Back The Tracks – Part 7 – The  Journey to Metamorphosis

Philadelphia, PA – 1970s

Some days when the weather was nice and you had nothing to do, we’d just go back the tracks and go on a journey. That’s what we’d call it. “Let’s go on a journey.” That meant we had to explore some part of the tracks or woods we hadn’t been to before. I loved our little journeys.

My friend RJ had a sweet tooth and he always spent his paperboy money on Reese’s cups. He loved them, and back then they were only a nickel. Two for ten cents. He would buy a whole box of them and eat them all.

One of the most memorable candies he ever brought with him on one of our journeys was a box of sixlets. There are these little round colored candies in a sealed cellophane packet of six. Think of little round M&M’s, but cheaper chocolate filling.

Sixlets 8-Ball Tubes - 20lb Bulk | CandyStore.com

You could hold one end of the packet, put the whole thing in your mouth and pull… and it would unload the full clip of all six candies into your mouth. We ate so many of those that day, we never finished the box and probably never ate them again after that.

There was a bunch of weird candy back then. Pixie sticks, the little wax bottles with the colored liquid in them, (I think they were called, Nik a Nips) Candy cigarettes, (The little chalky white ones and the gum ones wrapped in paper so they looked like real cigarettes. You could blow into it to emit a puff of sugary smoke. What a brilliant way to teach children the dangers of smoking!) Wax lips, (You wore them as a comedic gag, and then ate them? (Tasted like wax. Surprise, surprise.) The gum in bubble gum card packs, (Literally shattered in your mouth) and who can forget the little necklace of cheerio sized candies you could bite off and eat? (What’s better than edible jewelry?) Or, the sound Pop Rocks made as they sizzled on your tongue!

Wasn’t there some story about how some kid died from eating Pop Rocks and drinking soda?

https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/pop-rocks-urban-legend-mikey-death

Image result for candy 1970s

Razzles, Choc O Lite bars, Mallow Cups, Marathon Bars,  and Blackjack gum. Oh, remember the long strips of paper that looked like cash register receipts but had little dots of candy stuck to them? They were all different colors and the colors changed as you went down the paper. You literally bit those tiny morsels of sugar off the strip. How much paper did we consume as children? (spitballs don’t count!) remember Bottle Caps? (Cola flavor? Yes, please!) Mike and Ike’s, Good ‘n Plenty, Good ‘n Fruity, Laffy Taffy, (with the joke on every wrapper), Bazooka Gum, Bubble Yum, Charms Blow Pops, and who can forget Lik M Aid Fun Dip?

I’m sure there are dozens more I can’t remember off the top of my head. Okay, let’s clear my sugary palette before I need an insulin shot with this vintage photo.

Here’s an old pic of RJ threatening to shoot a paper clip at me!

One day my friends and I went on a journey just following the tracks north. There was always this feeling you’d get when you were a boy when you realized you’d gone further than you’d ever ventured before. We knew all of the sights and sounds of the whole area. We knew miles of the tracks and the woods back then. All of it. You could drop me anywhere in those woods and I would have been able to navigate my way out of them in at least three different ways or paths.

We’d walk along and things would start to look different and we knew we’d reached the end of our proverbial sidewalk. This was new territory and new things to discover. But you had the train tracks as your foundation. No matter how far we went we figured we couldn’t get lost because we’d simply follow the tracks back in the other direction to take us home. It was so cool.

So we’re walking north on one of our journeys and we reached what I believe to be the Cottman Street car bridge that crossed over the tracks from Cheltenham into Philly. There were some kids playing down there on the sides of the tracks who we didn’t know. They seemed to be doing something with some ponds of water that had pooled on the side of the tracks.

It was stagnant rainwater that had formed these pools. But things grow in stagnant water. Mostly mosquitoes, but there was something else going on here. These kids were catching tadpoles! We approached them to watch what they were doing. We had never seen tadpoles or anything like that before. They were catching them and putting them in jars of water. We knew what had to be done.

For today our journey had reached its end. We had found something new and would be coming back to this place.

My friends and I put our heads together on how we would proceed in this new adventure in an attempt to acquire some free wildlife.

We gathered some baby food jars and some little nets somebody must have clipped from their family’s fish tank (probably me) and the next day we were off again.

We followed the tracks back to where our last journey took us and happily the long pools of stagnant water were still there. Think about that. A bunch of nice kids from middle-class families with plenty of toys to play with, play on the railroad tracks, and are going fishing in smelly stagnant pools full of who knows what kind of disease and vermin, and it was awesome!

I surveyed the area. The pools were 20 to 30 feet long. There were several. I walked down to the very beginning where it was the most shallow. I wanted to start slowly, rather than just dig right in with nets into the deeper water. Who knew what was in there? What if there was some kind of evil snake that lived in there? (The water was only 6 to 9 inches deep at the deepest point.)

