My Wicked Mistress – Part 1 – Alcohol

Philadelphia, PA – 2018

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

Tobacco Road – 1977-1996 and 2008-2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But…

It’s a disease you have to BUY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was beautiful.

I felt exhilarated, euphoric, and indestructibly confident.

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

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

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

“What do you mean, Mom?”

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

Those words stuck with me my whole life.

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

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

I’ve experienced all of that stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s jump to the Spring of 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But not in my case.

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

Time would only tell.

 

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

California Dreamin’ – Ashley – 3 Strikes – Part 3

Wildwood, NJ – 1984

When I got back to Wildwood, NJ I would write letters and sometimes talk to Ashley on the phone. One night I had been drinking while I was on the phone with her and the conversation turned to sex.

Ashley became enraged, that I was gone from her life and all I wanted to do was talk about how great our sex had been. She yelled at me and told me she never wanted to speak to me again. She was peevish, ex-lover spurned with jealousy and rage.

I was fine with that. I was already seeing someone else by then.

Philadelphia, PA – 2008

25 years later, I’m living in Rittenhouse with my girlfriend, Michelle. One day I go on Facebook, and I have a friend request from Ashley! I was happily surprised to hear from her after so long. Facebook was still pretty new back then and people were reconnecting with all of their old friends from the past. Whether that’s a good idea or not, I don’t know. I’m going to say it’s a good thing. I’ve been able to chat with many of my old friends and it’s nice to see some of them after all of these years.

But after about a week or so, Ashley writes me a message that I’m not being a good Facebook friend and she’s cutting me off. I didn’t understand what that meant. I guess I was supposed to be more attentive on this social media platform. It seemed weird to me at the time, but after all that time I didn’t care. She just seemed crazy. Mental illness is an insidious thing. I’ve met enough crazy people here in Philly, and I just don’t care anymore.

Philadelphia, PA – 2020

Here we go again. We’re all in lockdown due to the global pandemic. Out of the blue, I get a message on Facebook from Ashley. Now it’s been 37 years since I laid eyes on her.

She and I would message each other on Facebook. It was nice to chat with her again after all of these years. We had a shared history from a long time ago when we were young and free in L.A. in the early 80s.

She had been to school and became a chef, married for over 30 years, had no children and had been living in Italy for many years. It was fun to catch up.

But after a short period, I started to notice a very angry tone in her messages. She seemed bitter and preachy about certain subjects. I’ve been around for a long time and have a wealth of life experience. I can pretty much read people through the written word as if I’m listening to them in person. It sounded like when she’d get mean in her messages, she was drunk.

I think she searched my blog looking for some heartfelt story about her and there just wasn’t any. I wrote about a bunch of wild things that happened to me and the boys when we got to LA but never got around to writing about her.

She gave me a really hard time about some of my posts. I felt violated and insulted by how corrosive her words were about my blog. So many cruel, words. It hurt, but I’m accustomed to trolls by now. I’m sure it was just her drunken bitterness coming forth from a life not lived. Just silly, juvenile, embarrassing behavior from a middle-aged woman.

It’s a shame when you find out a person has lived over half a century and hasn’t ever evolved as a person.

I have a low tolerance for drunk people even though I have a high tolerance for alcohol. (Not anymore, thank you) But she seemed drunk and rambled on in some of her messages. It felt uncomfortable and I felt bad for her. When I looked on her Instagram it was just a bunch of pictures of locations where she lived. She seems lonely. That’s the vibe I got. No kids, married for 30 years and has almost no info or photos of her husband.

I suppose what happened to her is that she’d sadly lived a life that’s been unfulfilled. She speaks and acts as though she hasn’t grown as a person or matured as an adult. She was still pissed about me leaving her back in 1983!

We spoke on the phone one morning and it was lovely. But she wanted to chat so much on Facebook messenger that it started to feel like too much. She said, “Promise me we can do this every week.”

Who says that? Promise me? I’m not making any promises to some 60-year-old woman who lives on the other side of the planet. I haven’t seen her in 37 years! Anything we ever were was finished a long time ago.

I also noticed how she would message me on Facebook, and if I didn’t respond, she would delete them all which seemed juvenile and weird. Sadly, Ashley’s never matured as a person and hasn’t evolved through the years. I can’t relate to any of that nonsense.

