Michelle – Chapter 4 – Two Coins in the Fountain

The company  is going to move the entire online department to a high-rise in center city. It was all new, beautiful and modern. About a week before we were to move there I was in my apartment in Jersey and I got a call from my boss, Herbert. He said he had been fired. He was crying on the phone. There is no crying at work. That’s what your apartment is for. When he told me, I knew he was probably the most sad because he wouldn’t be able to see Michelle anymore.

They brought in this 6’7″ goon from somewhere to replace him. We’ll call him the Russian. At first he seemed really cool, but they all do in the beginning. This is important. If you ever get hired by one guy, and then they bring in another guy to replace him it’s never the same. He never has the same investment in any of you because he didn’t choose you. He simply inherited you. So watch out. When they seem cool and fun in the beginning they usually turn out to be insecure weak middle management types that won’t last. But right up to the moment they leave they will make your life a living hell. Believe me. I’ve seen this over and over again in my career. But the only thing you have going for you is that he doesn’t know you. So if you endear him early on, life can be sustainable for at least 6 months before it all turns to rage and grinding resentment.

The Russian trusted me and knew I had talent as a sales guy, so he asked that I take Michelle out on some four-legged calls to help acclimate her to selling advertising. I was way more than happy to do so. We would go out on calls around the city.  One day we ended up at Nineteen at the Bellevue. It’s this cool bar/restaurant at the top of the Bellvue Stratford. My dad used to hang there in the 70’s. How could I go wrong? Follow in dad’s footsteps. You can sit out on these little balconies. I didn’t even know it existed, but she did. She knew many cool spots around the city back then. I was happy to spend time with this beauty, and happy to learn more about the city. We ended up sitting out on one of those balconies looking over the city and sipping martinis.

This was so much better than scuttling down the hallway after her to the billing department like when I was first hired.

One time we were out on calls at the King of Prussia Mall, I wanted to pick up cologne and she wanted to get some perfume. But when they ran our cards we were both were declined for lack of funds. We were poor back then. Maybe we just spent too much money. I think I had my paycheck on me, and I ended up going to a check cashing place so we could go drink after work. I did that and it worked.

Michelle’s desk was near mine so we could always converse and see each other during work. We started leaving at the same time. I would walk her home. We would stop at the Whole Foods out in Fairmount and get some food. I would order salmon and broccoli rabe. I wanted to eat healthier so that I would lose weight. (I was heavier back then) I also wanted to show her I was trying to eat healthier. I don’t know why, I would get the food and heat it up in a microwave they had there. The salmon was okay, but I fucking hated eating that broccoli rabe. It was just chewy grossness. But I was happy just to spend time with Michelle.

Sometimes on a Friday, we’d stop and have drinks somewhere. Maybe at Tir na Nog. We would sit outside along the sidewalk on 16th street. The thing was, that was the route for many of our co-workers. They would walk back to the old building to the parking garage. So they’d walk by, and say hello, but I think they started to suspect that maybe there was something between us. I didn’t give a shit. We were just in the moment, drinking and having great conversations.

Sometimes we’d have lunch with the team, and other times just the two of us. There were times we’d have opportunities to go to things, and we’d stop somewhere for a drink and just end up blowing off the event entirely. Like networking events or even Philllies games. We didn’t care. We just liked being together and feeling the city.

I had even told her about a screenplay I was working on and sent her the first few scenes to read. I had based the female lead on her. Maybe she was to be my new muse. I just figured she’d never read it, but I emailed it to her anyway. I wanted to impress her that I was a sensitive artist. I wanted to let her know I was different than all of the ilk that just wanted to sleep with her. I really liked her as a person.

I started walking her home more and more after work. We’d stop at some cool spots, have a few drinks and then head back to Fairmount. Like I said, we’d stop and get something to eat and then I’d head back to the parking garage and go back to Jersey. I was spending a lot of time with her at work and out at night as well. However, I was growing a little annoyed when her phone would ring and it would be Delaware Dave. She broke up with him some time ago, and they were trying to give it another go. I noticed she would have to go to Delaware to visit him on the weekends. I didn’t like his control over her.

