Ambria – Chapter 12 – Dan Dan

I’ve been seeing Ambria a lot lately.

We head to Dan Dan and Chet is working the bar and all is right in the world. The place is spars on a Monday night so we’re good. It’s early and we grab a pair of seats at the bar. Chet sets me up with my signature Chardonnay with a side of ice and we take it from there. Ambria orders a glass of Rose’ and we’re good.

We talk about life, and the film we saw, and how we felt about it. (See: Ambria – Movie Rendezvous) With my twenty-five years in the banking industry I can speak to everything that happened and why, buy we also discuss the greater implications as to why it happened. I love that I can talk to Ambria about such things and even though she doesn’t understand it all, she’s so attentive to learn what I know.

She gives me a new perspective on things and I hope I do the same for her. I love to learn new things and my heart and mind are always open to learn new perspectives. Things she saw and felt during the film in conjunction with mine.

There is a mutual closeness between us and an electric sexual connection that smolders below the surface of every word we speak. She’s smart, sarcastic and sexy all in the same sentence. It’s really delightful to me.

Chet asks if we’d like to order food as it’s last call for food on happy hour. I know happy hour never ends for me here no matter what I order from Chet whenever I come here, but unlike Roman at Square it doesn’t extend to my guests. Just me.

Ambria and I go back to the film we saw today.

“When I was watching Abucus today when I saw the Sund family ripping into all of that chinese food it made me crave Asian cuisine.”

“Well let’s take a look at this happy hour menu.”

“Yes, Please.”

I check the menu and Chet ribs me that all I ever order are fried chicken pot stickers. But there is something called “Dan Dan baby noodles.”

“Give us that.”

Chet: “There’s pork in that.”

Ambria: ” Do it.”

Within minutes out come a white bowl full of slender noodles with seasoings and meat. Chet serves it to us and tosses it with a fork and spoon. If I were starving, I could crush that, but after a couple of beers, tacos and a basket of fries at the other dive, I’m ready to share.

We drop our orange cloth napkins in our laps and reach for our chopsticks. From coming here I’ve gotten better with their utensils. Ambria is thrilled.

“I saw the Sung family tearing into all of that delicious Chinese and I want these noodles so bad.”

Ambria takes the lead, and dives in with the fork and spoon and delivers me my portion onto my plate. I am a neat eater and prefer a knife and fork, but I’m ready to roll here today. I tell her it could end up being a “Lady and the Tramp” moment but It’ll still be fun. I’ve never had the baby noodles.

Can I just tell you all right now that if you are ever in Philly between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30, go to Dan Dan, say hello to Chet, and order the happy hour baby noodles.  They are absolutely fabulous. Warm, a little spicy, but not too much and so deliciously savory. Tip him well because he’s my friend, but the noodle bowl will only cost you $5 bucks!

They were so good Ambria attacked them twice and thrice!

I loved them too and decided that if I were ever hungry around dinnertime on a Monday or a Wednedsay, I’m SO going to Dan Dan, slug Chardonnay with Chet and crush an entire bowl of these glorious noodles.

They were that good!

I’ve had another glorious day with Ambria. There is so much more to come.


I pay the bill, and she takes the remainder of the noodles in a doggie bag. I’m envious that she will bask in that treat tomorrow and I will not. (It’s that good!)

I pay the bill, and it’s reasonable because my wines are $4. I love the fiscal balance of this relationship. It can only get better.

Chet tells us he’ll be on vacation next week so I tell him to rest up and I’ll see him in another week.

Ambria and I step out onto 16th Street and I se my buddy Brad from Marathon sitting on the stoop two doors down from his job. He’s taking a smoke break. I ran into him last week with Ambria and he was with his hot young girlfriend. But today’s different. He’s alone. I introduce her and we chat. I tell him everybody tells me I should be a bartender for the last ten years. He told me I’d be perfect. I tell him I would do a free internship at a beer and shot tavern to learn the ropes. He says I should lie, use his name and weasel into a bartending gig. I love that idea, but I don’t think I can do that. I want to do it my way. But I’ll give it some thought. Even Ambria loves the idea of me as a bartender two nights a week and lying my way into it.

It’s time.

I have so much going on, but I feel that if I don’t become Bryan Brown in the film Cocktail, I’ll always regret it.

I know once I learned the mechanics of it I’d be one of the most deadly bartenders in the city.

