Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Chapter 4 – My “A” Game Lunch

I wasn’t sure, but I sure felt the euphoria of Annabelle. It had nothing to do with her, but at that point, neither of us knew that.

I had sent an email to Annabelle sometime after our “First Date”  thanking her for a wonderful time. I also asked her if she’d like to meet me for lunch at Jones (Stephen Starr restaurant at 8th and Chestnut) I knew the General Manager and knew I would get the exclusive hook up.

She got back to me and said yes!

I made a reservation, and got there early. My table was clear and I took a seat. the staff knew what to do. I waited. Annabelle arrived and I waved her over. She she had a t-shirt on and was wearing a pair of denim cutoffs that showed off her long slender legs. I hadn’t seen them before, but at nearly six feet tall, she had incredible pins.

She said she had just come from the pool where she had been swimming. I didn’t care. I was just happy that she had shown up. She had this scrubbed, day at the beach air about her. I liked it.

Within minutes a bowl of their signature mac and cheese, (which is glorious at Jones) arrived with a side of siracha. Annabelle was impressed. She wasn’t accustomed to going to restaurants with older men that made things happen. I could tell this. She was a simple girl who was surrounded by artsy people who had nothing.

We dug into the mac and cheese with great fury. Baby was hungry and liked to eat. We chatted, and I was happy to see this beauty again. I did my nervous talking thing I do with all new women in my life. But she was laughing a lot and I knew it was working. I was still friends with Michelle, but she was moving on with Delaware Dave, and I was feeling the power with this one. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day)

I gave her a dvd of “The Art of the Steal” the documentary about the Barnes museum that we went to on our first date. I also brought her two miniatures of Chivas Regal’s Maple Whiskey, or as I call it, Hangover Nightmare Juice. At some point on our first date she mentioned that she liked maple syrup. Annabelle was delighted. How crazy will it be when I go to her apartment and find that she has no DVD player or a TV???

Sadly, I was still in love with the idea of love and didn’t know what I was getting myself into. If someone had pulled me aside and told me that this whole thing was a mistake that would have been great. But I know I would have done it anyway. I missed the drug of love I once had with Michelle and wanted it again. Annabelle was twenty-six and I wanted her. I didn’t even care so much about her age, I just needed to feed the addict.

That was me back then. I suppose that was me always. The failure that could always close beautiful young women. I wanted Annabelle to feed my addiction to love. I was the guy who couldn’t have a healthy mutual relationship with a woman. I had already gone down in a ball of flames years ago. A failed marriage, and a string of bad relationships. Nearly more than I could count. The last few had failed because they were younger than me and wanted marriage and kids. I had already destroyed that and had a kid to prove it. A hundred thousand dollars blown on child support and a broken family. Nothing worked. I wasn’t cut out to be in a relationship, let alone a marriage.

I think maybe I should just be alone. I love women. Desperately. But what if for some reason I am only in love with the idea of love and I am unable to actually be in love. I want Annabelle. She’s receptive, and artist, blonde, long legs…

I’m a fool. I am only chasing and courting her because she is young and beautiful. Just like Michelle. That unattainable gazelle that is just out of reach. I must have her. But do I really know her? Is it a match? She works in the arts. They’re a bunch of weirdo losers in the “arts”. We have nothing in common. Just this common connection. A girl I met in a bar that is kind of finding her way in life.

But I’m happy in this moment. I love the sound of her warm voice.

The lunch goes well. It’s the 17th of July. My father’s birthday. He’s 83 today. I picked this day because 17 is a common number in my family. It keeps turning up. That’s why this second date is happening. Annabelle is along for the ride. I’ll call my father tonight and tell him all about it. He’ll listen intently and live through me for once. But not really. He’s had his life. It has been so much more colorful than mine. Just like when I’m talking to him and telling a story. He’s not listening. I know he’s just waiting for me to shut up so he can talk.

He’ll ask her name, and I’ll tell him. He’ll access her heritage and maybe approve. If she sounds western European she’s good.

