Sarika -The Return of the Stone Fox

I reached out to Sarika, not because I like her, but I wanted to find out what she was up to with her life. I was just going to meet up with her for a drink, but my buddy Rocco hooked me up with two VIP tickets to Taste of Philly. So I decided to take her to that.

Taste of Philly is a big event that two large publications put on each year at the Crystal Tea Room. The Crystal Tea Room is a big event spaced owned by Finlay Catering. It’s actually on the 9th floor of the building Macy’s is in on Market Street. They gather a large group of food and beverage companies together in a few big rooms. They sell tickets for $35 a piece and hundreds of people come and stuff their heads, and drink their faces off all night. It’s a fun event and I always run into people I know. It’s nice to see and be seen. VIP is invited to arrive at 6pm and then at 7pm they let the rest of the animals in. Normally we hang for two hours and then bolt. Where else can you drink and eat that much food and booze for $35 in Philadelphia?  But we did it for free and VIP thanks to my man, Rocco. (See: Rocco – 2015 to Present – Amanda Peet)

I go to Square 1682 and wait for her. She arrives shortly thereafter. She looks absolutely beautiful as always. Her skin actually looks a little darker. I comment about it and she says she’s been traveling. She says when she’s not working she takes little trips. So she has obviously been going to places that have lots of sunshine. But even with darker skin she actually looks more exotic and even hotter. Just a stone fox.

She has a really good job as an engineer for a scientific research company. She has been there for over a year now. She had a romantic affair with one of her co-workers at her last place of employment and it didn’t end well. So she ended up leaving and having to switch jobs. Super hot, but can’t keep a man.

She tells me she moved from her crappy apartment on 19th street. She now lives in a really posh high-rise in Rittenhouse. Initially when I asked her to meet for a drink she invited me over to her place. Now I know why. She wanted to show me her awesome new apartment. She showed me some pics of her views, and they are spectacular. It’s a one bedroom and she’s only paying $1500. Which is a great deal for the location and the amenities of living in that building. I bring her up to speed on my life and she tells me what she’s been doing.

It sounds like she has a bit of a lonely life. Works all the time, and has to travel extensively for that job. Traveling for work is exhausting. I’ve lived that life. She makes great money, but instead of coming home and resting, she’s taking these little vacations all of the time. It’s almost as if she is running away from her life. Always trying to escape something. Maybe she’s trying to forget something. All of her past brief relationships have all ended in heartbreak.

She always comes off very blunt and honest. She’s extremely bright but she’s also cunning and a bit mean.But that wasn’t the case tonight. She is perfectly well-behaved. I asked her what ever happened to that guy she was seeing. (The one she wanted to bring as a date to the $80 a plate New Years event I invited her to last year.) She dismisses me, saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.” She always says that when her relationships end badly. So he probably dumped her or cheated on her and then dumped her. It happened to Halle Berry and Jennifer Anniston. It always just amazes me that a young woman who is beautiful can’t keep a man. (Sarika is definitely one of the most gorgeous women I know) I am sure they are captivated by her beauty initially, but once her best representative falls away, she reveals her true self. A vacuous, mean-spirited girl who cares for no one but herself.

Rocco arrives with the VIP tickets. It’s great to see him because it’s been awhile. I am sipping my signature chardonnay with ice. Sarika is sticking with water because she says she’s trying to lose weight. She’s smoking hot and doesn’t need to lose any weight. But it always seems like she is on a diet. What woman isn’t? It’s kind of sad.

Rocco pounds two martinis into himself. Which surprised me, but then I thought to myself, he still works for one of the companies that puts on tonight’s event. They have recently been bought out by their distributor, and I hear the new management are a bunch of assholes. So maybe Rocco needs a little medication before he faces all of those clowns that will be there tonight.

We head over to the event. We get there around 6:20pm. But there is a huge line outside waiting to check in and get up the elevators. Apparently they are not ready upstairs and they missed the 6pm VIP opening. That is not good. But being the arrogant punks we are, we just blaze by everyone and go to the front of the line. We didn’t even get out little paper bracelets to say we were VIP. We tell the angry mob that we are VIP and work for the company that puts on the event, so technically we weren’t lying. Sarika is delighted by our attitudes.

The event was good and the food and drinks were delicious. We just kept going back to the VIP bar and getting refills. Sarika was drinking and stuffing her head with delicious treats. So there goes that supposed diet. But we’re all having a great time. I run into many people I know and we are all getting a solid buzz on. Then something extraordinary happened.

I’m walking along with Sarika by my side and I see someone I haven’t laid eyes on since 1979.

If you didn’t see someone for 35 years you may not recognize them. The same would go for you. 35 years is a long time. But with the advent of social media, I recognized him. If I hadn’t been connected to him on Facebook, we would have walked right by each other like strangers.

I say his name and he recognizes me as well. I hug him and I am so happy to see him. He was the bass player in my first rock band. I remember him as a skinny, awkward teen with long blonde hair, who wore glasses and had a shaggy little beard.