Why did he never come to the city? It seemed like she was making all of the sacrifices. I was having strong feelings for her and I was present. He would just call out of the blue at night when we were out and she always had to take the call. It was so annoying. Life would just stop, and she’d be arguing with him on the phone about who knows what. This happened on several occasions. Actually it happened a lot.

Once at the Ritz Carlton it happened and we had problems. I remember being angry with her due to her indecision. Another time we were out at McCrossin’s, a bar near her apartment. I would just have to sit and wait for her to get done dealing with him. I was here. He was there. I was with her. He was sitting home bitching on the phone. Who is more important? I remember when she got off the phone she said “I just feel like throwing this phone across the street.”  Funny, how this would all play out in some form in the future. Like some black prophecy.

I even wrote her a little verse. I don’t know if she ever kept it, but I gave it to her one night sitting on the stoop outside her building. I was so in love with her.

But for the most part, our times together were lovely.  One night I was walking her home, and we’d had a few drinks. We were listening to her music from her ipod. We had come upon a fountain.  The Swann Memorial Fountain (also known as the Fountain of the Three Rivers) is a fountain sculpture located in the center of Logan Circle. It represents the three major streams in the area. The Delaware, Schuykill and Wissahickon creek. The fountain, by Alexander Stirling Calder designed with Architect Wilson Eyre memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the  Philadelphia Fountain Society. The Society had been planning a memorial fountain in honor of its late president and founder. After agreeing that the fountain would become city property, the society was granted the site in the center of Logan Circle.

It’s a beautiful fountain. Sometimes during the summer months, you’ll find many children playing in it to cool off. Michelle and I stopped to relax and chat. She stuck her feet into the water, and before I knew it she was listening to her music and dancing gently in the fountain. She was walking all around in it, avoiding the spouts all around her. It was enchanting to see this woman I loved dance in the illuminated fountain at night. Like I was witnessing a beautiful blonde mermaid that had just gotten her legs and was celebrating her new life on Earth.

So despite my growing frustration with her indecision in regard to her romantic life, I was still having a wonderful time with Michelle when things were good.

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

 

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

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

Johnny R. – One Vice at a Time

Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a dude. Phicklephilly is still for the most part, straight, and still fickle. Originally I was going to just write about the women I have met, dated, romanced, and loved in this city for the last 10 years. But now that I have been writing this for a while, I thought I’d like to make this into a book and possibly a TV series. So I’d like to start to introduce some male characters that I have met here in Philadelphia. I consider them friends, so they should be included in this story. This way when I make reference to them, you’ll know who they are.

I met Johnny, at my first advertising gig when I got back from New York. Same company where I met Michelle. He worked in the finance department. He’s originally from New York himself. Pretty big family. Irish Catholic. Both parents have passed on.

I met Johnny at a bar one night near where we worked. I was having drinks with some of the back office people in my department and the one girl was friends with Johnny. She introduced me and I liked the guy. He had a sharp wit, and sort of an attitude. I knew he was a smart guy.  So every time I was over at that bar he would be there with some of the gang. We sort of became friends from just running into each other at this particular watering hole.

I always said we should meet up for lunch and a beer one day on the weekend or something. I like Johnny. Like I said, he was a funny guy. Plus, we enjoyed and appreciated many of the same music acts, movies and TV shows.  So he decided one Saturday to come to the city to get his hair cut and said we could meet up after. He lives with his girlfriend of nearly 8 years. They share a house up in Mayfair which is part of Northeast Philly. Her family owns a house in Sea Isle City, NJ. She works in jewelry sales.

So he comes down on the train to center city.  I think we got some food together. But for the life of me I can’t remember where. Maybe one of the old mexican restaurants that’s been knocked down and converted into a Target. After lunch, he says he wants to stop and see a friend of his. So we walk through Rittenhouse and head over towards 15th street. He doesn’t mention exactly where his friend is. So we’re walking down 15th street and we’re crossing the street near Chancellor street. I assume his friend works at the Applebee’s on the corner. But he keeps walking down Chancellor. Then I see where his “friend” works. The place is down the end of the block, (Or filthy trash strewn and dumpster alley as I see it) It’s called the World Famous Gold Club. I have never heard of the place. At that point I didn’t know it existed.

