We’ve been here all afternoon!

We enjoy our free drinks and I pay the bill, but I told Mary that since she’s had so many medical woes lately, I wanted to do something for her. She’s been paying dutch normally when we go out, and I appreciate that. It’s New Years day of 2017, and I enjoy her company. I want to do something for her.

Tune in tomorrow to find out where these crazy kids end up next!

 

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Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Chapter 3 -First Date

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

It was a hot day in July of 2013. I remember that summer being especially humid. I didn’t want to get all sweaty before my date with Annabelle. So I took a taxi up to the Barnes Museum. But sadly, many of those cabs are still hot as hell in the summertime. I went inside, told them I was on the guest list and that I was waiting for my plus one.  The girl at the counter tells me it’s cooler downstairs. I head down to cool off and dry out. I was heavier back then, (36 waist!) so maybe that’s why I was sweating more. I get some water and have a seat.

I get a text from Annabelle that she has arrived. I tell her to just let them know who she is and they’ll let her in. She comes downstairs to get me. She is wearing her hair up, and has a black top and matching black slacks that just cover her knees. Is that called Capri pants? She is also wearing heels so she towers over me. I don’t care. I’m Phicklephilly. I cast a great shadow across this city. She goes to use the restroom, and I chill out looking at little models of what the building looked like when they were designing it. The are all in different stages under glass.  I’m looking at one of the tiny models very closely when she returns. She comes up behind me and I just feel her presence. I turn around and she is over me looking at what I’m looking at. I tell her it felt like I was being stalked by a raptor from Jurassic Park. She laughs and does this little impression of a raptor. I find this funny and ask her if she liked the film  Jurassic Park. (One of my favorite movies)

“I love Jurassic Park.”

“Okay….okay” I reply.

We go upstairs and into the main ballroom. They are having a little first Friday celebration. A live band plays some sweet jazz. For whatever reason we’re both starving. I get us high top with a pair of chairs, and tell her I’ll go fetch us some snacks and wine.

I head over to the bar and all they have is overpriced everything and some cheese and chips. It’s the Barnes for God’s sake. Can’t they afford any decent chow for the guests? I gather up two bags of chips some cheese and a couple of glasses of wine. I’m not even gone for five minutes, and some old codger has already swooped in and started talking to my date. This guy is easily twenty years older than me. I approach, drop the food on the table and hand Annabelle her wine.

“Really dude? I was gone all of five minutes. Get your own girl.” I joke.

We chat with the old guy. He seems charming and harmless. After a bit, Annabelle and I go over to tour the collection. Apparently, that wasn’t part of the passes I was given. I simply drop a name and they let us in. I had never seen the collection before so it was a real treat for me to see what a billion dollar art collection looked like.

The collection includes 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cézanne, 59 by Henri Matisse, 46 by Pablo Picasso, 21 by Chaim Soutine, 18 by Henri Rousseau, 16 by Amedeo Modigliani, 11 by Edgar Degas, seven by Vincent van Gogh, and six by Georges Seurat. Other European and American masters in the collection include Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Jean Hugo, Claude Monet, Maurice Utrillo, William Glackens, Charles Demuth, Jules Pascin and Maurice Prendergast. It also holds a variety of African artworks; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European furniture, decorative arts and metalwork. The museum also holds several significant works by cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

It was pretty amazing how one guy was able to collect this many fantastic, priceless pieces of art. We walk from room to room, looking at everything. At one point she says, “Out of everything in this room, which is your favorite?”  Then I would choose the one I liked the best. I would do the same to her. We did this enough times, until finally she asked me what was my favorite in the last room.

I simply pointed to her.

She smiled.

