Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun

I met Prova at a networking event a year ago. We were drinking and chatting, and I gave her my business card. I meet so many people in my line of work, if we don’t stay in touch, I’ll probably forget all about them. That’s just how life is.

One night I was working late at my desk at my advertising gig. I either got a text or a call. I answered and it was Prova. She said that I probably didn’t remember her, but she was looking for a part-time job to supplement her real job.

Prova works as a broker for a large firm here in the city. She likes to stay busy and wanted a part-time gig. I’ve done that job. It’s stressful and tough. She asked if with all my connections, could I see if anyone was looking for a bartender. I told her I would check, and get back to her.

I called her back in a couple of days, and told her a couple of places where she should apply, and drop my name. Within a week, she circled back to me, and told me that she had landed both gigs! One at a bar and one at a beer garden. She was very grateful, and we decided to meet up for lunch.

We met at Smith’s over on 19th. She’s a beautiful, spiritual Indian woman. She has lovely thick ribbons of raven hair, and killer dimples that light up her smile. Just great energy with which I can connect. She filled me in on all of the details of her life, and I did the same.

We’ve kept in touch, and met for food and drinks several times since then.

That was about five months ago and much has changed since then. I met up with her again recently at a local pub in Rittenhouse. We went on a Monday and that is 1/2 off cheese steak day. Which is clutch. You can get a cheese steak and fries for around five bucks. So we did that, and my favorite bartender there served us. Normally I don’t have any interest in eating dessert but for some reason that day I wanted it. We settled on Smores chocolate meltdown with ice cream. Just an absolutely decadent treat. Fantastic. I don’t take pictures of my food and put it on social media, but I did this time. Best part was, we had two cheese steaks, fries, she had a beer, I had a soda and we destroyed that dessert all for $17.00.  My favorite bartender told me the dessert was on her. She’s and adorable Vietnamese girl. Her name is Anna Marie. Maybe I’ll write about her sometime.

Prova loves her bartending gig and still does it a few nights a week. She has since left the beer garden, (It’s only open in the summer anyway) but has taken another job as a shot girl for a national liquor brand. She does that a few nights a week as well, and they pay her $30 and hour! She loves this new aspect to her life. She has decided to slowly hand off her client base and eventually leave the brokerage house, where she still works during the day. Would I date her? Absolutely. She’s a beautiful, smart woman. But I wouldn’t want to screw up our friendship. Plus, there has been talk of her attending church on a regular basis. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know I prefer my women with a “Touch of Evil.”

She has also recently moved out of her parents house in the burbs, and got a posh apartment with a roommate down on the waterfront. She loves her roommate, and says she’s a great person with which to share a place. I’m really happy for her.

Prova was telling me a funny story about a friend of a friend, that happened down in the Gayborhood. (All around 13th & Sansom) She said we should head down there one night and have a drink, and meet some fun people. I’m down for that. Who knows what kind of new stories I can get out of that night?

 

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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Michelle – Chapter 7 – New York City – Saturday

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

After the magic of the Wishing Stone, things seemed to move forward in my direction. The right direction! Michelle’s 28th birthday was rapidly approaching at the end of May. People were all asking the perfunctory: “What are you doing for your birthday?” Where it’s like, great… Now I have to come up with something. But she was telling people that she’d like to maybe go to New York City for the long weekend. She knew I had lived and worked in Manhattan for the last couple of years before I came back to Philly. We were chatting about it. I asked her what she was planning. She wasn’t sure but was definitely thinking of getting out-of-town, and NYC seemed like a good spot.

Based on how volatile things had been leading up to this moment, I had my reservations about us going away together. There had been so much back and forth with us, and as much as I would love actually spending time with Michelle on a weekend day, it just seemed like for some reason it just wouldn’t happen.

It was a Friday, and her birthday was on Sunday. I had picked up a little gift bag of goodies for her and hid it under her desk while she was away from it. She was very surprised when she found it. It wasn’t anything really valuable. Just stuff she liked. I probably had a couple of packs of Parliaments in there, her favorite Orbit gum, maybe some granola bars. Just little stuff. It was sitting on her desk, and we were chatting, and that little weasel that I told you about in Michelle’s first chapter comes over. He’s like: “Oh gum, can I have some?” Michelle is like, sure. But the best part for me was knowing the following:

  1. This guy is so far in the friendzone that he might as well be a blood relative of hers.
  2. He doesn’t know the gift bag with the gum is a present from me, or that it’s even her birthday.
  3. I enjoyed watching him really struggle with the cellophane to open the gum.
  4. She’s going to NYC with me and no one at our company knows we’re an item.

