PHICKLEPHILLY 2 is Now for Sale on Amazon and Kindle!

“He found love… but can he keep it?”

“Love is a many splintered thing” – Andrew Eldritch

Here it is! The long awaited sequel to the best selling Phicklephilly! Thanks to everyone who bought the first book, and to all of my readers and subscribers on this blog!

Without all of you, none of this would be possible!

You can get it here!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

When I started writing Phicklephilly back in May of 2016, I never realized how much it would grow and flourish as I went forward. It began as an earnest effort to start writing again. After a few false starts through the summer, I finally decided that if I was going to start writing again, I should stop talking about it and just do it. 

It began like most creative works. Slowly. Once I published my first post, I thought; how am I going to do this every Monday? I had no followers and no exposure anywhere. Instead of worrying about that, I decided to dig in and start to tell stories from my recent past. But since then it’s grown exponentially. It’s a dot com now and has hundreds of thousands of page views. I’ve monetized the site and secured advertisers that generate revenue to support my work. It’s been a lot of fun!

In the beginning, my inspiration was a server named Maria who worked at a local restaurant. I sort of had a crush on her but it never became anything. But it was enough to get me writing again. When I met her I had already been in Philly for almost ten years.

 My first relationship with Michelle had only lasted about three years before she left me. She was approaching age thirty and the alarms were going off in her head to get married and make babies. I had already been married and divorced years before that and had a daughter. I wasn’t going down that painful and expensive road again. The odd thing about my relationship with Michelle was, it was the first time I had a girlfriend that after we broke up, stayed friends with me. We were best friends. Isn’t that the key to all successful and loving relationships? 

Michelle reconnected with her former high school boyfriend. Normally that never works but I think this time it might. I think Michelle broke up with him, left Delaware and came to Philly because the guy wasn’t on the road to success. I think Michelle needed to explore the world a bit. She did that for a while and then met me. I was new and different and we had the time of our lives together in the city. But what neither of us realized was that was all we really were. A couple of people who loved the city and it’s nightlife. The drinks flowed and the laughter ensued. But once we got an apartment and moved in together it was the beginning of the end. We didn’t know it at the time, but domestic life never suited our relationship. We were best friends who liked the social excitement of going out, and being a deadly couple in the city. Once the adventure ended it was over. 

We tried it for a while, and did all of the things that couples do. Celebrate the holidays, birthdays, family stuff, and all of the other grinding aspects of domestic life. But we just got to a point where Michelle realized I wasn’t going to marry her and give her kids. We remained friends for several years after that until she moved to California in 2013 to be with her former boyfriend. He had become the man she had hoped he’d be many years ago. She married him, and at the time of this writing has a baby daughter. So it all worked out for her. She achieved the American dream.

I on the other hand started dating Annabelle in 2013. Annabelle is a failed actress and photographer. She makes her living shooting head shots and weddings. The reason things failed with Annabelle was our obvious age difference, and absolute opposite lifestyles. I was the corporate sales guy, and she lived in a world surrounded by theater people. It was like oil and water, and the only thing we shared was our mutual attraction to each other. Annabelle served as a temporary stand-in for my friend Michelle. The relationship lasted a tumultuous nine months and ended. It was fun in the beginning, but all romantic endeavors are. Once the reality sets in that you’re not a match, normally the relationship dissolves. Both of these relationships are well documented in the first Phicklephilly book.

Michelle is long gone, but her memory continues to haunt me of what could have been.

Near the end of the book I met Cherie. When I started writing the blog I realized I had to get back in the dating game. So I did what most people do. I went on Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and whatever else was available. I went on a bunch of crazy dates, but things clicked pretty early on with Cherie. 

I realized I had an ending to my first book. I had burned through a couple of relationships, and then met my love, Cherie. Everything was right in the world. She made me happy and we shared some wonderful times. Over the first couple of months we became close and Phicklephilly had a happy conclusion. It seemed like the perfect ending to a great story. I had reached my destination, and had found love in Philly!

Also, when I was with Michelle and Annabelle, I wasn’t writing. Their stories were told from memory, so it’s basically our greatest hits. But phicklephilly the blog was alive and well when I met Cherie. A rich history indeed!

But what happened after the end of the first book? We’re both in love with each other and things are going great. The story has to continue. I can’t just let the tale end there. There’s so much more to reveal. 

Please join me on my continuing journey.

 

You can get it here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

4 Telltale Signs the Sexual Tension Is Mutual

Do they want to sleep with me, or are they just being friendly? Its the age old question that many a man has failed to answer. When wrong, and you pursue a sexual or romantic relationship, you risk losing a close friendship or put yourself in a situation where you can get brutally rejected. (There are few phrases more devastating than: You know I like you. I just like you as a friend.)

4 Telltale Signs the Sexual Tension Is Mutual

Thomas Barwick

But if you don’t go for it, and they do in fact want to have sex, you’re missing a golden opportunity. They could have been that incredible lay (or serious partner) you’ve dreamed about since adolescence. So how do you know if the sexual tension you feel is real, or if you simply want it to be real? How do you know if they want to get down, too?

Here are four telltale signs that the sexual tension is mutual.

1. You’re both sustaining eye contact.

The eyes are not just a window into a persons soul, they’re also a direct highway to pound town. Eye contact provides some of the strongest information during a social interaction, a social psychologist who studies eye contact, The Scientific American. Its why your mother always told you to “look him directly in the eyes while shaking his hand.”

When there’s a strong sexual desire, our eyes can make that abundantly clear. Sustained eye contact, and were taking 3 or more seconds, is a huge indicator. This is even more true if you find yourself still making eye contact during a lull in the conversation. If no words are being said, but you’re still intensely gazing at one another, they likely want to rip your clothes off right there.

2. Your conversations feel a little awkward.

Sexual tension is all about, well, tension… and tension can be awkward. While you may want to passionately go at it in one of the handicap stalls, you’re instead standing by the water cooler asking when they plan to finish their .

Those reports, clearly, are not whats really on your mind. Its undeniably awkward speaking about something banal when your mind is off imagining what the two of you could be doing together. Since its distracting, you might not be focusing on whatever it is they’re actually saying, which can cause you to miss a beat in the conversation or ask them to repeat themselves. That leads to a hell of an awkward conversation.

Still, you need to make sure that they, too, are acting awkwardly because they feel the sexual tension not because they’re uncomfortable.

“In the midst of what you think is sexual tension, be sure not to get blinded by your own excitement,” Billy Procida, host of , tells Men’s Health. “When there’s an awkward pause in the conversation, does she smile while nervously looking away, giggling as she fidgets with her hair? Do his cheeks get red? Or are her eyes trying to locate her phone so she can make a quick escape?”

“You need to ask yourself,” Procida makes clear, “are you reading sexual tension in her body language, or are you seeing what your desires want you to see?”

3. You’re in close proximity while talking.

There’s actually a large field of research called , which studies how human space affects communication, social interactions, and the larger population. While it , in the United States, most people (without sexual tension) stand about 4-12 feet away in whats called a social distance. Personal distance, which is usually only for friends and family is categorized as 2-4 feet, whereas intimate distance is 0-2 feet. If you find yourself naturally talking to them in the intimate or personal distance space, then yeah, there’s probably something going on. I mean, for the love of God, its called intimate distance when it’s that close, so they likely want to be intimate with you.

4. There’s something going on with all that touching.

Sexual tension can be present with or without touching, which can make this a tad bit confusing. The thing is, we often experience sexual tension with someone because we cant or shouldn’t be with them. This can include a co-worker, boss, a best friends ex, teacher, or anyone else where there are valid reasons why it would be deemed inappropriate to have sex. Because of this, you both may want to touch but are keeping your hands to yourself. In these situations a lack of touching doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of sexual tension, but rather, an extreme form of sexual tension.

On the other hand, if you’re in a situation where it is okay to touch, and you find that they are taking every opportunity that have to touch you and I mean platonic touching then there’s likely sexual tension.

“He’ll put his hands around your back when he’s talking, or maybe he guides you through a crowded bar,” Rachel Hoffman , LCSW, M.Ed., previously told INSIDER . “If he reaches for your hand… then you can almost guarantee that he’s into you.”

