Annabelle – 2012 – Chapter 1 – Nice to Meet You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something tall and golden that is no longer Michelle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But like I said, crickets.

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

And it would be a whole new ballgame.

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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The Return of Rebecca – 9/2016 to Present – Cypress and the Oak – Part II

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

We headed down Chestnut Street to Mix. I love Mix. It’s just slightly outside of the Rittenhouse bubble. How can you not love a place that has a full bar and serves delicious reasonably priced brick oven pies? Sure Zavino is good down at 13th and Sansom, but I’m not going down there. Too crowded, and too expensive.

We get there and head to the back room. The front of the house looks like a regular pizza place, but you keep walking, and the back is a bar with tables. We grab a high top and look at the menus. It’s clear to me a great weight has been lifted from her shoulders. We order up and sip our beers.

Piping hot delicious pie comes out and all is right with the world.

“What’s better than pizza and beer?” She says, as we tap bottles and take a swig. “Free pizza and beer,” was my reply. She laughs and looks at me while taking a pull from her Corona. “Hey, how come you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder?” She quips, smiling.

“What? I don’t ‘Super Like’ anybody.”

“Come on. You must have at least tried it once.”

“Don’t you only get a few of those? You can’t ‘Super Like’ everybody, or people would do it.”

“See? You know about it, so you must have done it at least once.”

“Okay. Maybe once. Now that you mention it, I may have ‘Super Liked’ somebody just to try it.”

“Do you remember who?”

“Maybe it was some really hot little Asian chick.”

“Oh, so you’re into Asian girls.”

“Who isn’t? They’re adorable and smart and nice.”

She laughs. “Did you ever date an Asian girl?”

“I did. When we first got to L.A. I did.”

“I thought you had a steady girlfriend out there?”

“I did. But it was before her. I was 19 years old. Back then the drinking age in New Jersey was 18 and I was legal, but in California it was 21 so I had to get my friend who was 21 to get all of our alcohol. So we were in a bar one night checking out some bands. He got the drinks and brought them to the table and I told him as thanks, I’d bring us some talent to the table.”

“Talent?” she inquired.

“You know what I mean. I went downstairs and met these two sisters. The Yukomatos. One was my buddy’s age and her little sister was my age. I told them we had a table upstairs and asked them to join us and they did. It was easy back then.

” So what happened? Did you guys sleep with the sisters? I think I like this story.”

“No. Well yes. My buddy slept with the older one eventually. I didn’t sleep with the little sister.”

“Why not?”

“She was in love with this older guy that she was banging.”

“Really? I like her already.”

“Oh thanks a lot, you’re happy I didn’t get any loving.”

“No. Think about why I like her…” She gives me that grin and those eyes.

“Ohhh…” I am smiling now. “So how did it all end up?”

“My buddy would ask me to leave our apartment some nights so he could throttle big sister. I remember he used to put a sock on the door knob to let everybody know it was off-limits.”

“Oh my God, that is so college.”

” Well he went to college, I didn’t, so I guess he had a move.”

“You never tried to get baby sister into bed?”

“No, she liked making out with me and stuff, but not much else. Just dating stuff, like going to record stores.”

“So nothing ever?”

“Well, we fooled around some, but she used to like this thing where I stuck my tongue in her ear for periods of time. It used to really drive her nuts. I’ve never met anyone since then that was into that.”

“So her heart belonged to some older guy, huh?”

“Yep. I think she said he was in his thirties or early forties. At the time I just couldn’t understand that. I mean, she had this young, lean rock guitarist, lion cub right in front of her. Me with my long blonde mane of hair and all.”

“Yea, but you were young and inexperienced. Maybe she wanted a man.”

“Well at the time I didn’t understand why she would want that. I was right there.”

“Well, I’m sure he had things that you couldn’t provide.”

“Oh, you mean like expensive dinners, and jewelry and stuff like that?”

” No. Maybe she wanted a gentleman that would take her to the museum, not just to impress her, but could actually appreciate the art, and talk about it. Maybe he took her to the ballet and the symphony. You don’t know. I’m sure she was attracted to you cause you were cute, but maybe she loved him, and that’s why she reserved that part of herself only for him. You might have just been her boy toy.”

“Probably. But I enjoyed being with her because she was cute and nice. I hadn’t ever kissed an Asian girl. I like things that are new and different.”

“Do you see the correlation here?” She says inquisitively.

“I do, Rebecca.”

Were these girls smart?”

“Of course, they were Asian. Their parents worked in pharmaceuticals. They lived out in Washington Hills. That’s a nice area. I’m surprised somebody didn’t call the cops when my 1969 Volkswagen mini bus rolled up, and a German and an Irishman jumped out and went into the house. Their parents were away a lot. Palm Springs and Vegas mostly. They had an intercom in their house. I didn’t even know what that was.”

“Why would someone have that?”

“It was a big house. They had money. I would get on the intercom and pretend to be their father to scare my buddy when he was upstairs in the bedroom fooling around with big sister. I would be like; “Dude! We have to get out of here! Their parents are home! Then I would do an impression of an angry Asian man hollering over the intercom that he was going to kill the dirty Irishman that was deflowering his daughter with his samurai sword.”

Rebecca lost her shit right there. She was laughing so hard she choked on her pizza. It reminded me of when I used to do funny bits at the dinner table with my Mom and sisters. I would actually try to get them to spit out their food, or even better make them laugh so hard they passed something through their noses.

“Oh my God, that is crazy. You’re so funny!” she said.

I have heard that so many times before from women. I would say it is my gift, but it is just the way my mind works. Sometimes people mistake light heartedness as immaturity or simplicity, but they’re all wrong. To be truly funny you have to see the sadness and pain of the world. It’s all time and irony. A mind that can laugh at tragedy. One who can make light of things that are painful or embarrassing is an open mind. One who can laugh at himself. It’s like all great theater. Joy and tragedy. I was so happy to make lovely Rebecca laugh. I haven’t felt this kind of joy since my ex girlfriend Michelle, when we used to talk about everything. And I mean Everything.