Now he’s a big fat guy with a full grey beard and short grey hair. At least he didn’t go bald. He introduces me to his average looking wife who is in her 50’s as well. I’m making a big fuss over him, and start singing lyrics to a song that he wrote. I have that kind of memory. He’s smiling and laughing. His wife asks who I am. He tells her I was the singer in the group Renegade back in the seventies. She’s amazed. He says I look the same, just a little older. He then says that he now looks like Santa Claus. (He sort of does resemble that jolly old elf) I tell him he looks great. He glances over at Sarika, and I introduce her. He looks back at me and says, “I see you haven’t changed.”

That sly compliment is better than money to me.

We go on our way and keep munching and drinking our way through the event. Michelle would have loved an event like this. We run into a few more people we know and it’s a fun night. Sarika is very well-behaved and I’m having  good time with her.

After awhile we’re getting tired, and decide we have seen everything that we wanted to and we head out. We thank Rocco for the tickets and say goodnight. I walk Sarika back to her place but don’t go up.

Sarika has redeemed herself… for now.

 

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Church – Brand Ambassador

I was working for alcohol based magazine a few years ago. I sold advertising into the publication. They had been around for about three years.

We would attend these events to meet representatives from different brands. We hoped it would lead to more advertising. There was this one guy, that had a big presence, and a booming voice. His presentations for the products he was representing were always lively and interesting. My boss at the time told me that he was someone I should meet. Which I proceeded to do.

I met with him on several occasions. I could tell he genuinely wanted to help me. He knew everybody in the industry. You couldn’t walk in place without someone talking to him. He started inviting me out to events. I remember once I was out pounding the pavements and he saw me. He got out of his car, popped his trunk and handed me a bottle of Black Grouse. No reason at all. “You’re always out here working.” He said.

He’s given me so many great bottles of booze as gifts. And again, he does it for no reason. Real giving. He’ll just hand you a fifth of something because he likes you.

I remember two years ago when I was struggling with my then girlfriend, (Future series: Annabelle) Annabelle was younger that I was, and just giving me fits because she was being a selfish asshole. Or as I call it, ‘a girl in her twenties’. We we’re at some meeting, and Church pulls me aside, and says: “I can see you’re suffering. Let’s get out of here.”

We get in his car and he drives me down to a gentleman’s club on Columbus Blvd. He ordered me food, and said as long as I drank the brand he was representing, it was free! He handed me a $20 and sent me in the back with a pretty dancer for a private lap dance. Like I said before, I’m not really into the whole lap dance thing, but the whole experience was so thoughtful and really cheered me up. I made up with Annabelle the next day, by the way. But that’s just how Church is. If he has it, he’ll always share it with you.

We’ve grown close over the last few years. He lives out in Westchester, which isn’t near Philly, but whenever he’s in town working, we’ll meet up. We have confided in each other when we were struggling with different things life has hurtled at us. Employment. Wife stuff. Ex-wife stuff. People we’ve met. Things that have happened. We’ve been there for each other to talk whoever is on the ledge down from it.

Church has a good heart. He’s a very generous and decent man. He has been married for over 8 years and I think he’s known his wife even longer than that. Sometimes he gets a little hot about people being assholes, but who doesn’t?   I wanted to introduce Church to you all because he will be making several ongoing appearances in this story.

Did I mention that he’s awesome?

 

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 TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.

 

Charlene – Spiritual Innocence

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

I was walking down the stairs from my building to Suburban Station. I don’t even remember why. There was a bunch of people coming through and I held the door for a group of ladies that were coming down behind me. This one attractive black woman wearing a hijab and a tunic was very appreciative that I was holding the door for everybody. She thanked me and actually stopped to chat. There seemed to be a very simple instant connection.

Charlene is obviously Muslim. We chatted awhile and I think she felt surprised that we were connecting. But she is very nice and has a pretty smile. I’ve had two girlfriends in the past that were black. I look forward to telling you those stories on here at PhicklePhilly. So we chatted and I exchanged numbers with her. I thought we could meet for lunch and I could get to know her better. I have had almost zero contact with any Muslim women. They simply don’t socialize with anyone outside of their circle. Someone once told me that if you saw a woman walking around in a burka that meant her husband was in jail, because once a black man entered the penal system he usually joined the Muslims that were already in the can. But frankly I think that might be bullshit. If anyone knows the reason, please send me a message or leave a comment.

There was some texting but nothing concrete. Apparently she had been laid off from her job and that’s why I met her at my building. There was some sort of job service, career training agency on the 2nd floor. They had so many people going there everyday, that the building gave them access to their own elevator. Which ironically, when you saw who the majority of people who were going to the job center, it almost felt like segregation.

A few weeks passed and I ran into her again in Suburban Station. We went to the food court at Comcast and had a nice little lunch. It was obviously noisy but we didn’t mind. We were happy just to be sharing a meal.

