The Mating Habits of the Sensitive Ponytail Man
(November 11, 1994)

Lights up on three chairs; NARRATOR, clad in khakis and silly safari hat, off to stage left; DENISE, sitting in middle chair.

NARRATOR. Good evening, and welcome to Nature’s Dirty Little Secrets. Tonight we examine the mating habits and courtship rituals of the sensitive ponytail man.

Enter FIRST SENSITIVE PONYTAIL MAN, with tray (mimed).

This is the sensitive ponytail man. He has acquired a cruelty-free, holistically balanced meal, and is ready to eat. But something is missing in his life. He needs a mate.


Observe as the sensitive ponytail man approaches his quarry…

FSPM. Is this seat taken?

DENISE. Hm? Oh. No.

FSPM. Say, weren’t we in the same Profundity in Literature class last term?

NARRATOR. Note as the Sensitive Ponytail Man establishes intellectual common ground.

DENISE. Yeah, I guess so. What was your name again?

FSPM. Gordon.

FSPM adjusts his ponytail.

NARRATOR. The sensitive ponytail man displays his plumage.

FSPM. So, are you going to the poetry reading Thursday night?

NARRATOR. He explores possibilities for further rendezvouses.

DENISE. I think so. I have some things I wanted to read.

FSPM. You write?

DENISE. Oh, a little.

FSPM. I’d love to read your stuff sometime.

DENISE. It’s not that good, but if you want…

NARRATOR. Our sensitive male has made considerable progress with this tack. It looks good for him. Maybe he’ll actually get a chance to use that safe sex kit he picked up at DUH.

SECOND SENSITIVE PONYTAIL MAN enters from rear, carrying a tray.

But wait! Suddenly, a rival appears…

SSPM. Denise? Hi. You might not remember me. I’m in your Poetic Sentimentalism seminar? I wanted to talk to you about yesterday’s lecture. I read your piece in the lit mag, and you seem so knowledgeable about the material…

NARRATOR. It looks bad for our friend. The interloper has won the advantage by knowing the quarry’s name, having read her poetry, having a more recent intellectual bond, and…

SSPM flips his ponytail over the shoulder next to female

having more impressive plumage. Our sensitive ponytail man is obviously taken by surprise. He searches for a way to regain ground.

FSPM. I think that one shouldn’t overlook the Postdeconstructionist influence on Sentimentalism, though.

SSPM. You know, it’s funny you should say that. Our professor — he’s a Nobel laureate, you should really try to get into a class with him if you can — spent most of yesterday’s lecture proving conclusively by statistical and thematic analysis that the Postdeconstructionist ethic is completely irrelevant to Sentimentalism except for a few late-period poets who should properly be grouped with the Postsentimentalists.

NARRATOR. Oh dear, our friend has been solidly snubbed by the new arrival. He appears to have been taken completely out of the loop…yes, yes, he’s toying with his food, a clear sign of submission. This signal will probably soon be followed by bad self-indulgent poetry or an article on how women don’t like nice guys. But wait…no! He’s making another attempt!

FSM. What about the Existentialists?

SSPM. Look….

FSPM. Gordon.

SSPM. Gordon. I don’t mean to be rude, but Denise and I are trying to discuss our coursework here. It’s very high level, and without taking the course… you really wouldn’t understand.

FSPM. I saw her first!

SSPM. What?

FSPM. I saw her first! Buzz off!

SSPM. Why should I?

FSPM. I was here first! Finders keepers!

SSPM. Well, my ponytail’s longer than yours!

FSPM. Hey, step off! Length doesn’t matter! It’s how you use it!

SSPM. Yeah, right.

Sensitive Ponytail Men set to tussling; freeze.

NARRATOR. It is due to this sort of incident that some draw a connection between the sensitive ponytail man and the beer-swilling macho guy. However, speculations are inconclusive without testing the two species’ ability to interbreed, which members of both species refuse vehemently to do, though the sensitive ponytail man will follow his refusal with repetition of the phrase…

SENSITIVE PONYTAIL MEN (together). Straight, but not narrow.

NARRATOR. …until he passes out.

SENSITIVE PONYTAIL MAN enters. Fighting stops; all turn to look.

ALL. Look! It’s Sensitive Ponytail Man! The superhero not afraid to wear tights!

SPM (to DENISE). I don’t mean to perpetuate any sort of rescuer-rescuee gender-role stereotypes, but if you are so inclined and in a state such that you can give consent, I’d really like to take you away from all this.

DENISE swoons into his arms. SPM stands there, supporting her. All look at him. Pause.


SPM. Silence means no.

DENISE (coming out of swoon). Let’s go!

SPM. Right!

SPM carries her out through audience. NARRATOR leaves through the back. Silence. Puzzlement overcomes the Sensitive Ponytail Men.

SSPM. Do you want to come back to my place?

FSPM. Are you serious, or are you just trying to get out of the sketch?

SSPM. Oh, I’m just trying to get out of the sketch.

FSPM. Oh, all right then.

Exit stage left; lights down.