And if they’re putting their hands on your thigh while you’re sitting down, yes, Jesus Christ, that’s some sexual tension, and you should act on it.

So what should you do if you sense that they, too, are feeling sexual tension?

First and foremost, don’t get too ahead of yourself. There’s likely a reason you haven’t acted on the sexual tension already: they are someone you shouldn’t be boning. But lets say its not an employee or sister-in-law, then what?

“We take a shot,” Procida says. “But you want to make sure that taking a shot is consensual and respects the other person. This isn’t a movie it’s not cool to ‘take a chance’ by pushing someone up against the wall, kissing them, and hoping they were down for that.”

So why not ask them out on an official date? From there, its a lot easier to actually have sex, since your intentions are clearly innuendo and more enthusiastic consent. The key to asking just in case you’re wrong and they totally don’t want to screw is giving them an easy way to reject you. This can actually make it less uncomfortable for both parties involved.

I typically say, I’m not sure if I’m reading this right, but do you want to go out on a date? Then if they say, Oh, no you can be chill, and reply with, Okay! Yeah, just needed to get that out of my system. Totally misread. Will it be slightly awkward for the next few days? Yeah, obviously. But if you’re both mature adults, you’ll get over it and move to a place of friendship without sexual tension.

 

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

My new book, Phicklephilly 2 is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

COMING SOON… PHICKLEPHILLY 2

“He found love… but can he keep it?”

Love at First Swipe! 

Phicklephilly 2 is the sequel to the best selling book, Phicklephilly: One man’s journey to find love in Philadelphia. In the first book, our hero returned to the city in search of the perfect girlfriend. It was a funny, and sometimes heart wrenching tale of a man trying to navigate the pitfalls of the modern dating world. 

After two failed relationships, he turns to online dating. He goes on several crazy dates, but finally finds a woman he really likes. She’s a bright, unique beauty, but like all relationships, they face several challenges.

Phicklephilly 2 continues his journey and shows you what it’s like being in a relationship, and the dynamics that play out living in the city. But several factors work against them both at every step. Will the couple survive the pitfalls and demands of being in an exclusive committed relationship?

He doesn’t always do what’s right, but neither does she. This is his intimate story of what that’s been like for him. Join him to see if he wins… or loses again. 

There’s always three sides to every story. His side, her side… and the truth. 

 

PHICKLEPHILLY 2 will publish on September 14th!

 

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Sabrina – Post Birthday Brunch

Sabrina looms large in the phicklephilly universe. She first appeared two years ago as part of the Sun Stories series when I was moonlighting at the tanning salon. I met her through one of the other clients named Jill who was one of our regulars.

I haven’t seen or really spoken to Sabrina in a while. We cross paths on social media but that’s about it. She’s been a huge fan of phicklephilly for years, and for that I’m grateful. I remember she once said, “I love all the stories about all of these crazy women in your blog. I read them and pretend it’s me that’s doing all of these crazy antics.” I love that! It’s so nice to have people out there that love what I do. It keeps me going to write more content. It’s been hard the last few months, because there’s been literally nothing happening. I’ve been in quarantine for the last five months!

About a week or so ago, I liked something she posted on social media and she thanked me. Now I remember! She re-posted a pic of me standing in front of a poster of the cover of my last book, Angel with a Broken Wing. The caption said: Buy this book! Of course I loved that. But then she texted this, “Hey, me and Jill are going to dinner at Parc on Sunday. What are you up to?”

“When will you be there? Maybe I could swing by and say, hello!”

“5:30. Swing by. We’d love to see you.”

“Same! I’m gonna put that in my calendar!”

“Yay, I’ll tell Jill.”

I was excited. I need to start getting out more and creating new stories after all of this time in quarantine. So, on the day we were supposed to meet I sent her a text. “Are you still meeting with Jill at Parc today at 5:30?”

“Hey. No. Look what she sent me this morning.” (She enclosed a screenshot from her convo with Jill) It read: “Good morning. My dear friend please have patience with me. I can’t go to dinner today because I’m still broken, but the good news is I’m working on it. I’ve only had one therapy session, so it’s going  to probably take a few more before I can start becoming normal. I love you and miss you.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I know. I hope she gets better.”

“Yes. The important thing is she’s trying. That’s a lot. I was looking forward to seeing you.”

“I know, Me too! I’m in DC this week for work but I’m around Friday if you want to do lunch or dinner just you and I.”

“That would be awesome. Do you like Korean barbecue?”

“Yes!”

“I have just the place. I can do Friday around dinner time.”

Okay that works. What’s your usual work schedule?”

“I’ve been furloughed since March.”

“Oh, okay. Good for you for taking this time to write your blog and your books.”

“Exactly! It’s been a creative explosion for my daughter and me.”

So that’s bad news about Jill. If you want to learn about the full Jill saga, you can simply put her name in the Search bar on the homepage and you’ll find her history on here. It’s quite the story. Jill is a lovely, hard working woman who has a charming personality. But we all have our demons. For some it’s harder to spank them and make them pay.

So Friday rolls around, and I’m pumped to see Sabrina for some delicious dinner at my new hangout, Southgate.

Then I get this text: “Good morning! I am still in DC today for work so I’ll have to re-schedule our dinner. Could you do Sunday?”

“Sure. See you then.”

Then Sunday rolls around, (My birthday. We all know how that went. See: Iris – Happy Birthday Papa Squirrel)

I get this text: “Charlie, I hate to ask for another re-schedule but I have no car today due to check engine light coming on. If you’re open to one last change tomorrow at 5pm I’ll be so happy. I’m in the office tomorrow on Columbus Blvd. and can just Uber to location.”

“Okay.”

“Tomorrow at 5pm? Oh, you know what place I drove past the other day? Misconduct. Can we go there or are you set on the Korean BBQ? I am trying not to eat meat.”

“Misconduct at 18th and JFK is fine.”

“Yay, see you there at 5pm. Can’t wait to hear all about your life.”

“Yours too!”

So, Monday rolls around and I get this text: “Hey, can you meet sooner, like 3pm?”

An hour later I awaken from my nap and respond.

“Sure. See you then.”

“Okay, great let’s do 3:30pm. My meeting is still going on and will end at 3pm. See you there then. Sorry, last time change.”

“Okay, 3:30pm.”

So, I pull myself together, and spritz myself with cologne. I put on a clean shirt, and suit up to go meet with Sabrina after not seeing her lovely face for over two years.

I make the seven block walk up 18th street through Rittenhouse. I think back to when I first met Sabrina. She and Jill were both sharing some struggles in their lives. I remember when she said her boss where she was working had cut her hours. She was very upset and I told her to meet me at Misconduct, and I’d bring a big list of all of my business contacts, and we were going to find her a job. That day everything changed for her, she updated her resume and sent it out. Several businesses got back to her and she got a great job with a real estate development firm. She loves her job, and is still there today. That’s why she had to go to DC last week. I’m really proud of her and all of her accomplishments. She thanks for my faith, assistance and good energy, but it was Sabrina that made it all happen.

I get to JFK blvd. and head up the steps to Misconduct. One of the girls meets me and I think it’s either the hostess or my server or both. It turns out to be both and her name is Danessa. It’s funny now, I have to gauge peoples emotions by their eyes because everyone’s wearing a mask. She’s very sweet and shows me how to do the bar code thing with my phone but I’m already wise to that thanks to my birthday brunch with Iris.  I like that I’m a little early for my 3:30 meeting with Sabrina. Gives me a chance to get settled and order a drink. I order my signature Manhattan, because I know they’re good here.

The pictures don’t lie…

The dining room is obviously closed to the public but they have plenty of seats on the front deck. I love Misconduct. There are two of them, and this is their second location. I like this one the best. I have so many great memories from this location. I used to come here for lunch when I worked in advertising at Philly Weekly. It was a favorite of mine and my associate Rocco. We were the two old guys in the company. This is the place where I first met and fell in love with my muse for this blog, Maria. She was the inspiration for phicklephilly. She has a pretty long series. You can check out the first post here and decide if you want to go on.

