Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Rules and Lists

You used the last of the toilet paper on the spool and started the new roll that I left for you on the back of the toilet tank. But please don’t replace the toilet paper by simply putting it on the spool. Just set it on top of the spent spool! Lazy fuckers! Doing something courteous in a public restroom doesn’t instantly turn you into a janitor you piece of shit!

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This is one of my all time favorite posts. It was fun to write and I’m sure the whole gang at the salon will love it!

Enjoy!

While working at the salon, Haley and I came up with a lot of funny bits we used to do. I can hear her giggling right now in my head as I write this.

We would lock the doors at closing time, and sometimes people would show up trying to get in and tan. There’s always people who can’t manage their schedules or the clock or the calendar and are always late for everything.

Do we come to your bar and want to order a bunch of stuff when you’re trying to close? Then don’t pull that shit on us. We didn’t want to deal with the cast of regulars that would try to pull this and sometimes we would simply hide from them as they banged on the door and/or started calling the house phone. We would be behind the wall or under the counter laughing.

There’s this one girl who comes in and she’s super hot but dresses provocatively. She knows she’s hot and likes to flaunt her body, but actually that’s not good behavior for a woman. But if she wants all of that attention that’s her business. I just liked her because she was hot. She’s really just a vacuous bubblehead.

So I would come in, and Haley would say, “You just missed your girlfriend!”

And I’d always say, “Which one?” (Because I loved so many of the hot girls that frequent the salon.)

She’d say, “Alexa! and you would have loved her because she was looking extra slutty today!”

I love Haley. She’s hilarious.

 

Achilles told me some things I needed to follow when I first started working there. These were just some fundamental things that I should do if I wanted things to work smoothly. I have so much enthusiasm for everything I do, I decided to actual make a real list. So I’ll show it here and break down the rules and explain what they mean.

