Jessica’s Human Ethology Assignment

Starbucks
1420 Gadsden Hwy
Trussville, Alabama 35235

02/13/13 7:15 pm

  • I was not sure whether to include the initial notes, but since I typed them on the computer initially anyway, I included them here just in case. The Summary and Analysis will be included after the notes.

Notes:

The lighting is dim and moody. Many people are on their laptops. A group on the couch across the store has gotten comfortable. Many young students, ages 17-22 I would guess. There are a few older men with headphones in, one is in a suit. He seems to have been here a while.  It is quiet except for the occasional chit chat or phone call. Since this isn’t a college town, not many sorority/fraternity types. Mostly people who need to relax. A girl just walked in, mid 20’s.

Focal Study: The girl that just walked in went straight to get her drink. She is wearing dress pants and a white blouse. Looks like she just got off work.

7:25: She picks a seat at a small round table next to mine and pulls out her computer from her bag. She faces slightly away from me and towards the man with the headphones. I can still see her face. She is sitting straight and has her legs crossed, lightly tapping her top foot. Every once and a while, she takes sips from her cup. She stirs her drink with a flick of her wrist and messes with her hair. I notice that she looks at the man a couple of times, but quickly and discreetly. He notices. She keeps a calm look on her face, never frowns or furrows her brows, even when concentrating on her computer screen. She is definitely interested in him, but I don’t think she came here to pick up anyone.

7:35: She is going to the bathroom and asks if I will watch her stuff. Thankfully she can’t see my computer screen. She saunters past his table slowly and deliberately. He notices; he watches her go out of the corner of his eye. He has a smirk on his face. I don’t think she saw that.

7:37: He gets up and goes back to the bathroom as well. There is only one bathroom in the store for everyone’s use. He is looking around, and I am looking down at my computer. He is going in the bathroom! Well this is unexpected. Maybe they already know each other and they are messing around. Kinky. I didn’t look to see if either of them was wearing a wedding band. Nobody seems to notice except for another girl across the room; she catches me looking around and we smile at each other as if to say “yeah, I just saw that”.

7:48: Girl just walks out of the bathroom, followed about 45 seconds later by headphone guy. Yep, they are both wearing rings.

Group Study:The group I will watch is the one on the couch mentioned earlier. They are all in high school, I think. This may not be too interesting.

7:50: There are three girls and one boy. One of the girls is on her cell, the other two giggling at something the boy is doing. He looks kind of feminine. He is showing them something on his phone. They get the first girls attention to show her and she laughs as well.

7:55: The one girl that was on her phone has left. It is just the boy and the two other girls. They are just talking. They are getting up. They left.

Summary and Analysis:

The focal summary proved to be very interesting. The girl I chose to focus on, in fact, did go to the coffee shop to pick up someone, although it seems as if she already knew her target and he knew her. It was like a game. She did exemplify some of the stages;she set herself in close proximity to him (attention getting), she got his attention through eye contact (recognition), although it wasn’t prolonged. Thinking back, she could have been nervous, a plausible mood considering their plan. They did not go through stage three however, talk. Which would make sense if they already knew who each other were and already had the plan to hook up in the bathroom. She did order her drink in a very confident, sexy voice. That could have been for the man as well, considering the woman behind the counter was a woman. The last two stages were not done either, touch and body synchrony. They jumped ahead very quickly to the end of the pickup cycle.

During the Group Study, nothing of interest to the study occurred. They were perhaps too young of a group to focus on, but they were the only group available. The boy could have perhaps been interested in one of the girls who were giggling together at first. I did not observe any of the five stages in the group study.

Author: Johnna Dominguez

Johnna Dominguez earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Cultural Studies and Body Politics from the University of Alabama's New College in May 2011. In her senior thesis, Johnna explored the embodiment of identity through sexuality and sports by observing and studying Alabama football fans and participants in the local burlesque troupe, the Pink Box Burlesque. In her Master's thesis, she is investigating the psychological and physical stresses associated with southern women who get tattoos. After completing her Master's in Anthropology, she hopes to return to school for a Master's in Public Health.

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