Rebecca was ripping into her slices. Baby was happy. She seemed liberated from tonight’s heartbreaking tale. I love to see a lady eat. I hope I can cook for her one day.

“Okay, so what ultimately happened to the Hiroshima twins?”

“Well my buddy went back to Belfast to study law to become a barrister and I kept in touch a little bit with the sisters.”

“That was the end of it?”

“Well one night big sister calls me and says that there is some great band playing at Madam Wong’s East in Chinatown. So I go, and she and baby sister are there and the three of us are hanging out. I’m burning pretty clean that night because I’m driving. Now my buddy has been gone for months. Baby sister isn’t into me at all. I’m fine with that, she’s still with older guy. What if that dude was married the whole time and she’s just his side piece? That would be crazy, but I wouldn’t rule it out. So baby sister ends up leaving and I hang with older sister. She’s a great girl, and ex-girlfriend from one of my best friends in the world. We’re living it up and dancing, and having a great time at the show. I wish I remember who was playing. But if I can’t remember they couldn’t have been that great. I’m happy to be with her and then she tells me something. She says that when we initially met, she was really liking me. She wanted me but settled on my buddy when she saw I was into her hot younger sister. I ended up making out with her that night. There was some grabbing under the table but not much else. I wasn’t that into her but she was a sweet girl. I liked that fact that she was always into me though. We both had a great time and then she went home. I never saw either of them again.”

“It’s still a good story.”

“I guess. One of many. One of the more tame ones.”

“Oh really?”

“Well I was in a band.”

“Ok, rock star, but I still liked the idea that the younger sister was in love with the older gentleman. She knew what she liked.”

“I suppose.”

“Do you go on Tinder a lot?”

“Hardly ever now. I can’t really be bothered with it. It seems so superficial.” (Bold Faced Lie. I’m writing a dating blog!)

“Me either. I’m kinda done with it. You’ve been amazing tonite. Thank you so much for seeing me, and listening to all of my woes.  I feel so much better. I’m glad I let it out. I hope you’re not freaked out by it. I know you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me on Tinder but I’m glad we met just the same.”

“Well for the record, you didn’t ‘Super Like’ me either.” I laughed to make light of this nonsense.

“I know it’s all so silly.”

“Well if it’s any consolation, Rebecca, I’m not afraid to say that I super like you now and hope I can see you again soon. Youre smart and beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed our time together. The museum was amazing because of you, and tonight has been wonderful. I’m just happy to be with you. There. Complete vulnerability, okay?”

“I know we didn’t do the Fringe Festival but  I was just trying t think of stuff to do with you and then I went through my crap. Can we plan something soon?”

My heart is soaring. “Of course. Let’s text and or call. Whatever you want Rebecca. To be honest with you I dated an actress for a while and she liked all that Fringe stuff and I kind of hate it all. It’s fringe for a reason”

“I agree. Maybe we could go to the movies. I don’t care what we see. I trust you’ll pick and it’ll be good. I’m thinking buttery popcorn and candy.”

“I’ll find something good. Maybe I can email you a few previews and we can agree on something.”

“No. You pick. We’re both busy. We’ll make it work. Let’s do a Saturday matinée and then grab drinks afterward so we can chat about the film!”

How great is this? Did I rub a lamp and did this girl come out of it?  We crushed most of the pie. She says how she’s going to be fat from eating so much pizza, but I assure she won’t gain any weight if none of her girlfriends see her do it, so it doesn’t count. Like eating Snickers bars or drinking alone. Oh, wait, that second one is something else.

The bill comes and there is some pie left and we ask for a box. I say to her how it’s funny that the first part of our second date was her story, and then part two was somehow a tale from my past. She says how she would like to hear more of my stories and is fascinated by life and different experiences. She says she would love to travel, but it’s expensive. I tell her I just got my passport for the first time. She says she likes to go to the seashore and I hold back that there is a shore house in my family a block and a half from the beach in North Wildwood. Too early. I like to play some great songs, but don’t play the hits too early. Let’s see where this is going. If it somehow progresses, I’d love to take her to the shore. Just to take a break from the city, and commune with nature by the sea. Oh, who am I kidding? It’ll look like a hooker hotel room in Jersey City in the heat of the night.

I insist on paying. Rebecca giggles and tells me I have to pay because her credit card may be maxed our from her last transaction. “Totally worth it.” She says. It’s late. She has to work tomorrow and save lives. I have to write about this. We walk outside and Philadelphia is surprisingly quiet for once. I’ve had a lovely time with this treasure. The night is clear and the buildings are familiar. I have been on this odyssey for the last ten years and all I can think of is ‘Here we go again’. But I love the euphoria of this moment. The exhilaration of new love. I know that’s what it is. No one has said it. She may not even know what it is. She has had a measure of the pain and searing anguish of love with Derrick, but here it is again. She seems interested in me and may not know what kind of animal she has caught in her snare. But I’m willing to be caught and ready to go.

“I’ve had a wonderful night with you.” She says, taking my hands in hers. She looks up at me. Her eyes are dark and full of light. I don’t question what is happening. “Thank you so much for your time tonight. I can’t thank you enough. I feel like you fixed me. I have been wearing armor my whole life and when I take it off I always get hurt. I feel like I’m safe when I’m with you.” She lifts her hands slowly and gently touches my cheeks and kisses me gently. Her kisses are soft and sincere.

That’s the difference.

There’s no faking that. Ever.

 

Stay tuned for The Return of Rebecca, Part 3 in Two Weeks!

 

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.

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The Return of Rebecca – 9/2016 to Present – Cypress and the Oak – Part I

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

It had been a while since I had heard from Rebecca. She certainly made an amazing impression upon me on our first date. It didn’t make sense that she “ghosted” me after our very first meeting. It felt like it had been a couple of months, and all I heard was the deafening sound of crickets. I did text her twice in that time to meet up for a drink and just never heard back. This has happened before. I know this other little hottie that is always saying she wants to meet me for drink, but can never pull it together.