1. No shared memberships (You can’t come in with your friend or spouse and buy a monthly package and share the tanning sessions. Like she can’t come in on Tuesday and then you come in on Wednesday. You also can’t come in on the same day and go to separate rooms.)
2. No shared rooms (Only one person to a room. Because who knows what two people could do in a room together when they’re naked?)
3. You’re available but not available (You can’t date the clients. What if I start dating some girl who comes there and then we break up and she won’t come to the salon because it’s awkward? Achilles loses revenue because of my dalliances. Off limits.)
4. It’s not clean until it’s mega clean (Job #1 in any business that serves the public is cleanliness. If you have a business where multiple people lie naked on the same acrylic sun bed over and over, the bed better be sanitized like crazy)
5. Last tanning session is at 7:50 (We talked about this. If we close at 8pm we can lock the doors at 7:50 so we can get on with our lives.)
6. We clean our own beds (The staff goes tanning. You shouldn’t work at a tanning salon and look pale. But I don’t want Haley or Summer or Trish wiping the sweat off the bed I just tanned in. And vice versa. Gross!)
7. When in doubt, throw it out (If you’re not sure if a towel is clean it goes in the hamper. Rather safe than sorry.)
8. Cash is king (Achilles loves cash. If someone pays cash you can knock 10% of the price if they’re on a budget)
9. You can’t leave your lotion here We’re not a storage facility. (people actually ask if we can hold their lotion for them under the counter)
10. No strollers! (This isn’t a real rule. We just worried about them carrying the strollers up 30 steps. It’s just unsafe. But there is another reason I’ll discuss below. You’ll know when you see it.)
11. No extensions! (If someone buys a month and then they go away for a week, we won’t put their membership on hold so they can start it up upon their return and get that week back. Mange your life better!) (However, we did this once for a good client when her mother died.)
12. No discounts unless it’s on the website and they mention it first! (We do 10% for cash if they ask and 20% for students if they ask. Summer, a girl who works here and formerly tanned here, said to me the other day, “You never gave me 20% because I was a student!” Me: Did you ever ask? “No.” Me: “We’re in business to make money, Summer. Now you work here… you can tan for free!”)
13. Never mention that we replace the bulbs in the beds to the customers. (Achilles always changes the bulbs on strict schedules. It’s just something that needs to be done on a regular basis to maintain the strength of the beds. But we don’t discuss that with clients because they could think that they’ve been tanning all month on weak bulbs and now in the last week of their package there are good new bulbs that are in the bed now. It’s just not the case and we don’t want to open that can of worms.)
I created a Love List. This was basically a list of hot women. It’s ridiculous, and I no longer do it. I created it when I first started working there because I was new and overwhelmed by all the beauty that comes in to tan at the salon. If I made Love List today it would look far different and probably consist of men and women who are nice people who are a pleasure to serve.
Haley had a Love list too. But hers consisted of nice people, and grandpa type old guys that came into tan. “They’re so cute, like my Pop Pop!”
And where there is a Love List, so must there be a Hate List. The Hate List is only about six people who come in at closing, are weird, or when they come in there’s always some sort of problem.
Which brings us to our favorite list of all. We all agree about every one of these and the list is always growing. We love it so much that I read it aloud to the staff at our Christmas dinner! Enjoy!
Things That Annoy Us. 
1. People that come in at 7:49. (We close at 8pm)
2. People that leave lakes of sweat on the bed.
3. People that close the bed and the door. (don’t make it look like you’re still in there! That makes us nervous!)
4. Trash strewn room.
5. Taking forever to choose a lotion packet when there’s a line.
6. When people come in and complain about things beyond our control.
7. When 7 girls come in and only have basic packages. (We only have two basic beds and two girls go in and then the rest of them have to sit around and wait in the lobby. It takes forever)
8. Hey client… to get the lotion on your body, not the table, floor, mirror and walls.
9. I’m going to wait for the Alpha (Premium bed.) and two people are ahead of me and its quarter to 8pm. (closing time)
10. They need more than 5 minutes to get ready and it’s our responsibility to remember to send them. (Activate the bed)
11. When people decide to go to the bathroom after we’ve sent them to a room.
12. They get a spray tan then go out in the rain and expect nothing to happen then call the next day to say their legs are streaking. Rain is like taking a shower!!! (You have to stay dry for 6 hours after a spray tan!)
13. Customers that talk to you about a bunch of stuff you have zero interest in. (Sader sounds) That’s a guy who used to come in and just gab about of things we don’t know about or care to hear about) Or this other lady who will rudely go on and on about her crazy ex husband or her kid who’s been in an out of children’s hospital his whole life. We get it. We’re sorry for you, but don’ lay your problems at a bunch of clerks at a tanning salon!
14. Can I leave my lotion here that I purchased elsewhere? (Really?)
15. Which one do you think is the best? (It’s all the same shit. Just pick a damn packet of lotion!)
16. Client: I referred so and so, so I get a free tan right? Me: Did you fill out the little card and have them bring it in with your name on it? Client: No. Me: Then No.
17. Can you just put me in today and when I come in on Tuesday you can subtract it from the next package I buy? Oh Laura… (That was some girl who would always try to pull that shit on me. I liked her but…No!)
18. Yea, sure, go into our bathroom and take a dump before you even come in to say hello. (Achilles hates that one)
19. Door squeaks and then tons of giggling and multiple footsteps… (Oh God here they come! A bunch of noisy college freshman girls) You’d think I’d like this, but it’s annoying.
20. Customer: umm one of the face tanners is burned out in the Cadillac. Us: Yea. It’s 10 after 8. Get the fuck out of here. (We don’t say that we just think it)
21. When the white trash junkie whores bring their Milano babies up here in their giant strollers and hang out for over an hour while they take turns tanning, changing dirty diapers and leaving them in the bathroom, while their kids cry and scream wreaking havoc in the lobby with our good clients. (Too much?)
22. When Sader inserts himself into my conversation with our lovely clientele. (This guy again. I’d be chatting with some young lovely, and he just comes in and inserts his tiny self into the conversation. Annoying!) UPDATE: Sader no longer comes to tan here because he said his doctor found some unusual skin growths on him so his tanning life is over. Not his real life… He just can’t tan anymore.
23. We warned you that if you weren’t gentle with the fan control on the Max 10 it’ll shut the bed off, but goddamn it, you’re fucking going to do it anyway. Twice.
24. Achilles: “This time of year nobody comes in to tan on the basic beds.” Me: (crushed on a Thursday) “Shut the fuck up, Achilles.”
25. Guy comes in our lobby: (There was a copy and print shop downstairs from the old salon on 16th street) “Is this where I can make copies? Me: (points to Max 10 sun bed.) “Does that look like a copy machine, sport? Get the fuck out of here.” (We don’t really say that, we think it.)
26. Just because you bought a month package doesn’t mean you have to come in everyday! (There are people who actually do this!)
27. Laura (crazy client) text: I just wanted to say hi and that I miss you terribly.  Me: Buy an All Access Premium EFT and you can see me everyday. Oh by the way…. Are you due for a new bottle of lotion??
28. Don’t put the fucking mega clean sign back on the dirty bed.
29. Am I the only one that works here and regularly cleans out the lint trap in the fucking dryer?
30. The mumblers! (Please speak up and use the voice God gave you!)
31. When I’m somewhere other than at the front counter, and the client starts wandering around the salon looking for me. (What are you a baby duckling?)
32. Did you have to throw everything on the floor? (Winkease trash, mega clean sign, head rest, towel, lotion packet, etc.)
33. You used the last of the toilet paper on the spool and started the new roll that I left for you on the back of the toilet tank. But please don’t replace the toilet paper by simply putting it on the spool. Just set it on top of the spent spool! Lazy fuckers! Doing something courteous in a public restroom doesn’t instantly turn you into a janitor you piece of shit!
34. When they use a towel to dry off their hands in the bathroom and instead of throwing the used towel into the little hamper next to the sink, they throw it back on top of the clean folded ones! Who the fuck is raising these monkeys?
35. When a client comes in and no one is at the counter, instead of having a seat in the waiting area, they just stand there at the counter nearly grinding their pelvis into it. Just leaning on the counter and all. I fucking hate that!
36. Why are you compelled to touch the mirrors in each room? I always see smudges and fingerprints on the mirrors. What, are you just checking to see that it’s really a mirror and not some portal to another world where there’s another you staring back at you??? What the fuck?
All in a days work.
Miss you, Haley!

