Diving more deeply into the stripper-swimmer saga

Well, at least part of that Baltimore stripper's story holds water.

The Scores dancer who claims to have been chummy with Michael Phelps told the British tabloid News of the World that they last got together May 5.

Theresa White said Phelps summoned her via a text message, but not to his $1.7 million Fells Point townhouse.

"We'd been texting each other sporadically," she told the newspaper. "And Michael said he was alone at a hotel while his house was getting fixed."

I made two trips to Scores this week in search of White, to see if she could produce text messages to back up her story.

She wasn't there the first time I went to the club and declined, through a manager, to speak with me the second. (I hasten to add that everyone else at Scores was surprisingly welcoming to a gal who'd pulled up in a sedan with two kiddie car seats in back and who, on her edgiest day, looks like she stepped out of a Lands' End catalog.)

Despite the stripper's sudden shyness, I turned up something that backs up part of her story - in the Baltimore City Housing Department, of all places.

Building permit No. COM2009-09094, issued April 29 by Housing's Office of Permits and Building Inspections, indicates that Phelps is, indeed, having work done at his waterfront pad.

Of course, just because White knows what's going on at Phelps' townhouse doesn't mean she's on intimate terms with him. Maybe when White's not stripping, she trolls city building permit files for kicks. Kinky, I know. But possible.

In any case, the permit says Phelps is having lots of electrical work done. Fifteen dimmer switches. Twenty-five "media outlets." Ten phone jacks.

And one 50-amp, 240-volt circuit. For a hot tub.

Now comes the tale of another, decidedly sweeter, Baltimore hookup.

When Ruth Simmons and Arthur Kirk tied the knot 50 years ago in West Baltimore, it was a no-frills affair. She did "day work" cleaning houses. He worked construction.

They scraped together $5 for the preacher and enlisted the bride's sister and uncle as witnesses. There wasn't room for anyone else because the preacher was too ill to leave his sickroom.

"We just went up in his bedroom, and we did the vows up there," Ruth Kirk, now 79 and a state delegate from West Baltimore, recalled the other day. "It wasn't no big to-do."

The same could not be said of the gathering last Saturday, when the couple renewed their vows at Morning Star Baptist Church.

Ruth wore an ivory gown; Arthur, an ivory tux with tails. They were attended by two maids of honor, a best man, six bridesmaids, two flower girls and a ring bearer, not to mention six event "coordinators," one photographer and one videographer.

In the church hall afterward, there was a jazz band, a $700 wedding cake and dinner for more than 300 guests.

The bride cooked the meal, but not to cut corners on the wedding tab, which the couple's five children picked up.

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