Made infamous by Neil Strauss, author of pulling guide The Game, and Ned Gold, the massive geek sidekick from Efron-fest chick flick 17 Again, peacocking is display behaviour at it’s very finest. One must dress garishly or wackily, quite simply, to attract as much attention as possible – “Just like peacocks use their feathers to get a mate” as Urban Dictionary states. Unusual props and eye-catching paraphernalia are also permitted as part of the get up. Predominately and traditionally utilised by guys to chat-up otherwise uninterested girls, it’s now becoming more common for ladies to peacock as well. Perhaps these peacockettes see it as a warmer alternative to flashing a lot of flesh. Perhaps it’s just a welcome challenge to those who find it far too easy to pull in killer heels and a bodycon skirt.
Because we love a cheeky prop (ahem) as much as the next attention-seeking sad act, we at Impact decided to try peacocking out for ourselves. Wearing outfits that belong firmly back in the 80s and an array of eye-assaulting hats that even Jay Kay would be proud of, we ventured out in the fancy dress get up to end all fancy dress get ups. Our wacky ensembles – designed to stand out from the crowd, break ice and encourage scintillating conversation – included leopard print in excess, the occasional rhinestone, Hawaiian flower garlands and a questionable wig. Prop-wise we carried a teapot, cabbage, a box of Weetabix (full) and a pack of cards.
With several shots of Dutch courage and the promise of some impromptu chitchat spurring us on, we were on our way. All in the name of investigative journalism, of course. Hitting bars around Nottingham city centre such as The Approach, Wetherspoon’s, Yates’ and Tantra, we received plenty of quizzical looks and raised a fair few local eyebrows. Some people were clearly familiar with the peacocking seduction technique, rumbling our romantic ruse straight off the bat. Others were completely baffled, but our attention-grabbing garb never failed to generate comments. With witty one-liners such as (to a good-looking man) “Have you had your Weetabix?” “Are you ogling me in my goggles?” and “Would you like to take a bite out of my cabbage?” conversation mostly flowed as easy as beer out of our teapot.
Props worked absolute wonders for the boys, who even managed to get a phone number or two from girls drawn in by the allure of a realistic pube-esque wig. However, the very same wig did bewilder several bouncers; perhaps this is a prop best smuggled into a club under the radar. Undoubtedly our surreptitious photographer altered the dynamics of our attempts to pull on occasion, and several people questioned his paparazzi-like presence. Minus the media, we all agreed that casual peacocking wouldn’t draw quite the same response, but would without a doubt still ruffle a few flirty feathers.
Becca Bell, Ellie Blanchette, Aimee Creasey, Timothy MacFarlen & Stephen Lovejoy