Floating Hope

Philadelphia, PA – Summer 2021

One of my followers reached out to me on my blog. She stated that she was coming up to Philly from Florida for a baby shower. I’m always happy to hear from my readers and was glad to hear the news. She asked if while she was up here if we could meet. Of course, I agreed.

It was on a Saturday, and happily I was free from any obligations. I arranged a reservation at Devil’s Alley for food and drinks. I’ve never met this person so I asked if there were any dietary issues, and she said no. I figured the place wouldn’t be busy. Unlike spots like Parc in Rittenhouse which are nice, but expensive and usually packed.

Saturday arrived and I headed up to Devil’s Alley around 11:45. I got there and informed the hostess of what was going on. She liked the story and told me that she’d get me a table upstairs. While I was chatting with her, my friend appeared! She had sent me a photo before she traveled here so I knew what she looked like.

We headed upstairs and took our seats. We ordered cocktails and started chatting. It was immediately a lively conversation. We had some things in common. Both divorced with grown kids. We talked about some of our past relationships and dating in general.

It was great to sit and chat with a fellow writer who is from the same generation as I am. It seems that she was married for many years and then after her divorced, she jumped into a relationship that lasted four years. She said that at one point she had outgrown the relationship and moved on.

She’s been dating and seems to be very active in the dating arena. She still uses Bumble and maybe one other app. I remember when I first started writing this blog I was on all the apps! Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Coffee Meets Bagel and others. (I may have even tried Hinge near the end) I’m no longer on any of them and really don’t see the need at this point. If I meet anybody now it’ll just happen organically in my everyday life.

But my friend is on the dating apps and she’s doing well. I was impressed with her confidence and how successful she’s been in her career and her dating life. It’s good to see a woman who’s a bit younger than me that’s out there having fun and meeting new people and potential mates.

We had Devil’s famous dry rub wings and I think she enjoyed them. It was just a light snack and drinks on this visit. (To be honest, they weren’t as impressive as they usually are)

I didn’t know how much time she had to spend with me, but I had planned if she could have hung out longer, I probably would have taken her to the bar at the top of the Comcast 2 center at the Four Seasons. It’s an incredible view of the city and thought she might like that.

But her time was limited and she had other commitments for the afternoon. I was happy that she took the time to hang out with me. It was a real pleasure to meet one of my subscribers in person for the very first time. So to me, it was a landmark event even if it was just a few hours.

After our meeting, we walked down Pine street near my house. I told her I needed to run inside for a moment. When I reappeared a few minutes later I presented her with a copy of my latest book, Below the Wheel. (I hope she likes it, but it’s okay if she doesn’t!)

I walked her back to her hotel over by City Hall and said goodbye. It was a lovely afternoon with a new friend. We agreed that if she comes up again we’ll hang out again.

I’m looking forward to that!

We did a selfie, and both agreed to write about the encounter in our perspective blogs. I’ll be interested to read what her take on the day was.

You can find her blog here: https://findingmynextchapter.wordpress.com/

We both decided to write about our experience, and both publish our stories on the same day! Thank, Birdie!

Here’s hers: findingmynextchapter.wordpress.com/2022/05/17/meeting-another-blogger

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

My Wicked Mistress – Part 1 – Alcohol

Philadelphia, PA – 2018

I quit smoking cigarettes years ago. I was no longer addicted to nicotine and it had just become an expensive toxic habit I no longer enjoyed.

Tobacco Road – 1977-1996 and 2008-2018

I could write a whole blog regarding this subject, but I’ll keep it focused on this forum.

I had my first taste of beer when I was a kid. My dad let me try it. It was so bitter I spit it out on the kitchen floor. I agree that you should let children try things they’re curious about. It demystifies those things. People always want the forbidden and the taboo. If you just let them try it and show them that it’s not bad it removes the desire.

Everybody reacts differently to drugs and alcohol. It’s not black and white. Nothing in life is. As my daughter says about sexuality and mental health, it’s a spectrum. I’ve always agreed with her. No one is either crazy or sane. No one is either sober or an alcoholic.

It’s a range. A long winding, grey area.

I know I’m going to piss a few people off here but that’s not the purpose of my words. I’m writing this because I want to tell you all about my experience with alcohol.

I’m going to open with this. Alcoholism isn’t a disease.

Disease: A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of part or all of an organism, and that is not due to any external injury. Diseases are often construed as medical conditions that are associated with specific symptoms and signs.

When I think of diseases I think of the big ones.

  • Autoimmune Diseases.
  • Allergies & Asthma.
  • Cancer.
  • Celiac Disease.
  • Crohn’s & Colitis.
  • Heart Disease.
  • Infectious Diseases.
  • Liver Disease.