But then out of the blue she texted me. “Sooo sorry for being off the grid. Can we meet up for a drink soon?” I told her I could do Monday or Wednesday. She picked Monday. I liked that because it was sooner. I asked her if she had any preference. She said for me to pick the place. I wanted somewhere that was nice, but not some place where we’d stick out like a sore thumb. I had a few days to figure it out. I have to come up with a place where they knew me, but I’d have some privacy. I decide to meet her at 1 Tippling Place at 6:30 the next Monday. “Great! I always wanted to check that place out!” was her reply.

1 Tippling Place is a really cool, living room style cocktail bar. It’s located at 20th and Chestnut streets. The outside is really nondescript. Just a glass and steel door, next to a large window. If you blinked or sneezed while walking by you’d miss it. But inside there is all kinds of neat comfy furniture and coffee tables. The artwork is eclectic and the room as a whole is nicely appointed with interesting artifacts. The cocktails are first-rate. They really don’t serve any food. I mean they have some little hors d’oeuvre, but that’s about it. You go there for the quality drinks and the atmosphere. I also enjoy the snarky attitude of the lead bartender. When you first meet him you think he might be gay. Then in walks his smoking hot girlfriend. It’s one of my favorite bars in the city because it’s an original that has real character.

I arrive early. I always like to get to a place early to scope out the scene and get the lay of the land. I chat with the owner. She’s awesome. Normally she’s in and out during the day, and then leaves around 7pm. We’re pretty tight. I’ve even walked her home on occasion. I normally don’t order off the cocktail menu. I just tell the bartender that I want something dark and spirit forward. They make it and I drink it. It’s always good. I will say that the place is a little expensive. Most of the drinks cost between $12 and $14.

I look at my watch. 6:20. Hope she isn’t late.

Hope she shows up.

Five minutes later the door opens. It was like one of those moments in those 80’s teen comedies, when everything moves in slow motion and they play some cool song. Rebecca enters the bar. I take a deep breath. Her dark hair is up, which always looks so sexy on the right woman. Her ripe lips an exquisite pout. She is wearing a burgundy cocktail dress. It comes to mid-thigh. She is wearing black sheer stockings and elegant black high heels. She looks amazing. I’m blinking my eyes trying to focus on this vision.

I immediately stand to greet her. She hugs me, and I am more intoxicated by her beauty and lovely fragrance than any cocktail that could be crafted at this bar. “Rebecca,” is all I could say. “Shall we get a table?” she replies. I nod, and guide her to a quiet table in the corner so we can chat. “You look lovely. I feel under dressed ” I say. “Well I haven’t seen you in a while and I like to dress up.” she responds.

We order a round of drinks. I have my usual dark power, and she goes with something equally strong. Interesting. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe she likes a heady drink or maybe she needs a bit of courage. We chat about what we’ve been up to and she’s telling me about work, and some of the challenges she obviously faces in the medical industry. Then she says, “I suppose you’re wondering why you haven’t heard back from me in a while, and I am sorry about that.” I tell her it’s okay and I’m just happy that she is here tonight.

“Remember how I told you that I went out with that man who was older than me and I didn’t feel any chemistry after four dates?” “Didn’t that guy get married? He didn’t try to…?” “No…no. Nothing like that. I just wanted to preface what I was about to tell you, that it doesn’t feel that way with you.” she says. Now I’m getting a little worried and a little confused. “Do you mean you do feel chemistry with me or you don’t?” I ask, feeling a slight searing heat in my heart. This could go be a short date.  She smiles and takes my hand. “I do like you. It feels different just being around you. You’re not like anybody else I know.” I visually sigh in relief and she reads my expression. I need to be cool. “Don’t worry, I’ve thought a lot about where my life is and it sometimes can be confusing.” I reassure her that whatever she is concerned about I understand, and will listen.

Women don’t want men to solve their problems. Men are all about solutions. They like to fix things. Women are more about their feelings. That’s why men define themselves on what they do, and women define themselves on who they know. The way to a woman’s heart is really quite simple. Don’t tell her what she should do, or how she should do. Just listen. I’m just happy at that moment that I am the one who is present to listen to whatever it is she needs to get off her chest.  I just hope she can’t hear my heart beating.

Rebecca takes a sip from her drink, not breaking her gaze with me. Looking into me with those brilliant emeralds. “Two years ago I met this guy on Tinder named Derrick. He was around my age. As you know guys my age basically suck for the most part. They don’t know what they want or who they are yet. But he ‘Super Liked’ me on Tinder. And… I did the same on his profile so I thought it was kismet. I know now I only did that because he was really cute and not much else. Isn’t that why most people swipe right for the most part anyway?”

“I suppose. But I’d like to think that some of us are more thoughtful when it comes to matters of the heart.” I reply. (Bold faced lie.) She seemed smart in her profile, but I know I swiped right because she was smoking hot.

“I know right?” she exclaims. “Thank you! But I guess I was dumb and just being superficial. So we exchanged numbers. It all happened so fast. We met up, and it was fun. He seemed kind of full of himself and his band. But he was good really good-looking. He invited me to come out and see his band play and we’d hang out after their set. So I get dressed up and go to the bar where their playing. Derrick was the lead singer. I was kind of hoping he’d take me on a proper date, but I thought that would happen after we got to know each other. I suppose it’s not a bad way to meet someone for the first time. You’re in a bar surrounded with people so it’s not like you’re meeting a stranger in some isolated place. I also prepared myself for the fact that he was the singer in the band and usually they are surrounded by willing girls. I mean, you told me you used to play guitar in a band in L.A. Weren’t you always around a bunch of girls?”