I think poor Ashley’s bored in her life and where she’s ended up, and has turned to alcohol for solace. But that never works. That’s just a band-aid covering up your real issues.

I spoke to my daughter about it and she said it all seemed kind of weird after all of this time.

I would have been happy to chat with her ocassionally on messenger. That would have been nice. But I don’t want to be in constant touch with someone and have them sending me clips of a bunch of music and songs I have zero interest in. It all seemed juvenile. I guess if you marry too young and don’t live a full life, you kind of get stuck behaving a certain way. I don’t know how her husband has put up with all of this childish behavior for so many years. I’d have divorced this woman/child years ago. But that’s his life, not mine. I don’t know the man.

So, at one point she sends me a message about how it’s been great talking to me and hopes I have a nice life. I saw it and didn’t respond. I could tell it was just an attempt to get my attention. But I simply don’t care. I feel nothing for this person.

There were a few more drunken messages that were later deleted. I’m assuming she writes a bunch of wild things when she’s half in the bag, and then the next morning when she’s sober, takes them down.

I figured she’d wait until the end of December of last year. If she hadn’t heard from me, she’d cut me off for the third time.

Had she just reached out to chat and behaved like an adult, we could have remained friends, but she hasn’t the ability to do that. I’m thinking possible bipolar and alcoholism at this point. But I’m not spending any time thinking about it at all. I’m too busy.

I was promoting some of my stuff on Facebook the other day, and I noticed the message chain from her was gone. I thought, “This is it.”

I searched for her on Facebook. She didn’t cut me off or block me, but she had unfriended me. So silly.

So, 3 strikes and it looks like I’m out.

But… like I always say. No matter what happens, good or bad… at least I got a story out of it…

 

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

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

California Dreamin’ – Ashley – 3 Strikes – Part 2

Los Angeles, CA – 1983

One day I somehow acquired tickets to a David Bowie concert out in Anaheim. (It may have been the Glass Spider tour) We were on our way to the show when my van suddenly stalled. I had never had any problems with it before, but this was the worst thing that could have happened at the very worst time. I remember a truck full of Mexicans was kind enough to push my disabled vehicle off the highway.

We missed the show, but I got the van running again. Ashley was incredibly disappointed so I made it up to her. I took her to a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was the very first time I tasted veal.

On another occasion, we were out partying in a bar somewhere and were on our way to her house. I was on the freeway when the cops pulled me over. They said I was swerving, but I know that I wasn’t. I think they saw the New Jersey tags on an old 1969 VW minibus and decided to stop me.

They took me through a sobriety test which I passed, but when I blew into the breathalyzer, I failed. I remember Ashley telling me that while this was happening, one of the officers was hitting on her. “What’s a nice pretty girl like you doing with a loser like him?” the cop said.

So, they arrested me and took me to jail. They photographed and fingerprinted me and tossed me in a cell with a couple of drunk guys. I remember sharing a cigarette with one of them. It was a rare bonding moment with another inmate. Odd thing was, I wasn’t even scared at all. I was only 21 years old when all of this happened.

I guess one of the cops took Ashley home and they left me in the can to chill. I got my one phone call and spoke with my roommate. I told him where I had some cash hidden in the apartment. He hopped in a cab and came to bail me out.

The cops told us where the van was impounded, but said not to get it and drive it because I could be stopped again. Which would make my current infraction even worse. We agreed and left the precinct.

We immediately went to the impound lot and got my van out. I drove my roommate and me home and we were fine.

Bad night.

I called my father and told him what happened. He was cool about it and was just glad I was okay. I had left a grand in my bank account back in Wildwood, NJ in case of emergency. This was that emergency.

I had to go to court, plead no contest, pay the fine, and attend classes. (All of it seemed like fee income for the city of LA and a waste of my time.) After all of the negative experiences in LA and the feeling that it didn’t matter where you were in the world, it really came down to who you were at that given time in your life.

No matter where you run to in this world… there you are. You make or break the place where you live. I was fed up with all of the phoniness of LA and didn’t see any point in staying out there anymore. I wasn’t going to become the next heavy metal god and was really feeling despondent about my life there. It had all become very mundane. (I’ll write about the deeper parts of this decision in some future post)

My roommate and I eventually decided to pack it in and return to New Jersey. I was tired of LA and missed my family and friends. I was just done with the whole scene out there.