I remember when I was out in L.A. and working as a musician. My girlfriend at the end was a nineteen year old black girl. I remembered when we finally packed it in and came home. I loved and trusted my dad, because he was awesome. I told him about the black girl and what had happened. I’ll never forget what he said, ” Are you into blacks now?”

I should date and fall in love with a beautiful black girl just to smite that motherfucker. Yea, I can call my dad a motherfucker, because he fucked my mom and made me.

But I digress…

The lunch goes really well. She was excited about the pair of miniatures of Chivas Regal Maple.(The shit tastes terrible)  I also told her I would have asked her out to a second date sooner, but I was waiting for the Art of the Steal DVD to be delivered in the mail!

I have to go meet with the nice people at Chris’ Jazz Bar and she has to go to a photo shoot.

We go outside, and her bike is locked to a pole out front. A bicycle. A simple girl. She’s young and beautiful. Oh, those legs.

I’m in love with the idea of love.

What’s wrong with me?

I tell her I have to go and we hug. I remember very specifically, I went in for the hug…and went for the kiss on the cheek back by the ear. I think we all want to kiss on the lips. But you must sometimes settle for the cheek. It’s just the stupid rules of dating. Especially in the beginning.

She tells me her birthday is coming up soon.

The baby seal is hot. She’s been sitting on the rocks with her mom. She decides to jump into the sea to cool off. The water is crisp, and frothy.

Twenty five yards away, a dark grey dorsal fin cuts through the  water, sensing the life. Feeling the drug of the next love affair. Ready to feed.

I tell her I have some good ideas for her birthday, and she agrees. (I’m so going to make this happen)

I kiss her cheek and say that she’s great.

I walk west on Sansom. I text her that it was amazing seeing her and want to see her again.

When I get to Chris’ Jazz Cafe, I’m waiting for the general manager, and I get a text.

It’s Annabelle. She agrees, and gives me the XO

When I saw the XO I knew it was on. I kissed her on the cheek. That’s still the friend zone. But you can cross over. If a girl throws you an XO in an early text, you’re in boys.

I wasn’t sure, but I sure felt the euphoria of Annabelle. It had nothing to do with her, but at that point, neither of us knew that.

She wanted her dad, and I just wanted to be loved by pretty girls when I was thirteen. So here we are, and we’ll have to see what happens.

 

 

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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 – 2012 – Chapter 1 – Nice to Meet You

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

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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Michelle – 2007 to Present – Chapter 10 – Night & Day

A week went by after the Friends of Rittenhouse Ball crashing incident. I figured that we got away with it without incident.

Michelle: “We’re going to get fired.”

Me: “No we’re not. My numbers are good, so are yours and everybody loves you. We’re in the clear.”

But within a few days we were called into the President’s office. He ripped us new ones. Then they sent us over to human resources and we were written up. Those fuckers. I hate them all. As a matter of fact none of them are at that company any longer. The Prez eventually left, our manager the crazy Russian was fired, and the lady from HR left a year ago. So we’re all equal now. We didn’t even care that we got written up. We were both prepared to go work in a restaurant somewhere together if they had really fired us.

Ain’t love grand?

The whole thing blew over and we were all none the worse for any of it. Funny thing was, if anything it emboldened us even more to pull stuff. We were high on love and life and we just wanted to have fun. People would overhear our conversations and buy us drinks. We were a little surprised by that but loved getting free drinks. We were out almost every night. We’d hang out at Twenty Manning and spend our last $20 on wine on Sunday afternoons. Michelle even went as far as taking out a $1000 loan from our credit union just to maintain our lavish lifestyle. We didn’t buy a bunch of things, we just went out and drank and ate all the time. We’d be hungover and go to The Continental Midtown for lunch and our favorite bartender Mike G would hook us up with cool free drinks. He made us these cool drinks called Kate Moss. I think it was champagne, a shot of booze and a sugar cube which represented a lump of cocaine. We’d hang out at Chris’ Jazz Cafe and close the place. It would be two o’ clock in the morning and we’d be sitting at the bar drinking and smoking cigarettes. Speaking of which. I quit smoking cigarettes ten years before when my daughter was born. But sometimes Michelle had trouble lighting her Parliaments in the wind, so I’d do it for her. Next thing you know I would take a little puff. She was worried I’d get re-addicted to tobacco. I told her I’d only be hooked if I started buying them.