“Sure. There were a lot of girls and guys at our shows. We played hard rock, so our audience skewed more male than female. But I had a steady girlfriend at the time. I was committed to my relationship with her.” (Bold faced lie)

“Well you’re one of the rare ones.” (I wonder if she can see the devil horns sticking out of my head?) Anyway, so I’m at the their show. I didn’t want to go to a bar alone, so I took my roommate Amber with me. We had an agreement that if things went well with Derrick she’d either hook up with someone there or UBER it home. I mean it wasn’t a real date so I don’t think there was anything wrong with bringing my friend with me as backup.”

“What kind of music did they play?” I ask, hoping to get insight about the boy through his musical tastes.

“It wasn’t emo, but it sort of sounded like that. I guess it was more post hardcore.”

This guy already sounds like a douche, I thought. She takes another sip and this time her eyes are down. I can see this is hard for her. “Okay. Please go on. I’m listening.”

“So they end their set and we’re hanging out. Me, my friend Amber, Derrick, and his lead guitarist, Simon. We’re drinking and laughing and having a good time. We’re at this table all the way off to the back. I’m sitting next to Derrick and Amber is across from me with Simon in a booth. Amber likes to party. Simon is ordering shots and beers and we’re all getting pretty buzzed. I feel like I’m really liking Derrick. He’s going about how important the music is and all of that stuff, but I don’t care I just think he’s hot. Next thing I know Amber is all over Simon. I look at Derrick and he’s on me. We’re just making out like crazy. Normally I’m not like that but I think it was the drinking that made it easy. Plus I wanted him cause he was so good-looking. It was fun.”

At this point I’m wondering where all of this is going. We order another round.

“So we decide we want to go someplace else. We leave the bar and start walking. Simon pulls out a couple of joints and we’re all smoking. Just smoking weed walking down the street. We didn’t care. We’re all giggling and Derrick has his arm around me. We end up some really dark bar. I don’t even remember where it was. We’re drinking and we’re all pretty messed up. The place is full of people. We’re in the back. Derrick is like, Do you ever go skiing? and I’m like, yea, I have been but I’m not that great at it, but I have good balance. Then he pulls out this little bag with white powder in it. I assume it’s cocaine. I go, Oh… skiing. I had never done coke before, but I know Amber has and she says it’s great. So they look around all paranoid and shit, and literally start spooning it out. Derrick does a hit and then offers me a bump. I just do it. I don’t know why. Amber’s like, “gimme some!” Then she and Simon do some. I couldn’t believe it. Doing coke in a bar? It felt cold in my nose, and I could feel this clear euphoria. It almost felt sobering to do it. But different. Higher. Intense. I can see why people love it so much. You were in a band in California. You must have done it right?”

“I saw what drugs did to my peers. I was more of a beer and whiskey guy. I smoked weed occasionally but never really liked it. A little drugs an alcohol can loosen the mind to create, but I knew people who did loads of drugs and it literally sledgehammered their talent and destroyed them. So no. I steered clear of coke.” (White lie) Get it?

“Oh well that’s good. But anyway, I know I’ve been blabbing on about this. Long story short, these guys come back to our place and we end up fooling around with them. It was crazy. I guess we were all just caught up in the moment. I think we stayed up most of the night. Well, Derrick and I ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend after that. It felt like he really loved me. I loved him.” She takes a sip and a deep breath, looking off into the distance, as if trying to visualize a faded past. An image that vanished in her rearview mirror long ago.

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

“We went out for about a year. It was intense. We moved in with each other. Amber had gone off to school anyway so it was perfect timing. Things were great at first. But they always are in the beginning. We always did things together and went places together and partied together like a really great couple. I know he was focused on his music and really wanting to make it. But there were a lot of times when he wasn’t around. Times I wouldn’t hear from him and couldn’t get in touch with him. A girl starts to wonder what’s going on. I even started spying on him. Going to places they were playing. He wouldn’t see me, but I wanted to know what he was up to. I wanted to trust him, but you know when you get that weird feeling in your gut that something’s wrong. Well, his behavior had become more and more erratic. I know he was doing drugs but I just wasn’t into it like he was. We just weren’t connecting like we did in the beginning. Like maybe he was just tired of me.”

“Sometimes he would even get really mad about things that didn’t make any sense. Well, one night I followed him after he left me to do a show, and I saw him making out with this redhead at a bar. He wasn’t even playing with his band that night.  She was like all emo or whatever with tattoos and shit. I was devastated. I just jumped on the train and went home.”

“I’m sorry I’m telling you all of this.”

I could see that her eyes were wet with the beginnings of tears. “It’s okay. You can tell me. I’m here.” I took her dainty hands in mine. She sniffed and nodded, holding back the tears.

“That night he had the gall to come home and try to do it with me. I pushed him away. He got all mad at me and I told him what I saw. He denied it at first, but I told him I followed him and saw him. He got really mad and started throwing stuff around. He broke this little snow globe he gave me in the beginning. At that moment I didn’t even care about the globe. He had already broken something far more precious than that stupid thing.”

Okay, now I was getting upset. “My God, Rebecca. I’m so sorry.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. She took a healthy sip of her drink. I wiped the tears from her face with my thumb. She hugged me. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s not your fault, Rebecca. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

She sniffed and I offered her a cocktail napkin. (Note to self: Start carrying a clean handkerchief in your lapel pocket.) She wiped her face, and her nose. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

My bartender showed up at the table. “Is everything okay?” he asked. “Yes…yes. She’s just suffering a loss.” I replied. “I’ll bring you another round, yes?” I glance at her. “She smiles and blinking her eyes, nods in affirmation. He quickly returned. “These are on me guys.”

My man at Tippling is always on point.

“Okay, so that was over a year ago, right?”

“Yes. He took his stuff and left me. I was crushed. Destroyed. I cried for months. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I drank so I could get some sleep. When I would wake up in the morning, I’d  just go to the bathroom and dry heave over the sink.”

I could see she was struggling. “So did something happen recently?”

Heavy sigh. “Yes. He reached out to me on social media. I had blocked him from Facebook and in my phone, but I was on Instagram and he got to me that way. I had a panic attack when I saw his name.”