Of course, Ashley was heartbroken that I was leaving, but I had to go. There was nothing I could do. I wasn’t staying out there. She was, and our relationship was over.

I guess that’s how I was back then. My whole existence was about survival and dealing with my anxiety and depression. But I thought nothing of just doing what I needed to do to survive. I know now that I broke some young hearts back then. I never intended to hurt anyone intentionally, I just kept moving. But I see now I was running in circles.

More tomorrow!

 

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

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

California Dreamin’ – Ashley – 3 Strikes – Part 1

Santa Monica, CA – 1982

When I first got to Los Angeles in 1982, I got a job as a busboy at a local restaurant in Santa Monica called Cafe Casino. It was located in the Wilshire Pallisades building down by the beachfront. Someone had come up with the idea of serving French cuisine in a cafeteria model. People would enter the restaurant, grab a tray and get in line for their meal. They would point to the things they wanted, and there were a couple of girls that would serve them. It was like an expensive high school lunchroom experience. We had a fun crew of people working there and we had a good time.

I had become friends with one of the girls who worked there named Kellie Lawson. She was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. She was one of a million people who had migrated to Los Angeles to become an actor. Most people that you met out there back then all wanted the same thing. Every person in the service industry was waiting for the big break that would never come. Every waitress was either an actress, singer, model, or dancer. Most of the men you met were actors, musicians, or screenwriters. None of them working in the industry, but waiting…

Kelly had got on a greyhound bus to escape the grinding boredom of her hometown in an attempt to make it big in Hollywood. A classic scenario seen a thousand times out there. We had started dating and would frequently fool around at her apartment. We sort of grew out of touch after I left that job to work at Merlin McFly’s down near Venice.

One afternoon, we’re at the restaurant and the guys and I were hanging outside the dining room by the doors. The lunch rush was over and the two glass doors swung open. Who comes rolling in with his squad but Heisman Trophy champion, O.J. Simpson!

I knew him more from the Hertz commercials, but the other guys all cheered when the athlete entered the restaurant. He was a good-looking guy and said hello to us all. When I shook the hand of this man, who could realize that 10 years later he’d be famous for something else.

One of the girls who worked there that I befriended was a charming beauty named Joelle. She was a part-time model and her boyfriend worked at Disney studios.

Here’s her modeling photo card. Beautiful!

A lovely girl. She was not only beautiful but full of sass. She’d laugh at all my jokes and seemed to find me amusing. I liked working with her and having her as a friend back then.

One day, I came to work and she was standing there with another girl. She was 19 years old, cute, and Joelle told me she was her cousin from Philadelphia. I chatted with her and thought she was cool. Since I was originally from Philly we had a small connection.

She was new to California, and I told her we should hang out. She gave me her number and we made plans to do something together.

Eventually, we started dating and things became romantic. I had already been out there for over a year and was pretty jaded. But Ashley was new and was a fun, sweet girl to spend time with. Sometimes we’d just drive around LA in my van and end up down by the beach. We’d make out in the VW minibus and it was a romantic hot time.

We went on several dates. We went to see, ET: The Extraterrestrial, (I cried like a baby) The Dark Crystal, (A bunch of muppets with David Bowie), and Flashdance. (Chick-flick, but the great soundtrack.)

Sometimes we’d just hang out at my apartment, but many times I’d finish work and come visit her at her cousin’s house out in Culver City. It was fun to hang out in her room and watch TV and make out. We were just a couple of teenagers enjoying life and our youth together. We were a couple of kids on the loose in LA. She loved Richard Gere and I loved Farrah Fawcett.

One night I stayed over there late. We stayed up all night as young people do. When I came out to get in my van to go home, I saw that the driver’s side door was standing wide open.

My minibus had been broken into, and the thieves had stolen my entire stereo system. This was heartbreaking to me because I loved my van and listening to my tunes. They even took the boom box that I used to listen to on the beach back in Wildwood, NJ. I felt so violated by that incident, I was reluctant to go back to her neighborhood again. It was a planned professional job. They had hit several cars on the street that night.

The more Ashley and I spent time together the closer we became. She would stay over at my apartment in Mar Vista on the weekends. That eventually turned into our first intimate encounters. I don’t think I realized at the time that I was Ashley’s first.