We then went downstairs to the rum tasting. We were all in a room and they gave us three different rums to try. The guy that was running the tasting really knew a lot about each rum and what made them different. But the weird part was, they were comparing the taste and look of the rum to different paintings in the collection. They had the images on a video screen on the wall. I’ve never seen this done, and I don’t even think it’s a real thing. But free rum is free rum. I remember the person talking about the mood of the paintings and the taste of the rum, and I was into it. there was a moment when my eyes drifted away from the host and onto Annabelle. I was looking at the painting and then my gaze passed over to Annabelle. I looked at her profile and neck. Was I falling for this girl? I took girls to events all of the time. What was it about this one? There’s nothing special about her really. It’s been two years since Michelle. I’m really taken with her. Has it just been too long since I’ve fallen in love that I just want that feeling again?

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

After the weird art/rum tasting we headed back upstairs. We probably shouldn’t have had all that wine and rum with so little food. I can handle it but it could be a bit painful for Annabelle tomorrow.

We leave the museum. It’s located in an area where it would be difficult to catch a taxi. I decide we should walk up to Spring Garden. We reach the corner and flag one down. We share the perfunctory hug. Dating’s funny. So much of it is tied to timing and ritual. I put her in the cab and ask her to text me that she has gotten home safely.

The cab rolls east into the night and as I walk back down into center city. As the city rises before me, I feel a little spring in my step.

 

 

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Carly – 2013 to Present -New Years Eve 2016

“Awww… Sheila. Always a bridesmaid. Never a bride.” I thought to myself.

Carly asked me if I’d help her set up for New Years Eve at the restaurant where she works. I hate New Years, but I love her, so I agreed to help. She needed me there around 4:30 on Saturday so that worked.

I had just come from brunch with hot senior citizen, Clarice at Jones. (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) I walked into the restaurant and took the elevator to the second floor. I told the bartenders that I was here to help Carly set up. They didn’t know if she was in the building or not. I texted her to let her know I was at the bar. Surprising, she got right back to me. “Stuck in traffic, should be there in twenty minutes.”

No skin off my nose. I had Cory make me a vodka martini straight up with a twist. What the hell, it was New Years Eve.

I had a great day, albeit expensive. I was still glowing a bit from my romantic time with Clarice. I took a photo of the cocktail in front of me and sent it to Carly just so she wouldn’t rush, and also know that I was in good hands. I ask Cory for a cocktail napkin, and wipe my mouth. I drop it onto the bar, as he hands me my drink.

Cory: “How’s bad is your life?”

Me: “What?”

Cory: (points to napkin marked with lipstick)

Me: “Ohhh…” I smile.

Cory: “Happy New Year.”

I was playing with my phone, and sipping my drink.  Just enjoying the sights and sounds of the restaurant, still decorated beautifully for the holidays. Some time passed, but I figured we had plenty of time. New Years probably wouldn’t get going until after 9pm. It was only around 5pm at this point. She said the whole job would only take a couple of hours.

Carly texted me again, saying she was looking for parking and that traffic was nuts in the city. It’s New Years Eve in Philly. Of course it’s going to be crazy. I ordered another martini.

I was chatting with the bartenders while they prepared for the impending onslaught of revelers. Twenty minutes later, I get another text. “Come up to the penthouse. We’re on the 14th floor.” I drain the last of my martini and ask for the check. Cory waves me off. “Your good.” I thank him, wish him a HNY and throw down a ten. I head to the elevators in the back by the Club Quarters. There is a mob of people there that look like they’re dressed up for a wedding.

The attendant has to insert a special key card to allow access to the penthouse. I’m sausaged into the elevator with a gaggle of  hot bridemaids. (I’ve been in worse situations)

We reach the penthouse and the place is a flurry of activity. “Who are all these people, and where is Carly?” One of the staff points to a door, leading upstairs. I head up and there is Carly and her husband.

“What are we doing and who are all of those people down there?”

Carly tosses me a 187 ml of champagne and says there’s been a change of plan. We’re now setting up for a New Years wedding and have two hours to do everything.

“They’re getting married here and the reception is here?”

“Yep.”

“Sounds good to me. Let’s do this.” I chug the tiny teaser and start grabbing boxes.