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

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Kylie – 2012 to 2015 – Broken Wing – Part I – Reconnected Rebound

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

I met Kylie a few years ago after Michelle had broken up with me but we remained friends.  (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) I had met Kylie when she was shooting some photos for Philly Weekly. (See: Kylie – 2012 to 2016 – Broken Wing – The Rittenhouse Cocktail & Fashion Event)

I hadn’t seen her really after that, but back in May of 2014, my then boss and I ended up getting invited to go out on a tour boat for a few hours on the Delaware River. There was going to be free wine and snacks so we jumped on that cruise.

It was just a small party boat, that gave tours up and down the river in the spring and summer. It was beautiful day to be out on the water. There were a few other folks from the media there too  but one I noticed in particular.

Kylie is memorable for a few things. She has a very unique stacked bob hairstyle and a set of world-class legs on her. She’s probably only 5’2″ but she’s a runner and really fit. So every bit of sinew,musculature and balance is packed into those shapely stems.

So we’re chatting, and she’s looking hot with those legs out. The crackers and cheese are happening and the wine is flowing. We’re laughing and I feel like there’s a connection at some level. We’re reminiscing about the Rittenhouse cocktail event two years ago.

She tells me she’s on this gig to get some shots for Philly Weekly but they don’t pay much. She is still working with this older guy who has his own studio down in Old City. He’s been a professional photographer his whole life. When being a trained photographer really meant something  before it went all digital. Now every swingin’ dick in the city can just pick up an expensive digital camera and call themselves a photographer. Most wouldn’t know the difference between F stop and the F word!

She works with this older guy… we’ll call him Jim. He owns the business and he pays her to shoot some of the jobs he gets. I would think if you aren’t doing a lot of consistent commercial work and a bunch of weddings you probably won’t make much money. But over the years this guy has been pretty successful.

The cruise was a really nice way to reconnect with her. We exchange numbers and decide to meet up for a drink. So I’m feeling pretty good when I get off the boat.

It was maybe a week or so later, and we met up at Milkboy for a few drinks. Milkboy is a bar/music venue at 11th and Chestnut street. There are a bunch of people there I know and they’re treating us great. Somebody took a pic of the two of us and we looked pretty cozy. And of course everything has to go up on social media. I look back on my life back then and I was just as bad as everybody else if not worse. I put pics up of everything I was doing. Now I almost never post anything on my personal Facebook page or Instagram. I just promote phicklephilly on those platforms now.