But after that, it was really fun to be together, and fooling around became part of our relationship. It was a natural progression back then. You can only make out in my van for so long before the bigger things start happening.

One night while we were in my apartment fooling around someone broke into the apartment next door and robbed the place. My neighbor was in Greece at the time with her boyfriend so nobody was home. The thieves ransacked the place and I suppose stole anything valuable.  I later heard from one of my neighbord that they saw some guys listening next to my window to see if anybody was home. But I guess hearing our laughter they moved on to next door and ripped off my neighbor’s place instead of robbing us. Crazy!

My neighbor moved out shortly after that and I moved into her apartment. It was bigger and installed a waterbed I had gotten from a chef I worked with at McFlys who had back problems. That waterbed only cost me $120 and was awesome! It was so cool having a waterbed. I remember one night the thermostat in the unit went off and the whole side of my body was cold when I woke up. I thought I was half dead! I had a lot of wild times on that waterbed.

More tomorrow!

 

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

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

An Evening With James – Part 2

Yesterday I began the two-part saga of hanging out with my friend James. Thanks for tuning in for the conclusion!

The Lyft arrives and it’s a five-star driver with a pleasant personality and a clean car. I’m safe and on my way to see James. Based on my calculations I’m less than 15 minutes away from his house. But for some reason I guess I was traveling during a surge period and this ride is costing me $17! What the heck?

But I let it go because it was my mistake that got me here and I’m happy I’m safe and in an air-conditioned, clean vehicle to my friend’s doorstep. I chat with the driver and he points out all of the hot spots in town on our way there. Noted. I’ll pass these recommendations onto James when I see him. He’s single now and should get out in the real world to hunt and not so much on these dating apps.

He drops me off and I knock on James’s front door. After a few minutes, I hear a window opening above my head. I look up and James is sticking his head out the window. “Didn’t you get my text? The door’s open. I’m just out of the shower.”

I go in and head for the kitchen. He has a jar full of those peanut butter-filled pretzels on the counter and I munch on a few of them. Nothing’s changed since I was here last. Several pieces of furniture are gone, but he’s set up a turntable and some speakers next to the 50 plus liquor bottles in the corner of the room. He wants to install a bar of some type to put his collection into but he’s just been too busy. But it’s been a productive busy. Lots of interesting dates and the obligations of running his talent agency.

I think about the last time I was here. Lethal cocktails, beers, burgers, and dogs. I loved it all but at my age, none of the above loves me back anymore. I was under the weather for 2 days after that last time. That won’t happen again, right?

James comes down and starts making cocktails. I’m petting one of his exotic cats. I like the grey and black one that resembles a tiger. James thinks that cat is an a$$hole but I like him because he’s so handsome.

James gives me one of his famous Manhattans. It packs a punch but is delicious. Are you supposed to use 100 proof rye whiskey in that drink? Probably not, but  I can’t say no to a freshly made quality cocktail that’s made with authentic ingredients right down to the brandied berry on the toothpick. Plus… they’re free. Free always tastes better than paid for. James makes really good cocktails and never scrimps on the quality.

So I tell him about the last few weeks of non-stop commercial writing assignments, my encounters with Lin, and my harrowing trip to get here today. Then it’s his turn.

His life now that he’s single sounds like my life when I started this blog back in 2016. Non-stop dates, events, and oceans of alcohol.

He’s hungry, so he whips up some tasty little frozen chicken nuggets. James is the king of hot sauce and dipping and he brings out the plate of snacks. He’s telling me about all of his dates in detail, (which I love because I’m now living vicariously through my young apprentice) and we munch on the chicken while sipping our potent beverages. (I even ripped off a few little bits and fed them to his cat which he enjoyed!) James told me that could give the cat diarrhea later but I figured a few little scraps wouldn’t hurt him. Cats have far more robust and septic digestive systems than humans or even dogs.

The next couple of cocktails I consumed were whiskey and coffee liqueur based and they were delicious. But I was already buzzing from my first Manhattan.  Did I know that these venomous drinks were a recipe for a hangover tomorrow? Of course, I did. But did it at any time cross my mind during this social visit with my friend? No, it did not.