Stuff like that. They happen. But alcoholism isn’t a disease. It’s called that because so many “normal” folks are afflicted with it. It destroys lives indiscriminately. Yale to jail. Top to bottom.

But…

It’s a disease you have to BUY.

You don’t just catch it. You have to willfully do it. You have to go to the bar or a store and pick up a bottle and decide to drink it.

That’s not a disease. That’s your mind and body vs. alcohol. Everybody’s different.

But this piece isn’t about that. That’s for another blog. Not mine.

This is my brief story. I’m going to keep this as short as possible because it could eat up my whole blog if I go on too long about this subject.

I’ve always suffered from anxiety and depression. That coupled with low self-esteem and being an overachiever is a perfect cocktail for alcohol consumption.

I remember the first time I caught my first buzz from alcohol. I was out on the fishing pier one night in Wildwood, NJ with my friend and bandmate, Wolfie. We had a 6-pack of Molson Golden Ale and I had maybe 3 of them. I was 17 years old.

I walked back out onto the boardwalk when my very first buzz from alcohol hit me.

It was beautiful.

I felt exhilarated, euphoric, and indestructibly confident.

I couldn’t believe the power of this bitter elixer. It made the weak strong, the tired energized. The sad, happy. The loser, confident.

I went home and told my mother about my experience. She had also suffered from anxiety and probably some depression her whole life. I explained to her how good it made me feel and it also made my anxiety, (Which was really bad back then) simply vanish.

“That’s great, but don’t ever let it become a crutch.”

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“Don’t rely on a drink to carry you through something.”

Those words stuck with me my whole life.

I love to drink. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s a wonderful social lubricant.

I’ve had my ups and downs with booze. Many of us have. The fights. The drunken misunderstandings. The brilliant hilarious nights. The random hook-ups. The crazy sex. The bad decisions. The great ones. The bed spins. The vomiting in inappropriate venues.

I’ve experienced all of that stuff.

I drank beer and wine. When I got to California I started getting into sipping Jack Daniels.

I enjoyed beer and cocktails in the ’80s in my 20s. I went into banking. Having a few drinks after work was just something everybody did.

Happy Hour. What a lovely name for something that involves people, booze, and lasts two hours instead of one.

I think during my very unhappy marriage is when my drinking escalated. My wife wasn’t much of a drinker and certainly didn’t like my drinking.

I would sneak nips from a half-pint of Smirnoff’s Vodka hidden in my garage.

I can see it all very clearly now. My social drinking had now become a band-aid over the pain of my domestic life.

My drinking didn’t end my marriage. Turns out we were simply incompatible as people on so many levels. I should have never gotten married. I know now it’s not an institution I can belong to. This shark needs to be free to swim and roam the oceans.

With my wife gone, I was now free to drink all I wanted whenever I wanted. I could listen to the stereo,  rock out to my music, and drink my Ketel One and tonics.

I was never one to drink in the morning or during the day. As much as I loved to drink, I always had strict rules regarding time. I would only take a drink after 5 pm.

Sure, I’d have the occasional glass of wine at a brunch or something, but no more. The real drinking happened at night. In a bar or behind closed doors and drawn blinds.

I was writing a book back then so I would just disappear from my sad life into writing and booze.

I didn’t even realize what was happening to me or why I was doing it. A former artist and musician, reduced to a branch manager at a bank. My marriage is already over. The only one in my family divorced. And then there’s dividing up all of the assets I had worked so hard to construct. Then the child support begins. $600 a month of your net income vanishes from your account every month. For 15 years! Do the math. It’s a financial nightmare that seems without end. I missed my little daughter. My little family was destroyed. Ruined.

When you begin drinking it’s for fun. It makes you laugh and feel happy. Later, it can be used to extinguish pain. Alcohol numbs you to the point where for that night you no longer care and have no worries about life in general.

But you might as well throw gasoline on a fire to put it out.

The booze kills the pain. But alcohol is a wicked mistress. You love her and she’ll fool you at every turn. She’s a beautiful and sexy girl. Doesn’t cheat on you. Won’t ever disappoint you. Always there for you. Comfort. Forget your problems. “Don’t work through them, honey. Just drink me in. That’s it, dear.”

I drank like that at night for the next 10 years.

I had no problems with my drinking through the 2000s. It’s just something we did after work.

Let’s jump to the Spring of 2018.

I quit cigarettes. My daughter lives with me. She’s happy. I’ve left corporate life. I have a nice little job I like doing. Child support is long over. But I continue to drink as if I’m covering some sort of pain.