So I’m walking along the edge of the shallow end which is maybe an inch deep. I like the origins of things so I wanted to start at the beginning. My friend RJ and Paul were just dipping nets into the bigger pools where we had seen the other kids working the day before.

I noticed in the shallow end there was hundreds of tiny black tadpoles. Just writhing and wiggling their little tails no bigger than your pinky nail. But as I walked north along the side of the pool the water got murkier and you couldn’t see anything. You had to blindly just dip your net in the water and see if you got anything.

But lo and behold we started to catch some tadpoles. They were all about an inch and a half in length, and we would dip our jars into the brackish water and pop the tadpoles inside. We only captured around four of five of them, and neither RJ nor Paul had anywhere to keep them, so custody of our new pets fell on me. I didn’t mind. I was happy to have some new living creatures that I caught on my own and didn’t come from a store. Free pets!

I recently started watching a terrific series on Amazon Prime about a family that moves from England to the island of Corfu in the Greek isles in the 1930s. The youngest son Gerald loves wildlife and is always out studying and catching animals and bringing them home. It reminds me of how much we loved nature as kids. He’s my favorite character and based on the author of the original books. It’s a wonderful show and worth checking out!

Image result for durrells of corfu

Anyway…I had an old plastic tank that I found in the trash somewhere. We were always trash picking as kids. It was great. I found the best stuff in other people’s trash! I still had the plastic tank left over from the whole Rosalie’s Rodents incident.

(If you didn’t read this on Tuesday, here’s the link again.)

Rosalie’s Rodents

So we filled it with water from the hose out back of my house and put our tadpoles in. I didn’t know how they would do coming from a stagnant pool into Philly tap water, but the little guys thrived.

Stressed-out tadpoles grow larger tails to escape predators | University of Michigan News

I don’t know if I put anything in the water to feed them but I must have. I think RJ got some fish food and we sprinkled that into the tank on a weekly basis. I kept those little tadpoles for a couple of months, and of course, some miraculous things began to happen. You can be taught things in school and read things in books, and look at diagrams and photos of wildlife. But to have the actual creatures in your possession and witness it first hand is something grand. I’m talking about metamorphosis.

One by one the tadpoles began to sprout legs! It was incredible to see. A living thing in your own life that is slowly changing before your young eyes. Not in a textbook but in your hand. Of course, we wanted to touch everything as kids, and you could bring them out briefly and hold them. We would put them back in the water and they would continue on their journey.

Then you’d see a little arm sprout from one side, followed by another one shortly thereafter. That’s when I loved them best. Their tails were shrinking, but they had arms and legs. They started to look like fat little salamanders or newts. But they were still changing so you could hold them for brief periods but had to put them back in the water so they stayed wet.

Tadpole | EEK Wisconsin

But within a few weeks, they had transformed into lovely little frogs. I always wondered if it hurt for them to change from one thing into another thing so quickly. (around 12 weeks) But they always seemed fine to me.

Eventually, once they matured, they simply hopped out of the tank and went on their way. I always believed they probably lived out their lives in my backyard.

A brilliant science lesson about amphibians all from just following the railroad tracks a little further from home.

I loved playing back the tracks as a kid. I spent so many happy hours back there with my friends. It was close to home, but a place to disappear into nature and our own little world.

I guess I could always relate to the little tadpoles eventually becoming frogs. Because as children we were like them. Just all together swimming around in the little pond of our neighborhood. Then one day we all grew up and hopped away into adulthood.

What would life have been like if we hadn’t moved away back in 1979? We’d probably have a lot more stories.

But some days when the day is warm, we can all pause and think back to a simpler time. When we could simply just go out and play.

There comes a day when you hang out with your friends. Just going to play outside. You never know when that day is coming but it does to us all.

There’s that day where none of you realize it, but it’s the absolute last time you will all hang out and just play outside.

Morning Briefing: The Details On Playgrounds Reopening

I hope you enjoyed this little series. It began as a short piece from my past and grew into an epic tale!

 

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

The Space Between Us – Part 2

1970 – Philadelphia, PA

My father was talking to me in the living room as we watched what was happening with the Apollo 13 mission. They were going to land on the moon too. But on the way there they had some technical failures. They were losing oxygen. I asked my dad what was happening, thinking the astronauts and NASA were indestructible and infallible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_13

“If they don’t get this fixed son, they won’t make it back.”

Hearing those words drove home the reality of life and how fragile we all are.

What a terrifying moment for Jim Lovell and his crew. Happily, we’ve all seen Ron Howard’s film with Tom Hanks and it has a very happy ending.

 

January 1986 – Wildwood, NJ

I was working at Circle Liquor in Somer’s Point NJ. It’s one of the most profitable liquor stores on the east coast. It’s so big, you can drive your boat up to the place. I was pushing a shopping cart full of Canadian whiskey in the warehouse. I was about to go out into the store and stock the shelves. Another one of the guys came through the doors with his cart.