Back then when I was Annabelle, I would post pics of us all of the time. I also had us locked down as “In a Relationship” on Facebook. So if you’re in a relationship and things end it doesn’t stay between you and your significant others. Every asshole that you’re “friends” with on Facebook know that it’s over. That’s like being a celebrity and breaking up with your spouse. The world knows. That must be horrible. Because I have 5000 “friends” on Facebook and everybody knows when it’s over. I will never let that happen again.

But… Annabelle didn’t know what she wanted back then. She probably still doesn’t, but if this pic of yours truly and Kylie pops up in her feed on facebook, it’ll look like I have moved on in less that 30 days after she dumped me.

Well, let’s see what happens.

Damn you, Annabelle.

 

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

Church – 2012 to Present – Angel’s Envy – Part 2

“Did you touch them?”
 
“Yea.”
 
“You’re killing us, Liam!”
 

Church and I step out into the warm afternoon sun. We sadly run into this little troll from the Trestle Inn that loves us both. She literally looks like she has troll or hobbit in her family. She’s awful. We hug her and it’s absolute torture for me and my comrade, but we have to be nice.
Church brings the car around and Liam and I get in. Church is doing his usual rage driving and Liam starts talking.
There is a hip crazy waitress that works at Sofitel. We all love her. She’s a tall brown-haired beauty. She has damage, but who cares, she’s pretty. Church is cranking Ozzy in the car and we’re all feeling good.
Liam goes on to tell us that he’s been to this waitress’ house to drink and she always breaks her tits out. We love and admire this lovely woman and can’t imagine her doing this.
When you go to a bar and love and respect the staff, and you suddenly hear something like this, it’s like seeing nudity in People magazine on the counter at Rite aid. When you hear about your friend and server breaking her tits out with her co workers at a party it creates all sorts of new thoughts in your mind..
We’re driving Liam to work and Church and my brains are exploding because all we can think about how his co workers tits swinging free and somehow we are there. We really like her and find it hard to believe she does shit like that. But the more we think about her and her past, we sort of pull it together.
“Did you touch them?”
“Yea.”
“You’re killing us, Liam!”
We drop off Liam at Sofitel. Church and I are laughing as he searches for a parking spot. He’s the king of finding spots in the city. I don’t know anyone that can always manage to find a great space, usually right near wherever we want to hang out.
Church decides we’re going to crash the Angel’s Envy cocktail party at Dandelion. I’m already buzzed, so I’m down for anything. We walk in and tell the hostesses we’re with the Angel’s Envy party. Without even asking who we are or if we’re on the list they tell us to head upstairs.
Upstairs at Dandelion is nice. London’s culinary revolution cames to Philadelphia with this unique gastropub. Cozy rooms and intimate bars create a storied, Old World aura, while updated seasonal takes on British food make up the menu.
The event is being held in what’s referred to as “The Dog Room.” The whole room and bar is all done up with everything canine. Pictures of dogs, and little figurines on the shelves. Even the brass rail that surrounds the front of the bar is held in place by a row of brass bulldog heads chomping down on the rail. I always said they should hide one cat in there somewhere, and if you can find it among the dozens of dogs in there, maybe you get a free drink.
Now this is a party. The owner of the brand is there, and everybody is plowing delicious food and sipping bourbon cocktails. Church is chatting with his buddy the local rep for PA.  I take a bite out of a delicious slider and take a photo of it in my hand. I send the pic to Prova and tell her she’s missing free food and drinks. I tell her to grab an UBER and get down here.
Crickets.
The owner of Angel’s Envy makes a little speech, and they pour shots of the bourbon for everyone to do a toast. Church is on the wagon, and his buddy is working, so they literally pour their shots into my glass. So when we do the toast I pound down 3 shots of bourbon in one gulp.
I run into a few people I know in the industry and chat with some attractive ladies that are also present. So since 3pm this afternoon we’ve been having a wonderful day.
So after the happy hour/party we head over to Sofitel for some quiet frivolity. The bartender that went with us to Karma earlier is there with Liam. He talks shit on Prova saying she had “an agenda” to take us to Karma. Like she had ulterior motives. I don’t like how this clown was invited to a free bourbon tasting. Ate the food, drank the cocktails, and then disappears from Karma and doesn’t even finish his drink. He just scampers off to work. Then talks smack on one of my dear friends.
But all is forgiven because I can’t control the hearts and minds of others and I’m friends with Prova, not him. I hang out with her, I drink at the bar where he works and we really come to see Liam and some of the girls that host and serve there.
(But Prova has already texted me back and says she is on her way down.)
But he tells an interesting story. He said when he was younger he was riding in the car with his family. They were in the car on their way to New York. His dad has Philly’s local rock station on. The song Iron Man by Black Sabbath came on the radio. He had never heard it before and he instantly loved it. He asks his father who sings that song. His pop says some guy named, Ozzy.
So one day when he’s 12 years old, they stop in a music store. He can’t find the song on any of Ozzy’s records. He ends up walking up to this old hippie, and asks him about the song. The hippie takes him to the section where Black Sabbath’s CD’s are located. He pulls out the album entitled Paranoid and hands it to him.
He had some birthday money from his grandparents so he bought the album and has loved Sabbath ever since.
I really liked that little story. You’ve been redeemed!
Prova shows up half in the bag. On Church’s orders he tells her to get some food. I’m happy we’re all together. Good hospitality and good people make for a lovely day!
I go out for a smoke. I run into my favorite homeless guy outside. He always tells me a joke, so I give him a dollar or two to get him something to eat.
I tell him I may start to write for One Step Away, the homeless publication here in Philly. I’m feeling drunk and get a little misty about it. He senses it and moves on to get his hamburger at McDonald’s. I watch him shuffle off down the street and around the corner. I stub out my cigarette, and walk back into the warmth of the beautiful hotel Sofitel. My friends are there and so is a crisp glass of chardonnay and free bar snacks.
My thoughts return to my homeless guy. But I smile and chat with Prova and the gang and take a sip of wine.