Here’s my take of strip clubs or gentleman’s clubs. In all of my experience the majority of men that go to these places are usually all married, and unhappy in their relationships. Every guy I know that goes to these places, is unhappy and dissatisfied with his life. Granted, there are some older gentleman that are just sad and lonely and just want a little attention from some women and will pay to get it. I’m single. I am not currently in a relationship. I could go every night and get lap dances and probably even commit even more foul deeds with some of the harlots at the WFGC. But I have absolutely no interest.

I have nothing against these establishments or the folks that go there, but it’s just not really my scene. Every time I’ve gone to one of these places in the last 10 years, it’s been with some guy that is in some unhappy marriage or relationship. So these places serve a purpose. I’d rather hang out with real women that aren’t being paid to take off their clothes. But occasionally it is fascinating to go for the novelty. But for the most part it’s a big rip off. The girls will try to steal from you, the bartender will over charge you for drinks and you end up with a $200 bill. Even the ATM fee is $6 per transaction. The whole place is designed to separate poor saps from their cash. Many times by the time you’re drunk enough to want to go to a strip club, you are banged up to the point where the decisions you make are not the correct ones and you can be easily manipulated by dark forces.

But Johnny has introduced me to this little dive. It’s early on a Saturday so the place is quiet. Not many girls are working. He introduces me to his friend. She was a bartender there. Pretty face but all tatted up. Not my cup of tea. The whole lifestyle of those places just turns me off. But I had a good time there that day with Johnny and the girls. I don’t do lap dances or anything. I usually just hand the girl a dollar when she asks me to tip her for her onstage performance. I don’t even stuff it in their top or their bottom. That’s normally what’s offered. I just put the buck in her hand. But Johnny on the other hand, gets lap dances in the back. They are obviously more money. But he has been known to actually get sex from the girls in the back room. Most times he doesn’t pay for that extra perk either. I hear he’s well endowed, so maybe that’s the trick.

So Johnny will pop in occasionally in Phicklephilly. He comes down to center city  every other month. We go to dive bars, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, listen to the jukebox and discuss life. If he gets a good drunk on we may partake in some other activities. I’ll tell you this; Johnny has about 5 different vices. I wouldn’t say he has any addictions. He just loves vice. I enjoy a little vice, but as I get older, I need less. But regardless… I love the guy. I consider Johnny a dear friend.

So next time he’s in town I’ll tell you what sort of deviltry we get into.

 

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

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

Michelle – Chapter 3 – Ignition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Sarika – River of Betrayal

I was down at Harbor Park down on the Delaware River, two summers ago. I remember I was stumbling about with one of my bartender pals, Myles. We her drunk and stoned and just grooving on the lights and checking out the ladies.

I remember looking off to my two o’ clock and seeing this stunning Indian beauty in a blue and white striped shirt with white slacks. She really struck me because she was so lovely. Just an ethereal, exotic beauty. She was with a group of girls, so we just kept walking. Myles had a girlfriend at the time and I wasn’t in the market, so we just browsed.

I never really thought of that Eastern beauty again, until I was chatting with my friend, Keila. She was showing me some of her friends in her phone, and I was suddenly like, “Wait a second! Back up! Who is that?” “Oh, my friend, Sarika?”

I told her how I saw her at Harbor Park and was immediately taken by her beauty. “Can you introduce me to her?” I squeaked.

So a few weeks later I was at an event with Keila, and she had her squad with her. Sarika was there. Keila knows everybody and has tons of contacts so it stands to reason she’d be friends with hot Sarika. She introduces me, and I proceed to tell her the story of how I had noticed her at Harbor Park weeks before.

I became friends with Sarika. We would meet up for drinks, and I was just happy to be seen in public with such a deadly beauty. I would take her to fashion shows and she would be hotter than the models on stage. I kid you not.