Weasel realizes it’s her birthday, asks her what her plans are for the weekend. She tells him she’s going to NYC. He asks with whom? She says, “A friend,” and smiles.

The afternoon went by and I don’t remember if I walked her home, but I probably did. Either way, on Saturday I was back in Jersey awaiting her call. She wanted to get some rest and leave for New York later in the afternoon. But based on the past events I prepared myself for her to bail. I was out that day with my friend Vicky. We stopped at Marshall’s or Ross because I wanted to pick up some new shirts. I was telling her the whole tale of what I had been through with Michelle. We were in the car ready to leave the parking lot when my flip phone rang. I answered it. It was Michelle. I was expecting the worst. She said if I could come by her place around 3:30pm she’s be ready to go to NYC.

For some reason I was astounded. I told her I’d be there, and went home to pack. Vicky was very happy for me. I put some things in a bag and fired up my ’94 Taurus wagon.

I got to her building and text her. She came down with her bags. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. It was like a dream come true. Here I was seeing Michelle for the first time on a weekend. We were going to New York!  She gets in the car and asks if we can stop at the Starbucks down the street so she can get a coffee or a tea. I pull around and she goes in and gets it. I was a little annoyed because we were already getting such a late start. I wanted to get on the road, and now we were making a stop already. But it was probably just my anxiety about the whole trip in general. Since I had just come back from NYC a year ago, it was an easy drive.

It’s super expensive to stay in NYC. I knew of a nice motel where we could stay across the river in Jersey City. It’s a really quaint, clean little place. We get there and go into the lobby to inquire about a room.

They say they are booked all weekend.

“Is there another hotel in the area?” I ask. “Sure. Go north on this road a ways and it’s up on the right. It’s called the Skyline Motel.”

“Great, thanks!” We drive over and come upon something we didn’t expect. The Skyline Motel is an old place on Tonnelle Avenue. We pull into the parking lot and walk up to the lobby. But you can’t go in because it’s just an Indian guy behind a bullet proof glass like a teller window at a bank in a bad neighborhood.

“Long or short stay?” He says. Okay. When a proprietor of any motel or hotel asks that question it only means one thing. I’ll translate that for you. “Do you want the room for an hour to bang the person you’re with, or will you be staying the night with us?” We paid and he gave us the keys to the room. We went upstairs. I swear, we walked past this skinny hooker at the payphone putting her shoes on. This place was one of “those places” The whole vibe of the place was sketchy. But it was the only hotel in the area, and we would just go with it. Michelle didn’t seem to care.

Actually, the room was really clean. The bed was clean. The bathroom was all new and looked great as well. Good hotel in a shitty area. Oh, there was a mirror on the ceiling over the bed. We drop our gear and secure the room. A few minutes later we’re in a taxi to the Path train. Once there we we walk through Journal Square. When I lived up there, I used to call it Mos Eisley. Because at night, Journal Square was a den of scum and villainy.

We hop on the train into the city. It only takes about 20 minutes to get there. We get off at 32nd and Sixth on the edge of Korea town. We walk a few blocks. Manhattan is enormous. It truly is an amazing city. I love Philly more, but New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. We step into a pub and have a few drinks and some food. We’re happy and having a fun day so far. We walk up to Rockefeller Center. It’s Memorial Day weekend, so the weather is warm, and the city is a little quieter because people go away for the holiday.

We’re having a drink outside. We start chatting with this older couple that are pretty much doing what we’re doing. Just hanging, and enjoying the evening in the city. We’re just having a great time, and at some point they leave. A short time later, we look down and we see that they have forgotten a bag with some things in it. We look inside and there are some tourist looking stuff, but there is also some medicines. It’s something the man probably needs. Michelle and I in true fashion, spring into action. We may be two crazy kids on the loose in NYC, but now we’re on a mission. It’s actually a good thing that it was 2008. That’s 9 years ago. Because there is actually a AAA hotel guide in there. I flip through it and the Waldorf Astoria is circled in pen. Can you beat that?

