Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's the article I talked about on the radio..

A friend at the Chamber of Commerce asked me to be a guest writer for their newsletter. My only concern was," What the heck do I write?". The president of the chamber happened to be listening the day I was talking about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and suggested I come up with 500 words about marriage. YIKES!! I haven't written 500 words on ANYTHING since college...and even then it was a cause for heartburn.

It took awhile..but here it it. Click on the link and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Soooooo Confused!

We were actually having fun together. I mean real "not-so-serious-dating" fun. There was never any pressure when we got together. We hit the clubs in South Jersey, the diners in the Northeast and the mall in Willow Grove. Denise and I didn't argue or disagree on ...anything! Why couldn't I just sack up and say," Let's just date each other"?

BR (before radio) dating was a difficult mission. Not having: 1) looks 2) money 3) nice car didn't help the "hook up" picture. Radio erased those negatives! Women who wouldn't urinate on me to put out the flames were making themselves available to go out for dinner. One particular event really cranked up the dating quotient. I had the opportunity to interview David Bowie on TV when he came to Philly to promote his tour. The interview (barely 60 seconds) was then turned into a 30 minute special that aired one night at 9pm. I didn't realize how many single women saw the broadcast. But I started to fall in love with Denise at the same time (OY!).

Many of our "dates" were lunches at a salad restaurant in center city Philadelphia called Salad Alley. I would drive into town and meet Denise at her office in the beautiful Warwick Hotel, then we'd walk a few blocks. That day she was dressed in white. I'm talking WHITE! She was wearing a white blouse and white skirt. Now THAT'S confidence. A sloppy schmuck like me would never have the guts to eat in a white suit. I wonder how Colonel Saunders did it?

On the way to our lunch, we noticed the streets started to fill up with people....lots of people. It turns out the city decided to have a mini parade to honor the retirement of basketball legend Julius Erving of the 76'ers. Some lug nut scheduled the DR J. parade at noon on a weekday. Well that was the invitation kids needed to cut school to see this NBA legend. So as thousands of teenagers descended on center city, it became more difficult to walk. Luckily, Denise and I made it into Salad Alley for lunch. Unfortunately, getting back to Denise's office would be a challenge.

We were able to see Julius Erving atop a convertible as we finished lunch from the safety of the restaurant. We finished up and started to walk back to the Warwick when we heard a huge crash of glass. It appeared that all the kids at the parade now had nothing better to do than.....LOOT! Somebody smashed the window of a jewelry store about 20 feet from us. The sound of all that glass hitting the sidewalk is frightening...the sound of more glass breaking is freakin' scary. The crowd turned into serial looters and began "smashin and grabbin" anything they could carry with their filthy hands. Denise, dressed in a beautiful white business suit looked at me with a terrified look.

As looters and thugs ran in all directions, I noticed an alleyway between two buildings. I pushed Denise towards the alley, forced her into a doorway and put my body between her and the crowd. We weren't alone. A Philadelphia cop also sought shelter from the crowd and dived in for cover.

Philadelphia Police were eventually able to assemble and take on the crowd. Denise and I made it back to her office from a lunch we still remember to this day. You think something like that would bring two people closer together? I felt necessary to protect her from the riot....but I just couldn't push myself closer to her. Besides, I had to get home for a date with legal secretary name Lori who also saw the David Bowie special. What's up with that?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let's Kiss And Date Other People

We OFFICIALLY had a date after that infamous Temple University dinner that ended in a handshake. Denise and I went to a restaurant called The Depot in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. It's a historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets in-laid with trolley tracks. In fact The Depot has a train theme (duh!!!)....with a model train driving around under the bar.

After burgers and beers we finally........kissed! And it was worth it. I know you're thinking that a starving man will declare the greatness of Ritz Crackers, but she really was a great kisser. BTW, I'm going to stop talking about the physical stuff. After all...that's my wife you're reading about.

My birthday approached soon after our first official date. I wasn't expecting too much from Denise. After all we just met. I'll rephrase that. If we just started dating and it was HER birthday....well...let's just say a card would have been enough.

Let me first tell you that my little job in radio was beginning to grow. I realized things were getting better when the station arranged for the morning show to be chauffeured in a stretch limousine to an event. How cool was that! A dork like me from Northeast Philly in a limo. And it wasn't even a funeral. Except...the show consisted of six people. The much-anticipated journey in the limo was more like a crowded cab ride to the airport. The host of the show was a man of sufficient girth. One of the shows producers was 6'5". Each sharp turn was a potential sexual harassment claim. It looked like a circus act when everyone got out. The ride didn't live up to the hype. I told the packed limo story to Denise. She thought it was funny. Little did I know she was hatching up a birthday plan.