Downstairs we tell everybody that if they aren’t immediate family they have to leave until the wedding starts at 7pm. Holy shit! We have one hour! I’m arranging chairs in the main room. Then placing these tall glass vases next to some of the chairs.

I dump big pearls into the vase. Then I pour water in it. Then I place a tall, thick candle down in it. I then scatter white rose petals around the base. I replicate this nine more times.

Everybody is doing something. We have an efficient team of people who work at the restaurant and have to do this stuff on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. Even a couple of the bridesmaids were jumping in to help. There was the fun ethnic one who was really into helping and working with us and the photographer. Then there was the skinny hot one who did very little but complained a lot.

“Awww… Sheila. Always a bridesmaid.  Never a bride.” I thought to myself.

We get everything set up, and then have to get out of there because they’re going to do the ceremony. Just think, it only takes twenty minutes to get legally bound to someone. If it doesn’t work out and you have kids you’re stuck for the next twenty years in an emotional and financial hell of your own doing. (meaning: If you’re the man)

At one point I was out on this deck that many people don’t know about near the roof. There’s a guy out there in a tux, probably well into his sixties. He’s heavyset, and coughing while he’s lighting a cigarette. Built to last.

I start chatting with him. He’s the father of the bride. Turns out he’s a lifelong cross-country truck driver that delivers for BJ’s Wholesale. We share a moment. I congratulate him on his daughter getting married. I even had a chance to speak with her later. She said she met her husband at a bar in Ocean City, MD called Secrets. Sounds like a good place to meet your soul mate.

So me, Carly, her husband, and a few other people go up to the roof with another 187 ml each to catch a smoke. The view is great. When would I ever get to see this view? I love new views of my city. I take a few pics for Instagram. Carly is passing around the Mary Jane vape pen (marijuana) and that just adds to the fun.

Later we head back down stairs to get ready to set up for the reception in an hour. There’s a bar set up in the back room. I see a box of soft pretzels somebody brought in. I grab one and stuff it in my mouth. (Or as I call it: Drinking armor) Carly hands me a box of stuff, and says, “Make this and then make me five more.”

“On it.” It’s a glass vase about fifteen inches tall. I have to place it on a round mirror. Then place two little candles around it near the base. Put a few strings of pearls hanging out of the vase. Stuff a sponge in the opening. Then stuff white and black feathers, some with gold trim into the sponge all around it. It’s actually a fun project. I then replicate it five more times.

I bring out a tray of cigars and cutters. They are in a small room off the balcony. This way people can go out there and smoke cigars. I thought that was a good idea. So these crazy kids get married, leave for an hour, then come back to rock out to their Great Gatsby themed reception until midnight when it turns into an epic New Years Eve Party. I think it’s pretty cool, but setting all of this stuff up and all of the money and work that goes into this massive party all seems like a waste to me, but what the hell, I’ve had my time. I’m rootin’ for these kids.

Carly lets us know it’s time to go. The bride is thanking us all profusely. I was happy to spend time with one of my favorite people and do something nice for someone’s special day. It was great. The bride tells us we can have whatever is left over upstairs, as she stuffs four cigars in my coat pocket. We go upstairs to get our stuff and I walk out with a half a dozen 187 ml bottles. I like that it has the name of the bride and groom on every bottle.

I say goodbye to Carly and her husband, and thank them for the fun evening. I’ll be home by 9pm and asleep by 11pm at the latest, before 2017 even happens. I haven’t missed a thing.

Update: Carly has left her job as Events Director at the restaurant where she works. She wants to focus on the legalization of marijuana in Philly. She lives in Manayunk which is only a 15 minute car ride from center city, but when you live in the bubble of Rittenhouse like I do, she may a well be on another planet.

I miss her terribly and our Monday night cocktails and conversations. I saw her recently, but it’s just not the same. Hopefully I can see one of my favorite people in the world again soon.

