Clarice – Chapter 1 -The CEO

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

I met Clarice on Tinder. She is an attractive sixty-one year old black woman. You read that correctly. Clarice is the CEO and Chief Strategist of her own consulting firm. They develop effective marketing campaigns for non profits. she attended the Academy of Vocal Arts at Indiana University. her profile says she is curious, creative, impatient, inspired and passionate. She states that “Life is too short to be colorless, wishy-washy or indecisive.” She goes on to say, “If that’s your definition of feminine, then I’m just not that girl.” She’s not interested in hook ups, she’s looking for a meaningful relationship. “I know what I like, I know who I am, and what I can and cannot do.”

Well, let’s find out about all of that.

I asked her what I ask all of my matches on Tinder. “What prompted you to swipe right on my profile?”

“You have a friendly face! Sometimes it’s that simple.”

“Thank you for that Clarice, I like yours too!”

“Then perhaps we should meet face-to-face so that we can share our mutual admiration over a glass of wine…?

She gets right to the point. I like that.

We texted on tinder for a short time and I relinquished my number. She did the same, and we kept the conversation going that way. But it didn’t last long. I locked down a date and it was on.

We decided to meet at the Italian restaurant, Panorama. Clarice actually chose the place. The wine bar at Panorama is one of the premier Philadelphia wine bars, located in the heart of Old City at Penn’s View Hotel. Panorama is home to the largest wine preservation and dispensing system in the world as declared by The Guinness Book of World Records, no other Philadelphia hotel or restaurant offers such a selection. They have one hundred and twenty wine taps!

I hopped on the bus at 16th and Market street and rode it all the way to Front Street in Old City. Penn’s View Hotel is practically right there. I walk in and scan the room. The place looks like they remodeled it a bit. I look down the bar and there is the only black woman in the restaurant, so I head over. Clarice only had one photo on her profile, and she sort of looked stern in it. But I’m pretty sure it’s her. I greet her and get out of my coat and scarf.

I sit and we decide on what we’re going to drink. She says we should try one of their signature Panoramic Flights — a personal wine tasting offering a sampling of five different wines within a select group – from a selection of over 2 dozen fun and provocative themes. I’m okay with that. There are five in a flight. I’ll be interested to see who gets the odd glass. She wants food too. She says if she gets the mushrooms would I eat any of them and I tell her I won’t. But I tell her I’ll try them. I’m just not a fan of mushrooms.

We’re sharing the wine flight…sort of. She chooses one, and then I choose one. I taste hers, she tastes mine, and that’s it. The mushrooms come and whatever they did to prepare them, they did well. The shrooms taste pretty good. Then she gets bread. For a skinny chick she sure likes to eat.

She really is a lovely woman. Slender, delicate features. High cheekbones. wears her make up well. She’s glamorous and fashionable. Looks like money. I love her wrists and fingers. delicate and dainty. I would like to see what those legs look like, but this is our first date.

I run the program and she’s laughing and giggling like a schoolgirl. I can tell she’s bored with these other losers. Phicklephilly is the man for the job. She tells me she was with a man for ten years. married to him for five of them. She’s been divorced for thirty years! So she has basically been single all through her thirties, forties, and fifties! But she does say she was engaged to a Jewish guy for a while but that didn’t work out. She formerly was an opera singer. (I thought I saw a little diva in there) She has no children (Double bonus: No kids and too old to have any!) Like me, both parents are dead. She has one brother, whom she says has a shitty wife. There is no other family.

We sip our way through the next two glasses on our wine flight. Only one glass left after this round!

I can tell the date is going well and she is laughing and feeling refreshed to be around a man such as myself. She says she finds so many men boring. This was a Monday night. She says she has another date Wednesday, and one on Friday. I appreciate her honesty, but could care less who else she goes out with. Because when Led Zeppelin goes on first, those other bands should just cancel their tour and go back to their garage. I can tell she really likes me. One third through the date, she asks if I want to go see Rogue One with her on saturday. I tell her yes! Why not, she’s Pam Grier hot. Looks like she’s in her forties. Then she tells me she likes country music and I tell her that maybe we should start seeing other people. (Because I don’t like country music) she laughs, and thinks I’m a riot.