“Hey man, the space shuttle blew up.”

“What?”

By the mid ’80s, the shuttle missions had become so commonplace no one really paid any attention to them anymore. America was accustomed to going into space. They thought it was getting boring so they let a school teacher go along for the ride.

“Yea, the Challenger blew up.”

“The one with the school teacher, Christa McAuliffe?”

“No survivors.”

I thought about it the rest of the day. I got home that night before my father. But when he did arrive, he went straight upstairs. I walked down the hall to his room and went to see him. I stood at the doorway and he was taking off his suit jacket. He saw me there and stopped. We just looked into each other’s eyes for a moment before we both started crying.

“Tough day.”

“Yea.”

“It’s terrible.”

“Why do they keep showing it over and over on TV?”

“Because they want viewers, son.”

We hugged, and didn’t speak of it again after that. A terrible tragedy that didn’t need to happen. It was a heartbreaking day for the space program and most of all this country.

“The last man to be here was never heard from again.
He won’t be back this way till 2010.
Now I’m riding on a fountain of fire.
With my back to the earth, I go higher and higher.
Why me? Why me?”  – Planet P

 

1990

I was working at the Union Trust Bank as a Branch Manager. I had finally become a banker like my father. He was very proud of me. I cut my hair, put on a suit, and joined the ranks of humanity.

One morning my dad gave me an article he had enjoyed in the New York Times magazine. (Which was included in every Sunday edition back then.)

It was an article about a group of scientists that were working on a project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. It was called SETI.

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

We were both really into the idea of life on other planets and had discussed the prospects at length. We weren’t a religious family, and the notion that Earth was a solitary entity to support life in the universe was poppycock to us.

With billions of stars out there, life would have to exist somewhere else. It’s just good science. I loved the article so much, he let me keep the magazine.

Are we alone? The search for life in the universe | SETI Institute

By the time I read that article I was already well ensconced in every book I could find about alien life in the universe. The Roswell incident, Crash at Corona, Out There, and Communion. Any book I could find, I would read. I had even become a card-carrying member of MUFON. (The Mutual UFO Network) I just knew something was out there and was captivated by the scientists at the JPL making an effort to contact them.

I wrote to one of the scientists (Edward T. Olsen) on that project. I composed a heartfelt letter that described what I had experienced with my father growing up in regard to space. I remember closing my letter with this statement; “I would be happy to mop the floors at your facility just to be near something that you’re trying to accomplish.”

To my shock and awe, he actually got back to me. I was blown away. He had said he was so impressed by my letter, that he read it to the team at his weekly meeting. He wrote to me an extensive four-page letter that was wonderful. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to read it to my dad.

I remember sitting in his kitchen. Just the two of us as I read the whole letter aloud to him. He was ecstatic.

But the one thing  I remember from that night was this; When I finished reading the letter, he had one question for me.

“Do you have a copy of your letter? I want to hear what you said to him.”

I get a four-page letter from a dude from NASA, and my dad is more interested in what my words were to that man to get him to write back to me.

Huge father and son moment.

I’ll dig out the magazine and the letter and publish them on the blog at some point.

Here’s an interesting point. I wrote to that scientist one other time after that. I didn’t tell anyone, but I had some ideas about how an actual flying saucer could navigate it was through space. My father always told me that nobody would come here because they were too far away. But he was thinking about what he learned in books. He only learned about linear flight from point A to point B on a traditional, solid rocket booster.

But I thought that if you could generate enough of a gravitational force, you could literally pull point B to point A in a short amount of time. It was a bunch of theories from a 24-year-old young man about exotic propulsion systems for interstellar travel.

I didn’t hear back from the scientist. Years later, I was scheduled to attend a business junket to California when I worked at a finance company. I called the scientist and actually got him on the phone. I remember sitting in my hotel room and talking to him. He remembered me and my first letter. I told him I wanted to take him up on his offer of visiting the JPL and taking the tour he had offered me in his letter.

But, he said that wouldn’t be a good idea. I asked him what he thought of my second letter, and he said he never got it.

Hmmm…

 

1994

I was working for a finance company, and I read in the paper about a book signing that was happening at a store that wasn’t too far from my office. I really wanted to slip out and attend it.

The year before, Howard Stern‘s book, Private Parts had published. He was syndicated in the Philadelphia market on rock radio WMMR each morning, and wildly popular.

When his book came out, I remember seeing people lined up around the block to buy it. Howard was, and probably still is, that popular! It was the fastest-selling book in the publisher’s history and sold a whopping 1.1 million copies by 1995. Pretty impressive numbers for a guy that talks about farts and sex all morning on the radio.

So, I didn’t know what to expect when I was going to this particular book signing. Were all book signings a manic line of fans lined up around the block to meet their hero? I only have a limited window to do this and get back to the office.