But I’m not sad anymore. I have wisdom. I fought through anxiety and depression over the last 50 years without therapy or medicine. I’ve won!

But I continue to drink out of one directive. It’s simply a ritual. Just like smoking became. But one far more deadly.

I think I thought at the time I needed it to fall asleep. I did. Because I could no longer fall asleep without alcohol. My body needed it to shut down. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I never really addressed why I was doing it. It simply became a function of my evening life.

Everything was good in my life. This became a dark secret.

I could be out at the bar having a few drinks but the minute I got home I just kept going on my own. Alone in my room drinking vodka and club soda. One after the other. I never counted. I just did it until I could sleep and off I went.

But my will is strong. I can drink like that and get up for work the next morning with Metallica Metallicano problem.  Never call out and I’m never late. Am I doing this to overcompensate for my drinking? Probably.

If my mind wouldn’t race at night maybe I could stop drinking so much in the evening.

Two to three times a week I would go to the liquor store and pick up a 1.75 bottle of Nikolai or Wolfschmidts vodka. I wasn’t quite at the level of drinking as Guns n Roses bassist, Duff McKagen, but I was working on it.

My older sister said I was a functioning alcoholic. Normally that would be correct.

But not in my case.

Was this something I was simply stuck with from my old life, for the rest of my life?

Time would only tell.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

25 Funny Instagram Captions To Use After A Breakup That Show You’re OK

If your Instagram looked like #relationshipgoals up until your recent breakup, you might feel compelled to share the news of your split with your followers. (If Miley Cyrus can do it, why can’t you, right?) But if long, vulnerable captions aren’t your style, you might want to opt for funny Instagram captions to use after your breakup to convey that you’re newly single and going to be just fine.

If you’re not exactly feeling super funny today, don’t worry. This list has got you covered. Whether you want to just go with a hilarious Lizzo quote that shows how fabulous you are or you want to get some people sliding in your DMs as soon as humanly possible, this list is filled to the brim with options for every mood.

Rather than blowing up your group chat trying to come up with the best caption, let this list do all of the heavy lifting for you. Read each one of them and copy and paste whichever feels the truest to how you’re feeling onto your next Instagram post. Are you ready for this?

Summery young woman smiling and texting on cute bicycle in sunny city

Shutterstock

“My DMs are open for sliding. #letthegamesbegin”

This is a not-so-subtle and hilarious way to announce that you’re back on the market. Get ready for your followers who have been silently thirsting after you to pop out of the woodwork.

“Does anyone have Tyler Cameron’s number? Asking for a friend (that friend is me).”

Or sub in Travis Scott, Kristen Stewart, etc…

“You coulda had a bad b*tch, non-committal.”

As if this list would be complete without at least one Lizzo quote. If you want to send your ex a hilarious but also majorly passive-aggressive message, I’d go with this one for sure.

“no ring, no prob”

Pair this with the most DGAF picture you have for maximum LOLs.

“🎼 AND IIIIIIII-IIIII-IIII WILL ALWAAYS LOVE MEEEEE 🎼”

Give your own single-person spin on the Whitney Houston classic.

“PSA: I’m back on the market.”

I mean, the public really deserves to know this information. So, why not announce it PSA-style?

“I am Beyoncé always.”

Michael Scott has gifted the world with plenty of great quotes, but this may be one of his best. Quote the GOAT in your caption to let people know that you’re thriving on your own.

“FYI, Grandma you can stop asking how [ex’s name] is doing.”

Again, this is a little petty. But sometimes being a little petty is funny.

“Realized I’ll probs never find a love like the one I have for pizza & am totally cool with that.”

If you’re a pizza lover, go with this caption to let people know you’ve still got your bae.

“You used to be my cup of tea, but now I sip Champagne.”

I saw this on a t-shirt once and am just still not over it. So petty. So hilarious. So great.

“Made like Elsa and decided to let it go.”

Why not throw a little Frozen reference in there?

“Like Halsey, it turns out I’m bad at love… but I’m good at taking shots so who’s down to meet me at [insert fave bar here]?”

If you’re trying to party, go with this caption. Invite your friends out for a night of celebrating your newfound single status.

If someone is dishing out compliments, experts say it may be a sign they're into you.

Shutterstock

“thank u, next-ing & thriving”

Nothing like a good old-fashioned Ariana tribute.

“I’m good on my own.”

You came into this world alone and you’ll leave it alone, so being single is only natural. Let people know you’re back to being solo and loving it.

“Back together with my Day 1 (me) & we’re happier than ever.”

Just wait for the praise-hands emoji comments to roll in.

“We (are) on a break!”