Final glass of wine, and guess who snags it. Yep. Clarice!

She picked the place, the wine, the food, set up the next date, and now the final glass of wine is hers. No wonder this lady is alone. Most men can’t handle a woman this aggressive, confident, and controlling. But I’m not other men. I’ll let this fish take the line out a bit and tire herself out. Then I’ll slowly and methodically reel her in, gaff her, and bring her aboard.

The bill comes and lo and behold,  I can’t tell you what Clarice’s wallet looks like, because it never came out. I help her on with her coat and we’re off. She’s taking the Market street subway line back out to Upper Darby. I can ride with her to 13th street because I’m going to Time (whiskey and jazz bar) on Sansom of our annual toy drive for the kids in the hospital at Children’s Hospital. I’m sitting next to her on the train, and I say to her, “I probably should have kissed you when I had the chance.”

“We are not doing any PDA (public displays of affection) on this train.” she quips.

I laugh and get it. There is a black girl across from me looking me right in the eye. I can’t have everybody giving her the gas face when I get off the train. I hop off at 13th and tell her I’ll see her Saturday for the new Star Wars movie!

 

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

 

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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Sarika – Song of the Black Widow

God, she’s beautiful. I couldn’t find a stock picture on the internet to capture the delightful beauty of this girl. She is so pretty. Indian. Exotic. The type of beauty you’d almost pay for to be seen with at an event. She is probably one of the most beautiful women I know in Philly. But she recently reached out to me to come hang at a happy hour and a brand new place in Rittenhouse, called Scarpetta. Smith and Wolensky’s is gone and now that place is here. It’s in the Rittenhouse Hotel. She also mentioned that she wants me to come up to her apartment and check out her new place at the Dorchester. I am so glad I have reconnected with her. This vacuous she-devil is such a good character for this work. I am a huge fan of lovely Sarika.

I got to Scarpetta around 5:30. They’ve done a nice job with the place. It’s dark and intimate. The bar looks the same but they’ve opened up the place a bit. There’s only the one bar, but they have a lounge in the back and there is a dining room upstairs. I look around for Sarika but I don’t see her. I’m chatting with the manager and then I look out the window and see her walking towards the building.

Sarika looks amazing as always. We grab a couple of drinks at the bar and sit in this cool little area by ourselves near the window. Rittenhouse Square looks beautiful. It’s all decorated for the holidays.There are strings of bulbs in the trees and the whole park twinkle with light. She is having some sort of light pink beverage that I didn’t catch the name of, and I’m having the old-fashioned. Normally, cocktails are around fifteen dollars, but during happy hour they’re half price. So that’s something I can live with for now.

I ask her what she’s been up to and she says she’s been going on a lot of dates. Turns out that weasel she wanted to bring to my eighty dollar a plate New Years party last year has been gone for a while. I remember she was so into that guy. Apparently they were together off and on for two years. She says she wasted her best years on him and now she’s old. She’s 28! Come on Sarika, you are still but a child. She said he was a jerk to her and probably never loved her. I get her laughing, and start thinking that the black widow isn’t so bad after all. She may be smart as a whip, but she’s still a young woman navigating her way through love and life. I even joke that she probably has a blood-red hour-glass tattooed on her belly.

I do love pretty things, and she is no exception.

I tell her she looks great as always. She has been in some sunny destinations lately, so her skin is a darker brown than normal. I like it. It makes her look even more mysterious and exotic. I mention it and she immediately asks if I think it looks ugly. She always says things like that. She is so smart but so immature at the same time. She’s also a bit of a chatterbox. I think most men can’t handle that and don’t like a girl who talks too much. I don’t mind it. I like a girl who has things to say and experiences to share. I love to talk and entertain a woman, so it’s nice when I have a chatty girl so I don’t have to do all of the work. Women like a good listener and I grew up with three sisters. But what I can’t stand is what Carol used to do. Just babbling on nonstop like a tire spinning in the snow. (See: Carol 5/2014 to 8/2016 – There’s No Fun In Dysfunction)

I once read that women speak up to 20,000 words a day, compared to men, who speak only 12,000. So when we get home…We’re done!