I get to the Barnes and Noble, or Borders bookstore in the next county. I see a sign on the window for what’s happening that day, and head in. I spoke to one of the employees and told her why I was there.

“Where do I get in line?”

“Line?”

“Yea, for the signing.”

“Just go right back there. He’s sitting right back there at that table.”

I walk back to where she told me to go. It felt like slow motion. Through the long aisle of books. I felt small. It was like being a kid again walking through the bookstore with my dad in Bradd Alan’s in Cheltenham, 25 years ago.

I come upon the man at the table. He’s an older gentleman with a kind face, and a sharpie in his hand. Stacks of his book Lost Moon are piled in front of him and in a box on the floor. There’s no line of people to meet this national hero. No line going out the door and around the block.

“It’s an honor to meet you, sir. I’m Charles.”

“Hello Charles, I’m Jim.”

The commander of Apollo 13 is sitting right in front of me in a bookstore on a rainy day in the suburbs of Pennsylvania.

He signs the book, “To Horace,    Jim Lovell.”

My father said it was his favorite Christmas present that year.

What it really comes down to is this. My father wanted to be present in all of his kid’s lives because it mattered. It made a difference. He wanted to be there for us all because of his own father’s absence. He didn’t want to follow in the mistakes of the past. He and my mother helped my sisters and I evolve into the people we are today.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Thanks for interstellar trip, dad! We stayed on Earth but we went around the sun 54 times together!

Here’s a cool commemorative stamp my dad got me that went to space!

 

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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SUN STORIES – Tales From a Tanning Salon, Now Available on Amazon

Yes. It’s now available on Amazon.

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

I was working at a local media company here in Philadelphia. One of my advertising clients was a tanning salon. I became friendly with the owner. He was always complaining about his staff. I asked if I could start moonlighting there for some extra income.

He immediately hired me. One shift became two, then three, and within a month or so, I became full time. I was tired of working at the media company where I was currently employed. A publication that was no longer relevant in this city. Print was basically dead… but tanning salons were hanging by a thread.

But I enjoyed working there. It was a fun job. I met a lot of great people during my time there. But with every job, there’s always challenges… and temptations.

Sun Stories: Tales from a Tanning Salon, takes you on a sunny, and sometimes dark journey of my time working there. It’s filled with funny, unique, and sometimes cringe worthy tanning stories. But there were other forces at work there. What began as an easy part time gig, slowly evolved into a story filled with love, obsession, sex, and misadventure.

When I was editing Phicklephilly 2, I had a revelation. I realized that Phicklephilly 2 was all about the relationship I was in with my girlfriend, Cherie. The love affair, the passion, and the infidelity of that glorious celebration of two people coming together.

But, I looked at Sun Stories, and saw that it ran parallel to Phicklephilly 2. It was a complete documentation of my work life during that period. Phicklephilly 2 was about my relationship with Cherie, and Sun Stories was my work life.

They’re both happening at the same time. I have to release them together.

That’s my whole life between 2016 and 2018. It’s everything. I have to release them both.

Cherie. I loved her. But after Michelle and Annabelle, I was now armed with how to navigate my future relationships. Secure myself and see what happened. I’d never enter into another relationship without my armor on.

I was working at the media company that was the last cool paper in the city. When I think about going to that publication, I think of Ronnie James Dio. He once said that when he joined Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy Osbourne, he called it, the second coming… or going, of Black Sabbath.

That’s how it felt when I joined this dying publication. I loved all of the people I worked with there, but knew the paper was doomed. It’s greatest days had come and gone. I only did it because I was about to be fired from the start up where I was working. I had such high hopes for what I was going to build with that little start up. The money was great, and I’m forever grateful for that. But they never followed through with the investors to build it out into a national site.

That site is dead now.

It was heartbreaking for me to leave them, but I’m sure the owner was relieved he no longer had to pay me. Why did he never follow through? It makes no sense. I guess I’ll never know. We could have built something wonderful. I jumped to a local free publication and made a go of it. That old publication was in a state of flux, and the changes that unfolded for that sweet paper destroyed the very thing it once was. I worked hard at what I’m good at. Acquiring accounts and building the business.

But the writing was on the wall. They had brought in a fool to run the daily operations. He systematically destroyed the advertising department at the paper. Can you imagine that? The guy gets a job to grow a struggling business and all he knows how to do is ruin it.

He did that. All of the meetings. The Monday morning kickoff meeting. The Wednesday Sales Meeting. The Thursday One on One. He should be horse whipped. He broke the spirit of everybody who worked there.

There are no clients in any of your foolish meetings you silly asshole.

How could he be such a failure as a leader when he seem like such a nice guy?

Detritus.

My father passed away, and I was fed up. I was the only sales guy on the floor. Rocco was a fixture and an account rep. He can’t sell. The new manager brought in a couple of retards, and I could see there was no future there. The place was a rotten husk.