Obvs, we had to throw a Ross/Rachel tribute in there for those of you who are, in fact, on a break.

“Who wants to help me come up with a fire Tinder bio?”

This is funny but it also shows you’re actively moving on.

“Back to doin’ what I do best: me.”

A little spicy.

“Hot take: There is no greater joy in life than sleeping sprawled out starfish-style in the middle of your bed.”

Have you ever tried doing this? It’s truly one of the greatest spoils of being single.

“singlin’ & minglin'”

You’re not just single and “ready” to mingle, let everyone know you’re out there actively mingling.

“Being a ‘relationship person’ never really quite felt on brand, anyway.”

This is a pretty cheeky way to announce that you’re really embracing and loving the single life.

“Single until I find a human I love more than chicken fingers.”

This will likely be never and I totally get that.

“Still not sure why I’d want a [BF/GF] when no human could ever be as loyal (or gorgeous or smart or cool) as my dog.”

True.

“Imagine waking up in the morning and getting to do WHATEVER YOU WANT without taking ANYONE ELSE into consideration… That’s pretty much every day of my life now, so I’d just like to publicly congratulate myself on that here.”

Ah, nothing like a good, old-fashioned congratulatory post.

OK, now take your pick and show the world just how fine you really are.

 

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

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

8 Fundamental Ways Being Cheated on Changes You

For the worse … and for the better.

Catching your husband or wife cheating on you changes everything about your relationship. How could it not?

“The psychology of infidelity is actually quite complex, much more than the current moralistic conversation about it where people are ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘flawed’, therefore dismissed as damaged goods attempts to dispel the cliché myth that ‘once a cheater always a cheater.’”

If you want to fix your broken relationship and save your marriage, it is possible. And the path back to a healthy relationship begins with each partner seeking to understand both the cheating spouse’s reasons for having an affair, as well as the ways in which the betrayed husband or wife has been changed forever as a result.

By taking such an approach, couples can reach a place of healing — and even redemption — with insight and wisdom, regardless of whether or not they ultimately stay together.

The ways infidelity changes you depend not only on who you and your spouse were before the affair, but who you are both committed to becoming once it’s out in the open.

No matter what circumstances led to the affair, no one in its wake will be left unscathed. Yes, that goes for the cheating wife or husband, as well.

There are always reasons, not excuses, why men and women cheat.

If you have been betrayed by your spouse, you’re painfully aware of the many ways their infidelity has changed you already.

But if you are the betrayer, you may not have thought through full impact your actions would have on your spouse and your family, let alone the lasting consequences you’ll face throughout your own life.

The effects of infidelity run the gamut from emotional to physical to neurological. The agony of a broken heart and broken trust isn’t only in your head — it lives and breathes in your body, too.

Here are 8 ways catching your husband or wife cheating fundamentally changes you on an emotional, physical, and neurological level.

1. Your self-esteem and self-worth are shattered

You wonder why you weren’t “good enough” and why someone else was “better”.

Because your self-esteem is destroyed, you start looking for things you may have done to cause your cheating wife or husband to stray. Surely, you believe, it must have been something you did or didn’t do.

2. You feel stupid

You start wondering how you didn’t see the affair coming, and how you can ever trust your own instincts again.

3. You lose your ability to trust

The affair is always in the back of your mind. Even if you stay together, your trust isn’t as unencumbered and naturally given as it once was.

4. You’re afraid to love again

The prospect of either falling in love again with someone else or staying with your spouse is frightening. You never want to give your power to someone again.

Because you’re afraid to let your guard down, the world becomes a less happy and promising place in which to live. Holding onto the notion of love is a challenge because you now associate it with unbearable pain.

5. Your brain takes a beating

Neuroscience has shown that the rejection from infidelity has both short and long-term consequences to brain chemistry.

Since feelings of love activate the release of dopamine in the brain, causing “a pleasurable experience similar to the euphoria associated with the use of cocaine or alcohol”, being cut off by the dagger of infidelity may impact neural pathways in similar ways.

6. You experience physical pain

The emotional experience becomes integrated into the physical experience, and you hurt … everywhere.

7. You can’t stop obsessing

Studies show that women are more prone to rumination than men, constantly replaying all the possible causes, scenarios, and consequences of the affair.

They are also more inclined than men to feel somehow responsible for trouble within romantic relationships in general.

8. Your eyes are opened

Despite how infidelity changes you negatively, it also affords you clarity after the shock and anger are mitigated. You begin to see what you may have ignored, and learn how you make choices in mates.

Research has show that this is likely to lead you to make better choices in future relationships.