“Let me guess. This happened sometime after you and I went to the Museum.”

“Yea. I know it’s so stupid. He said how he missed me and how he was wrong and had grown so much. And like the idiot, I unblocked him in my phone. We met up and as crazy as it seems I was actually happy to see him. He looked a little older and a little more haggard, but it was still my Derrick. We were at a bar up in Northern Liberties. Things felt different. Time had passed. Too much time. I had grown and healed. But old habits die-hard. I just wanted to take a look at him. He said he was really sorry for what he had done. He said it hadn’t worked out with the redheaded slut. She actually ended up cheating on him with some drummer in a band that opened for them. I was actually kind of glad to hear that. But I’m sure he didn’t feel the loss that I had experienced. I had scar tissue on my heart from what he did to me. But I couldn’t let him tear open the sutures and open my old wounds. I work in a hospital emergency room. That shit hurts!”

Rebecca actually laughed at that moment. It had been the first time the whole night. That sound was like magic to my ears. I smiled a knowing smile. Because she didn’t know that I have been down that road twice in my life, and it’s a nightmare.

Love is a many splintered thing.

“So yea, that was a two months ago. I told him that I’m glad he was doing well, but I had moved on after a year and that I was in a relationship with a really nice guy in financial services.” She laughed again. “I could see he was disappointed, but I couldn’t let myself go through that shit again. It was a small chapter in my life and I had to draw the curtains on that dead body. He had me, and he squandered it. I think in that moment he realized that it was really over for good. It was hard to do, but I told him I had to get home to Cole, my investment banker boyfriend. He hugged me, and I knew I would never smell him again. it was like pulling the plug on a fatally injured patient.”

“So that was it?” I took a sip of my rye infused medicine.

“Yea. I went home and put on and episode of Stranger Things and ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and had a good cry. So… that’s why I disappeared for a while. I just needed to think about some things and move forward with my life. So, I’m glad you met up with me tonight. I’m sure you never expected our second date to be this confessional. I really appreciate you listening to all of that, but it felt really good to get it out. I was like a little tree blowing back and forth in the wind, but now I feel more calm. Like the storm is finally over and I’m safe.”

“Well, I’m glad you trusted me enough after one date to see me again and confide in me, Rebecca. Like my profile says, I’m a good listener.”

“Yea…Thank you.” Taking my hand again in hers. “You’re like a strong tree. Good roots  with unwavering branches.”

“Yea, and my bark is worse than my bite!” I snapped. She cracked up. Rebecca was back.

“You’re awesome.” she said as she again hugged me tightly. Oh, that lovely slender neck and her fragrance was sobering.

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

“There’s a great bar called Mix that is one block from here that has delicious 12 inch brick oven pizzas.”

“That sounds like the greatest idea I have heard all day! Do you think I’m over dressed or pizza?”

“I’m sure you’ll pass they’re rigid dress code, Rebecca.”

And with that she pulled from her hair the thing that was holding it in place, and those rich ribbons of dark chocolate tumbled over her lovely shoulders.

It’s hard to believe that this story could get any better at this point, but it does. The bill came and my guy placed it on the table. I reached for it to access the catastrophic damage to my bank account that 6 drinks at 1 Tippling Place would cost me… plus tip.

But Rebecca was faster, and she grabbed it first. “Uh uh. This is on me.”

I was in shock. My face, a mask of disbelief and mute protest. “Are you sure?” She looked at the bill. “Yep.” She whipped out her credit card and stuck it in the flap, as she nodded to the bartender.

I instinctively reached for my wallet. “Can I at least help with the tip?”

“Put your wallet way.” She said firmly, giving me a wry smile.

“Will you at least let me buy a lady some pizza?”

She ran her fingers through her hair, fluffing her dark locks. “I’ll think about it.”

The bill returned. She signed it and handed it back. ” Come along, Sir. I’m hungry.”

I liked that she called me Sir. I also like that she took my hand, and led me out of there. When we were outside she locked arms with me. I was in heaven. We’re on our way to eat delicious pizza.

 

Tune in for The Return of Rebecca, Part 2 in Two Weeks!

 

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Lida – 8/2016 – Innocent Exile

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

This is going to sound like it’s not true but it is. A couple of months ago during the Democratic Convention, I met Lida. I was coming out of the Rite Aid at 17th and Chestnut. This petite woman who appeared Indian or Middle Eastern in origin came up to me on the street.  Late twenties or early thirties, caramel skin, black hair, and dark brown eyes. She asked if she had seen me yesterday out here with my wife and our dog.

I don’t have a dog, and I certainly ain’t got no wife! So I was a little taken aback. Philly is full of nuts. But she was very sweet. I told her maybe she saw me with my neighbor and her dog because we were out together with her dog a few days ago. She then asked me where the T-Mobile store was. I told her. She said she was from Northeast Philly. That she was staying with a friend here in center city for the Democratic Convention. She had taken a 2 week temporary volunteer position to help out with the influx of people. She said she didn’t know her way around Philly and asked if I could show her where the T-Mobile store was. I had nothing to do and she was very sweet, so I said yes.

So we’re walking over to the store and I’m staring to realize there is something off about this woman. She is asking me a lot of questions about my life. Am I married? Do I have a girlfriend? Do I ever want to get married? Stuff like that. Like I said, she was very sweet but seemed to lack some social skills. She almost seemed a little immature in her thinking. So we get to T-Mobile and she talks to one of the staff. She needs a charger or something. She asks me to hold her bags and I go have a seat.

After some time, she has what she needs and we leave. She says she has to go to Rite Aid and pick up a few things. She begins to tell me that she normally lives with her parents up in the Northeast. That she was bitten by a deer tick like nine years ago, and got a bad case of Lyme Disease. Bad enough that she has been on disability for the last 9 years. She has never been married. The more I listen to her the more it seems that she has somehow been locked away.