We head over to the hotel. I’ve never set foot in there. It’s beautiful. I see all of these bottles of Dom Perignon around the lobby as if there were some sort of event there that night. I think if there is a way I can clip one of those bottles out of here I will. Michelle and I used to sometimes steal stuff back then. Nothing big, like cars or anything, but stuff like glassware from bars. I don’t even know why. We walk up to the front desk and tell them what happened, and ask if the people we met are staying there. We tell them we’re not trying anything funny, just trying to help. They take the bag and call upstairs. The people are staying there! The guy is surprised and relieved. I don’t even think he realizes that he had lost his stuff. He tells us he’s coming down. A few moments pass and he appears. We hand over the bag and he looks inside. “Well I can’t go without that! Thank you so much. Let me buy you both a drink.”

All we heard were the words: “buy” and “drink.”

He bought us both a glass of chardonnay. I think we had two rounds.  He paid for the first round and then we paid for the second. We bid him farewell, and he went back up to the room. Philly is expensive, but New York is super expensive. I think it was $14 a glass. Maybe more. Regardless, we were relieved that he bought the first round or we would have had a $56 bill plus tip. You’re looking at $60 for 2 drinks each. Nightmare!

On our way out, Michelle is admiring the bottles of Dom around the lobby. I tell her I had thoughts of trying to steal one, but I didn’t. “Do you know why I didn’t steal one?” I ask. “Because it would be wrong, and bad karma after our good deed tonight?” She says. “That’s a great answer, Michelle. It really is. But it’s wrong.” How so?” she asks. “I didn’t steal a bottle because it would have been wrong. I looked closely at those bottles on the way in. I didn’t clip one because they are all empty.”

We laugh on the way out and are feeling energized from helping someone, while being a couple in NY. I have no idea what time it is because I am so caught up in the moment. We stop at another bar. I know there are plenty of bars in NY that stay open until 4am. We’re having drinks and a great time. An hour or so later, we stumble out of the bar and back to the PATH train. We hop the train back to Jersey City. As the train rises out of the tunnel and climbs the bridge across the river, the car is filled with golden sunlight.

“We stayed out all night!” Michelle exclaims. “Great night though.” I say.

We hop in a taxi in Journal Square (Mos Eisley) and have him drive us back to the Skyline Motel. Maybe it’s too early for the hookers and junkies to be out yet. We get there quickly. Michelle suggests we pay for tomorrow night right now, because she wants to sleep through 11am checkout today. We pay the man behind the bulletproof glass and head up to our room. The great thing is, the curtains are really thick. I pull them closed, and it is once again night in the room. We get out of our clothes, but I don’t think in front of each other. She changes in the bathroom. We’re exhausted.

Sometimes we do good things. Sometimes we do bad things. Today was good. I’m just happy to be with Michelle. I can’t believe my good fortune in meeting her.

We crawl under the sheets and fall asleep.

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

Tune in two weeks from now for the thrilling conclusion to Michelle – NYC – Sunday

 

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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Rebecca – Chapter 4 – Cypress and the Oak

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope she shows up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened?” I say, concerned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My man at Tippling is always on point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love is a many splintered thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had our intimate moment and then paused.

“Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving!” she laughed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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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Sun Stories: Olivia – Flirt – Part II

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

From time to time over the summer, Olivia would come in and chat a little bit before her sessions and it was a small slice of paradise for me. Don’t get me wrong, there are dozens of women that come in the spa every day that are really good talent. But there is just something about a small percentage of them that just light me up. I think what it comes down to is, they are obviously attractive but there is something else. They have to be a little engaging. We have hundreds of active clients right now, and I would say under 20 really do it for us. Olivia would talk about her life a little and how she is dating some guy but it’s not working out. (Me, so happy when I hear that!)

One day a former colleague of mine was in town to meet me for lunch. After lunch he wanted to go to the spa. Yes, the same one where I work part-time. We get there and the waiting room is packed. The Temple girls are all going back to school, so they are all back for their treatments. He grabs the last seat and I’m just standing there surrounded by all of these women sitting around waiting. Who walks in but Olivia. She walks right up to me and hugs me. “Where have you been all of my life.” I swear she said that. We’re chatting and to me everyone in the room disappeared. I saw only her. The loveseat opened up when a few of the girls were being waited on, and Achilles from behind the counter says “Will you two sit down!” We laugh and she says “Yes Dad!” And I say, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me!” We takes a seat and she’s telling me about school, and work and stuff, and I’m loving it. This is the high point of the day. She tells me she is working this Friday, and says I should come up and visit her. She says she’s hostessing so she’ll be able to chat all night. I tell her I’ll see. She goes tanning, then off to work.

Of course I don’t go. After working at the spa until 8pm and then cleaning up, I’m ready to just go home and have a drink, and watch Netflix. I’m not getting on the train and going all the way up to Fishtown at 9pm. Not happening.