Denise told me she wanted to take me to a surprise lunch on my birthday. Sweet! She also said to dress up for our noontime get together. I's sad when your date tells you to dress nicely. But I was still wearing sweat pants and sweatshirts to work. Very Philly.

She told me to meet her in the lobby of the building at noon. She was there waiting for me by the elevators. Parked outside the revolving glass doors was a shiny new white stretch limousine. I just figured some lucky schmuck was traveling first class. When we exited the building, the driver got out and opened the back door of the Lincoln. I looked at Denise. She just smiled and said,"Happy Birthday".
We both got in the limo and held hands. Nobody else. No big morning guy. No Stretch Armstrong-looking producer. We were in Limo Town, population 2! She arranged for us to have lunch at a restaurant on the 44Th floor of an office building in downtown Philly. What a day!

Nobody ever planned such an extravagant birthday in all my 24 years. There was only one thing to do. Date other people!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The "OFFICIAL" first date ends with a..........

Denise and I talked on the phone a few times after that incredibly romantic meal at Denny's. Our conversations that February were getting more relaxed and cozier. She mentioned that she might go to a dinner at the Hyatt hotel honoring the men's basketball team from our Alma mater Temple University.

Here's my chance.....the golden opportunity awaits...gotta make the move....

I said that I would also like to go, and let's make plans to go TOGETHER (a date!)

It was a dressy affair that Friday night. Denise looked lovely/professional in a black cocktail dress and I wore the only suit that I had in the closet. It was navy blue with a white shirt and red tie. Kinda looked like a fell off the inside jacket of any Donald Trump book.

There was one awkward moment. I bumped into a woman I knew that worked at the university. She always talked about her daughter, and insisted I go out with her. About three years earlier I took her daughter out for drinks and dinner. We just didn't click. The daughter, whom I'll call Brittney, looked fantastic in a bikini and out of place in a library. What I'm saying is that she started out a "10" until she began talking....and fell to a "3".

Well Brittney's mom came over to say hello while I was standing there with Denise. "How come you never called my daughter back?", she questioned. I babbled something about being busy with the morning radio show. "Well she has a new number...let me give it to you", Brittney's mom said. She couldn't find a pen. I couldn't find a pen. Guess who had a pen? Denise. With a smile, Denise handed Brittney's mom the pen, so she could write down HER daughter's number so that I might call her again. The mom had such nerve, she never asked if Denise and I were even an item.

Looking back, very few women would've been as cool as Denise in front of the pushy mom. That was a huge plus in my book!

We ate, drank, talked .....blah blah blah. I know that readers of this blog only want to know about one thing, so I'll jump to the end of the evening.

I drove Denise to her home, shut off the engine and walked around to open the car door to help her get out. There was still crunchy snow on the ground, so holding her hand was 50% helpful and 50% romantic. She walked up the first level of the concrete steps, turned around and said that she had a really good time. I agreed about having a good time, but my mind was thinking about the REALLY good time that was about to happen once we got inside and away from the freezing cold Philly night air.

She smiled and extended her leather glove wearing hand (just like at Denny's) and said,"Thanks. Good night." And walked into her house. That was it. No kiss. No hug. No nuttin'! How is it that two 24 year old people can go out on a date, have fun, and not even KISS? I wasn't used to this. We were certainly diggin' each other. But no freakin kiss goodnight!!!! more try, and that's it! There's gonna be a kiss coming up on the next date....or....I'll.....try again? Truth is, I was having more fun with Denise just talking. We both really enjoyed each other's company. It's just that I was in a hurry for those two companies to merge.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I took her to Denny's for a Grand Slam.....but never got to first base!!!

It wasn't until the following February that "things" quieted I called Denise and asked her about coming to visit the radio station (heh heh) and grabbing a bite to eat. She showed up while I was still on the air. Judging by the look on her face, she wasn't impressed. I later found out that she never listened to this station. (Holy different frequency, Batman!!!)

She was dressed in her corporate attire, and looked like the successful woman she was. Me? Well I was wearing the typical morning-guy radio uniform: sweater and jeans. And I was fairly confident that both were clean.

Now the challenge was to find a place to eat on a cold, miserable Philadelphia morning. Denny's was close to the station. It was actually easier to walk than get in the car, drive across the street and find a parking spot. There was a walkway that went over the street connecting the radio station to the Denny's. BUT...the walkway was covered in ice. Denise was wearing high heels. We started the walk. She was having trouble with those sexy black pumps. I put my hand out to help. She gave me a thank you smile. We were holding a sort-a-kind-a way.