I learned that Sarika was a nerd. As hard to believe as that may seem, it’s true. She worked as an engineer. She would rather go to the Franklin Institute after hours with me than sit in a bar or go to a club. I found that incredibly hot. Because most nerds aren’t hot. I mean my friend Trish is hot, but not “Sarika” hot. We would hang out quite a bit. I started to realize that she didn’t have many female friends. She was seeing this pretty boy type, but I think he wasn’t that into her. Which I didn’t understand. How could you not be interested in someone who lovely? The more time I spent with Sarika, the more I started to see that she was vacuous and really self-absorbed. She would say things negative about herself only so you’d say, “Oh no you’re not. You look great.” Why would she need that?

Then I heard a story from my dear friend Alice. She was in New York with Sarika, and Alice was visiting some people and one of them was an ex that she was still friends with. Alice stressed to everyone that she still had some feelings for him. Which if you were a normal person you would be careful about what you said or did around them. So they’re in a taxi, and Sarika starts flirting with Alice’s ex right in front of her. Then goes so far as to laugh and make fun of Alice. I hear this story later, and I find it hard to believe, because Sarika has never done anything to me. But I’m not a girl.

Then I hear another story about how Sarika was flirting with Keila’s then boyfriend. She would do it right in front of her. Keila knew this was breaking the code. You don’t pull that shit on your friends. Granted, at the time she was dating this rich guy that looked like Woody Harrelson’s brother with down syndrome and the HIV. I didn’t understand that mess.

So what was up with Sarika? Was she really a Black Widow? My female friends would ask me why I still hung around with that shrew, and my answer was always the same. “She’s never done anything to me.”

New Years 2016 rolls around. I have tickets at the Pyramid Club for a $70 a plate event. Who do I want to be seen with in all the pictures on New Years eve at the Pyramid Club? Exactly. I don’t even have to say her name.

Well, it’s like the day before and I get a call from her and she says, “I’m trying to get Jim a ticket but it looks like it’s sold out.”

Ok. I know she has been seeing Jim off and on for a while now. First that smacked ass wouldn’t commit to her, because he probably was still banging his ex that he said he was ‘still ung up on.’ Maybe he didn’t want to commit to a brown-skinned girl.  i don’t know. But if you are my first choice to go to an exclusive event, and you agree, I don’t expect you to bring a date. It’s just rude. I didn’t expect to be kissing Sarika at midnight. i just wanted her to go with me. Sure i would have loved to have been with her, but i knew that wasn’t happening. She was just a friend, and the best darn bit of arm candy i knew.

I jus got really pissed at the infraction and sort of cut her off. I ended up taking some other loser chick that I could get to go with me last minute. I shouldn’t call her a loser. She’s clearly not but it just wasn’t the same. It was however one of the most sober new years eves I’ve ever had.

I started to think about some other times I was out with Sarika with some other women friends there. Sarika would sometimes make fun of the other girls. It’s kind of bizarre. Here is this tragically beautiful girl, who knows she’s gorgeous and smart as a whip, and she’s kind of an asshole to those around her. But I will tell you this. In the time I’ve known her, she’s never once been in a stable loving relationship. So there’s that.

My father used to say, you should be able to be friends with men and women. It’s a good balance. He also once said, “Go through this life and hurt as little people as possible.”

So watch out for karma, Sarika.

Update: It’s been over a year but I recently ran into Sarika and we have made some amends. I am supposed to meet up with her this month, so we’ll see what’s up. Sure she’s probably still a self-absorbed asshole.

But God, she is beautiful…

Phicklephilly!

 

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

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

Michelle – Chapter 2 – Getting to Know You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Carol – There’s No Fun in Dysfunction – Part II

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

When we last left out hero, he was hanging out in his office, with Carol. Sh’e about to drop an atomic bomb on him.