Maria – Chapter 1 – Amor en Vano – Part I

I used to have all my meetings here at table 12. That was MY table. My friend Mary used to work here as a hostess. She’s got to be at least 75 years old now. She no longer works here. I should text her to make sure she hasn’t been taken by the Covid!

I brought my girlfriend Cherie here for her birthday a couple of years ago. Hell… that was the Fall of 2016! Time sure flies. You can check that out right here:

Cherie – Chapter 9 – Misconduct on your Birthday

So many good memories. I’m sitting there listening to some rock on my phone through my earbuds when a woman dressed in black wearing a mask approaches me. Oh my god, It’s Sabrina! She takes a seat and looks amazing. An ageless beauty! She orders a Cosmo and we catch up. She’s doing so well at her job. “I got my house, my kids, and this great job. Everything’s going so well.”

“I’m so proud of you, Sabrina. I knew you’d be a shining star. So, Danessa brings her a drink and off we go down memory lane. We ordered some delicious food. She went with the mac ‘n cheese, (Two different women over the last two days both ordered mac n’ cheese! Kismet!) I went with my favorite thing on the menu, the chicken tenders. (w/barbecue, honey mustard and buffalo dipping sauce!) Misconduct has the best chicken tenders in the city, They make then from scratch, Never frozen!

I hope phicklephilly isn’t turning into a food blog after all of this time in quarantine! It’s been a while for me, so for now, it’s all food and no romance for me yet!

We had a lovely couple of hours eating, chatting and sipping our delicious cocktails. It was a lovely post birthday brunch! This Leo is really feeling like a king this year. First James at the Drive In, then Iris at Lou Birds, now Sabrina at Misconduct! Too good for a man my age, but I feel great! I feel better and younger than I did in my thirties!

I was so happy to see Sabrina that I had to give her something. When we were finished brunch I handed her an envelope. I think she knew what was inside, based on the size and weight.

If anybody deserves a free copy from the author, Sabrina does. She’s been a friend and fan since 2017! She was really happy about getting a copy of Angel.

“Do you want me to sign it?”

“Yes!”

Of course I whipped out my black sharpie that I always carry for such events. I wrote her a nice little note and autographed the book. It felt really good to sign my work and give it to a friend who really cares, and will read it. The pleasure was all mine!

When the server Danessa came by, Sabrina held up the book to her. “Look at this. My friend Charles here wrote this book. He’s a writer!”

“Wow. That’s awesome!”

(I have to admit, I totally loved that moment. I felt like Hank Moody.)

The check came, and she wouldn’t even let me kick in.

“No. It’s your birthday, I got this!”

“Well, I can’t argue with that.”

We gathered our things and I walked her to her car. To my surprise it was a midnight blue Cadillac. Wow, our girl Sabrina is really doing well for herself. She gave me a hug, (masks on!) and she got in her car. She said she’d like to get together for lunch soon. I told her I’d be happy to travel down to the waterfront and dine with her anytime.

Well, it looks like phicklephilly is back in full force on the social scene and I couldn’t be happier! This has been a helluva great birthday thanks to all of the wonderful people in my life!

Thank you one and all! You’re keeping me young!

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

12 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lonely, According to Experts

You could say this world is more connected than it’s ever been.

Friends, family, and strangers who live miles apart can communicate instantly thanks to social media and email. Anyone can hop on a plane from New York City and reach Los Angeles in just hours. In large metropolitan melting pots across the globe, thousands of people from different countries and cultures mingle and break bread. It’s as if time and space is collapsing, bringing all sorts of people closer to one another.

Yet so many of us feel lonely and can’t seem to shake it.

Researchers claim that the U.S. is experiencing a “loneliness epidemic.” In a 2018 survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), experts discovered that about 22% of Americans say they constantly feel alone. Such prolonged feelings of isolation can come with serious health problems, both mental and physical. Feelings of isolation are often associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Doctors have also found that people who are lonely tend to have increased blood pressure, weaker immune systems, and more inflammation throughout the body.

Turns out, connectedness not only makes our lives more interesting, it’s vital for our own survival.

So what should you do when you’re feeling blue without anyone to lean on? Here’s what therapists, doctors, and researches say are some of the best strategies to cope with loneliness:

1. Name it. Validate it.

Telling other people you’re lonely can feel scary, shameful, and self-defeating. But expressing that feeling can be the beginning of releasing it.

“We tend to stigmatize loneliness in the U.S., equating it with being a loner or a loser,” says Kory Floyd, Professor of Communication and Psychology at the University of Arizona. “That stigma encourages us to avoid admitting when we’re lonely. Denying our loneliness only perpetuates it, so before we can recover, we have to be honest — at least with ourselves — about what we are experiencing.”

2. Take stock of connections you already have.

Sometimes when we are feeling lonely, we can’t see what’s right in front of us.

“Many of us get tunnel vision when it comes to affection and intimacy, in that we ‘count’ only certain behaviors while discounting others,” says Professor Floyd. “I might notice that my friends don’t tell me they love me, or don’t ‘like’ my social media posts, but I overlook the fact that they always volunteer to help when I have a home project to do. When people expand their definitions of affection and love to include a wider range of behaviors, they often discover that they aren’t as deprived as they originally thought.”

3. Recognize you are not alone (in feeling lonely).

If 22% of Americans constantly feel lonely, know that if you’re feeling isolated that you’re sharing the same experience with millions of other people.

“[When I’m lonely] I remind myself just how pervasive loneliness is and I imagine being connected to ‘all of the lonely people out there’. Sometimes I listen to Eleanor Rigby [by the Beatles] to hammer that point home,” says Megan Bruneau, psychotherapist and executive coach. “Loneliness is a healthy emotion, revealing places we yearn for connection.”

4. Get curious. Ask questions.

Recognize that loneliness looks different for people at different times of their lives, and that there are those who have many relationships, but still feel like something is missing. Ask yourself what loneliness looks like for you.

“It’s important to differentiate between situational loneliness and chronic loneliness,” says Bruneau. “Most people feel lonely from time to time, especially in today’s individualistic, independence-valuing, more-single-than-ever-culture. However, if I’m feeling loneliness more frequently than usual, I get curious about the shift. Has something changed in my relationships leading me to feel more disconnected? Have I been nurturing my current connections and creating opportunities for new ones that make me feel ‘seen’? Am I intentionally or accidentally isolating [myself]?”

Whether our loneliness is brief or chronic, questions like these can help direct us to the best way to cope, she suggests.

5. Take the time to slow down.

If you’re frequently busy, running around with your to-do list or feel stressed by all the meetings at work, it might be time to hit the breaks.

“Sometimes when people’s schedules are back-to-back for too long, they start disconnecting from themselves and other people,” says Judith Orloff MD, psychiatrist and author of Thriving as an Empath. “They get overwhelmed from overworking and too much stimulation. So the practice [then] is just to relax and do what their body needs.”

Perhaps that relaxing for you could mean listening to music, taking a bath, or just sitting with nothing to do and nowhere to be.

6. Reconnect with self-love and appreciation.

You can use alone time to get back in touch with you.

“You have to be your own best friend,” says Dr. Orloff. “I go to my sacred space and I meditate. I take a few deep breaths, relax, and ask worry, fear, and loneliness to lift so I can just be with myself.”

She recommends that those who are new to meditation can try to sit for three minutes and focus on something they find pleasing — like the ocean or dolphins — or any simple things they are grateful for. “Focusing on what you’re grateful for rather than what you don’t have shifts the negative thinking,” she says.

Being alone and strolling through nature can be meditative, too.

7. Perform anonymous acts of kindness …

… and recognize the kindness in others.

Sometimes when you feel alone, you might feel like isolating yourself from the world, which only continues the cycle of loneliness. In that case, finding a group of friends to hang out with or dropping into a large social scene can feel like a lot. So why not consider starting small?

“Go out into the world and notice a smile from the store clerk,” says Dr. Orloff. “Hold a door for somebody or do something nice for a stranger and then you start to get the endorphins and the oxytocin going in your body. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. It’s what mother’s have when they give birth. So oxytocin is important.”

If you are feeling a bit more extroverted, you might even try starting conversations.