 

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

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Michelle – 2007 to Present – Epilogue

“Every man dies. Not every man lives.” – HCW

Michelle and I have kept in touch since she moved to San Francisco to live with Dave. She found a good job and has even been promoted. She’s doing really well in her career. It seems pretty fast paced so she’s a busy lady. I met Michelle when she was 27. She is now 37 years old. We’ve known each other for over a decade now, but somehow it seems a lot longer. I suppose having a rich history together helps.

Michelle and Dave have lived out in San Fran for over three years now. They finally got married in 2016. He still works at the same job, and like I said she’s killing it in her job. We keep in touch through texting and sometimes use face time on our phones. Our friendship has transcended time and space.

They have no children yet, and I don’t know what their plan is in that department. We all know that the deal breaker between Michelle and I was that I didn’t want marriage and kids so she was out. I’m sure like every white couple in their thirties that have known each other for 20 years, they’re “trying.”

I never understand that about people. If you really want kids, throw the switch and make it happen. It’ll all work out. It’s easy. You can’t build a computer in an elevator but you can make a kid! Just get on with it! That’s what you wanted. The American Dream.

I did it and it worked out and I didn’t even want it. I love my Lorelei. She is a shaft of golden light through the darkness of my marriage and my life.

The housing market in San Francisco is some of the most expensive property in the country. Although Michelle and Dave are doing well, they are slowly being priced out of the market due to rising real estate prices and gentrification. So they may have to return to the east coast in the next year or so.

So there’s that little twist to the story. (Stop it. Not going to anything.)

Since she moved out West, Michelle has had to hide her friendship with me from Dave. He wouldn’t approve. I get it. Would I want my wife talking to her ex-boyfriend? Probably not. I’m pretty secure in myself though. It’s not like I’m talking to her to get her back. That’s simply not the case. Michelle and I have been friends longer than we were ever lovers. Our romantic relationship only lasted about two and a half years, but our friendship has lasted ten years! So in reality, she’s just keeping in touch with her friend back in Philly. She does that with all of her other friends back here so I’m just one of them. But I’m sure Dave wouldn’t see it like that, so she keeps me a secret. Dave thinks I’m ancient history for over five years now. (I still love that my pimp hand is strong nationwide. Kidding!)

Michelle lives a pretty clean and healthy life out there in the land of fruits and nuts. But whenever Dave has to go out-of-town she is usually drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and face timing with me. It’s like the kids in catholic school when I was growing up. They are held down so strictly, and when they’d got loose, they’d go crazy. Sometimes I think it’s that way for Michelle. But in the long run, living a healthier life will extend her life and she’ll feel better, and think more clearly. But not being able to be who you really are can create some long-term problems. But people are very adaptable. People evolve and change. A healthy clean life for Michelle may be her simply growing up.

I really believe that.

I’ve gotten the advice from some of my friends that what we’re doing is wrong. But based on what I know about those friends lives, I’d never listen to what they think I should do. They’ve made plenty of bad choices, and I’ll do what I want. It ends when Michelle says so, and not before. She’s the boss of that. No one knows what my life is, or was with Michelle and neither do you.

That belongs to us, and only us.

Michelle makes the final call on us and nobody else.

She’s been back to Philly a few times since she moved out west. Normally she swings by the city around the holidays. In 2014 she was around one evening. It was a lovely but bittersweet encounter. She was overcome with emotion. She had been spending the afternoon with several of her old friends, and I was the last stop. (Deal with it) We went to 1 Tippling Place for a drink before stopping at Crow and the Pitcher for another. She was supposed to go to her friend Gloria’s house and sleep over and then they were to have breakfast, but it didn’t quite play out that way.

She ended up sleeping on my sofa. Nothing happened, but she was pretty hung over the next morning. She got up and took an UBER down to Gloria’s the next morning for breakfast. Gloria was a little miffed, but Michelle’s time was limited. I later met up with her at 30th Street Station. She was going to take the train down to Delaware to see what I’m assuming was her family. She was a nervous wreck. So we sat at the Bridgewater Cafe and threw back a few chardonnays to take the edge off.