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

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Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Lightning in a Bottle

“Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.”

I got a text from Achilles (See: Sun Stories: Achilles, 2016 to Present – The Bronze God) He asked if I could work open to close today. That’s 10am to 8pm, on your feet, running around the salon for 10 hours. I agreed, because I have a flexible schedule at my other job, and I think he may have come down with a cold. On top of that it’s been thunder storming all day, and he probably doesn’t want to come out in this mess.

So I’m at the salon, and it’s a pretty quiet day. You’d think more people would come out to tan on a rainy day, but it’s the other way around. They come when it’s warm and sunny out.

I’m just standing behind the counter writing my blog on the computer. When in walks this cute 19-year-old girl. Raven hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She says my name, and I do a double take.

“Don’t you recognize me because I’m not tan?”

“Oh my god! Haley!”

I come from around the counter and she goes in for a big hug.

“I missed you!”

From mid April until the end of August is our busy season at the salon. We can’t provide the level of service that our customers deserve with only one person on shift at night. So Achilles usually will bring on a second person at night to ease the flow of clients. Haley had been working every summer at the salon since she was 16 years old.

Haley has a sister Elisa that’s a year younger that she is. She comes into tan but never worked here. Elisa’s cute, but Haley’s beautiful. There’s a difference.

Haley was also a straight A student last year in her senior year. Beauty and brains. A deadly combination. She wants to eventually go to medical school to become a doctor!

So Achilles brought her back again last summer to help out at night. I wondered how that was going to go. Me, a middle-aged man working with a senior in high school.

Well I’ll tell you how it went. It went fantastic! Working with Haley from day one was glorious. She’d been doing the job for two years prior, so she knew everything about the salon. We ran the place like a well oiled machine. I’m driving in the sales. Haley picks up on how I ask every customer if they need lotion or protective eyewear. She starts pitching it to every client thereafter. She’s like lightning when she works. Super fast and really efficient. She knows exactly when to put the laundry in the washer and stays on top of the time when to get it into the dryer. (I love her South Philly accent. Instead of saying “towels”, she pronounces it “tales”. It is to adorable!

“I’m so sick of these tales! I hate the color and they’re too hard to fold and they don’t fit under the counter right!” she would say.

Working with Haley was a total riot. We would take care of the clients but had a lot of fun working together.

On time this weirdo douchebag guy comes in to tan. Haley asks him what kind of bed he wants to tan in. (Stand up unit, or lay down)

He says: “How about a four-poster.”

Haley is silent but I look at him with a hard eye and say: “Dick. She’s in High School.”

Shut that fucker right down.