So we’re at the office and she has to call her mom and go around and around with her about it for a while and I’m like, “what am I doing here? This is painful.” So I just plow the vodka into me and after a while I’m chill and can deal with her. So eventually she calmed down after talking to her mom. I know there was some talk about her and her mom making some other ring out of something and Carol getting some kind of tattoo. To me…all a waste of time but her, it’s not my family. So at one point out of the blue she says to me the following words:

“Do you think I’m fat?”

Guys… fair warning here. I’m about to tell you what to do in this situation if it ever happens to you. Because this one is a biggie. Great thing is if you are a dog owner or a pet owner of any kind, just remember, your pet will never ask you shit like this. I’m really good at navigating the treacherous waters of the emotions of the fairer sex.

Okay. This is important. Here’s what we know:

You realize there’s no way I can possibly answer this and not have her upset one way or the other. If you think you look fat but don’t look fat, and I say you don’t, you’ll think I’m lying. If you don’t think you look fat but don’t look fat, and I say you don’t, you’ll think I’m just flattering you. If you do think you look fat and you are fat, and I say you don’t, you’ll know I’m lying. If, regardless of circumstances I say you look fat, you’ll be hurt and insulted. It’s nearly an unwinnable game that no man should have the misfortune to ever have to play.

Here are some options:

“Do you think I’m fat?”

  1. Carol you are a beautiful woman and perfect just the way you are.
  2. No! (be adamant)  I think you’re gorgeous.
  3. Here’s a bracelet. (Then run away really fast)

Unfortunately… I did none of the above. Normally I’m deadly with words and deeds and diplomacy when it comes to girls but I don’t know if it was the booze, the exhaustion, or the ringing in my ears from her last tirade, or a lethal combination of all three, but I said the following:

“I suppose we all could be in a little better shape.”

Cut to: Atomic bomb exploding.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have spoken to several of my friends about this incident and everyone agrees that my answer was wrong. Dead wrong. Again, I don’t know why I said it, but it came out. If I could have somehow reached out with my hands and pulled the words back and shoved them into my stupid gaping maw, I would have. But it was too late. Well Carol got very angry and stormed out of my office and left the building in a huff. On my way home I received the following drunken text from her:

“Home… About to exercise and diet and make myself throw up to be thin. I can’t wait to have an eating disorder so I look attractive to you. By the way, I am amazed at your 6 pack and your figure, you are fit amazingly attractive God!!! You are so fit and built. Noooo extra belly fat on you! Night. Hope I lose weight so someone like you finds me attractive… But I can only hope since I’m so fat.”

That is some angry volatile shit right there.

Realizing there were several factors that came together to cause this cataclysmic explosion of rage, I decided to not respond and just let her cool off. Besides, she’s not my girlfriend. Sure I fucked up. I broke the code. It happens. But did I deserve such a wicked verbal attack? Maybe not so much. I just decided to let the cards fall where they would. A week later, I got a big apology text from her. I kind of would have liked it in person, followed by some passionate kissing but in the long run. Apology accepted. So it was business as usual with us. The occasional Saturday bar hop. She had recently secured a job out in Plymouth Meeting at a recruitment firm. Recruitment is a tough job. I know people who do it and it’s tough. They are really hard workers and understand how the employer vs employee dynamic works and locking down the talent. It isn’t much money at first but if you work your ass off and keep at it the rewards can be great, but it is a grind that takes time. Like anything with high reward.

So I knew I’d be seeing less of her and it would be a struggle based on her history to get up at the alarm every morning and drive to work and be on time everyday. Stuff I take for granted that’s easy for me is sometimes really difficult for others. But these are basic functions to stay in step with humanity. get up, go to work and do your job. Repeat. So I hope she makes it.

She had been going to my friend’s tanning salon every Sunday because I had secured a deal there for her. But the deal ran out and she stopped coming. She said she found a cheaper place on her way home from work out in Rockledge or something. No sunburned skin off my nose.  I knew I would hear less and less from her because she was busy with her work and hanging on there and probably sleeping on the weekends because believe you me getting her going before 2pm on the weekends is normally a miracle. Which brings me to the latest incident.

She reached out to me on August 23rd of last week in a text and said:

Carol: “I miss hanging out. Can we hang soon?”