Lida takes my hand. She wants to hold hands. I love holding hands. I haven’t held hands with anyone since 2014. I did it but it felt awkward. I just met this woman.  She tells me how she found this temporary roommate through Craigslist. I needed details. She said he was man in his sixties and was letting her stay at his apartment here in center city so she could do her job.

First thing I’m thinking is, how is this young woman who seems like she has been locked in a tower since the theatrical release of the Little Mermaid know any thing about going onto Craigslist to find stuff?

Then she wants to sit in a park. So I comply. I can feel that this woman is lonely. We’re facing each other on a bench, and out of nowhere she says; “Do you want to kiss me? Because it looks like you do.” It was surreal. Nobody does that. But… If I search back through my whole history and everybody I ever dated…yes, this has probably happened before. But we didn’t kiss. I think I was so taken aback by her statement. Odd thing was, I could feel that she wanted me to kiss her. I would have but it just seemed weird. She says she has to go to the store and pick up some things. I wanted to see how this whole thing was going to play out so I agreed to join her.

She seemed simple, but like I said she was so sweet. It’s as if she had little experience connecting with people. Especially the opposite sex.

We go to Rite aid and she hands me a list. A list?  She tells me she has to get these things for the house. It’s part of the agreement. I ask her if she is fooling around with this guy in exchange for free room and board. She said she was not having sex with him and he is often out-of-town. I enjoy a challenge so I grabbed a basket and the list.

I ran a round the store getting all this stuff while she looked at mascara. I returned to her and she was very pleased at all of the stuff I got. But I think she was more pleased that she  had a guy to do domestic stuff with. Frankly dear readers, I was bored at T-Mobile, and doing this was kind of annoying, and all the questions about life and love and hand holding were actually starting to get on my nerves.

So now we’re walking back to her apartment and I’m carrying a bunch of bags. She asks me what my plans are for the rest of the day. I’m thinking, she’s nuts and I don’t really want to be around this head case much longer. I tell her I have to be at a meeting at 2pm. Which was a bold-faced lie. I had to see a friend of mine at 3pm but I wanted to get away from her sooner. If she hadn’t been insane I would have worked something out with my friend. Because she was a nice looking little chick.

We get to the building that she’s staying in. There is a security guard at the front desk. She tells him that she just has to drop all of these bags upstairs at the apartment. He says fine, but I have to wait here in the lobby. I don’t care, maybe I should just bolt while she’s upstairs and cut this nut job loose. But she seems lonely and she is really sweet. And based on past experience when I was in a band, sweet crazy can be a lot of fun. She gets on her T-Mobile phone and calls the old guy who owns the apartment. She explains to him that she got all of the stuff he wanted her to get on the list at the store, but she needs me to help her carry all the bags upstairs. She explains to him that I am her friend and not just someone she just met. She’s really selling it. I’m acting casual and looking at my phone as if uninterested. Because I kind of am! At this point I’m assuming that the guy asked to speak to the security guard. She hands her cell to him and he’s listening, says a few words that I can’t hear and then hands her back to the phone. I’m assuming he instructed the guard to time how long we’re up there in his house. Lida thanks him and says goodbye. The guard waves me through and we head to the elevator.

We arrive on her floor, and this place is nice. There’s a full gym on this floor. We walk to the end of the hall and she opens the door to the apartment. It’s nicely appointed. I put down the bags and we start putting things where they belong. She excuses herself to the bathroom. I look around. The place has no view. It faces a wall of another building. The apartment doesn’t look lived in so I figure the old guy often travels.

Lida returns from the bathroom and comes at me like a pit adder. She throws herself into my arms and pushing her body against me, kisses me deeply. I return her attack. I do nothing to resist her advances. She stops for a moment. Her lips are only an inch from mine. “I’m so horny all of time.” she hisses, producing a small square packet from her hand. She looks me dead in the eye. “Put this on. You have to be quick.” She leads me to her room and we quickly disrobe each other in a tangle of limbs and garments. I push her down onto the bed and suit up with the prophylactic.

Normally, I like this sort of thing to last for a long time. But time is of the essence. My window of time for this to work is closing, and her thighs are opening. The fear of getting caught or being found out only heightens our arousal. (insert jack hammer sound effects here)

I don’t know if it was seven minutes or five. Probably five. Felt like three.

Panting and sweating, we quickly dress. I tie off the end of the condom and take the evidence with me. (Always a good idea fellas when you hook up with some strange in another man’s house.) We jump into the elevator and get out of the building. My mind is reeling. I play it cool as I stride by the security guard and out the door. It’s a little bit before 1pm, so what just happened is technically a nooner.

Lida is giggling and holding my hand and says she wants to go and sit by the water feature over at City Hall. I’m still a bit stunned from the event so I just go with her. She asked me if I liked it and did I get what I wanted and was I satisfied and do I think she’s pretty. etc. And I’m saying yes, yes, yes Yes! We sit down in front of a bunch of little kids playing in the fountains. It’s funny. The kids are laughing and playing and having a grand time in the water. It’s funny that as long as I’m sitting here with a woman everything is cool, but remove her from the situation and…awkward!

So of course she starts going on about kids and marriage and all of the other stuff. How she wants to get married and wants kids. I feel emotional. I’ve already done all of that and don’t want to do it again.I start feeling sorry for her. Because after the Democratic Convention leaves, she’s going back to her parents house in Northeast Philly. She tells me that tonight City Hall shows movies for free outside. She asks me if I would like to see whatever is playing tonight. I’m like…sure.  Then she asks me to bring a blanket and make a picnic basket and all. How we’re going to go on dates and go to dinner while she’s here. I’m like, “Tell you what, I have to go to my meeting soon. Let me take down your number and I’ll text or call you when I’m done. I don’t know how long it will be.” She gives me her number. I ask her what she’s going to do with the rest of her afternoon and this was her response: “I’m just going to go back to the apartment and play with myself.” Really? I ask. “Yea, I told you I’m always horny. I’m just going to masturbate and think about having sex with you all afternoon.” I kind of liked that she used the words “Play with myself.” It’s such a juvenile term that sounds like something a parent would tell their child not to do, or to stop doing and somehow it made it dirtier. I liked that. I liked the idea of her just sitting back in that apartment and just going to town on herself for hours. Just ruining the upholstery throughout the house. That almost makes me want to see her again.