I started buying them again. God damn it.

We’d supposed to be out making sales calls and we’d be napping on a blanket in Rittenhouse Park. We’d also pack wine and snacks and go to Concerts in the Park every Wednesday night. We’d go to Devon and destroy an assorted seafood platter. We drank oceans of martinis. We’d be banged up after a crappy day of meetings and sales, and head right over to Mantra (Which is now where Dandelion is located on 18th Street) We would run out of money drinking martinis and the awesome bartender Kevin would just keep bringing them to us. I would always go back the next day and give him money.

Her bitch faced roommate traveled a lot and we’d go to Michelle’s apartment and drink her roommate’s wine. She always drank Clos du Bois chardonnay and we would drink the whole thing. We used to have to keep going to the liquor store to buy replacements for her. She never found out, but we must have replaced her wine at least five times. I still had an apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey but I was hardly ever there. I practically lived in Michelle’s room. It was insane. We would work all day together, and then hang out every night and sleep together and then do it all over again the next day.

We were out of control and loving every minute of it. One night I just lifted up Michelle’s skirt out front of the Philadelphia Public Library and went down on her right there. Her sitting on the wall and me just going to town on her. Right on the street.

One day while out on four-legged calls, we crashed a private event for Deaf Children at the Rittenhouse Hotel. We drank their booze, and ate their food. Grabbed a couple of gift bags and left. I remember us dumping out the contents on the ground and just grabbing what we wanted. I took the DVD of North by Northwest, Michelle grabbed up the make up. I know all of this is wrong but we just didn’t care. Nobody probably heard us leave anyway.

Hanging out in Alma de Cuba, going anywhere we wanted. Michelle would take me to bars and I wouldn’t even remember having gone there we were so drunk most of the time. Once we decided to go see a psychic. Michelle believed it that stuff back then. I know it’s just a parlor trick, but it’s sometimes fun to do. But the night we went, this woman started bring up all of this stuff about my life and it was freaking me out. I started crying during the reading. Bizarre!

Oh here’s one… One of the local sales reps had just signed a new client. It was the G Lounge. I called it the D Lounge because only a bunch of douchebags went there. But he was all happy about getting them. It was a thirty thousand dollar ad campaign. Somebody came up with the brilliant idea to make a promotional video for them. But they would use Michelle and our boss, (the crazy Russian) as romantic interests in the video. That is wrong on so many levels. They went and shot the video and of course Michelle looked amazing, but after that everyone was drinking and our boss tried to kiss Michelle! Awful!

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you, that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all again.”

Oh, and here is the crazy irony of it all. After shooting the video and running it on their website, running banner ads, email blasts and newsletter insertions, G Lounge never paid the thirty thousand dollar bill. Never. Then they went out of business. There is now a place called 1925 in that space. It is equally awful.

 

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Robert & Laura- 2013 to Present – Rock Solid Vault

I was at one of the many rooftop parties of my former boss at a magazine where I formerly worked. I met Robert and Laura, and they seemed like lovely people. They had moved into his building a few months prior. So they became friends with him because they were neighbors. Robert and Laura were both from the midwest. She is a lawyer, and he worked in analytics. Just a really nice couple who got along, and were cool to hang out with.

You can tell how much Robert and Laura love each other. It’s just really nice to see that in a couple these days. Robert was a former tank commander, and did two tours in Iraq several years ago. So he is brave a and has seen some shit, and been in the shit.

Funny thing that bound us together, was that we all decided the night we met, that we all agreed about some of the same things. So I basically poached this couple from my old boss. I still have lunch with Robert occasionally, and they have me over to their house to hang and come to any parties they throw.