A week passes and it’s the next Friday, and who comes strolling in at 7:30. Olivia. She looks amazing as always. The great thing is, it’s dead on Friday nights and we can chat. The first thing she says is, “Somebody was supposed to come visit me last week and never did.” I apologized and explained why and she was fine with it. Her phone died and I told her I had a charger. She comes around the counter to plug-in and starts showing me all of these pictures of her family. Of course they are all Aryan greatness, and she tells me everyone has blue eyes. It’s a big family. I think like 5 kids! All good-looking. I’m looking at her beautiful face right next to me and her lashes are so long, and I simply adore her. I’m mesmerized by her beauty.

She glances past me at the other computer and asks what that is on the screen. I was working on phicklephilly on the other unit. I admit that I write this blog about people I meet in Philadelphia. She inquires deeper, and I admit that it’s about all of the women I have met in the last 10 years. She says she wants to read it and I should send her the link. I’m completely under her power at this point, but see a wonderful opportunity. I tell her I can’t do that because I don’t have any of her contact info. I give her my phone and she writes her name with some emojis next to it. A smiling sun, cherries, and a bomb. I don’t know what any of this means, but I don’t care because I am so happy. I now have her contact info. I tell her that if we meet up outside of here, I will have to write about it. I think she likes the idea of the attention. I tell her I change all of the names and use stock photos for the pics on each post. She says I should use her real picture, and I tell her I’ll think about it. She actually uses the words “Text me and we’ll go out on a date.” At that moment I was so excited, I wish I could have tied my belt around my head so that it didn’t explode like that dude in the movie, Scanners.

Ha ha ha! Yeah!!!!

Of course I say: “Are you sure? Like brunch or meet for a drink?” She says, yes. This is all very surreal, but I am overcome with euphoria. I tell her I’ll keep and eye on her phone and she goes back for her session. When she comes out she hugs me and says to reach out to her. I give her the phone, which she nearly forgot. Then off she goes into the night.

I’m super happy at this point. So as I’m closing up and settling the register, I put on some triumphant music.

The next night around 1:30am, my phone rings and it’s her. But I’m asleep! The next morning I see that she called, and there is a voicemail! I can’t imagine my luck. I wonder what she will say? I play the message and it is two and a half minutes of muffled static.

Later, I get this text: “OMGOSH I butt dialed you by accident!! I did it to like a bunch of people bc my phone was in my back pocket at work haha oops!”

I waited a few hours (because that’s the cool thing to do so it looks like you have a life)

Then I responded: “Blame your butt all you want. You know you wanted to call me! ha ha”

Crickets.

Sigh…

 

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

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

Carly – 2013 to Present – The Coolest Chick I Know in Philly

I was at an event at Square 1682 a few years ago. This is before I became a regular there. I was sitting out in this big white obnoxious Humvee limo, being served cocktails. It was hot, uncomfortable, and the service was slow. So after about a half hour I went inside. I simply went to the bar and ordered a drink.

I was chatting with the bartender about some movie trivia, when I felt a pair of eyes on me to my left. I look over and I see this attractive brunette woman. It looks like she is dying to interject in our conversation. I pause and give her a look. She starts quoting some good stuff and making some good observations about the film we’re discussing.

We introduce ourselves and I learn her name is Carly. She is an events director for a large restaurant chain. She also makes marijuana edibles that are apparently incredible. Over the last few years we meet up at least two to three times a month for a drink and idea exchange. She is really an amazing person, but extremely busy in her job because of all of the demands of these large scale events she assembles.

Carly doesn’t live in center city so I only get to see her after work. She is happily married, and has a passion for rescuing dogs. She can be quite the talker, and when  I met her husband for the first time I said, “You must be a good listener.”

Carly and I do this bit, where if we’re anywhere and a person walking by even remotely resembles a celebrity, we’ll make a wisecrack about them to each other. We’re not making fun of the person, just making each other laugh. It’s just a thing we do.

One night we were sitting at the bar,and this red-haired stout woman walked by us. I turn to Carly and say, “Wow. Wynonna Judd has really put on some weight.” Carly laughs and we go back to our drinks. About twenty minutes later, I’m looking down the bar at the redhead. The waiter is chatting with her. He comes by me. I stop him. “Kenny. Who is that woman with the red hair down there? I ask. “Oh that’s Wynonna Judd.”