Charlene seemed fascinated with me in general. She kept asking why a businessman like myself would be interested in her. I told her it didn’t matter. She seemed sweet and nice. She took my hands across the table and looked at them, turning them over to look at my palms and feel them. It was as if this was her first physical contact with a caucasian man. But I kind of liked the attention. We decided to make a date. I asked her if she’d like to see a movie with me on the weekend. She has two daughters, like eight and thirteen. She said if she could get a sitter we’d go out.

This was some groundbreaking stuff for me. All I’d seen of her was her face and her hands. That’s it. The rest of her was completely covered up. I asked her if she was always Muslim and she said the last man she was with was so she got into character. She had expressed that she was debating whether to go back to wearing her regular clothes. But that’ll be her choice. When do you ever see a white guy walking down the street holding hands with a black muslim woman? I’m going to go head and say never! I asked her why she was no longer with that man and she said he was too controlling.

Insecurity is a bitch, guys. Believe in yourself and trust your woman.

So I told her I had to get back to the office and she had to go as well. I walked her up the steps and into the vestibule on 16th street to say goodbye. That’s when I took her face in my hands and kissed her on her soft full lips. She seemed surprised but I saw a green light, so I went for it. She smiled and I could tell it was all okay. I told her I’d be thinking about her and that I’d see her soon. It was a pretty bold move to kiss a black Muslim woman on the lips in public.

But fortune favors the bold.

That Saturday I set up where we were to meet. We were going to see “Meet the Patels.” A wonderful film by the way. See it. It was playing at the Ritz theater in society hill on Walnut Street. I love the Ritz theaters because they always show quality films and it’s quiet and full of responsible adults. Plus the seats are really comfy.

Charlene was driving in, and she seemed to be really struggling to find her way into the city. I was on the phone with her and it was very stressful for both of us. I’m a stickler for being on time when I go to anything related to the arts in any way. And when I say “on time” I mean 15 minutes early. Anyway,  we finally got her there and made it into the movie.  We got some popcorn and settled in the back of the theater and watched the film.

It was a bit of a chilly day. Overcast I remember. After the film we walked around Society Hill a bit. She was a little chilly so I put my coat around her. I was still wearing my signature blazer so I was fine. Normally I’m impervious to the cold so no worries there. We sat down on a little bench and chatted. There was some kissing and cuddling but she was getting cold and it was late so we headed back to her car. More kissing and grabbing ensued. She even said things like “when we have sex” and great things like that. So this was all very exciting to me. She was kind enough to drop me off in Rittenhouse.

There is something simple and sweet about Charlene. She isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but I would rather spend time with someone who is genuinely a nice person than some one that is smart but not a nice person. I’ve met plenty of those assholes. We all have. But there is something to say about the simplicity of Charlene. She’s really happy to spend time with me. There are many things she doesn’t know or understand, but she doesn’t really need to know all of that stuff. She works at her job, and takes care of her house and her two daughters. (Whom I have not yet met.) I kind of like that she seems proud that I’m interested in her. She also seems a bit submissive which is refreshing. Sometimes it’s nice to just spend time with someone who never says shit like “My kind of crazy…” or “I’m a raging feminist.” I think Charlene is the kind of girl who is just happy not to be controlled by some insecure man. She really feels special when you take her out and is very appreciative. It makes a man feel good that he’s with her. That’s rare these days.

So I kept in touch with her but schedules were off so I didn’t see her for a while. I don’t know if I reached out to her or if she to me but I remember speaking with her on the phone. She seemed upset. When I inquired what was wrong she said that they were somewhere and somehow her thirteen year old had gotten in her car and started it and smashed into something. Her kid was fine but that is some alarming shit. She said that she couldn’t deal with her eldest daughter and she wasn’t listening to her anymore. I’m thinking regardless, how did the kid get the keys? I think she wanted me to give her some assistance, but I couldn’t do that at the time. I don’t know if she didn’t have anyone to turn to or what, but I couldn’t do that. I mean, we’d had lunch together. I took her to the movies. I can’t be giving her $500 to fix her front end. I’ve paid out so much in my life, it just didn’t make sense. I like to help people and I’ve been described as a giver, but it was just too early in the game.

I still liked her and was sorry I couldn’t help but that sort of puts you off a person for a bit. But she was still on my mind because she was such a sweet gentle woman and I was attracted to her!  Some months went by and she texted me out of the blue. That was two weeks ago. We’re supposed to meet up for lunch again soon so I’ll continue this saga then. If she doesn’t bail.

Update: She got a job! She had a work conflict so she couldn’t come down. Maybe we’ll go out again sometime.

 

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.

Welcome to Phicklephilly

This blog is about my life here in Philadelphia, people I meet, and the experiences I’ve had with them. I’m a gentleman, but I’ve been told I’m very fickle. My goal is to bring you the best dating and relationship content I can.

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