Me: “I’m available Saturday.”

Carol: Ok. We should do a Carol and (My Name) Day. I called you (My Name) which I never do.”

Me: “I’m fine with that. I’ll mark my calendar.”

Carol: “But not too early.”

Me: “Of course. Mid afternoonish is cool.”

Carol: “Ok. Let’s do it. I’ll set a reminder for myself.”

Me: 🙂

Last Saturday arrived and I figured I’d get a text around 3pm and then she may make it out sometime after that. I know it sucks. It’s like the whole day is wasted instead of me and Carol. I went to visit a friend of mine at her work and chatted awhile about it. Earlier in the week some people had done the perfunctory, ” Any plans for this weekend?” and I’d say I’m going to hang with Carol. But Saturday the hands of time went round and round without a word from Carol. My friend who I had been chatting with that day said, “When that happens to me I just assume they are really hung over or dead.” That’s great, I said but I don’t like being stood up. And when I really look at my life I really don’t have time for a handful like Carol. You may start to see a trend as I go forward with this blog, but it will all make sense in the near future why this sort of nonsense happens with these women.

So I went home, fixed myself a vodka and tonic, lit a cig and continued watching the Netflix exclusive series, Stranger Things. (Great show! Check it out.)

I went to Carol’s name in my phone and blocked her.  I need to make sure I only surround myself with people who value me. I have also recently blocked her on Instagram and Facebook. So I’m done with her.

Fucking Crickets!

 

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Maria – Chapter 2 – Amor en Vano – Part II

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

In our last episode, our hero was meeting with Maria at a coffee shop to find out why she had been let go from her job. But does he have ulterior motives?

Maria stated that it was one incident on a Saturday night where she did one shot with a table of people. But she said some of the other servers said she was drinking all night long, and that simply wasn’t true. (I believe her) I was just happy that she was talking to me and meeting with me over coffee. I asked her what was she going to do now and she said she had already gotten another job at a nicer restaurant. I was surprised it happened so fast but in that industry there is always turnover, and they always need experienced help. (And because she’s smart and understands the hospitality industry) Maria lamented that she’d have to learn a new menu but other than that it was a decent gig. I had been to the new place when it opened and I thought it was a great spot in a good area. The food was good, so she’d probably do well there.

And that’s when I said the following. “Maria, I have something else I need to share with you.” She crossed her arms. I’m really good at reading people’s body language so I tried to put her at ease. I told her that I had real feelings for her. You have to be willing to take risks like this if you want the better rewards in life. But I will tell you, sometimes you roll the dice and your number doesn’t come up. Maybe on a later roll, but sometimes you leave the casino alone and broke.  She said she didn’t want to be misconstrued on how she was when she would serve us at the restaurant.

I understand if a server is sweet and a little flirty it helps garner bigger tips. It’s just human psychology. I told her she was just being friendly and that it was her personality that shone through. I told her all of those times we came into the restaurant all I wanted to see was her. The weekends I would spend at my office working on ad copy. I would text her and say “I’m burning so many calories banging my head against the wall trying to come up with an idea for this ad campaign it’s making me hungry. Should I come see you and have some delicious sliders?” That was the sort of thing I would do but it was all about wanting to see her.

She responded, “Do you think we’d be compatible?” And I said, “We went to the flower show, that was great and you don’t know if you’re compatible until you spend time with someone.” I simply told her how I felt about her. I think she was surprised, but at least I know it’s out there now and I’ve said it. I know she’s sporty and I’m more of the arts guy but who knows? Stranger things have happened. (Please continue reading this blog each week and you’ll know!) She was on her way to the new job when she met me, so I bid her farewell and told her I’d stay in touch. We hugged and she was gone. At least now she knew what I felt for her.

I told Maria that me and my colleague were going to boycott the old place for firing her by never going there again, but that clearly wasn’t happening. The food is delicious there and we still love the lunch hostess, Mary (See: Mary – Unexpected Table for Two) and a couple of the other servers there!

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

 

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

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