It is puzzling how a woman this strikingly beautiful can’t keep a man. But the more you’re around her the more it makes sense. She says she’s been finding men on an app called J Swipe. It’s like Tinder for Jews. I asked her why that app? She said Jewish men normally appreciate women more, have good jobs, and have money. Sounds like she’s hunting for a husband. I think one of the challenges Sarika is facing is that she may be viewed more as a conquest. A creature to be captured and checked off of some list, because she’s so beautifully exotic.

She said she went out with a guy on Monday and even had a date with a pilot after our happy hour. So I assume I won’t be getting a tour of that gorgeous apartment in her building tonight. Sarika has a very busy life. She travels a great deal for her job as a scientist. I know she was formerly an engineer, but now I guess she’s a scientist. She makes great money and spends her other free time hopping on planes and taking little trips. It sounds like a fun life with all of the dating, and jet setting vacations, but it almost seems like she doesn’t want to be alone in her apartment. She’s crazy dating now. It’s good that she’s getting out there and meeting people after two years wasted with weasel man. But again, I can see men wanting her because she’s so beautiful, but she’s kind of annoying to talk to for any length of time. So if they get the opportunity to sleep with her they may not stick around.

Sarika is very intelligent and a nerd. I have taken her to Science after Hours at the Franklin Institute in the past. She loved it like a child. We went to see Jurassic World last summer, and Guardians of the Galaxy is her favorite movie. If my friend Duncan finds that up he’ll probably move up here from North Carolina. You would think guys would find that hot. A pretty girl who likes guy stuff and sci-fi, but it hasn’t worked. Maybe one of these many men that she is meeting for dates, will be rich and just marry her as a trophy wife. But sadly, people are funny about race in this country. They may want to sleep with a hot girl, but they may not want to bring and Indian woman back home to meet the family. I personally I have nothing against it. If you have been reading this blog, you know I love all different kinds of women. As Hank Moody says in the show Californication, “I got all your albums. I love you all and you and you included, Sarika.”

My buddy Church shows up at Scarpetta. I’m happy to see him. Once Sarika  goes on her date at One Tippling Place up the street, he and I can go to Square 1682 and have a drink. Church knows everybody in the restaurant and bar business in this town, so when he orders a drink and the server brings it over, she says, “This one is on Nathan.” He’s the GM there so Church got the hook up. I get another drink, but Sarika is only having the one so she doesn’t show up drunk for her date at 7:00.

While I was waiting at the bar to get my drink, Church chatted with Sarika. I was a little glad that it took the bartender a little time to get to me and make my drink. Normally I don’t like that, but I thought it would give Church a chance to talk to Sarika.

I get back to our little area by the window. We all chat a bit more. Sarika has to go soon, so she heads back to the ladies room. Church tells me she wouldn’t stop talking and it was driving him crazy. He’s been on edge lately, and listening to Sarika go on about something was annoying him. He said something to the effect, “I wanted to put a gun in my mouth.” He said she is so vacuous and self-absorbed and all she talked about was herself.

He once said that about another attractive girl who talked a lot. He was in a car with her and she was talking non stop and he said, “I wanted to leap right out of the car while it was going 70 miles per hour down the highway.”

Sarika returns, and I put her coat on for her. I tell her I will pay for the one drink she had. She tells me she’ll get me next time. I give her a kiss on the cheek good-bye and she’s off. I get the bill for my two old-fashioneds and her dainty drink. It should come to over $22 plus tax. I look at it and it’s only $15. So I got the hookup because I was with Church.

Dude certainly has the power.

I think next we’ll do a happy hour with my friend Carly.  So the night went well and again without incident.

So maybe my pretty little arachnid is finally growing up.

I love Sarika. She is beautiful, and I enjoy her company, if nobody else does, and I can’t wait to see her again.

(Oh… and if you’ve somehow found this and other stories Sarika, I’ll understand if you cut me off. The truth always hurts more than fiction)

 

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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