Best news is, Laura gave birth to a little boy last year. He just turned one year old three months ago. I was invited to the party, but I caught a little cold and didn’t want to infect anybody. They understood and I hope to see them soon.

This is simply an introduction to this lovely couple. They have some wild stories from their past, so as any tales, or new adventures pop up including Rob and Laura, they’ll make an appearance.

UPDATE: I met up with Robert recently at Mission for lunch. Mission is a new Mexican place that is on the second floor above The Oyster House on Sansom Street. It’s in the spot where Nodding Head used to be. It was great to see him, but his work is really stressing him out. He says he looks at spreadsheets all day long and works a million hours. That can’t be good with a one year old son at home. He said if things don’t improve by March he’s going to start to look for another job. I brought him up to date on all of my news and we are going to try to get together again soon.

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Michelle -2007 to Present – Chapter 3 – Ignition

I never wonder how history can get to be blurred over time. Details are lost. Words forgotten. Deeds bent and twisted by time and sometimes other factors. The story of Michelle and I only lived in two places. In both of our heads. That’s it. Nowhere else in the world. There is her version. There is my version and somewhere in between there is the truth. But I will do my best to tell this compelling tale.

Michelle was still trying to get acclimated to the job and was coming along. We had been getting pretty close as pals. There was lots of laughs in our department and Michelle fit right in with our band of idiots. Like the rest of the company, everyone liked and respected her.

In our building we had our on lunchroom. Like the watering hole on the savannah, it would not be uncommon to see salespeople, writers, reporters, production people and even management all eating in the same place. Obviously they would all sit in their little cliques together like high school.

One day I asked Michelle if she’d like to join me for lunch up there. She agreed, which I was thrilled about. I could never have imagined in this moment how this day would ultimately end. We’d be moving to our new, modern workspace downtown, so this could be one of the last time anyone of us would be using this lunchroom.

Lunch was nice and people said hello as they passed. I was still relatively new to the company so many people didn’t know who the hell I was but everybody knew Michelle. I don’t remember what we even talked about and it doesn’t even matter. I was just happy to be out of our tiny office and sitting enjoying a simple meal together in public.

After lunch we went back to work as usual. The details are a little fuzzy because this was 8 years ago, but Michelle and several other staff members were all going across the street to a local go-to bar after work for a few drinks. I do remember it was a Thursday, because the next day was Friday and there were moving all of our stuff to the new space. We were to start at the new location the next Monday. I’ll never turn down the offer to have a drink, so when Michelle asked if I was going I said that I’d check it out. I had been there before but only with a co-worker for lunch.

I finished up my work and packed up the last of my stuff. It was probably around 5:30 when I walked over to the parking garage and dropped my computer bag into the trunk of my car. I walked across the street, and entered the establishment. Michelle was sitting at the bar chatting with this young, short jewish guy named Seth who worked in local digital sales. I knew him only in passing because we sold different products than his group. The local sales team were a young, hip, good-looking bunch that always appeared to have it better than the rest of us. I will say this, I liked him. He was hungry and a good sales guy. So he had my respect. I took a seat next to him and Michelle was on the other side of him.

I ordered a glass of wine and we all chatted. Talking about the move to downtown and just regular corporate stuff that happens at every happy hour around the world. At some point Michelle got up to chat with some ladies she was friends with by the jukebox. Seth and I continued to talk. Business, goals, women, bosses, etc. At one point I asked him how his love life was going. He said he had started dating a nice girl and it seemed to be going well. He asked me and I told him I had just moved back from New York and wasn’t seeing anyone. I asked him if he could have any woman who would it be. He looked me right in the eye and with a serious tone said; “Michelle.” I was like, “Really?” He said, “yea, I love her. She’s amazing.” I suppose I would get that answer from any short Jewish guy. A pretty tall blonde on his arm.