I put her on the train and off she went.

In 2015 she visited again around the holidays. She was unsure what time she’d be in the city. I was at McGlinchey’s drinking with Johnny R. She rolled in at one point and we all sat at a table by the door. It was nice. Johnny and I took turns playing songs on the jukebox, and we were all drinking and smoking cigarettes. It was just like old times. I played “Fly Me To The Moon,” and Michelle and I got up and danced in the aisle next to the bar. (Which was a sweet moment I get to wrap myself up in like a warm blanket.) Here we are in the shittiest bar in Philly and we bring the elegance and power just like always.

That was a glorious moment with my love.

Later, Johnny left and I walked down Chestnut Street towards 17th with Michelle. I think she told her people she was staying at her friend Susan’s house. But in reality she had booked a room at the Club Quarters. We took her bags up to the room. She was supposed to meet Susan for dinner, and said if I was around later we could meet up for a drink.

I went to Wawa and got a sandwich. I was starving, because eating anything from McGlinchey’s is always a health risk. I went back to my office at One Penn Center on JFK Boulevard and ate my sandwich and drank some box wine I kept there. (Cheap ass, but Mad Men style!)

She texted me about and hour and a half later. I met her at Club Quarters. She wanted to get a cocktail somewhere. We stopped in AKitchen on 18th Street. We chatted and enjoyed our drinks, just like we always did. Stories were told, memories refreshed, and cigarettes smoked. She said she should probably go back to her room. I walked her to the entrance of the hotel.

“Wanna come up?”

God Damn it.

So I ended up sleeping over that night. There was some playful moments, but I don’t think Michelle knew what she wanted that night. I probably should have gone home. We had planned on meeting for breakfast the next morning. But when the new day dawned she just wanted to go back to her family. She was feeling guilty about spending too much time with me again. So I guess I was dining alone that day.

I walked her to the parking garage and we went to her car. She pulled out of the lot and I got out. We said our goodbyes and I told her not to worry, and that nothing had happened. Just like I always do.

But nothing really happened.

Once again, my former queen disappeared into the morning light.

I ended up dining alone at Rachael’s alone. (Breakfast is always cheap and glorious despite your circumstances)

I have seen Michelle again since then, but for now, I will stop here. I have already written a chapter about that encounter. It’s connected to another series that will come out at a later date. (2018!) Don’t worry, it’s solid, and I have some more ideas for some future bonus Michelle posts.

Should I have married her? Maybe. My sisters love her, and so does my brother-in-law for all of the wrong reasons. (lol) But we wanted different things back then. I certainly don’t want any more children, and marriage hasn’t worked for me.  My only marriage resulted in a bitter divorce that cost me over $100,000 in child support.

Lorelei is plenty. I love her so.

Michelle and I came together like two taxis on Broad street in a glorious crash. Nobody was killed and everybody fell in love.

I loved her, but I couldn’t do any more children. If I ever get married again and I fuck the next one up, my social security checks go to the next ex-wife. I can’t risk that financial ruin again in this lifetime.

What is marriage anyway? A dice roll. A legal binding contract between two people where if you split up you could lose half your shit?

We’re not that.

We were never that.

Our love goes far beyond the trappings of traditional marriage.

So I’ll leave it at that. An elegant moment in history.

 

I believe in having a good sense of humor. People tell me I’m funny, and I have even done stand up. If you ask a woman what she wants in a man, one of the things will always be, “good sense of humor.”

I know some hilarious guys who are alone. Most women don’t want that. That’s just something they read somewhere, or a lie they’ve been told. But I really believe in the power of laughter. So although this has been a long and sometimes difficult tome to write, I will leave you on a humorous note.

I’ve laughed and cried writing it, and I like laughing better. So I’ll do the funny bit, then close with something from the heart. I’m going to start with something I have never told anyone.

Not even Michelle.

Then I’m going to tell you something Michelle told me a couple of years ago.