It kind of sucks, because back in the day, I LOVED that publication and the CITY PAPER. They were god to me. If you wanted to see what was up in Philly, they were the papers you grabbed. They were in honor boxes around the city. I would always read them every week. Everything I needed to know was in those sweet papers.

But, here I was working at this anachronism. It was over. My daughter will never touch a newspaper. It’s over. It’s been over since 2008. Print is dead.

Oh, but here we go…

Tanning is dead too.

I had a client who actually spent money with me to advertise his brand. I did my best for him. I believed in his products and services. I gave my all. I came up with creative ideas because I cared. I wrote killer copy for his ads. I did what I’m good at.

I liked it so much, I went to work there to escape the dungeon of selling print advertising in a paper whose epitaph had already been written.

But I had no idea it would open a flower I had never seen before.

This is the most lurid book I’ve ever written.

So let’s begin.

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

 

 

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

My new books, Phicklephilly 2 and Sun Stories, are 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!

15 Crazy Facts About Kissing We Bet You Didn’t Know

All the making out facts you were afraid to ask.

Making out. Puckering up. Smooching. Snogging. Lip-locking. Tongue-wrestling. Rounding first base. Sucking-face. Whatever you call it, kissing is one of our favorite parts about falling in love.

We’ve already given you the scoop on what the ladies really think of kissing, dished on the secret health benefits of kisses, and given you invaluable tips on how to kiss and make out. Now, we’re taking it one step further with an impressive list of eyebrow-raising facts about kissing and interesting tidbits about smacking lips.

Consider it your introductory Philematology 101 class (which, you’ll come to find out, is the scholarly study of kissing).

1. Your kissing style originates in the womb.

See a kiss in any Hollywood movie, painting, or sculpture and more often than not, you’ll see couples leaning in to the right. Why is that?

A German researcher observed over 100 couples and noted that two-thirds of them tilted their heads to the right. The scientific community at large theorizes that this instinct originates from the womb when we naturally tilted our heads to the right.

2. Kissing takes serious muscle power.

One kiss requires 146 muscles to coordinate, including 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles. A team of British researchers — Elaine Sassoon, Annabelle Dytham, Robert Scully and Professor Gus McGrouther from the Rayne Institute in University College, London — studied kissing couples under an MRI scanner and found that a kiss mostly involves the orbicularis oris (the muscle around your mouth).

“Not only do you use your facial muscles in kissing, but approximately 112 postural muscles as well,” Professor McGrouther said to The Telegraph. Yikes, sounds like a serious facial workout!

3. Our love of kissing comes from rats.

Kazushige Touhara and colleagues at the University of Tokyo believe that our affinity for kisses descends from an ancient rat. Mice and men have a surprisingly similar genetic makeup — sharing a common ancestor that lived sometime between 75 and 125 million years ago.

This ancient rat-like creature went by the name of Eomaia scansoria (Eomaia, Greek for “ancient mother,” and scansoria, Latin for “climber”). The science team theorizes that this creature would rub noses with a mate to sample his or her pheromones and signal desire. So, basically, human kissing is really rodent behavior. Who knew?

4. The history of “X” behind XOXO traces back to the Middle Ages.

We use “XOXO” as an affectionate afterthought to our signature all the time in cards and love letters, but not many people know its origin story.

Historians trace it back to the Middle Ages when most people couldn’t read or write. The peasants used to mark “X” as a stand-in signature and then kissed the document as an added gesture of sincerity.

5. A king once decreed that kissing be outlawed.

On July 16, 1439, King Henry VI banned kissing in England. His reasoning? It was to curtail the spread of disease in the kingdom. Duly note that his mental breakdown around 1453 required his wife, Margaret of Anjou, to assume control of his kingdom. (So that’s the level of crazy we were dealing with at this time.)

This went on to spur a lot of other weird smooching bans all over the world. Later in 16th Century Naples, not only was kissing in public banned, but it was punishable by death as well.

6. French kissers caused commuter headaches.

Oh, the French. Apparently in the early 20th Century, so many French commuters were getting frisky on the train that they had to ban kissing altogether.

So whenever you feel the train slow to a stop and hear the conductor’s drone voice call out over the intercom that the train has stopped “due to a sick passenger aboard the train ahead,” you might have an idea of what’s up.

7. The luck of the Irish comes with a kiss.

Call it the (germ-infested) luck o’ the Irish. Over 400,000 tourists gather to kiss the Blarney Stone near Cork, Ireland, every year — dubbing it the most “unhygienic” tourist attraction in the world. According to local legend, those who bend over backward to kiss the stone are “greatly” rewarded with “the gift of the gab,” essentially meaning flattery.

So if you’re looking to obtain the name of sweet talker, you might want to take a trip to Blarney Castle. But be warned! It’s been said that people have fallen to their deaths attempting the superstitious feat.