So, it turns out I was right about his motives for the evening. It was number 2. Strip club. Okay, James. Whatever you want buddy. You’ve never been there and you should at least see what it’s all about.

We’ve been chatting for a few hours and through several cocktails and I’m fine with it. It was probably around 10:30 or 11:00 by the time he called the Lyft to take us to Delilah’s.

Delilah’s describes itself on their website as “a landmark in Philadelphia for over a quarter-century. Over that time Delilah’s has established itself as the premier entertainment destination for business travelers, celebrities, and uninhibited Philadelphians alike.”

That sounds great, but that’s never what any of these kinds of places are like. Even using the phrase, “gentlemen’s club” is abhorrent. You can hang whatever title you want on any of these joints and they are all just strip joints, plain and simple. It can be big, and fancy with tall stripper poles and lots of fancy lights, stages, and music, but it’s all the same stuff.

A den of iniquity full of sleazy, sweaty losers who are looking to escape reality. A place where these losers can flash some money and get the attention of a few desperate, damaged women in skimpy outfits. The last time I was here, was for my friend Duncan after his divorce. I don’t go to places like this because I never need to. I can meet real women in the real world. Places like this are gross and so are the men who frequent them.

I used to know a guy that was addicted to these scum holes. He has no personality or game of any kind and has blown thousands of dollars at places like this. He’s always been a sleazy loser and this is the only way he can ever get the attention of fit young women. He has to pay for it. Pathetic.

The women who work there are usually all mentally damaged in some form. What girl chooses to end up in a vocation where she has to parade around in her underwear for a living and be nice to a bunch of gross losers while they stuff dollar bills in her bra or thong? No little girl ever dreams of being a stripper when she grows up. She’s been damaged by someone along the way. It’s so sad.

We arrive and go inside. We’re both in good spirits due to the amount of distilled spirits flowing through our veins and just being together. James pays our cover which was $10 each. We have to go through a vigorous security process similar to getting on a plane. Maybe worse. Patted down by burly security guards, put your keys, wallet, and phone in a tray while you pass through a metal detector to enter the club. I whipped out my vaccination card but nobody cared. As long as I wasn’t packing any weapons they didn’t care if we were patient zero and carriers of covid and ebola!

We walk up to the first bar as you enter the main area. The last time I was here I prefer to sit in the back because it’s quiet and a bit more remote. But James has never been here before and he’s dazzled by the energy of the place and all the female pulchritude.

Within 30 seconds two attractive blondes in skimpy outfits were upon us.

Have you ever walked onto the property of a used car lot? What’s the first thing that happens? Right… you are immediately accosted by some sleazy used car salesman who descends upon you like a desperate starving vulture.

That’s what it felt like. These girls are looking to maximize their earnings each night and we are simply ATMs. They charm us with their wiles to figure out our emotional PIN, and their job is to separate us from our cash.

These two hapless souls were all over us from the minute we got to the bar. We barely had time to order a couple of Stella Artois. James picked up on the vibe immediately, and we got our beers and headed to the back away from these cute piranhas.

We take our seats at the end of one of the bars and enjoy the show. The women that work at Delilah’s are better looking than the gals that work at some of the other clubs in town. This is the premier place, right? But as I said, it’s all the same trip in every one of these places across the nation.

James seems to be getting into the spirit of things though, so I’m happy he’s having a good time. He’s never been here so being newly single again, he’s glad he can go where he pleases and do what he wants and doesn’t have to answer to anyone anymore. He doesn’t have to get permission from his girlfriend to go live the life he wants.

I tell him since I wasn’t entirely sure we were coming here tonight I didn’t prepare. (I never prepare because I never go to places like this.) When you go to a strip club you should always bring plenty of cash because it’s king in these joints. Cash for lap dances in the private rooms and lots of singles for stuffing in G-strings.

So against my better judgment, I head over to the ATM. Now, when I used to go to the Gold Club down in center city with Johnny R before I cut that alcoholic loser off, I knew to never use their mac machine. Here’s why… Strip clubs know they have a captive audience full of drunk, horny losers. They exploit every inch of that real estate. Crappy drinks are overpriced, the girls are money-hungry jackals, and the fee to use the mac machine is usually jacked up. They know you don’t want to leave to get more money. You want that lap dance from that hottie who’s been teasing you for the last hour with promises of love and maybe other things in the back room.