“Get out every day and have a conversation, face-to-face, with your neighbor, a friend, your grocer, the librarian — in short, any one whom you might meet regularly,” says Susan Pinker, psychologist and author of The Village Effect. This doesn’t have to be a close relationship. Research tells us that even weak bonds strengthen our immunity and well-being.”

8. Join a club.

Perhaps you are looking to develop more of those deep meaningful relationships. In that case, you might want to explore hobbies with other people to form bonds over common interests.

“This could be a class, a committee, or a volunteer group,” says Pinker. “Any activity that puts you in a social environment on a regular basis.”

Vibe with someone over your love for pottery at a local art class. Find a Meetup group of people who are just as obsessed with Game of Thrones as you are. Or maybe try something completely new, like goat yoga. You can have fun with this.

9. Put your hand over your heart.

Lack of physical connection can be the cause of loneliness. When we were babies, our bodies were trained to respond to physical touch as a form of communication and connection with our caregivers — especially when “goo goo gaga” didn’t quite cut it.

So, even if you don’t consider yourself a touchy-feely person, physical contact has always been at the center of feeling safe, secure, and cared for. But know that you don’t need a lover, a friend, or a massage therapist to give you a reassuring caress. Placing your hand over your heart could do it.

“Our bodies registers the care we give ourselves in a similar way that it registers the care we get from others through physical touch,” says Dr. Kristin Neff, associate professor at the University of Texas and author of Self-Compassion. “‘Supportive’ touch works with the person’s parasympathetic nervous system, which actually helps calm us down and reduces cortisol and releases oxytocin.”

Everyone, however, is different, Dr. Neff says. Some people prefer a hand on the stomach. Others prefer holding their face. Some love hugging themselves. If you’re by your lonesome, this could be a chance to figure out how to be your own buddy.

10. Create something.

Sketch. Paint. Knit. Anything to get your creative juices flowing.

“Creative arts have an extraordinary capacity to elevate and transcend our negative emotional experiences through self-expression, as well as to connect us more deeply and authentically with each other,” says Dr. Jeremy Nobel, MPH and the founder of The UnLonely Project.

One of Dr. Nobel’s favorite strategies is expressive writing. Jotting down thoughts and feelings you recognize others may be experiencing has a similar affect as, say, going to the movies. At the theatre you share a room with a group of people — perhaps strangers — who are all witnessing the same journey with you. Even if you don’t talk to anyone, you and the entire audience are connected through shared experience, Dr. Nobel explains. Mentally, the same thing happens when you write, even if you never share it with a soul. Although, sharing could be a healthy way to find connection among others.

11. Check your social media usage.

While the jury is still out on whether or not the rise of social media is driving loneliness and depression, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate the effect it has on your life.

Are you using it to make meaningful connections? Are you spending too much time on it? Is it causing you to withdraw in unhelpful ways?

“If we feel dissatisfied with our face-to-face relationships, we [often] retreat into the world of social media, which only exacerbates the problem,” says Professor Floyd of the University of Arizona. “On social media, it seems as though everyone else has better jobs, better houses, better vacations, and better relationships than we do. That isn’t actually true, of course.”

If Instagram and Facebook are dragging you down, it might be time for a temporary screen detox.

12. Work with a mental health professional

Sometimes we need professional help to escape the dark thoughts keeping us in isolation.

“One of the most destructive effects of long-term loneliness is that it distorts our cognitions about ourselves,” says Professor Floyd. “We come to believe that if we are lonely, we deserve to be lonely and that no one will ever love us the way we want. Those thoughts in turn guide our actions in ways that end up keeping us lonely. Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to bring our thoughts and behavior better in line with reality.”

If you’re struggling with loneliness, anxiety, or depression and need professional help, the American Psychological Association‘s Psychologist Locator tool can help you find a licensed therapist in your area that takes your insurance.

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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Tales of Rock – How The Cars Upgraded Rock and Roll

The late singer Ric Ocasek conquered the mainstream with oddball energy and an understanding of how machines can amp emotions.

Ric Ocasek understood rock and roll as a machine, but he also knew it as a vessel for passion, mystery, and defiance.Michele Eve Sandberg/Invision/AP

A 1979 Rolling Stone feature on The Cars opened with an image from Ric Ocasek’s Ohio adolescence that seemed out of American Graffiti or some other idealization of post-World War II suburbia: a teenager souping up his dad’s car to race against his friends. In secret, Ocasek had tweaked the exhaust pipe of his family’s Mercury Comet so as to at least make a louder vroom, if not a faster ride. When his dad eventually found out, “there was hell to pay,” as Jon Pareles wrote. Of his then-livid father, Ocasek said, “he never understood why I did it.”

That story feels oddly resonant after Ocasek’s death at age 70-something (he long hid his birth date from the press). The grin-worthy yet heady music of The Cars partook of consummately American traditions while also rewiring them. Ocasek was a rule breaker, but a meticulous one. He understood rock and roll as a machine, but he also knew it as a vessel for passion, mystery, and defiance.

Formed in 1976 after Ocasek had organized and abandoned a series of less-successful projects, the Boston-based Cars arrived with a miracle of a debut single, “Just What I Needed,” which is still its signature song. “I guess you’re just what I needed—I needed someone to feed,” went Ocasek’s lyrics, subtly defacing a familiar love-song line with an ambivalent sneer, a move he’d repeat over the course of his career. The song’s guitar splatters conjured lineage stretching from Chuck Berry. But the cool blue tones of the keyboard and the precise tick-tock of the percussion also signaled a new era. Or rather a “new wave,” the term that would describe both the disaffected punk of the ’70s and the synth-powered dance tracks of the ’80s thanks to the bridge The Cars built.

The band served up an impressive number of hugely agreeable singalongs from the time of its 1978 debut album The Cars through 1987’s Door to Door, after which the band didn’t play together again for more than two decades. Its catalogue includes the clap-and-moan fun of “My Best Friend’s Girl,” the peppy MTV staples “Shake It Up” and “You Might Think,” and the reverberating, poignant ballad “Drive.” These are songs that everyone knows; they’re also templates for vast swaths of modern pop and rock. The New Pornographers owe Ocasek a debt, but so does Taylor Swift. It’s fitting that Ocasek served as an album producer for Weezer and No Doubt, two acts that were already zipping down a road that his band paved.

It’s also notable that Ocasek produced works by the band Suicide, whose diffident and experimental noise-pop never had a chance of approaching The Cars’s success. For all his mainstream appeal, Ocasek had an ear for the weird. His lyrics pushed pop’s frivolous clichés into droll jokes, as heard in the plodding, hypnotic title mantra of 1978’s “Good Times Roll.” He made no apologies for splicing electronic elements into guitar rock, even at a time when doing so was often written off as suspect and cheesy. In this, he presaged a lot about how popular music would move in the decades after his band’s debut. His fascination with then-novel sounds began in high school, when he’d spend hours in his family’s basement fiddling with keyboards.

This adventurous sonic sensibility matched his misfit persona. Writers tagged him as “impenetrable” or “dispassionate,” and he copped to being awkward. Though he wrote almost all of the band’s songs and was an arresting singer, he ceded lead vocal duties on some of the band’s biggest and flashiest songs to bassist the Benajamin Orr. He hated touring and spent decades avoiding it after the Cars’s breakup, and instead spent his time recording solo music, producing others’ albums, writing poetry, and painting. When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted The Cars in 2018, he rejoined the band for a performance that, he said, would be a fitting end to the group’s run. It did turn out to be Ocasek’s final show, capping a career that changed music by adhering to his own internal standard: “Success to me,” he had said in 1984, “is actually being able to write songs and like them when I finish them.”

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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How To Tell If Your Girlfriend Is Cheating: 14 Signs Most Men Miss

When you meet the woman of your dreams, the last thing you are thinking about is what happens if she cheats on you.

Typically, people come together with a common goal of sharing their lives, but sometimes, for reasons people don’t always understand, one partner strays from the other.

Why is it easier to cheat than to just break up and start clean? Nobody really knows, but it is common enough that the other partner is left wondering what happened and if it’s really true.

It is common for the other partner to get a sense that something is wrong long before they know that their partner is cheating, but it’s difficult to confirm without actually coming out and asking!