Time went by and everyone was throwing back their drinks. People drink a lot in the advertising and financial world. It’s just part of the business. We were all pretty buzzed and everyone was laughing and the place was getting loud. Seth said he had to leave soon, and it looked like Michelle and I were going to stick around a little longer. I thought I’d shake the place up and see if I could get everyone’s attention and maybe annoy them at the same time. It was my turn to feed the jukebox, so I had a plan. I played something popular that everyone liked and then I programmed in Dio’s Holy Diver being performed by Killswitch Engage. I love heavy metal and I’m sure nobody ever places that kind of music in a place like that. But then I programmed a bunch of other songs that were part of my plan.

Seth says his goodbye’s and now it’s just Michelle and I and we’re chatting away and slugging our cheap wine. Frank Sinatra comes on the jukebox. Michelle exclaims that she likes his music and asks if I played those songs. I told her it was indeed me. She smiled.

We continued to talk and tell stories, I told her I  lived in Pennsauken, NJ and how I would ultimately find a place in the city . I always felt like the type of person that should live in a metropolis. I had spent most of my life living in the suburbs wherever I was and hated it. But after getting a taste of city life while in NY I knew where I belonged. Michelle lived in a high-rise apartment building in Fairmount. It was only about six blocks away so she liked walking to work. She had a roommate, who she used to model with a few year ago and they had remained friends and decided to get a place.  She said the apartment had a great southern view of the city.

Then she asked me if I wanted to check out her view. We had been drinking for a couple of hours and were both “tipsy”. I’m being gentle here. It’s like when the police say: “Tipsy driving is still drunk driving.” That’s how tipsy we were.

We literally were outside and she was having a cigarette and we had our wine glasses in our hands, and the next thing I knew we were walking towards her house still caring our glasses of wine and drinking from them. She whips out her iPod, (I had only seen one before in my life. I still had a flip phone back then!) She puts one ear bud in my ear and the other in hers and she’s playing songs for me. It was the first of many surreal episodes I would encounter with Michelle. I asked her wouldn’t the bar be angry if people walked out with full glasses and took them? She said it happened all the time. At that point I didn’t give a shit, I was just happy to be with her. Lunch and then drinks in the same day was a big deal to me. I did notice that if you don’t have both ear buds in your ears the sound quality just isn’t there. But the music was chill and sort of dreamy.

I don’t remember entering her building, nor do I remember going up in the elevator, or entering her apartment. Apparently her roommate was away for the weekend. All I remember is kissing her and her saying my breath was bad. I don’t know why she said that or even why  I remember that, but it didn’t stop me from drunkenly making out with her. I remember some other things happening, but we did not have sex that night. I can’t remember anything else or where  I even slept that night or when the night ended.

I woke up I think on the floor the next morning and was pretty hung over. The beautiful thing was we didn’t have to go into work that day, which was clutch. I remember looking everywhere for my glasses. For the life of me I was looking all over for them and just couldn’t find them. It’s even harder to find your glasses when you’re not wearing your glasses! I did finally locate them. They were under a chair out on her balcony. It had rained during the night and they were all wet but thankfully, undamaged. No idea…

We awkwardly pulled ourselves together, and I’m sure she was probably feeling bad about what transpired, especially because she was working hard to get back together with Delaware Dave. I think we agreed that it was just a case of drunken slipsies (That’s what my Dad calls it) I apologized for the infraction but deep down didn’t regret having it happen.

We said our awkward goodbyes and I told her I would talk to her later. She said she had to go into the office and pick up a few things but that was all. So I did my first Philadelphia walk of shame back to the parking garage under cloudy skies. When I got home I realized I had forgotten to pack the AC adapter to my computer. It was still plugged in the wall under my cubical at the old office. I called Michelle and asked if she could get it for me. She was pretty hung over and she agreed to slip in and out, and get her stuff and grab my adapter for me. Well at least she doesn’t hate me, I thought.

I was so tired and banged up from the events of the night before, I just drove back to Jersey and took a nap at home. It was officially the weekend, and we would all be reporting to the new location Monday morning. I had a lot to think about, but only time would tell what the coming days would bring for us all.

 

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 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.