I never worked in a tanning salon before and I became the king of that place, and now we’re going into business together and opening a gym in Rittenhouse, why shouldn’t I pursue this? I’m a natural.

The game is changing and so am I as I evolve. It’s all going to work out as long as I keep moving forward. If you’ve been reading this blog since Fall 2016 you know, shit is working.

I walk lovely Ambria up to 16th and Market. She says she is getting a train in 20 minutes. I offer to send baby home in an UBER, but she says he’s fine. She asks me what I’m going to do with the rest of my night now that it’s nearly 10pm.

“Go home, and get out of these clothes. Pour a vodka club. Light a cig, and watch Netflix.

We’re standing in the exact spot that we did on our first date. Under the scaffolding on the northeast corner of 16th street. I hold her close and we kiss. The kiss that has been waiting for us both all day. The lovely swirling kiss. The passion you have in that moment of the new and the beloved. Your hand as it gently slides behind her neck as you light the fire between you. She can’t escape and doesn’t want to. She attacks with more vigor than you.

That’s your girl.

Think about the other one.

The girlfriend kiss.

(You know how that feels. It’s different)

One is never enough.

Two is really…. nice.

Three is magic.

It’s inevitable at this point. You know what’s going to happen in the coming days.

You met her on Tinder. This is the new world. She thought it was a hookup site. Her friends told her about it. She had reservations about it. It is a hookup site for some, but more and more people are meeting on Tinder and getting married. That’s a real thing. Welcome to the new world. This is how people connect now.  Congratulations if you met your spouse through any other conduit. It’s over. This is how it’s done now for the masses. There are a lot of dogs out there but you don’t have to crawl back to your loser middle school crush and hope you can live the American Dream and pray to God you can have a normal life that all of your Facebook friends will find acceptable. They all suck anyway. You know it. I know it. The best people are a just a text away. Delete Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

But online dating? I got on this to write a dating blog.

I’ve been wildly successful on these platforms, because I have game. But I’ve met a pile of losers.  But there have been some lovely diamonds in here.

Find your diamond.

If you find one, God bless if you can handle it.

If you find TWO. Call me. You probably can’t handle it but we should probably hang out and have a drink, because even I could use your support. I’ll help you manage those lovely ladies.


Feels like Michelle in 2008.

But different.

Not so manic. More in control of it all now. I like this. I think I’ve finally found what’s right for me.

Two girlfriends at the same time. Cherie and Ambria.



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Maria – Chapter 5 – Let’s Meet Again

I met Maria at a restaurant where she worked as a server a couple of years ago. Please read (Maria – Amor en vano – Part 1,2,3) for her back story. It’s important you read it because it’s my very first entry. You see, Maria is my inspiration for Phicklephilly.

It had been a long time, and I wanted to see what my muse was up to these days. Maria’s a busy girl so she’s hard to get a hold of let along a meeting. I decide to text her.


“Hey Maria. It’s been a minute. Wanna meet up for a drink to catch up? That or lunch?”

“Hey, maybe next week we can do lunch, I’ll take a look to see what I got going on. I know I have jury duty on Wednesday.”

“That would be great. Ahh… jury duty. Nobody likes that.”


“What day works for you next week for lunch?”

“Haven’t got that far yet.”


(Maria reaches out to me!) “So I’m thinking coffee will probably be better tomorrow. Let me know if that works.”


Oh, hello. What time works for you? Let’s meet!”

“I’m going to go to the gym in an hour, so after that. I’m thinking 2:30.”

“I have a 3pm meeting so 2:30 would be cutting it close. Do you have any other time this week?”

“I could meet after jury duty tomorrow.”

“What time?”

“I don’t know when I’ll be done. I mean it’s at 8 so hopefully by noon I’ll be done.”

“That would work. Let’s try for that.”

“Sounds good.”


“Getting ready to head out.”

“Let’s meet at Gran Caffe L’Aquila.”

“That’s fine. I’m coming from my house so it’s closer.”


“Okay! I’m upstairs.”

“Okay. Almost there.”

I’m not really a coffee drinker. I like the smell and taste but it’s just not something I do. If I was told I could never have coffee again I’d be fine with it.

Maria cruises in and the room lights up. I’m so happy to see her. She looks amazing. Hasn’t aged a bit. Caramel skin, dark eyes and bittersweet chocolate tresses. Just gorgeous.