I nearly lost my shit. I grab Carly and tell her. We rush down there. Carly is spouting about how her mother loves her, and some shit about” How Love Will Build a Bridge.” It was an absolutely hilarious, surreal moment. Wynnona is a wonderfully sweet woman you’d probably love to have as a neighbor. Just a great southern belle. Her husband was a sweet guy too.

Carly and I have had some wild times and loads of laughs over the last couple of years. I am proud to introduce her here. Like the title says, she is the coolest chick I know in Philly.

 

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

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

Alice – The Cute Recruiter

From now on, I will be writing stories about people in my life and publishing them every Wednesday. The stories will vary from friends, family and stories from my life.

Alice came into my life at the end of 2011, when I was looking to get a better job than the one I currently had. I had been there for five years and it was time for a change. She worked as a head hunter for an IT firm. Alice was so deadly at her job she was probably making six figures at age 22. She had brought in several candidates for this particular web-based start-up company that was well-funded. They really didn’t like any of the people they had interviewed, until they had met me. It was a sales job, and that’s what I do.

Alice was super attentive through the entire hiring process. If there was any questions I had she would walk me through them. If I was panicking about salary, she would talk me off the ledge and make sure I would be compensated what I was worth. Probably the most amazing talent recruiter I have ever met.

She is also a beautiful cute little blonde. Loves her Grand Pop, her little nephew and Jesus. Yes, Alice is a rare bird. Deadly in negotiation and talent acquisition, but sweet and proper and a real lady. Not really my cup of tea. I prefer my girls with a touch of evil.

After a few years of working her butt off for someone else, she has since started her own recruitment firm. At 25 she is the CEO of her own company. Her sales and marketing person is my friend Keila. As a matter of fact, I introduced them. They became friends and now they work together everyday to build the firm.

I got them on the cover of a local magazine with my connections. Boy, that was a hell of a week. They even recently bought a little Siamese Fighting Fish and named him after me. I am truly touched. They are usually solitary animals, just like yours truly.

The funny thing is, with all of the aggressive recruiting and negotiating that Alice does everyday, she still has all of the trappings of a 25-year-old girl. She is so mature and wields a sharp sword against even the most arrogant CEO’s but when it comes to dating and boyfriends, it’s just as mixed up as any other girl. It is such a funny paradox.

I work after 8pm some nights and so does Alice. She’s always great with keeping in touch. She’ll hit me up for a drink and we’ll meet and catch up.  I hope I have helped her with some senior advice about men and life, and she has helped me negotiate some employment stuff over the years.

I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful lady in my life as a friend. I feel very fortunate that I have met so many wonderful young people who still think I’m relevant enough to occasionally want to hang out with me.

 

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.

Rebecca – Chapter 2 – Dark Wings of Destiny

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

In the last episode our hero was preparing for his big date with Rebecca. let’s see how it plays out.

The Date

I jumped into an Uber out front of my house and went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The PMA is an amazing part of this city. I have been going there since I was a child. I remember going as a kid with my family. My father always exposed us to the arts. Dad introduced us to art, music, literature and everything else. I should probably do a blog about him at some point, but I’ll cover this stuff for now. I think I could see this blog metamorphosing into who I really am and that idea is unsettling. But somehow, I know that it will. It almost has to change. How long can I write about all of these lovely creatures that come in and out of my life? I know down deep I will run out stories and the real me will come forward. I think that’s when this memoir will become what it truly needs to be.

Anyway I had to say that because I see it, and I know it’s coming for me.

I arrive on time and Santos was a good driver. He brings me to the back of the museum. It’s just easier. I’m not up for doing the Rocky run out front. It’s just too hot today. I think this is the last 90 degree day of the summer here in Philly. I think as a city we’re all tired of the heat. 2013 was a hot summer but people forget. 2013 was “The summer of me” but that will be described in a future blog; Annabel Lee.

One of the beautiful and most elegant things about the PMA is that it never changes. Sure, they have new installations coming in and out all of the time, but you can never change the core of the place. There are just certain pieces that are constant and they fill my heart with wonder, memory and love. The place is simply amazing. If you haven’t gone in a while, please go and feel the magic energy of these wonderful, brilliant artists that make the place what it is. When you walk through the halls of the PMA you can really feel that Homo sapiens are good and make beautiful things, and all of the terrible things we have done as a species melt away after a few hours in there.