Here are seven ways to tell she’s cheating on you.

1) She seems distracted.

Your once attentive girlfriend barely seems to look you in the eye these days. You find yourself repeating things to her because she’s not listening.

It’s hard for her to stay in the conversation and she is always looking over your shoulder. If she’s cheating on you, you’ll find that she has disconnected from your relationship in many ways.

According to family therapist David Klow, “if your partner’s actions start changing, then it might be a sign of infidelity.”

This is not to protect you, but to keep her from feeling guilty when she finally breaks things off with you: if she’s pushed you away already, it will be easier for her to say goodbye.

Or, if she decides she doesn’t have the guts to leave, pushing you away makes it easier for you to call things off. She’s pushing you away for a reason.

2) She’s dressing differently.

If your girlfriend suddenly cares about her appearance again after years of just bumming around in a t-shirt and jeans, lazing on the couch with her hair in a messy bun, and not putting much effort into a night out, something is definitely wrong.

Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and co-owner of Double Trust Dating, says that if your partner has had the same haircut for a long time but suddenly has a bold new haircut “this could indicate an effort to impress another person.”

According to Dr. Phillips in us, you may also want to have a look for a change in their grooming habits:

“If your partner comes home and jumps right into a long shower, they may be washing away any evidence of cheating.”

Sure, it might be that she is finding her confidence in herself again – or for the first time ever – but there might be a different reason for the change.

If you suspect it’s because she is seeing someone else and wants to look good for them, you may be right.

Change begets change and if she is running around on you, she might put a lot of effort into her appearance so she can be attractive to her new man.

3) She doesn’t invite you out with her friends.

One sign that your girlfriend might be cheating on you is if she is suddenly spending more time with friends, but leaving you at home.

If she isn’t inviting you out or is insisting that you stay home and watch the game, you might be right to be concerned.

According to Robert Weiss Ph.D., her friends be may be uncomfortable around you because they know what’s going on:

“The cheater’s friends often know about the infidelity right from the start, and your own friends are likely to find out long before you do. This knowledge typically causes these individuals to feel uncomfortable around you.”

She’s not giving you all the details about the get together either: not sure who will be there, not sure what time she’ll be home, not sure what the plan is.

These are all signs that she is trying to play innocent and hide her affair.

If you insist on going, she’ll get mad. It’s easier for her to keep you away from what’s really going on.

4) She has started to talk about the future in a different way.

If she used to talk about the future and use the word, “we”, but now talks about things she wants to do alone, that’s not good.

Even if she tells you that she didn’t mean to be selfish about her plans, be wary that she may just be covering her tracks.

According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula in Oprah Magazine, “A major commitment makes it more difficult to pull out of a relationship quickly.”

If she isn’t including you in her plans, there’s a good reason for that. Part of the trouble with suspecting that someone is cheating on you is that your partner may be very good at explaining away why things are the way they are.

If you aren’t vigilant with your relationship, it may just walk right out the door without you.

5) She pays a lot of attention to her phone.

Sure, everyone pays a lot of attention to their phones these days, but if she is choosing to scroll through social media or respond to text messages instead of talking to you, you would be right to question her motives.

According to counselor and therapist, Dr. Tracey Phillips, hiding things from you on their phone may be a sign of cheating:

“They could be trying to avoid receiving any questionable calls or texts in your presence.”

It could be that she doesn’t even realize she is doing it, but if she is having an affair, you can bet that she will get defensive and insulted by the assumption that she is doing anything other than updating her latest selfie pic.

Psychologist Weiss explains the possible scenarios in Psychology Today:

“Cheaters tend to use their phones and computers more frequently than before and to guard them as if their lives depend on it.

If your partner’s phone and laptop never required a password before, and now they do, that’s not a good sign. Your partner suddenly starts deleting texts and clearing their browser history on a daily basis, that’s not a good sign.

If your partner never relinquishes possession of their phone, even taking it into the bathroom when they shower, that’s not a good sign.

6) She’s not interested in getting physical anymore.

A roll in the sheets used to be a regular occurrence in your relationship, but lately, you feel like it’s getting more difficult to get her interested in sex. This can be a sign of infidelity.

Sex expert Robert Weiss explains why:

“Both decreased and increased levels of sexual activity in your relationship can be a sign of infidelity. Less sex occurs because your partner is focused on someone else; more sex occurs because they are trying to cover that up.”

Relationships have their ups and downs, but if you feel like she is pulling away from you and not wanting to be intimate, there’s a reason.

Body language expert Patti Wood, says:

“What you’re generally looking for is a shift from normal behavior. So, if they used to kiss you all the time and suddenly that behavior disappears it’s a shift from the baseline.”

It’s a good idea to talk to her about your concerns with physical intimacy and ask her what’s going on.

You’ll be able to tell whether or not she’s cheating on you by her response: she’ll either tell you that she’s having a hard time right now or something to that effect, or she’ll get angry that you bring it up at all and not want to talk about it.

Also, according to relationship and betrayal trauma-focused life coach, Karina Wallace you may also notice a drop in public displays of affection:

“If they do not hold your hand when they usually do or would usually invite you out but no longer do, they may be pulling away emotionally and physically.”

7) She’s too busy for you.

If she’s got a full plate and no room for you to spend any time together, but you used to spend all the time together, something is wrong.

According to relationship and betrayal trauma-focused life coach, Karina Wallace:

“They may play it off as just a preference but if you have been together a long time and this is not normal then its something to pay attention to…It alone is not saying they are cheating, but it can be a good indicator if there are a few things changing concurrently.”

She may even be too busy to talk with you properly.

People who might be cheating “tend to engage in sins of omission,” psychologist Ramani Durvasula says. “They operate on a ‘need to know’ basis, which is not healthy for a relationship.”

8) She doesn’t make time for you anymore.

What was once an intimate and fun relationship is suddenly so cold you need a sweater. If your girlfriend isn’t looking to spend time with you or asking you about your schedule, it might be because she is filling her days up with the company of others.

According to Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW in Psychology Today:

“Flat tires, dead batteries, traffic jams, spending extra time at the gym, and similar excuses for being late or absent altogether might also signal infidelity.”

When you ask for some of her time, she may get angry and call you needy. Of course, it’s just her defenses to keep you at bay.

Also, according to Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D. in Oprah Magazine, if they stop sharing about their day or their whereabouts, something may be up:

“The most interesting aspects of their day may relate to their new flirtation…This can be more devastating than sexual infidelity as it implies the intimacy of day-to-day life is now being shared with someone new.”

While she doesn’t want to be with you, she also doesn’t want to hurt you and so that comes out all wrong and leaves the two of you feeling even further apart.

9) She won’t accept your marriage proposal.

You love her. You thought she loved you. You proposed and it was a hard no on her end. While you may be shocked by her response and certainly feeling rejected, there may be bigger reasons for that.

According to Everyday Health if a person had doubts about moving in or getting married, it could be a sign of cheating.

Maria Bustillos, author of Act Like a Gentlemen, Think Like a Woman, says someone who is not invested in the relationship, may always be looking for an exit, making them more likely to not commit.

If she’s cheating, she doesn’t see the point of getting married. Why she doesn’t just break things off with you is another issue altogether.

You may have to consider the point of carrying on in the relationship if you want to be married and she doesn’t.

And anyway, perhaps you don’t want to marry her if she’s been cheating.

According to therapist Kurt Smith in Huffington Post:

“While I disagree with the saying, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater,’ there are always some significant mindset and behavior changes necessary to prevent this behavior from repeating…These new changes should be proven before getting married.”

10) She is talking about “her” future.

When you talk about the future, you notice that her use of the word “we” is inexplicably missing. She may laugh about it and say that she means the two of you, but people who are in love include one another in their plans.

According to Yvonne Filler, who runs The Affair Clinic in London:

“A couple we’ve been seeing for a few months explained the affair was suspected when the man kept making excuses not to discuss future plans.

“His wife found he wouldn’t commit to the big things like the loft conversion but also wouldn’t pay up front for holidays.”

In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways for you to tell that someone loves you before they say it: if they include you in their future plans.

11) You’ve caught her telling lies.