8. We almost didn’t have epic movie kisses.

. . . Some of the greatest kisses in Hollywood history almost never happened. Why? Back in 1930, a set of censorship regulations called The Hays Code prohibited acting couples from kissing in a horizontal position (as in, lying down). Also, married couples had to sleep in twin beds on screen and, if kissing action did happen on beds, one actor had to have their foot on the ground.

Oh yeah, and they couldn’t kiss for longer than three seconds. Not exactly the picture of romance, right?

Well, directors had a way around this. While filming the 1946 film , Alfred Hitchcock had Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant repeatedly kiss, briefly disrupted by dialogue and movement. It’s now considered one of the sexiest movie scenes of the time. Luckily, this pain of a ban dropped in the late 1960s.

9. People make careers out of the science of kissing.

Just in case you were so into kissing that you wanted to make a career out of it, the study of kissing is better known as philematology. And someone who studies kissing wears the title of osculologist. (That sounds like a cheesy bro T-shirt.)

10. This couple’s record-breaking kiss is incredible.

According to the Guinness World Records, the record for the longest-lasting kiss goes to Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat of Thailand. These champion smoochers locked lips for 58 hours, 35 minutes, and 58 seconds. (No word on if they got bathroom breaks, but we’re thinking that would have been a mood-killer.)

11. Kissing saves lives.

If your man isn’t big on PDA, this might convince him otherwise. A famous study once determined that men who get a peck on the cheek from their wives before heading out to work lived five years longer than their kissless counterparts

12. The Italians are expert kissers. Everyone else? Not so much.

C’mon guys, this is a depressing statistic. According to The Normal Bar, only a little over half of the world’s lovers kiss passionately. Take notes from the Italians. They know their romance.

13. The average person spends two weeks of his or her life kissing.

Experts estimate that the average person will spend 20,160 minutes of his or her lifetime kissing. In other words, that’s your senior spring break in college. So what happens in Cabo becomes a statistic.

14. Looking for The One? Kiss this many guys…

That’s a lot of frogs to find your prince. But that’s the price of true love, right? A British study commissioned by eHarmony to release with The Rose Project tracked the number of dates, breakups, and one night stands it takes for men and women to find lasting love — and kisses weren’t left out of the equation. It determined that it takes 15 kisses for women and 16 for men.

15. Kissing has amazing health benefits.

Making out with your partner is just what the doctor prescribed. Kissing burns calories (specifically, about two to three per minute), strengthens your immune system, relieves aches and pains, and prevents cavities! I mean, who knew how healthy swapping spit could be?

 

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18 Science-Backed Ways Men Can Appear More Attractive To Women

  • Romantic attraction is complicated.
  • Lucky for us, scientists have generated insights over the years into what might make men attractive to women.
  • Men who look older, sport a light beard, or do volunteer work are generally considered more appealing.

Romantic attraction is a complicated thing that scientists still don’t completely understand.

But, through research and experimentation, they’ve come up with many ideas about what draws one person to another.

Below, Business Insider has rounded up some of the most compelling scientific insights about the traits and behaviors that make men more appealing to women.

None of the items on this list require you to get cosmetic surgery or do a major personality overhaul; we’re talking small tweaks, like acting nicer and swapping your deodorant.

Read on for simple ways to step up your dating game.

Look for the universal signals of flirtation.

wolf of wall street margot robbie

Mary Cybulski/Paramount Pictures

Rutgers University anthropologist and best-selling author Helen E. Fisher says that women around the world signal interest with a remarkably similar sequence of expressions.

It goes like this:

“First the woman smiles at her admirer and lifts her eyebrows in a swift, jerky motion as she opens her eyes wide to gaze at him. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers her face with her hands, giggling nervously as she retreats behind her palms.

“This sequential flirting gesture is so distinctive that [German ethologist Irenaus] Eibl-Eibesfeldt was convinced it is innate, a human female courtship ploy that evolved eons ago to signal sexual interest.”

Look for someone “in your league.”

Master of None

Netflix

Men — and women — are attracted to people who are as attractive as they are.

In one study from 2011, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley looked at the behavior of 60 heterosexual male and 60 heterosexual female users on an online dating site.

While the majority of users were inclined to reach out to highly attractive people, they were most likely to get a response if that person was about as attractive as they were (as judged by independent raters).

“If you go for someone roughly [equal] to you in attractiveness, it avoids two things,” Nottingham Trent University psychologist Mark Sergeant, who was not involved with the study, told The Independent. “If they are much better-looking than you, you are worried about them going off and having affairs. If they are much less attractive, you are worried that you could do better.”

Many men are delusional of their own worth. Many aim too high but fail to realize they lack the ability to acquire a woman that is far out of their league.

Present yourself as high status.

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley

A 2010 study from the University of Wales Institute found that men pictured with a Silver Bentley Continental GT were perceived as way more attractive than those pictures with a Red Ford Fiesta ST.