I see Haley like a daughter or a niece. Gotta protect the young ladies around us.

I told Achilles about the incident and he also gave them his own personal warning to the guy. I don’t know what he said or did, but we never had a problem with this asshole again.

One day told her that out of everyone I knew, she and my daughter Lorelei, are the only people I know who don’t use profanity, which I find very refreshing. Haley responded by saying that she doesn’t curse around parents. (Apparently this is the same story with my kid.) I like that!

Speaking of her parents, she said her dad is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her mom is a total sweetheart. Her mother would always drive up to the salon at closing in her truck with their dog and pick up little Haley. Her mom is kind of hot. But I love that she would always come and get Haley and make sure her daughter got home safe!

Haley went down the shore after graduating from high school with honors and went to work as a server at Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for the summer. She told me they originally want her to work a bunch of hours but she told them she was down the shore to have fun, relax and enjoy her summer. She was still making around $800 a week slinging slices to the hungry tourists.

“It’s the most money I ever made at a job in my life!” she squealed to me today.

Currently she is in college and working part time at an Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.

Sure, she’s a great student and is a really well-behaved kid. But technology is much better than when I was a teenager. She has a fake ID that looks exactly like a DMV issued drivers license that says she’s 21. She showed it to me and it looks better than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s so she can get served and go into bars and nightclubs.

She’s a good girl and has a nice guy she is seeing, and she behaves herself. They play it cool and are careful when she and her friends go out. They mostly just like to hang out somewhere and drink beer like teenagers have done for decades.

I love the paradox of the brilliant, beautiful student that has a touch of. I can trust that in a woman.

I remember she would bring her laptop into work and do her homework sometimes. The customers didn’t know what she was doing, and could care less. They just want to hop into an available bed and get their tanning session, and get on with their day. But I know Achilles doesn’t like any of his employees focusing on anything but the clients and what’s going on in the salon. I get it. It’s his business and the salon is his livelihood. But Haley is such a good student with high aspirations, and I never said anything because she’d been working there off and on for three years. So I didn’t care what she was doing because at the time I didn’t know what his arrangement was with Haley after all of that time.

Besides she was always all business when it came to being on point in the salon every night. She made my life easier and I absolutely loved working with this lovely, lively girl. She’s so full of life and apparently I’m good at making her laugh.

When she worked the Saturday shift, (Which is from 11am to 6pm) sometimes her  classmate, Lia would come in and hang on the couch and keep her company. I get it. It’s a 7 hour shift and teenagers get bored easily. She’s a pretty black girl and she’d sit on the sofa and hang with Haley, bring her coffee and snacks to pass the time because weekends are slower than nights during the week. I mean, I’ve had friends come and hang at the salon and chat with me while I’m working. On any given night, Church will swing in and hang for an hour until we go to the bar after I close up shop. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

But Achilles found out this black girl was hanging out on Saturdays and wasn’t happy with it. Again… it’s a business and his livelihood and didn’t want a bunch of kids hanging around in his salon not doing anything. I get it. He’s right, but I went in once on a Saturday to make sure everything was cool, and to tan. (I like to tan on days I don’t work. It just feels better) I had the pleasure of meeting Lia. She’s a lovely young woman who has been accepted to Yale!

Yes. I said Yale. You don’t get into Yale being a crazy reckless youth. This girl is going to go on to do great things in her life. She’s sweet, charming, and obviously very intelligent and focused on her future.

So my girl Haley surrounds herself with great people and I’m really proud of her. She gives me hope for the future youth of America!

Oh, and she has the exact same birthday as my daughter, Lorelei! Haley is 11/17/97 and Lor is 11/17/96. Two  Scorpios. Don’t mess with my girls or you’ll get stung!

I was so happy to see my former co-worker today. It made my 10 hour shift on my feet running around on a very rainy day just a bit sunnier. Haley is a ray of light that I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with and have in my life.

Oh… one more thing. Haley isn’t on ANY social media. Just doesn’t see the point of it. Hope!

Seeing her today inspired me to write about her, and I am now going to publish another piece about our adventures at the tanning salon. I’ll give you a little hint: While we were working together we came up with official rules for the salon, based on some of the stuff Achilles would lay on me about how to run the salon. We also created lists of clients we loved and hated. But the funniest list we made was the “Things that Annoy Us.” You may not get all of them, and I will explain what they mean in this future post. But if you’ve worked in retail or the service industry, you should be able to relate.