Almost.

I walked her back to her building. We hugged and kissed and I told her I had to go. I walked down Chancellor at 15th which is basically a filthy alley. Tears began to run down my face.

I never spoke to or saw Lida ever again.

 

 

 

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

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

Lizzie – 4/2016 – The Girl in the Elevator

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

I worked in one of the high rises in center city Philly. I’ve been in sales for over 30 years and I can think on my feet and have mad game. Hell… Sheena Parveen gave me her cell at a Ashton Cigar bar one night.

One day I’m coming back into my building from lunch with my usual lunch date, the guy that works in the cubicle next to mine! I’m walking to the elevator in the back and the door is closing as we get in and I hear the light patter of shoes scampering to catch the elevator. I quickly jam my hand between the door and the wall and the elevator pops open. In walks a very lovely slender Asian girl. Fair skin, black hair and a very slender frame. Like a fragile eastern bird. She’s somewhere on the right side of 25.

Our office was on the 9th floor and she was going to 7. She was very sweet and thanked me for holding the door for her. She said she wouldn’t have made it without me. She was happy there were still some chivalry left in this world. I then did something right then that I refer to as “running the program.” That’s where I work a pitch as fast as I can to make contact with someone. Now this is very difficult to do but I have perfected it to the point where it almost feels like I’m giving them a push. We’re chatting and she’s giggling and  by the time she gets off on the 7th floor, She has my business card, I know her name and what she does. She even says that she would like to chat more with me sometime.

So when we got off on 9, my colleague, Rocco smiles and is like, “Dude, you are something else.”

So we had a good laugh about me running my little program. But it may the fastest I’ve ever worked. I had a solid connection in 7 floors in an elevator. That’s got to be some kind of record.  Anyway, I didn’t think anything more about it. It was just a fun exercise which I think was more about showing off my charming prowess if nothing else.

A couple of days later I get an email from Lizzie and at work. She said how it was so nice to meet me and that if I’d like to meet her one day for coffee that would be great. So I waited a few hours. (You have to! You can’t seem too available or desperate, even if you are!) I wrote back to her and gave her some times we could meet. The next Tuesday we met at Horn & Hardart’s in One Penn Center above Suburban Station. She looked lovely and cute. We chatted about just some general things. She wanted to learn more about what I did and I wondered what her deal was. She is from China. She’s an only child. She was working for a non-profit in the building that helps immigrants learn about their legal rights. So as young as she was she was pretty much a lawyer. But for whatever reason you can’t be a lawyer in China and just walk over here to the good old U S of A and think you can practice law here. So she wasn’t making much money. But she was very sweet and I liked her.

I waited a week and again my colleague Rocco came through in the clutch with yet another pair of tickets. This time it was to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. Now I love the arts and normally enjoy most of the stuff I see. There is nothing better than watching live performance art. I really have to hand it to the people who do it for a living. But in the arts that’s extremely hard to do. So I reached out to Lizzie and asked her if she’d like to go. She said yes!   She said she would read about what it was about and meet me at the theater Sunday. I tried to squeeze a dinner before out of her but she had something to do that afternoon. So Sunday rolls around, I text her and we meet. She’s on time and looks adorable. She is wearing a little skirt and has a bow in her hair. It almost seemed a little juvenile, but like I said, she is young.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical or operetta with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber The story is based on the “Coat of many colors” story of Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. This was the first Lloyd Webber and Rice musical to be performed publicly (the first,The likes of us.) written in 1965, was not performed until 2005).The show has little spoken dialogue; it is completely sung-through It’s family friendly storyline, universal themes and catchy music have resulted in numerous productions of the show according to the Really Useful Group, by 2008 more than 20,000 schools and amateur theatre groups had successfully put on productions.

Joseph gets kicked out of his family, falls down a hill, gets the dream coat, meets a bunch of people, gets locked up and then made into a king. It’s a fun romp and is nothing like the badass awesomeness of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Well needless to say Lizzie LOVED IT. She was laughing and cheering like a little kid. She said she had never seen anything like it. You know, I think w take it for granted in this country that we’re all so hip and jaded that it’s hard to get American’s worked up about something. It has to be groundbreaking and new. This musical was created back in the sixties. We don’t realize that people from other countries see something like that and go fucking wild. It’s all relative.

It was a nice evening, she lives close to the theater but I walked her to her door anyway. It was a fun exchange and the best part I guess for me was that thanks to my colleague Rocco, the whole night only cost me $1.00 for a bottle of water that Lizzie wanted. (Unlike the sledgehammer $130 lunch tab I got crushed with at Devon with Maria!)

I ran into her a few more times in the building but wasn’t really feeling it anymore. When she would talk she just seemed so juvenile and also kind of the way she dressed too. Like a skinny Asian Minnie Mouse.  But I had a nice time with her that night and I know she loved the show so that’s all that matters.

I know this wasn’t my usual epic tale, but it was one that needed to be told. The lesson here is, you never know when your going to meet someone new, and sometimes that can come from a simple act of kindness.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please follow, like, and comment on this and future posts. All feedback is greatly appreciated. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

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

Michelle – 2007 to Present – Chapter 2 – Getting to Know You

I know these initial chapters are  short and I’m sure the real Michelle reading them will feel the same. But Just know that this is the beginning of me knowing her. There isn’t much data, because not much was happening in the beginning. But just know these stories will expand and be rich in history once I get to know her. Stay with the story. It gets better.

Michelle began work as an account representative in my department. At first it was kind of weird having her there. We were all a bunch of misfits and she was this really pretty woman who seemed perfect. Why would she want to work with a bunch of miscreants like us? But everyone made her feel welcome. Of course I would chat with her because she was a total babe and I couldn’t help it.