It might be hard to trust her anyway if you have already caught her telling you lies about who she is with, or where she has been.

“The human body is amazing in its capacity for discerning the truth in others,” certified coach, Shirley Arteaga says.

“There are usually signs of a cheating partner, and if you trust your gut, you will be able to learn the answer quickly.”

For whatever reason, women try to hide these mistakes instead of just owning them. Although, men do the same.

People don’t want to be exposed as liars and sometimes it’s just more comfortable to continue the ruse.

12) She doesn’t tell you where she’s going.

She’s all dolled up and ready to hit the town, but you have no idea who she is going with and she just brushes it off with a short answer like “just a few friends.”

It’s not that you need to know her every move, but it is common to ask questions and have an interest in what your girlfriend is doing.

Psychologist Paul Coleman, PsyD, says to Prevention that “someone who must ‘work late’ all of a sudden at times that go beyond a reasonable explanation may be cheating.”

If she used to tell you but now she is keeping you in the dark, she may be cheating on you.

13) She gets mad when you ask questions.

If you have gotten to the point of frustration and feel like you need to talk to her about what is going on, she’ll be angry when you start asking questions if she is cheating on you.

Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells us, that unexplained mood swings could be a sign of cheating.

Or, if she is even thinking about it, she’ll lash out at you and somehow make it your fault that you would even ask those questions.

According to Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW in Psychology Today, she may be pushing the blame onto you:

“Cheaters tend to rationalize their behavior (in their own minds). One way they do this is to push the blame onto you.

“Often, their internal justifications for cheating leak out, and they behave judgmentally toward you and your relationship. If it suddenly seems like nothing you do is right, or that things that used to not bother your partner suddenly do, or as if you’re getting pushed away, that could be a strong indication of cheating.”

People who are lying and trying to hide the truth will go to great lengths to keep themselves and their integrity safe. It’s not personal. It’s about their inability to face the truth.

14) She’s on edge all the time.

Even if you are just hanging out, she seems cranky or nervous. She might be having major feelings of guilt about her actions and she will project those feelings onto and try to make you feel bad for the way you are.

According to Lillian Glass, Ph.D. in Oprah Magazine, you can tell if your partner is hiding something if “they are rocking back and forth” when they are chatting with you.

This shows a sign of nervousness.

It’s a defense mechanism that many people employ to protect themselves and the other person.

Despite cheating on you, she still cares enough to try to protect you from what is really going on.

In Conclusion

In going through the above signs, it’s important to recognize that “your significant other could display all…these signs and still not be cheating”, according to Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW in Psychology Today.

“It might not be cheating, but there is almost certainly something that you and your significant other to talk about.”

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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Iris – Quarantine Girl

Iris is one of my daughter’s friends. She’s 26 years old. I think she may be one of her best friends, because when she comes over they have such a fun time. They stay up to all hours laughing, drinking, smoking, talking and listening to music. It’s a grand old time here at the squirrel house as they call it.

The term squirrel house came out of something my daughter used to say when she was little. I was working in New York at the time but kept an apartment in Haddonfield, NJ for awhile. This was back in 2004, so Lorelei would have been around 8 years old. I had two sofas, and the smaller one was hers over by the window. When she would lie on it and look out the window all she could see was trees, so she said it felt like we were living in a tree house. It was a cozy apartment and she said we were like little squirrels living in their house in the trees.

So now in 2020 when it rains and we’re safely tucked away in our apartment in Rittenhouse, we call it the Squirrel House. It’s a sweet memory for us both. Her friend Iris is incredibly perceptive and has a great memory. She’s has a great ability when it comes to recall. She’ll hear something once and be able to talk about it. She heard about the squirrel house reference and now refers to me as Papa Squirrel. Probably one of the kinder titles I’ve earned over the years. She sometimes calls me Faja, and I’m assuming that’s father in another language.

I’ve known her for several years, but in the last year or so she and Lorelei have become close. During quarantine I’ve had zero social life except for a few zoom calls here and there. It’s nice to have people over. It’s great to hear my daughter laughing and enjoying time with her good friend. I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with them a little bit over the last few months, and have really gotten to know Iris.

Iris is adopted, and never had a father, or a real father figure in her life. I think this has led to a few bad decisions when it came to vocation and romantic partner choices. But she’s a resilient soul and my daughter really likes her. Lorelei’s a good judge of character and wouldn’t keep her around if she didn’t like her.

Iris has expressed that I’m the closest thing she’s ever had to a dad. I found that hard to believe because I don’t see her that often. But I suppose in the time she’s been here it’s felt like that to her. Maybe she sees how Lorelei and I interact as father and daughter. Lor’s mother was pretty strict, inflexible and set in her ways. I remember that because I was married to that woman for 8 years. It was rough. It was even harder on Lorelei living with her for 18 years. But when she turned 18 she left New Jersey and moved in with me. It was her choice to get out from under the oppressive thumb of her mother. Lorelei finished out her senior year in high school, commuting from Philly each morning by herself. Lor has lived with me for over 5 years now and we couldn’t be happier. I’ve always treated her like an adult, and she respects me and the house. She’s a good kid, and I’m really proud of her.

Iris has expressed on a few occasions that she wished she could rent me as a dad to hang out with. I liked the idea, because she’s a nice kid and I could be a father figure to her. Just somebody to talk to when she’s struggling with something that she can’t share with her adoptive mother or any of her friends. Never having a father takes an enormous toll on all children. Especially young women. Guys can sort of make it without their dads. We just need that older dude to kick us in the ass sometimes and teach us some skills, manners and keep us in line. But girls suffer because their father is the first man they ever meet. They’ll meet several, but their father is the very first. If you’re a good father your daughter will go out in the world knowing what a good man acts like. A father instills in them the tools and nurturing a young woman needs to meet some the challenges of the world. Good information, time, and love are all paramount to her development.

Here’s piece I wrote for Father’s Day.

Why A Strong Father-Daughter Relationship Is So Important For Girls’ Self Esteem

One night when Lorelei was out training for a part time gig, I woke up from my nap. (Yea, I take naps now during the pandemic. Writing books is exhausting! lol) I came out to the living room and Iris was still there. She had stayed over the night before but normally she’d be gone. But she told me where Lorelei was and that she was staying over that night as well. Like I said, I’m happy to have people over and if Lorelei’s happy, I’m happy. Iris is always welcome in our home. (We’ve even given her keys)

I fixed myself a drink and sat with her. We chatted and it was really the first time we had ever hung out together. Just the two of us. Normally I stay in my room when she’s over because I don’t want to be the hovering dad encroaching on my daughter’s time with her friend. But this time we just chatted about a lot of things.

It came up that she wished there was some way we could hang out sometimes. I was all for it, but we both had concerns about the dynamic of the relationship. How would Lorelei feel about it all? It all seemed like a slippery slope built on other people’s expectations and social norms. I think that was the biggest part of it. Iris is in Philly often not just to hang with Lor, but she has other friends in town. So she’s around quite often. I thought it would be nice for both of us. I could take her out to eat or to a museum or whatever. We could talk and I could provide some semblance of what it might be like for her to have an older male figure in her life that cared about her. She’s never really had that. But we didn’t know if Lorelei would share. And most of all we didn’t want it to be awkward or weird. I’m sure it wouldn’t be because I’m not awkward or weird and it would just be wrong for it to be anything else. I wanted to spend time with her, and she with me. She had expressed it before and said she had often thought about it.

So we agreed that at some point we’d breach the subject with Lorelei, but weren’t sure how or when we would do that. So I decided to run the notion by a few of my male friends.

I spoke with my best friend Duncan about it. His response was: “Dude, she’s in her twenties, smokes weed, has tattoos, has had questionable jobs, and no father figure. How are you just not going to fall into that?”

Okay. Bad Idea. Duncan is a divorced bachelor. He has no game. Never been a dad, and has shitty role models as parents. He’s a driven businessman and totally the wrong person to ask. I should stick to conversations about rock music, comic books, and Star Wars with him. So that was a waste of time.