The Gold Club is a place where sexual stuff can happen. I’ve witnessed Johnny R get all kinds of favors from the girls there in the back room. It’s a low-class place and the staff isn’t as pretty as at Delilah’s so they’re more apt to give a few favors for the right price.

The ATM fee at the Gold club is around $6. Which is twice to three times what you’d pay at an average ATM anywhere else in the city. But dudes pay it and probably don’t even notice they’re getting hit with the fee. Being drunk and horny clouds their vision. But, here I am at Delilah’s, the “classy” joint in town and I’m about to take money from their ATM. I figure, what the heck. I’m only going to write all about this later and it’ll be more informative to my readers if they know the real deal.

So I go to the mac machine and put my debit card in. I choose to take out $80. I get my four twenties and receipt and head back to the bar to see James.

I pull out the receipt from the machine and show it to him. He doesn’t notice it at first, but see if you can.

Yea… a horror show. A $16 fee just to get your money out of that thing! That’s highway robbery!

I’m a cheapskate anyway when I go to these kinds of hellholes, so seeing this I knew I would NOT be spending much money in this dump. I wouldn’t anyway, but wow. Just wow. It made me wish that I was the owner of that ATM. What a cash cow!

James laughs in surprise and whips out a neatly wrapped stack of $100 in one-dollar bills he has to have gotten from his local bank of account. I laughed at his planning. Well done, James! You came prepared. You’re a regular boy scout!

I gave him 2 twenties and he reluctantly counted out $40 in one-dollar bills to me in exchange.

He’s been chatting with probably the prettiest, fit dancer in the place and tells me he’s going off to get a lap dance. Good for him. He needs to experience this place to its fullest. But I think he’s in for a rude awakening. We all know what happens and NEVER happens in the champagne room at Delilah’s.

While he’s gone two really cute Hispanic girls approach me. They’re both adorable and alluring. I haven’t seen them in here all night, nor have I seen either one of them dances on stage. They both proceed to cut right to the chase. “Give us $300 and you can come in one of the back rooms and have s*x with us. (Gotta watch the words I use here. Google Adsense flags anything sexy on my sight now. If I want to earn ad revenue on here, I gotta keep it clean) I graciously decline their offer, as tempting as these two lovely sirens are.

James returns 15 minutes later, and I ask him how was his “lapper” with the brunette.

“Sucked. She sort of writhed and hovered over me, and there was no touching.”

“Welcome to an upscale gentleman’s club, James. You can get tossed for touching in this place.”

I can tell James is disappointed with what we’ve experienced thus far. We throw back a few beers and the good news is, neither of us was drunk. I tell him that even though I had to let my friend Johnny R go because of his multiple addictions and failure, the guy was right. He never wanted to come to Delilah’s. He always preferred the Gold Club in the center city because he liked its authenticity. It doesn’t pretend to be a classy joint like this place does. It knows it’s a sleazy strip club and it does it well. The girls are average and very friendly, the day shift is a little scary, but at least they’re truthful with what they provide and what they are.

By the end of the night, we were approaching the 2 am witching hour and last call. James was determined to spend some money apparently and stay in the spirit of things. He was crumbling up bills and tossing them onto the stage. At one point he went to the edge of the stage and just laid out money along the edge. It was all one-dollar bills but he seemed to be enjoying himself despite the grinding disappointment of this place and their ilk.

He encouraged me to do the same so I placed 2 bills on the edge of the stage. God, I hate these places but I love James, so who cares. We had a fun night out. I took a LYFT home and he was within walking distance of his house so he headed home.

When I get home, I notice my clothes smelled of cigarette and cigar smoke and I reek of cheap perfume. Hopefully, a hot shower will wash the stench from me, but sadly the women that work there can’t wash off that kind of a shame.

And the best part? I got a colorful story out of it, and when I checked my wallet the next morning  I still had most of my money! I had $38 in ones and $40 in twenties, so at least I didn’t get fleeced last night!

The only thing is, I didn’t have a migraine the next day, but all those rich cocktails did give me a headache for the rest of the day, and my stomach has been a little shakey for two days.

I’m getting too old for this rich life, but I’m having fun doing it. I think next time we go out, I’ll stick to spiked seltzers, lots of water, and some good food to sop up the booze.

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

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

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