We order coffee and whatever kind she ordered comes out looking amazing.

Maria is still working at the same place she was a year ago and is doing well. She’s currently seeing someone and that’s been going on for about a year. I give her all the info to what’s going on in my life.

She tells me she’s going to visit her mom in Florida next week and I suggest she come to the salon for a few tanning sessions. She loves this idea and I tell her I’ll even give her a 10% discount.

We’ve known each other for a few years now so I decide to be honest with her. I tell her how I hadn’t written a word in 10 years and she inspired me. I tell her how phicklephilly came about over lunch with a colleague, and love and lust for her and a few other servers around town. The very first post on this blog is about her. I had feelings for her back then. I tell her I’m cool now and just happy she’s doing well and agreed to have coffee with me.

I tell her how I loved taking her to the flower show, and rib her about the $100 lunch at Devon. I tell her how I was a bitter bitch about all of the things I did and how nothing was reciprocated. But I’m laughing about it now. I tell her I like the way she is. Because she’s an inspiration. What started out as an idea has grown exponentially.

I reminisce about how I when I last met her for coffee and how I professed my love to her. I quote her in her response of; ‘do you even think we’d be compatible?’

It’s classic phicklephilly phailure! I embrace all of my clumsy failures with Maria. I tell her I’m so grateful that I met her and how she’s my muse. You should never date your muse. I’ve done it in the past and it never works. It’s just an unhealthy way to view another person with whom you’re in a relationship.

I brought on all of this past pain myself. I was so infatuated with her and she was just providing great hospitality at the restaurant. I should be happy she allowed me to take her to the flower show and agreed to meet me for lunch. She’s 32 and gorgeous. She can do whatever she wants. I realize all of this now and revel in her beauty and charm.

I’m really enjoying this sweet hour with my muse. If you look at the ‘About’ page of this blog you’ll actually see a dedication written about her. Make sure I spelled everything right, Maria!)

The time flies by and she and I have to both go our separate ways. I ask her if periodically if we can meet up like this and catch up for an hour. She agrees.

I know she’s busy with school and work but if she’ll squeeze me in once a quarter that would be fantastic.

Maria offers to split the tab, and although that would have been marvelous at our Devon lunch, I insist that I pay.

Later when we’re walking down the street she asks me to send her the link to my blog so she can read it.

“What’s my blog called?”

“Maria – Amor En Vano.”

Maria’s Hispanic. She knows what that means. She hugs me and I thank her for her time.

“I’ll see you at the salon on Saturday!”

And off she goes.


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Duncan – Blind Ambition And The Sin of Avarice

I have known Duncan for a long time. Nearly 20 years. He is originally from Northeast Philly like myself. I met him back when I was in retail banking. I was selling mutual funds at a branch in South Philly. He was my underwriter. So I would procure the clients, and sell to them, and Duncan would put together the hypotheticals and make recommendations. So he was my back office support person assigned to me. He had followed a girlfriend to Charlotte, North Carolina a few years before. Our headquarters were there.

We became friends shortly after he saw that I had written, “The Green Manalishi with the Two Pronged Crown”, on the auto reply on my internal email. It’s a Judas Priest reference and he got it. We started talking and got to know each other and our mutual of all things heavy metal.

He had family in Pennsylvania and would come up and visit occasionally.

Over the years he would come and stay at my house and we would plan his visits around heavy metal concerts. We’ve seen AC/DC, Motorhead, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Cinderella, Iron Maiden, and many other bands on several occasions.

When I got divorced he dumped his girlfriend who had gotten heavier and lazy. I bounced around the banking industry for a few years, and dated a few women. Some crazy, some not so crazy. I don’t remember if he dated much after he split with his girlfriend. Here’s the thing, Duncan is a good-looking, fit guy, but he has absolutely no game whatsoever. He works out, but doesn’t eat all that well. The boy needs more fruit and vegetables.

He always had around five dogs. They were his buddies. He lived on a remote road and had a big yard for the dogs to run around in. Always the dogs. So while I’m working in and out of banking and consulting, Duncan is taking all of these courses to become a CFA. (Certified Financial Analyst) He meets a woman in one of the courses he takes at night and they get to know each other. I think she was married before or in the process of getting a divorce.

So they hook up because they are both sporty and good looking. They eventually get married.