Breakfast conversation was nice, but uneventful. Lots of small talk. I did my best not to crack any off-color jokes, or tell college stories that involved drinking and vomiting. Denise never lost her corporate cool and composure. In fact, I was feeling this 10 dollar breakfast was NOT going to turn into a sizzling romance. It looked like I was going to gain a friend instead of a GIRLfriend. Yippee!(insert sarcasm here) BUT....having a friend who was a girl was a new concept. Kind of like New Coke.....but better.

When breakfast was over, Denise and I headed back to the station. We held hands again as we crossed the treacherous iced-covered path of DANGER!!! We parted ways... with A HANDSHAKE! Seriously. A handshake. And she was wearing gloves.
No hug. No kiss. Not even a high five or belly-bump. But maybe I didn't get a kiss because the breakfast at Denny's wasn't really a date.

My mind was made up. I was going to wait a few days and officially ask her out. A real date. No hand shakes!!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Have we met before?

If this was a movie, I would have called Denise the following Monday and asked her out for a date. But it wasn't a movie, it was real life. And if this was a movie, my part would be played by the funny, chubby and un-sexy Canadian Seth Rogen.

I was already dating a hot, sexy nurse named Debbie...while seeing a cocktail waitress named Robin. Don't be impressed. Being on the radio in my hometown was a boom to my social/dating life. I was not a good-looking guy, and didn't have a pile of money to impress women. But being on the radio....HOLY COW...what a dating tool!!!! The uber-impressive technique was to invite a potential date up to the radio station, and say "Hi" to her on the air. You may be thinking that it was a cheesy move....but it was a hugely successful cheesy move!

Denise also wasn't staying at home waiting for the phone to ring. She was just starting to get involved with an older guy( in his 30's!!!!) who was in the nightclub business, AND an assistant football coach at a local college. Luckily, neither panned out. The club owner was secretly married, and the football coach only wanted to watch games on TV.

The "Thanks for including me at the Bon Jovi event" phone call was made the following week. I told Denise how much fun I had that night. I left out the food poisoning part. We made some small talk and realized some interesting facts :

a) We both attended and graduated from Temple University at the same time!
b) We ate at the same food trucks on campus!
c) We got our morning coffee at the same place every day!
d) We were both friends with a couple named "Lee and Susan"!

It was kind of weird. Denise and I must have been a few feet away from each other numerous times on campus for years...but never made eye contact.

When our phone conversation came to it's natural ending....I suggested we get together for a drink, or a quick bite. Maybe she could come up to see the radio station ( heh heh).

But real life doesn't happen quickly. Our first date was about 4 months away.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I didn't know I met my future wife, but I did meet Bon Jovi!!!

I met Denise in 1987. She was working for a non-profit organization that helped handicapped children in Philadelphia. The Variety Club decided to hold a dance party fundraiser at the Philadelphia Civic Center. It attracted thousands of kids.....not because they wanted to dance on that Saturday in October...but because the special guests were rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora of the band Bon Jovi. Their smash album Slippery When Wet was just released. The Variety Club timed it perfectly! A fundrasing tsunami. The promotions and marketing director for the charity had her hands full with VIP's, sponsors, screaming kids, limos and board members. Oh...and there was this dorky radio DJ standing there ready to say," Hello".

The radio station sent me to host the event....not because I was popular or talented (no to both), but because I was a) available on that particular Saturday b) went to events for free c) knew there would be plenty of complementary food AND d) any radio station event could lead to meeting women. Oddly enough, I met Denise's mom first. She was roped into helping my future wife keep track of all the moving parts in an event that big. Her mom was a real sweetheart. I asked her," Who was in charge?". Dee pointed to a sexy blonde in a silver outfit holding a clipboard in her right hand, and sporting a "I'm super busy" look on her face. Actually, I think I just said "Hi, I'm Sam from the radio station". Denise pointed me towards the backstage area with the free food. She must have been a psychic!

And that was it. Our first meeting was a simple hello backstage at a Bon Jovi event in Philly. I should tell you that Jon and Richie lit up the crowd with their appearance on stage. The Variety Club charity raised money and awareness to their cause.....and I got the nastiest case of food poisoning from the backstage spread of corned beef and pastrami. That's right.....the night I met my future wife was spent curled up on the floor of my bathroom hurling!