I spoke with my friend Johnny R. If you’ve been reading this blog you know him already. If not, simply go to the search bar on this site and type, ‘Johnny R’. he’s the king of vice in this city. A great. smart guy who’s been in a stable relationship with the same woman for over 10 years, and has had only two different jobs in that entire time. Sounds tame, right? Johnny R. loves tobacco, alcohol, gambling, adderall, cocaine, strippers and hookers. Like I said…king of vice. But a great guy! None of that affects his relationship with me. But I ran the idea of spending some father/daughter time with Iris.

“Dude. Do you think you’re entertaining these ideas because you’ve been in quarantine for five months and the pool of female companionship has shrunken down to a puddle in your life? Do you really want to do this, or are you just desperate to hang out with a woman who isn’t someone you’re related to? I know you’re accustomed to being surrounded by women all the time. You have a very active social life. You write a dating and relationship blog full of your exploits. Do you think because you’ve been locked down, you’re just happy to hang out with Iris? Come on… she’s 26 years old. But most of all, she’s your daughter’s friend. It’s wrong. Think of your daughter. What will she think?”

Johnny makes some good points here, but like my friend Duncan, they come from similar places. Both not married. Never had any children. Having kids changes a man. It makes you a better, morale man in this world. If you haven’t ever been a parent you just don’t know what it’s like. So I did appreciate his opinions and he made some great points, but I think I’m barking up the wrong tree talking to these guys.

I have three sisters. I grew up living with women. Most of my male friends don’t understand how I can be friends with so many women in this city. Most men think any connection with someone of the opposite sex is a means to an end. Them trying to bed her. That’s never been the case with me. There is the romantic candidates and those endeavors play out accordingly, but most of the women in my life are simply friends. They like the idea that they can hang out with an older gentleman that isn’t trying to get into their pants.

One of my female friends once said to a mixed group of people, “Charles is the type of man we all wished the men in our lives spoke about us when we weren’t around.”

I think that sums it up. Most of my readers here on phicklephilly are women. If I were a wolf they’d know it, and steer clear of my blog. I can’t let other people’s ideas and perceptions cloud this subject. They aren’t me and are nothing like me. It’s always good to get a second opinion, but I think in the end, people are going to do what they’re going to do.

I even ran it by James at the Drive In last week. He knows about Iris. I told him about what was happening and he told me to do nothing. I love James, but he’s neither a husband nor a father. Normally he’s asking me for advice but I thought I’d run it by him. I respect his words, and decided to listen to him. I’m not going to pursue it.

But then opportunity knocked.

 

To Be Continued on Thursday…

 

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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James – At The Drive In

A few days before my birthday, I get a text from James. “What are you doing tomorrow at 6pm?”

Of course I’m doing nothing but working on my new book, Below the Wheel. Just like everyday. “I’m free, dude. What’s going on?”

“Just be ready.”

I think I know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m super excited.

It was the Thursday before my birthday. James rolls up to my house at 6pm. I hop in the car and we’re off to parts unknown. (Known!) He drives his Kia Soul over the Walt Whitman bridge over to Jersey. Traffic is light and we’re making great time. It’s another rare, cool night during this heatwave. We drive down to Vineland, NJ. He’s got his navigation on and we get to our destination in no time. Plus, we’re always chatting up a storm so time flies by.  We’re both hungry and we decide to stop at a Wawa that’s nearby. We ordered some sandwiches, snacks and drinks and were back in the car in no time. We head down a long road and come upon this.

The Delsea Drive In is still a thing! OMG! I haven’t been to a drive in movie in 35 years!

https://www.delseadrive-in.com/

James had gone online, found the place, bought tickets, and a food pass. If you buy a food pass that gives you the right to bring in your own food from outside. Back in the 80’s when I used to go to the drive in in Rio Grande, NJ we never brought our own food in, but we certainly brought beer in! Like myself, James is a great planner. Behind my seat in the car is a cooler loaded with beer and spiked seltzers. (Yes!) I didn’t know what to expect but we pulled in and handed the necessary paperwork to the nice lady manning the ticket booth, and we drove on in.

It was early, and the show wouldn’t start until it got dark. We had some time to get parked in a good spot and get the lay of the land. It’s a great drive in movie theater. There are two screens playing different movies. Screen 1 is movies geared to grown ups and screen 2 is for families and kids. Which is great because then you know going into it, all of the noisy kids would be a hundred yards away at a different park facing the other way.

We devour our sandwiches, and are happy to have arrived safely without incident. There were a few vehicles around but they weren’t near us. Of course there were a lot of rules. Everybody must wear masks, if you want anything from the snack bar you have to order it online using your phone, and then go get in line to pick it up. Also, if you brought beach chairs you have to set them up in front of your vehicle, not next to your vehicle. Social distancing, people!

I tell James that I brought a small flask of bourbon and some party favors. (weed) Neither of us drank any whiskey or smoked pot deciding we weren’t there to get messed up. Especially since he was driving. I just brought it in case he wanted a little nip or a puff or two just to enhance the experience. But we decided against it. Didn’t need it. My daughter Lorelei had rolled a custom fatty for him, and I ended up giving it to him as a gift at the end of the night for…later!

I noticed that most of the vehicles that were there were sport utility vehicles. I forgot how popular they were. There are more sedans in the city, but in rural Jersey, it seems like everybody drives SUVs. I also noticed that most people backed their SUV’s or pick up trucks into their spots. They’d open the back hatch and sit on the edge of the bed, or sit in the bed of their pick up trucks. It was mostly groups of young people, couples, or parents with teenage kids.

Things haven’t changed much in regard to the drive in movie experience. The metal poles are still in the ground that once held the little drive in movie speakers you’d affix to your car window to hear the film’s audio track. The old metal weather resistant speakers are long gone. Now the metal poles only serve as markers as to where to park in this elegant anachronism.

Baby Boomer Memory Lane: Those Drive-In Movie Speakers

You now tune your FM radio to 90.5 and the sound comes through that way. It’s actually so much better because James has a thunderous sound system in his car. Thank you technology!

Darkness began to descend on the drive in. I was excited to feel what I once felt as a youth at the drive in. It was a cool night, so we sat with the windows down. There were happily no bugs. Mosquitoes can ruin any night out in the country. But as i sat there in his car I let myself lean into the experience. It was quiet. People were chill and the place wasn’t that crowded. More vehicles entered the park as showtime approached.

It was exhilarating to sit comfortably in the safety of my friend’s car. The place is surrounded by woods, so all you can see is night sky and trees all around you. Living in the city I am surrounded by glass, stone and steel all the time. Everyday I am surrounded by the city’s sounds and presence. But here was so different, especially after being locked in quarantine for four months. Now I was parked quietly in a park surrounded by nature. All I could hear were the sound of crickets, then the chirp of frogs and the occasional call of a bird. It was lovely and peaceful.

When the movie started, James handed me a cold one from the cooler. As I sipped my beer and puffed on my Juul, I felt a sense of bliss wash over me. That feeling is rare, but I love that feeling. I think we all do. When you’re someplace different, but you feel safe, with your friend and a movie about to start on a giant screen in the woods. It’s a wonderful feeling. Bliss.

It didn’t even matter at this point what movie was playing. Oh, drive in movies always show double features which I dig. I feel like I’m getting more of the thing I love. I wanted to get some bad drive in movie food, but the idea of ordering online and having to stand in line outside to wait for it just didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Besides, my belly was full from our Wawa dinner.

The first film was called The Rental, and was typical drive in movie trash. The second one was called, She Dies Tomorrow, which felt like a student art film. Both trash, but that’s what’s expected at the Drive in. I want bad cinema. Something light, scary and fun. It’s easy to follow and it’s all part of the experience. There’s even an intermission between each picture so you can get out, stretch your legs and hit the head. It brought back so many great memories from my past adventures. But I was so happy to be making new ones with my friend, James. Someone who would appreciate the drive in experience and enjoy it as much as me.

Snack bar and projection booth on the second floor.

Playing on the other screen was Shrek and the new Doctor Doolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr. James saw it before and he told me it is unwatchable! Ha ha.

It was a great night and brought back so many great memories. It wasn’t my actual birthday yet, but it certainly felt like it. I’m so grateful to have James in my life. He’s a good friend and knows what i like. I’m so glad I could revisit this lost piece of Americana with him. I get the memories and he gets a new experience that we got to build together.

