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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Marisa – Part IV – A Blonde Moment

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

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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