And a 2014 study from Cardiff Metropolitan University found that men pictured in a luxury apartment were rated more attractive than those in a control group.

Interestingly, men don’t seem to be more attracted to women when they’re pictured in a high-status context.

Grow a light beard.

david beckham beard

Larry Marano / Getty

In a 2013 study from the University of New South Wales, researchers had 177 heterosexual men and 351 heterosexual women look at images of 10 men in one of four conditions: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, or full beard. Participants rated the men pictured on several traits, including attractiveness.

Women said the most attractive beard length was heavy stubble.

“Facial hair correlates not only with maturity and masculinity, but also with dominance and aggression,” write authors Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks.

“An intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive,” they add.

Build muscle (but not too much).

Steph Curry

Ezra Shaw/Getty

In a 2007 study from University of California, Los Angeles, 286 women looked at pictures of shirtless men and indicated which ones seemed like they would make the best long- and short-term partners.

Results showed that women were more likely to want short-term relationships with the guys who had big muscles.

The evolutionary signal that might be at work here?

Characteristics like muscularity are “cues of genes that increase offspring viability or reproductive success,” say authors David A. Frederick and Martie G. Haselton.

But Frederick and Haselton took away another telling finding: Less-muscular men were thought to be a better fit for long-term relationships. So if you want to catch a woman’s eye and hold her attention, you may be better off not going overboard.

Be kind.

ryan gosling omg

Rommel Demano / Getty

One of the best documented findings in psychology is the halo effect, a bias where you unconsciously take one aspect of somebody as a proxy for their overall character. It’s why we think beautiful people are good at their jobs, even when they aren’t necessarily.

As psychologist and writer Scott Barry Kaufman notes, the halo effect works in other ways, too.

In a 2014 Chinese study, more than 100 young people looked at images of men and women’s faces and rated them on attractiveness. Each face pictured was paired with a word that described either a positive personality trait — like kindness or honesty — or a negative personality trait, like being evil or mean.

Results showed that the people described with positive traits were rated more attractive.

“Even though beauty is an assessment of fitness value, there is no reason why assessment of fitness needs to be purely physical,” Kaufman writes, meaning that acting kind can make you appear more attractive.

Wear red.

will smith red

Mike Coppola / Getty

A 2010 cross-cultural study — with participants from China, England, Germany, and the US — found that women are most attracted to men wearing red.

In one experiment from the study, 55 female undergrads looked at a color photo of a man in either a red or green shirt, and then rated the man’s attractiveness.

Sure enough, the man was rated significantly more attractive when he was wearing a red shirt. The results were similar when researchers compared the red shirt to other color shirts as well.

Interestingly, participants generally weren’t aware that the man’s clothing color was influencing their perceptions of his attractiveness.

Make your partner laugh.

couple on date

Shutterstock

Multiple studies indicate that women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. Interestingly, men generally aren’t more attracted to women who can make them laugh.

In one 2006 study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers asked undergraduate students (who didn’t indicate their sexual orientation) to say how much they valued a partner’s ability to make them laugh and their own ability to make their partner laugh.

Results showed that women valued both their partner’s sense of humor and their own ability to make their partner laugh; men valued only their own ability to make their partner laugh.

Walk a dog.

Dog

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

In a 2014 experiment from the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel and the University of Michigan, 100 Israeli women read vignettes about men.

Some of the men were described as “cads”: They would cheat on their partner and get into fights. The other men were described as stereotypical “dads”: They would work hard at their job and take good care of their kids.

Whenever the story featured a cad who owned a dog, women rated that man as a more suitable long-term partner than a cad who didn’t own a dog. Cads with dogs were even rated slightly more attractive than dads with dogs.

The researchers concluded that owning a pet signals that you’re nurturing and capable of making long-term commitments. It can also help you appear more relaxed, approachable, and happy.

Play good music.

ed sheeran

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

In a 2014 study, researchers at the University of Sussex asked about 1,500 women (whose average age was 28) to listen to simple and complex pieces of music and rate the attractiveness of the composer.

The results showed that women preferred the more complex music, and said they would choose the composer of the more complex music as a long-term partner.

Practice mindfulness.

In 2015, Australian researchers studied undergrads participating in a speed-dating session, and found that mindful men tended to receive higher attractiveness ratings from women.

Before the session began, 91 students were asked to fill out a mindfulness questionnaire in which they indicated how much they agreed with statements like:

  • “I perceive my feelings and emotions without having to react to them.”
  • “I notice changes in my body, such as whether my breathing slows down or speeds up.”
  • “I’m good at finding the words to describe my feelings.”

After each interaction with an opposite-sex partner, students privately indicated how “sexy” they found their partner and how much they’d like to date that person.

Results showed that men were generally more drawn to physically attractive women. (Independent coders had rated the students’ attractiveness beforehand.) But women were generally more attracted to mindful men.

Play extreme sports (carefully).