Thank you James! You made my birthday awesome!

 

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

The Dead End Kids

“The greatest, and most beloved bar band ever.”

Spring, 1980 – Wildwood, New Jersey

The family had been moved to our house in North Wildwood in the summer of 1979. My sister Janice had graduated from Frankford High in Philly and was off to college in the fall. The rest of us enjoyed the summer and I was enrolled in Wildwood High for my senior year. I could write a whole blog about that painful transition, but that’s not what this piece is about.

You can read about that here:

Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1979 – Moving the Family to North Wildwood

Wildwood Daze – Autumn of 1979 – Shadows Fall

In the Spring of 1980 I was walking to school with my best friend Wolfie. We called him that because the way he combed his hair back, the drummer in our band said he looked like Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman. Wolfie was the lead guitarist and an accomplished player. But more than that he was an enduring friend.

We were walking to school, I think it was June. We were down on Pacific Avenue and one morning we saw this guy. He was on the other side of the street and looked like a scruffy skinny rock star. But it was 8am in the morning. We were on our way to school and he was coming home from who knows where.

“That dude looks like Steven Tyler.”

“He does!”

So I decide to yell over to him. “Hey, Steven Tyler!”

The guy replies: “No. Dead End Kids.”

We had no idea who he was or what the dead end kids meant. We would occasionally see him on our way to school.

One night early that summer my sister Janice had come home from a night out with her friend Louise. She was a year older than me and the drinking age back then was 18 in Jersey. (I know, right?) They loved going out in the late 70’s to dance in the clubs. Disco was all the rage back then. (Much to my chagrin)

“How was you night out? Where did you guys go? I know the Fairview’s your favorite.”

“Yea, we went to the Fairview but didn’t stick around. They changed the place. There’s some punky band playing there now, so we have to find some other place to dance.”

Yea… she described them as punky.

So one night later that week, my friend Wolfie and I decided to check out the scene on Pacific avenue. The street had nightclubs and bars on every corner. We were in a band so we liked to check out other bands that were playing in the bars on the strip. Oh, Wolfie was 15 or 16 years old and I was 17 going on 18. We both carried fake ID’s but Wolfie rarely got carded because he looked older than me.

The London Ale House was a nice place to have lunch or dinner. It was the first bar/restaurant on the strip around Poplar avenue. The best band on the island played there at night. I guess they would clear out the tables and make space for the folks to come in and watch the band. That band was called Witness. All great musicians. I remember the singer was Billy Spence, a great singer and showman. The other personality that stands out in my memory was the lead guitarist, Steelman. Everybody loved Witness because they played, Springsteen, Billy Joel and Jethro Tull among other popular hits of the day. They were a spectacular cover band that was so good, they actually expanded the London Ale House to accommodate the crowds that would come to see them each night. They not only played great but put on an amazing show that was funny as well as entertaining, performing spot on renditions of many great hits in the top 40. They would go to Florida in the winter and play down there and then come back every summer to jam in Wildwood.

But we were looking for something new. We headed downtown on that warm summer night. The street alive with all of the sights and sounds of a typical evening at the shore. We came upon the Fairview and decided to check out the ‘punky’ band my sister had mentioned. The smell of stale beer and cigarettes hangs in the air. But something is definitely happening here. Something new.

I can’t find any good pictures online so you’ll have to settle for this sorry looking photo.

On Avenue with Many Closings, Nightclub Owner Plans Reopening ...

We get inside and it’s going. It was still early so the place wasn’t packed yet. The band is rocking out on stage. The Dead End Kids. 

Let me attempt to describe what was happening. First of all, Wolfie and me are in a band. We rock out, but we’re in high school. We’ve played some gigs and we’re a good band.

But these guys are rockstars. I don’t use that word lightly. People describe people doing their job at work or some other dumb shit as being a rockstar. Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones. They’re rockstars. Kelly James and George Rumbol of the Dead End Kids are Rockstars.

They play ferocious rough house rock, with all the spit, sweat, and attitude of the greats. They’re playing on this stage tonight like their lives depend on it. Sure the singer, the bass player and the drummer are all fine musicians, but Kelly and George ARE The Dead End Kids. They are living this life. I can see it. I can feel it in the first few minutes of seeing them play live. I want you to understand what I’m seeing and hearing. They rock hard and wear cool outfits, and look like they’re already at the next level.

The band Cinderella stole their act. The Dead End Kids were Motley Crue… before there was a Motley Crue.

There is nothing like this anywhere. They’ve replaced their guitar straps with seat belts from old cars. Why? Because the material is durable and slick. Why would you want that? So you can flip your guitar around your body. Literally fling it from the headstock so that it spins around your body and then you catch it, and keep playing. Original and incredible showmanship. I had never seen anything like it.

They played Wasted by a band no one had even heard of yet. That band had one record out. That band was called Def Leppard. They played Midnight Moses by the Alex Harvey Band. I had never heard of it before. It was spectacular. The band Dead Daisies does the song justice now.

The Dead End Kids are burning down the stage. George puts on a Bowie show that is so good, if you closed your eyes, it was as if David himself was there playing with some kick ass hard rock band. heir version of Moonage Daydream better than Bowie’s! I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re a couple of teenagers. These are men. Men who make kick ass rock and roll. Shit kickin’ hard rock.

Rough House Rock!

I had the opportunity to chat with Kelly at the bar one night. I told him about our band and how I was focusing my energy on writing original songs. Kelly advised me that I was on the right path. “Keep writing your originals, man. That’s what’ll set you apart from other bands. Sure, you gotta play the covers to get paid, but the real future is in original songs.”

“Thank you Kelly James!”

(These newspaper clippings from the Wildwood Leader are framed and hang on my wall)

Seeing the Dead End Kids play on a regular basis was like going to church for me as a young musician. I loved them and everything they did. It solidified the idea that I needed to go to California and try to become like them.

One night I was down front with Wolfie and we were rocking out to the kings. We were both half in the bag from pounding dollar Miller beers. These two older hot girls came up to us and started hanging with us. One was a blonde and the other had raven hair. We asked them their names.

“I’m Trigger, and this is Flash.”

“Do you girls turn back into horses at dawn?”

We totally made out with them that night. Kelly looked on from the stage nodding with approval.

We went to see them all summer long at the Fairview, and at The Hurricane East in 1981. Those were unforgettable times. I’ll never forget those guys.

Image may contain: 1 person, night

Years later, when I was married in the 1990’s I saw Kelly and George playing in a small bar in Westville, NJ as the Dead End Kids. I went to see them that night wearing my old Dead End Kids T-Shirt. I brought my guitar and they even let me come onstage and play one song with them.

Some wonderful wishes are actually granted.

I will always love The Dead End Kids and those incredible summers in Wildwood growing up. It was the perfect life. None of us even probably realized that we were living the very best times of our young lives. Summer days filled with fun in the sun and surf, but the nights were reserved for Things that go Rock in the Night.

Thank you gentleman. Thank you for the joy you brought to me and to so many other people during that magical window of time that only opens once… but closes forever.

Here’s some videos I found online. Enjoy!

 

Kelly James update 5/12/18…..

Well folks I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news but the Neurosurgeon just informed Kelly James that it is indeed cancer and is spread through out his entire body including his bones….started as lung cancer and spread….They may discharge him monday…Chemo is the plan for him. Please continue to pray for a miracle… Kelly is of course a much beloved guitarist from the legendary band “Dead End Kids“. Please send your prayers, and love out to Kelly, as well as his original band members Bill Mattson and Georgie Rumbol

Join The Group Here: Kelly James We Love You
Kelly James is battling an aggressive cancer throughout his body. Please join the group, and tell Kelly how much he’s loved, and respected. Kelly needs our support. Kelly is of course a much beloved guitarist from the legendary band “Dead End Kids”

*This was a post that Kelly’s good friend Shawn Cahill (Lickey Rifferson) posted….

Ray Koob – Jacky BamBam – Mike Vagnoni – Jeff LaBar

Image may contain: 1 person
Sadly, we lost Kelly James a month later. Rest in Power, my friend…
Long Live the King!

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

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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