 

My Truth

If you go back to the first chapter of Michelle, you’ll read how I describe her as this beautiful, tall goddess. I’m the loser scuttling along behind her down the hallway in my cheap ass squeaky shoes. Michelle is a former print and runway model and National Champion Swimmer. She stands at 5’11”. In heels she is 6’3″.

Yea… That is a Sexy Baby.

Our hero on the other hand, is only 5’9″. Which isn’t bad. Like my mother used to say, “We’re average.”

Do I mind my height? Absolutely not. Every guy would like to be tall. At least 6 foot. But I have been perfectly happy with my size in regard to every part of my anatomy. No one has ever complained.

“It’s not the music, it’s how you play it”.

But, when I started spending more time with Michelle, especially at work, in the field or at a bar, she would be in heels. Our height differential became glaringly apparent to me. So I went online. I think the company is overseas. It’s called Tall Man Shoes. I ordered two different styles of dress shoes from them. The shoes are constructed in such a way, that it looks like a normal men’s dress shoe, but inside is a lift.

If you look at them carefully, the heel is slightly higher. But not enough to notice and the back of the shoe is higher and longer vertically. So those shoes gave me another two inches in height. No one ever knew. I just appeared that height. I wore them all of the time and even got a pair of casual shoes. They were quality made shoes and lasted a long time. I nearly twisted my ankle half a dozen times in those damn things.

One time, I actually went off a curb sideways wearing those shoes and really hurt my left foot. I couldn’t walk on it for a day or two and had to call out of work. I called Michelle to get me booze because I was crippled by my shoes and she didn’t want to help me because she was too busy!

But I never told her!

I think I stopped wearing them after that.

Funny thing is, the next girl I started dating after Michelle was six feet tall! Yep, I was back wearing the fucking high heels! (Annabelle!)

 

Michelle’s Truth

She told me she faked ALL of her orgasms with me.

Yea…

Every one of them.

All fake.

You would think that would wound my manhood.

The flaccid, cold fact that I was unable to please my most beloved woman when I made love to her.

But it doesn’t.

You know why?

BECAUSE I NEVER FAKED ANY OF MY ORGASMS!

 

Now, as promised…a heartfelt note.

 

Dear Philadelphia,

Thank you for everything. I am proof that here in the City of Brotherly Love, your dreams can come true. Life is what you make it.  Michelle is proof of that. Today your life could be an elegant dream. Tomorrow a nightmare. Be thankful for what you have. We all make choices, that’s part of growing up. Happiness cannot exist without sadness.

I have been very lucky. Michelle has moved forward with her life without me. Here I am dating women and going nowhere with any of them.

But I know why I am where I am.

Even my daughter Lorelei will leave me to fly on new wings like Michelle. For different reasons, but it’s all just a matter of time.

She’ll be gone too.

I don’t know if Michelle was the love of my life, but it sure felt like it.

But my life isn’t over yet.

Love,

Phicklephilly

 

These fifteen chapters of our greatest hits has been a love letter to you. The series has run from Hallowen 2016 right up to your birthday this Memorial Day Weekend when we first went to NYC and consummated our love back in 2008, Michelle.

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for loving me and being in my life. You always said I was prosperous. I know you were a big part of that. 

 

 

Role Credits…..

Special thanks to everyone who supported the story and read it every week and followed me on this amazing journey. Thanks to the real Michelle for reading it and helping me remember all of our wonderful times together. Thank you friends, family and WordPress followers. I love you and all of your comments and support.

(Yea, My sisters read this blog and it’s horrible. Really?)

I write this with tears in my eyes.

My late father once said: “Every man dies, but not every man lives.”

I have truly lived and loved.

I am proud to have had the honor to dance with you Michelle in my livingroom and terrorize this town on a daily basis with you back in the day.

I’ll never forget it.

I will continue my journey through this life. I’m glad you’re all along for the ride.

Life is fleeting and fragile.

Enjoy yourself!

Fin

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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