I love Haley, and didn’t realize how much I missed her smile and laughter until today!

 

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Ann Marie- 2015 to Present – Rose Among Thorns

“Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!”

I did some work in the morning, and then was to meet up with Church for lunch. We met at one of my favorite Monday lunch spots in Rittenhouse. Can’t beat a $5 cheesesteak and fries or tots to kick off your week at Cavanaugh’s.  I get there and of course my girl Ann Marie says hello and immediately delivers to my table a water and diet coke. She always uses my name and provides outstanding hospitality. I always get the same thing when I go there on Mondays and she knows exactly what I want. It’s a little slow in this sports bar, so Ann Marie hops up in the chair across from me and we start chatting.

I ask her how her trip to California was with her Mother. Ann Marie is getting married in October so she and her mom and sister went out there to pick up a special Vietnamese wedding dress.

While traditional clothes of Vietnam have always been very diverse depending on the era and occasion, after the Nguyen Dynasty women began to wear elaborate Ao dai for their weddings. These dresses were modeled after the Áo mệnh phụ (royal Áo dài) of Nguyễn Dynasty court ladies. The style of the Nguyễn Dynasty has remained popular and is still used in current-day Vietnamese wedding attire. The difference between the Áo mệnh phụ and the typical Áo dài is the elaborateness of its design. The former is usually embroidered with imperial symbols such as the phoenix and includes an extravagant outer cloak. This gown is preferably in red or pink, and the bride usually wears a khan dong headdress. The groom wears a simpler male equivalent of the dress, often in the color blue.

Apparently she’s having a Vietnamese wedding and then a Catholic wedding after that. Then there is the reception of course. So basically Ann Marie’s wedding day is going to last from 11am till the last person stumbles out of the reception.

An engagement ceremony usually occurs half a year or so before the wedding. In the past, most marraiges were arranged by the parents or extended family, and while children were sometimes consulted, it was nearly always the parents’ final decision. It was not unusual for the bride and groom to meet for the first time at the day of their engagement. However, in the last few decades, Vietnamese women and men marry based on love rather than arranged marriages.

Preparation for the traditional Vietnamese wedding begins with choosing a date and time for the marriage ceremony. This is decided by a Buddhist monk, Spiritual leader, or fortune teller due to the spiritual nature of the occasion. This tradition may change if the family is Catholic. (Which our westernized Ann Marie is)

The wedding consists of an extensive set of ceremonies: asking permission to receive the bride, receiving the bride at her house, and bringing the bride to the groom’s house. Both Vietnamese and oversea-Vietnamese who desire to have a hybrid traditional Vietnamese and Western-style wedding will often incorporate the last two ceremonies with the Western-style wedding.

And then obviously at the end of the ceremonies, there is one reception for the two families and guests. Sounds like it’s going to be a big day for our girl.

“I told my bridesmaids to just keep me hydrated and energized to make it through a very long day!”

I’ve known Ann Marie for a few years now. We never hang out, I just know her from the sports bar. There are a million sports bars out there, but your staff is really what makes the difference. That goes for any business. There are bars I go to and I love the guy that works every Monday night, but I wouldn’t set foot in that place on a Wednesday if he’s not working.

Ann Marie’s great. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s really cute and fit. There’s a group of construction workers that come in and drink some afternoons and they only come in when Ann Marie is working. They love her like we do. There were days I would be sitting at my table in the back and I would be working on my laptop. I’d pop out for a smoke and one of the guys would be out there and we’d be chatting. Next thing you know he’s sending me a drink back to my table. Just good hard-working fellas.

I remember another time I was sitting at the bar and I was eating my sandwich. That same group of guys were there and they were drinking, laughing and busting on each other. The one guy says something like, “Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!” Of course the guy laughs but doesn’t disagree with them.

I think to myself… “Fuck! That’s why I always used to sit at the end of the bar in the Spring and Summer, so I can check out Ann Marie’s legs. If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m a leg man. Ann Marie may be petite but she has well turned legs.

Church arrives and we order our food. We go with the special. He goes with fries and I choose tots. This way, everybody wins. The place gets busier and Ann Marie is running around taking orders and serving at the bar.