According to Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and lead author of the study:

“Our thesis is that the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value. Hence, in the long-term, she ‘wins … The ‘other woman,’ conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. Thus, in the long-term, she ‘loses.'”

Ultimately, how your partner’s infidelity changes you is, of course, your decision.

There are plenty of individuals and marriages that heal and become stronger and more vital than they were before.

That’s not to say, obviously, that infidelity is a viable consideration for marital improvement and personal growth, but recognizing the many ways infidelity can change you will help both spouses recover from the painful aftermath of an affair.

And, hopefully, greater awareness upfront will take the consideration of infidelity off the table altogether.

 

50-Year-Old Man Reveals The Struggles Of Being A ‘Sugar Daddy’

“She was the most dangerous person I think I ever met.”

Whether you’re on your third failed marriage or you simply never got around to tying the knot, you may find your 50s a romantic rut. Too old for Tinder, too young to forget about dating. All your mates happily (and boringly) hitched.

All hope is not lost, however. We live in a modern world. Anything is possible. You just have to pitch yourself to the right agency. As one man recently revealed to Refinery 29 on Medium, you can have a lot of fun trying. But, as he also pointed out, it’s a lot more challenging than you’d think – especially when the perception is that the one with the money has all the power – which, he claims, is not always the case.

New York-based founder and CEO of a global software company, the man, who chose to remain anonymous, told Refinery 29 journalist Jessica Chou even though his net worth was north of $50 million, it’s been hard to get into conventional dating since his divorce 3.5 years ago because he travels a lot.

“I’m 50 years old but I probably look 38. I have the mentality of someone in their 20s because I just love to have fun. I jump out of planes, you know? I’m just one of those guys.”

He also couldn’t get into conventional dating because: “My schedule just prohibited it. When I dated conventionally, it always followed the same pattern: Meet a girl, get to know them, they like the vibe. Then I start my crazy travel schedule and there’s an awful lot of stress and texting. When are you coming back? Where are you?”

“So I thought okay, what if I financially support someone and when I’m here, I have the company of someone I enjoy. It seemed like the perfect solution,” he told Refinery 29.

Another attraction, he says, was he “thought it was the only way to meet women who have not been tainted by life,” explaining, “I just found that as women and men age, they get more tainted by their experiences. They create within themselves a negative bias as a standard operating procedure.”

“I went on many dates with women in their 40s, and what I found consistent between all of them was they were immediately looking to find out how I was going to hurt them, even from date one.”

So he decided to try and date younger women, recounting his experiences – and struggles – with three of them to Refinery 29. Here’s his experience with each one.

The Upfront One

“The first woman was the upfront woman,” Anonymous Daddy told Refinery 29. “I met her for a drink and she was very open about the fact that as long as there was some chemistry, she would meet with me and sleep with me for money. Unfortunately, that’s not really who I am. I need more of an emotional connection with someone, even though it might sound weird in that environment.”

The Girl Next Door

“The next woman was someone I would call a ‘girl next door.’ She probably shouldn’t be on the website, and she wants an emotional connection, but she needs financial assistance. So I dated her for four to five months,” Anonymous Daddy said. “After two months she said, I don’t want money anymore, I just really enjoy getting to know you. It really told me she wasn’t looking for a long-term monetary benefit, and that you can have a real chemistry-laden relationship with someone.”

Great, right? Wrong. Or at least – it didn’t last. Why? Over the next two months, the age difference was slammed in our face. I remember I went out to brunch with her and her friends, and someone was whispering, you know, ‘Whose dad is that?’ It didn’t really impact me, but I saw the look on her face. When we talked about it later, she said she wasn’t necessarily prepared for that. So we decided to remain friends.”

The Mercenary

“The third woman I call the ‘mercenary,’ and she was the most dangerous person I think I ever met,” Anonymous Daddy said. “She scared the shit out of me. She would say anything to make you think she loved you. She lied about not having a boyfriend, not living with him, got all the money, gifts, trips, and plane tickets, and when her boyfriend finally threw her out, she came crawling to me.”

“She ended up moving in with me for a while, and then I got set her up in an apartment. Once, I got really ill, and I told her what was going on, and I said, hey, look we need to have a real relationship, or this isn’t going to work. And to this day, I haven’t heard back.”

The man then added, “I spent $200,000 while dating on the site, and about 90 percent of that was on the third woman. I bought her a lot of jewelry. I’d buy her a ring, she would lose the ring or say it got stolen, and I’d buy her another ring to replace the ring. Then her rent, it was $3,500, $3,600 (£2,700-£2,800), plus a security deposit. I know. It was sort of like, hey dude, what are you doing?”

 

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

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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