Hiking up a snowy mountain skiing

Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

A 2014 study led by researchers at the University of Alaska at Anchorage found that women are attracted to men who take what the researchers call “hunter-gatherer risks.”

More than 230 undergrads filled out questionnaires about how attractive they would find a partner who engaged in certain risky behaviors, as opposed to a partner who engaged in low- or no-risk behaviors.

Hunter-gatherer risks included mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving, and extreme rollerblading. “Modern” risks included plagiarizing an academic paper, casually handling chemicals in a lab, and not updating the virus-protection software on your computer.

Low- and no-risk behaviors included biking along paved paths and carefully handling chemicals in a chemistry-lab class.

Results showed that women said they would be more attracted to men who engaged in hunter-gatherer risks — the kinds that were similar to risks faced by ancestral humans. Women said they would be less attracted to men who engaged in modern risks, which might seem just plain dumb.

Wear a scented deodorant.

Simply knowing that you’re wearing a new fragrance can make you act more confident, and even make you seem more attractive to other people.

In a small 2009 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers gave one group of male undergraduates a spray with antimicrobial ingredients and fragrance oil, and provided another group with an unscented spray that didn’t contain antimicrobial ingredients. Over the next few days, the men who used the scented spray reported higher self-confidence and felt more attractive.

The strange part? When a group of women were shown silent videos of the men, they found those who were wearing scented spray more attractive, even though they obviously couldn’t smell them. The researchers determined that the men using the scented spray displayed more confident behavior, which in turn made them more attractive.

Chow down on garlic.

Ken Christopher holds a garlic plant at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, California, U.S., March 29, 2019. Picture taken March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ken Christopher holds a garlic plant at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy 
Reuters

The smell of garlic on your breath is generally regarded as an instant romance killer. But a series of studies from researchers at Charles University and the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom suggests a different story when it comes to body odor.

In one study, eight men ate a slice of bread with cheese and 12 grams of fresh garlic; another eight ate bread and cheese without any garlic. For the next 12 hours, the men wore cotton pads under their armpits and were instructed not to use any deodorants or fragrances.

The following day, all the men returned to the lab, where 40 women sniffed the pads and rated the odor on pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity. Results showed that the garlic group was rated more pleasant and attractive and less masculine and intense.

Do volunteer work.

Diego Prada (C), Maria Luisa Pombo (L) and other volunteers of the Make The Difference (Haz La Diferencia) charity initiative prepare soup to be donated, at Maria Luisa's kitchen in Caracas, Venezuela March12, 2017. Picture taken March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Thomson Reuters

A 2013 study from UK researchers found that women find men more appealing when they do volunteer work.

About 30 women looked at a picture of a man with a brief description of his hobbies, which sometimes included volunteer work. The same procedure was repeated with about 30 men looking at a picture of a woman. Everyone rated how attractive they found the person pictured for a short- and long-term relationship.

Both genders rated the person pictured as more attractive for a long-term relationship when they were described as a volunteer — but the effect was stronger for women rating men.

Show off your scars.

Heidi Klum Seal Thumbnail

Getty

That scar on your chin from when you fell off a bike could help you attract a mate.

In a 2009 study, researchers at the University of Liverpool and the University of Stirling took photos of 24 male and 24 female undergrads. They digitally manipulated half of the images so the subjects appeared to have facial scars — for example, a line on the person’s forehead that looked like the result of an injury.

Then the researchers recruited another group of about 200 heterosexual male and female undergrads to rate all the people pictured based on attractiveness for both short- and long-term relationships.

Results showed that men with scars appeared slightly more attractive for short-term relationships than men without scars. Women, on the other hand, were perceived as equally attractive regardless of whether they had scarred faces.

Use open body language in your online dating photo.

flirting

Getty Images

A 2016 study — from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Northwestern University — suggests that we’re more attracted to people who display expansive body language.

In one experiment included in the study, the researchers created profiles for three men and three women on a GPS-based dating app.

In one set of profiles, the men and women were pictured in contractive positions — for example, by crossing their arms or hunching their shoulders.

In the other set of profiles, the same men and women were pictured in expansive positions, like holding their arms upward in a “V” or reaching out to grab something.

Results showed that people in expansive postures were selected as potential dates more often than those in contractive postures. This effect was slightly larger for women selecting men.

Look proud.

Oscars

AP/Jordan Strauss

A 2011 University of British Columbia study revealed a curious finding: heterosexual men and women prefer different emotional expressions on potential mates.

In one experiment included in the study, researchers had nearly 900 North American adults look at photos of opposite-sex individuals online.

The researchers were specifically comparing people’s perceptions of expressions of pride, happiness, shame, and neutrality (other people had already identified the emotion behind the expression in the photo). For women evaluating men, the most appealing expression was pride, and the least appealing was happiness.

Even weirder, an expression of shame was relatively attractive on both men and women.

 

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