Church and I are chatting after lunch and Ann Marie cruises by. “Can we get the check? I thought you were keeping me here.”

“I’m going to keep you here forever, dear.” She says with a wry smile.

That’s what I’m talking about. You come for the $5 cheesesteaks, you stay for that kind of hospitality and charm.

Update: Ann Marie has since left her post at Cavanaugh’s to pursue a career in Marketing. Oh well, hopefully her replacement can live up to the high bar set by Ann Marie. Oh, and if you’re reading this dear, You’re going to be a beautiful bride to a lucky gentleman.

 

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Daphne – 2014 to Present – Lovely Hostess – Part Two

“Drop the Clutch and Go!”

I know a server over at Misconduct on JFK Blvd, named Brianna. She’s a sweet baby with raven curls, caramel skin and slender legs. One day I’m lunching over there with my buddy, Rocco. I see Brianna giving her phone number to a guy that appeared to be in his sixties. I’m astounded. I call her over and ask her what’s going on. “If you just gave that old dude your phone number and you’re going to meet him for coffee, I want to go shake that man’s hand, on a solid close.”

She says she knows him from another bar, and he’s really nice. He looks lonely. He also comes into Misconduct to see her. (Hell, I did the same thing when Maria worked there) He asked her to meet him for coffee.

“And you’re going to go have coffee with him?”

“Of course not. I get hit on all of the time in here. But he’s nice and I didn’t want to be rude.”

“I really respect this man’s initiative at his age. But what happens when this guy texts you to set up a time to have coffee?

“Nothing. I just never get back to him.”

So I get it now. No matter how nice they are to you and even if they give you their phone number they will simply ghost you.

I was a little miffed, but understood. The odd thing was, Daphne knew me as a regular. I would hang with Carly and Church there all of the time. I get the hook up from Roman the bartender. I know basically everyone that works there and she doesn’t even have to get back to me even as a common courtesy.

But what right do I have to her? None. She’s young and beautiful and holds all of the power. There is truly nothing I can do about it. Fucking crickets.

So a few weeks pass and I don’t see her. I figure maybe she went on another of her global trips or was busy with school. Then one night I was sitting at the end of the bar with Church, and I see her. She’s chatting close by with a few of her coworkers. I tell Church what happened. (Rather, what didn’t happen!) I tell him I’m going to say something to her. Church at this point thinks I am trying to get her to sleep with me, and he says, “Pump the brakes.”

I am who I am, and have become the person I am by doing the very opposite. If you tell me I can’t have something, I will find a way to have it. If you tell me it can’t be done, I will find a way to do it. My father used to say, that if I didn’t apply myself and get an education, I’d never amount to anything. I’d end up like the homeless guys in the Subway. He even once said that if I had a woman, he would be able to take her away from me, because I was nothing. He also said, “(My Name) always takes the path of least resistance.” I was older by then, and tired of taking his shit so I said, “You know what else always takes the path of least resistance?”

“What?” he says.

“Water. Water always finds the path of least resistance. You know that thing where all life on this Earth has emerged. You’ve seen the Grand Canyon, right Pop?”

He didn’t say anything after that. He just glared at me. It wasn’t worth continuing the conversation. I just had to consider the source. So if I’m thinking something, or wanting to do something that I believe in, don’t ever fucking tell me to “Pump the brakes.”

It’s a matter of principle now. I’m going to “Drop the clutch and go.”

Daphne approaches. “Hey…” she says using my name in that honey contralto. “What’s happening?”

I tell her the story about my friend at Misconduct, and tell her it’s okay, and I realize now that’s how it’s done in this business.  When a gentleman asks to meet with you, you simply ghost him.  She’s like… “What?”

I remind her about the text I sent her and how we were going to try to meet up on that Sunday. She pulls out her phone and holds it up to show me. “See the last text is from me, thanking you for bringing me the cough drops when I was sick a couple of months ago. I don’t know what Daphne you sent the text to, but it wasn’t me.”

I feel like a jackass, but an extremely happy jackass. We have a laugh about it and she tells me to try again. She has finals coming up and the holidays are busy, but we should try to get together.

I text her a few days later and wait. An hour or two later I have a response from Daphne. So we’ll see what happens.

 

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

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

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

Here’s where we left off yesterday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She’s drunk. My kiss is welcome.

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

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

 

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