One thing about Ducan that is his biggest flaw is that he has no coping mechanisms in place. He has to control everything, and everything has to be about him and meeting his needs. Kind of like my dad. So after two days with the guy you’re ready to escort him off the property. You have to do the activities he wants to do, and eat the food he likes to eat. That shit doesn’t work long-term with any relationship. But he only visited a couple of times a year so I didn’t mind. We had good times for years.

Duncan was driven to be what he wanted to become and put off family until he felt he had reached a certain level in his career. “When I pass this test, or when I get that license, we’ll try to have kids.” Well, he put it off for too long and the window was closing on his wife’s ability to reproduce. They tried for a while but nothing was happening.  She finally did get pregnant but at some point lost it. It was painful physically and emotionally for her. She didn’t want to go through it again, and that was it.

Duncan’s wife came from money and had no real concept of it. I remember him telling me she had over one hundred thousand dollars in revolving debt. She kept promising to pay it down, but I don’t think she ever did. He only found out about it when they were doing a refinance on the house and she couldn’t be on the loan because she was so upside down with her credit card debt. Duncan always kept all of their finances separate. She liked to blow money on frivolous things, and Duncan was always frugal.

With any hope of gestation off the table, she started going out on the weekends with her soccer buddies. Many of them were younger and she would stay out late and party at the bars and clubs. Duncan used to smoke a bunch of weed when he was cool, but was never really a drinker. He doesn’t go out anywhere. He’s not social at all. He doesn’t really have any friends. I think I was his best friend for many, many years.

He did cut me off for about two years once when I first returned to Philly from New York. I don’t remember why. Some trivial shit. But out of nowhere he started texting me again. When I asked him why he cut me off, he literally said he had no recollection of doing it. I remember exactly where I was when he cut me off. Saying, “we had a good run, but it’s over.” But I was just happy we were back. Even if he lived fifteen hundred miles away.

Duncan is telling me he’s getting fed up with his wife going out all of the time. But she probably was bored with him by then. I know if I were a woman I wouldn’t stick around. He’s got to be 48 years old by now and he still acts the same way he did back in his late twenties when I first met him. He hasn’t evolved as a man at all. Still the same guy. But he gave up weed years ago.

So after about a year of her going out he finally says he’s going to divorce her. They were married for eight years. He worked his ass off for the bank. They own him. Scooter is married to his ambition. He spends so much time working that he has amassed a small fortune. But of course his loser family all have their hands in his pockets. He had to go on their mortgage or they would lose their house and have to go bankrupt because of their reckless spending.

They split up. He’s on his own with his house full of dogs again. He tries to date some woman at his office and she’s not interested. He has to go to therapy for his divorce. Not because he’s sad that it ended but because he’s so angry that he failed. He started dating some older Asian woman at his tennis club. He says he’s never getting married again. But he bought her $5000 earrings last Christmas. He makes killer bank now. They have been together for a few years now. I refer to her as Yoko because I hardly ever hear from him anymore. They’ve come up to the area twice, but the first time I really didn’t feel like hanging out with them. Then around last 4th of July, they were supposed to stay in the city but ended up staying out by his parents and I never saw him.

One of the last conversations I had with him this year was him telling me that when he sells his house in the Spring 2017, he will be worth a million dollars. Maybe then he’ll finally be happy.

But I doubt it.

UPDATE: Duncan text me over the holidays that he was on the train with his girlfriend on their way to Warminster to see his family. He sent me a photo of a 1.75 bottle of Grey Goose being held by her in a liquor store. He said it was for me. No warning. No planning. Just has a bottle for me and am I available in the city tonight. I already had really important plans with a lady, and I wasn’t going to be around. I told him I’d be available Saturday night and Sunday. I got a text later from him saying he was on South Street, and where could he take his girlfriend for dinner. I told him Serpico or Ella. I never got a thank you or another word from him. He said later that maybe on Sunday he could see me because he was visiting his cousins. At this point, I wished he just left the bottle on my front steps and left. Because it’s all about “Mr. I have no coping skills.” So I think I’m done. (Still love him though) Too much has gone by and he’s so locked into his old Asian granny of a girlfriend that I won’t hear from him for a long time. I liked him better when he was a pot smoking clerk. At least he was fun back then.


Yeah. Table for one.

(But… Stay tuned. There is more to come in the future and will be glorious.)


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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