So I'm sitting there with my friend Ted who, despite his status as taken man, is checking out the girls. Portsmouth town center on Monday night -- you know how it is. We do, often finding ourselves just hanging around here with too much money in pocket to spend on beer. Well, maybe just enough. And Ted? He's always complaining about girls.
"Portsmouth," he says simply, as though the two syllables were enough to sum all his angst up. "Portsmouth..."
" 'Portsmouth,'" I retort. "That's all you can say. 'Portsmouth.' Ladies everywhere around and you lament their lack."
"All right, all right," he concedes begrudgingly, "let's say that's true. There's nothing to do around here."
"In Portsmouth? Date yourself some more, go ahead. This is the new millennium. You've got to have a little creativity."
"Come on, just to name one, theatre. Do you realize how much theatre there is in this area? Most parts of the country you can't get this much. Look," I continue, showing him the listings above the one-tenth finished crossword that my friend Ted couldn't be bothered to puzzle through. "Just this month, there's Peter Pan at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, It's a Wonderful Life at the Pontine Theater Artistic, The Nutcracker at the Music Hall and A Christmas Carol at the Players' Ring. Winners all."
"Yeah, but what about when it's not Christmastime?"
"Come on, these venues show good stuff all the time."
"I don't like Christmas plays."
"Yeah, yeah, bah humbug. Well check out Proof at the Players' Ring - it's about women covering up a murder, she'll love it. What's her name? Katherine?"
"Yeah. And oooh, Finding the Doorbell. It's a one-woman show, adults only. Now that's a Portsmouth date. Girls, Portsmouth dwellers or no, love it."
"Sexually explicit. And dude, the theater's fun and cultural. And you could use some culture."
"Theater. You're talking to me about the new millennium and then you say 'theater.'" My friend Ted scoffs.
"You've got almost twenty bars here: sports bars, jazz bars, karaoke bars -"
"Hey, did you know that 'karaoke' means 'tone deaf' in Japanese?"
"Dude, I'm the one that told you that."
"So, what kind of music does she like?"
"Kathleen. Oh, I don't think I want to date her anymore."
"Okay, then, what do your Portsmouth dates like?"
"Oh, whatever...jazz, reggae, rock...country, maybe."
I try to stifle a minor gag reflex, unsuccessfully. "Well, even if the mythical she like country, they have it in Portsmouth. It shouldn't be difficult to have fun with girls. Portsmouth has music."
"I'm pretty sick of music, though, dude."
"Don't you read? Look at all the exhibitions here, the...points of interest, the...day trips you can take."
"Day trips? Come on, we're not that serious."
"I thought you weren't dating her anymore."
"I didn't say I wasn't dating her, just that I might not want to date her anymore."
And I stare at my beer, the only thing keeping this dialogue from becoming an actual Seinfeld episode. I stand to the surprise of even myself and announce to the bar at large: "Portsmouth girls! Portsmouth women! Portsmouth ladies! Stay away from my friend Ted."
"Yo, thanks a lot, dude," says Ted.