I walk in, and like I said it’s pay what you want Wednesdays which based on my last few dates will run me a total of $10. The brilliance continues. Rebecca texts me and says she’s running 15 minutes late which is actually perfect. Normally as you know I hate that. But she’s new and young so I am forgiving. I hit the first floor back balcony and get a glass of wine and wait. I look over the balcony and across the room downstairs. There is a bevy of young women all together sitting on the seats on the other side of the room. Chatting, giggling and looking at their phones.

I’m sipping my Barefoot Chardonnay (basically urine) that cost $9.00, and I get a text. Rebecca has also arrived through the back door of the museum. I tell her I’m upstairs waiting. I see her appear at the top of the stairs, and she fiddles with her phone. I’m going to go ahead right here and tell you she is 30 years younger than me. I know. But I met her on Tinder and this is Phickle Philly and she likes art and is a nurse. Maybe she’s okay. Maybe it’ll be different this time. Maybe I keep doing the same thing over and over with my fatal charm hoping for a different result. But that is madness. Am I mad? She’ll be okay. She won’t be crazy or immature, or 9 months into our relationship tell me that she wants to get married and have kids and I’m too old, and don’t ever want that again. I am what I am and I guess I have followed through with this for a reason. Maybe it will all be okay. ear grips me. I am doing the same thing, over and over again.

Well, she is more than okay. She is exquisite. I have said this before but I literally sucked my breath in when she appeared. Out of all of the photos I’ve posted here to illustrate what these women look like, the one here is really close to what this delightful girl looks like. I kid you not, dear readers. How is this happening again? What am I doing here? How many times have I said this to myself?

Her hair is dark brown. Her eyes are green. Her skin is a light caramel. Her lips are like ripe cherries. She is wearing a red and white cotton top, nothing fancy, with a pair of cutoff jean shorts. Her legs are supple, tan pillars of lean muscle and sinew. She’s wearing white keds. It doesn’t matter, she’s perfect.

My God. She’s beautiful. Is she going to look upon me and run? Will she apologize and say there has been some sort of cosmic mistake? Will I hand her $300 to ” help with school?” Will security come and just throw me off the balcony to finally finish me off on the cold marble floor below me so that I know that this is a dream?

None of that happened. I could see she was texting me so I texted her ” I’m here on the balcony. Come hither”  She looks at her phone and then glances the room. She sees me and smiles. Kill me now. She bounds toward me and I stand. She goes up on her tip toes and hugs me tightly. “I’ve really been looking forward to meeting you!” she exclaims. I can smell her hair. Soft fleece brushes against my face like ribbons of chocolate. The fragrance is soft cocoa. In that moment in her arms, it’s as if she has just revealed a secret to me. She clutches me tightly and then slips away.

She looks me straight in the eyes, and says: “Let’s go share some art!” I swallow the last mouthful of my shitty wine and toss the cup in the trash. I’m locked and loaded. (not really loaded) She asked if I had a map, and I told her that I did. She said “Keep it if you want but I’d rather you toss it in the trash and we just wander together.”

Am I dreaming? Is she going to invoice me for $300 to hang with this lovely doll? But none of that happened either. We simply went downstairs and wandered through the halls. The great thing was that we both had pieces of art we loved and stories behind them. I forgot how connected I was to the PMA. Not as a resident of the city but in my heart.

We came upon a painting called the Moorish Priest. Google it. It’s beautiful and powerful. She stopped and I told her that it was my late Mother’s favorite painting in the whole museum. She loved it so much that my father bought her a framed print of it and it hung in our shore house at the top of the stairs for 30 years. She seemed moved by its beauty and the story. I asked her what her thoughts were and she said; “As a nurse I can see he has a good vein in his hand and in his forearm and I could get an IV in that no problem.” Well she is an emergency room nurse and that’s a legit answer for someone who is always looking for a vein to save a life. The family connection and the irony struck me as funny and nostalgic.

We wandered around for a while rediscovering so many works we both loved. We agreed on so many, for all of the same reasons!  We were on the second floor and there is a huge window that looks down the Ben Franklin Parkway right to City Hall. I told her I remember coming to this very spot as a child and taking a photo of the city through this window with my little plastic Kodak Instamatic camera that I had won in a contest at a shoe store. We looked out at our city. The skyline. It was dusk. The last time I was here was years ago with a group of co-workers on a Friday night during a lightning storm. It was Art After Five on a Friday and we were all plowed on cheap poorly made cocktails. Rebecca was right next to me. I could feel the energy. I felt really close to her. “The city is so beautiful” she said. She turned to me. “You are” I replied.

Tune in tomorrow to see the thrilling conclusion to this story!

 

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

Instagram: @phicklephilly

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