Michelle, is basically an easy-going girl. For someone as tall and beautiful as she is, she doesn’t have analoof  attitude. She’s very approachable and friendly. I have always described her as, “The nicest, beautiful girl, I’ve ever met.” That statement stands true to this day. Many think beauty equals kindness. That is usually not the case. Physically beautiful people get preferential treatment every day.

Beauty is not subjective. Contrary to popular belief, men and women generally agree on who is and who is not physically attractive, even across other cultures.What makes someone enjoyable to look at? High cheekbones, fuller lips, big eyes, and a thin chin are associated with sexiness in women, whereas a big jaw and broad chin are preferred in men. Smooth skin, shiny hair, and facial symmetry are also key aspects of beauty. According to various studies, these provide measures of health, good genes, intelligence, and success. More often than not, the world rewards beauty. Beautiful people are viewed as healthier.

Facial symmetry, considered the beacon of beauty, can be perceived as good health, even if it is not related to actual health. In an Australian study, researchers morphed photographs of young adults so that their faces were perfectly symmetrical. In general, the symmetric version of each face — both male and female — received higher health ratings than the normal image. Individuals with asymmetric faces were perceived as unhealthy.

It’s easier for beautiful people to find mates. Men seek attractive women as mates because good looks signal youth, health, and reproductive fitness. Beautiful people are more persuasive. Good-looking people can use their sex appeal and good looks to be more persuasive, say in a job interview or when asking for a promotion. Attractive people are more persuasive, in part, because they also possess or develop key personality traits — like intelligence and strong social skills — that make them more effective communicators. Researchers also found that compared to unattractive speakers, attractive speakers were much more fluent talkers.

Beautiful people are perceived as more likeable and trustworthy. Beautiful people are typically treated better by others. In a study from Harvard University, researchers found that wearing makeup, shown to enhance a woman’s attractiveness,boosted people’s perception of the subject’s competence, likability, attractiveness, and trustworthiness.

All of that said, when I met Michelle she was just coming into her own. She was breaking internal barriers, emotionally and physically. She had a hard shell that she wore like a suit of armor every day. Not a hard exterior or an attitude, just a barrier to protect her fragile, developing, inner self. She was a confused twenty-seven year old woman. Just trying to figure it all out like every other girl her age. She liked novelty, but loved adventure, sometimes in the fast lane.

Michelle is kind. Like I said, she is a very nice lady. She is also mostly conservative, but liberal in her beliefs. She always comes across as authentic. She doesn’t like bullshit, or those who spew it. She had a strong dislike for fake people or gossips. She does not have the time nor the tolerance to put up with a lot of nonsense, or “give people a lot of chances.” She’s very civic-minded and volunteered at several foundations.

Michelle does love to laugh, drink and smoke cigarettes. She loves to listen to her music. Michelle is always down to party any day of the week. Who doesn’t love a chick that’s willing to take a few chances?

She had told me she had won a trip for two to Greece through the company. Sadly, she had to come up with the money for the hotel or the airfare or something. So it wasn’t really a prize. I don’t know what it was. I asked her who she was going with and she said her ex-boyfriend. They had been together since they were 15 and broke up when she moved to the city a few years ago. (See: Michelle – Chapter 1) I think she had been with him for so long, (I’m sure he was the first one to punch her V-Card, so there’s that.) When you’re with someone like that when you are so young and you’re together for years, that person sort of becomes like family. They were trying to get back together when I met Michelle. She had dated a few guys since coming to Philly, and even had a relationship with a guy that worked at the company for a while. I’ve met him and he’s dumb as a post. He never treated her well simply because he didn’t know how. He liked acquiring her but he couldn’t relate to her and was never compassionate to her. He just didn’t have it in him. He liked hanging at the club with his boys surrounded by bitches and hos. Are you getting the picture? They were like O.J. and Nicole but without the murder. There you go.

So that was a fail. When you fail you go back to the familiar. Michelle migrated back to Delaware Dave. That’s what I’ll call him. But Dave was in Delaware and didn’t like being around crowds, or going out in the city or anything. Me, on the other hand was there in the office with her everyday. I had been away from Philly for many years and loved going out and exploring the city. Actually, back then I was living in a little apartment in Pennsauken NJ. I would commute in every morning. I had not yet become the Dark Lord of the City of Brotherly Love yet in 2008.

One night our department went out to dinner at the Continental on 18th street. I remember me and the retarded guy making room for Michelle to sit next to our boss because it was so obvious he liked her. The dinner was great and the drinks flowed. Michelle had to go and Herbert was super concerned about Michelle’s safety walking home. A little too much. This guy was weak. He was smart and well-educated but when it came to matters of the heart he couldn’t handle himself properly. It felt awkward. So he’s had a few drinks and we’re walking with him and he says: “Guys, I think I’m falling in love with my employee.” This wouldn’t be the first time for family man Herbert. We found out that he once worked for a competitor and had an affair with one of his employees. It didn’t go well and I saw the long scratch from a key down the side of his white 300 series Mercedes. What an idiot. So he ended up leaving that company and coming here. I wonder how he explained that gouge to his wife. Probably blamed it on vandals.

There were days when I would take a seat next to Michelle by her work station and chat with her. She began to open up to me about some aspects of her life. She suffered from some health problems that many don’t understand. Nothing life threatening but troublesome in regard to quality of daily life. I gathered some info from a specialist and passed it along to her. I would sometimes leave her a granola bar as a breakfast snack some mornings. I also bought her lotion because her hands would get dry in the cold weather. Sometimes in the afternoons we would watch funny videos on her computer. She admitted that when she saw clips of people falling down accidentally or from doing stupid activities it really tickled her. So our work friendship was developing. I was just honored to be around this lovely lady.

This was so much better than scuttling down the hallway after her to the billing department.

 

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

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