Jessica’s Human Ethology Assignment

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.


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.

Christopher’s Human Ethology Assignment

I went to the bar Jupiter on the strip for this assignment. In my first study, I
observed a young male in a red shirt. He was smoking with a group of people at a table
and dancing pretty wildly. He was the guy lighting everyones cigarettes, including the
girl next to him. He seemed to want a hook up, but I couldnʼt tell how far he was going to
pursue it. The girl next to him might have been his girlfriend. On the second case study,
I observed four groups. Two of them were just a group of guys talking. They didnʼt
mingle with any others, and seemed to be dressed the same in jockey athletic clothing.
Another group of guys at the bar also had one drunk guy dancing pretty wildly. There
were a few girls sitting by themselves at the bar, looking like they were ready to get
picked up. The only table I saw that had girls and guys besides the first case study was
another table where guys and girls were smoking together. People seemed to be pretty
distant. The group size wasnʼt too big, and girls and guys werenʼt mingling as much. The
girls were giving off vibes, like at the bars waiting and a few touching guys they probably
knew on the back, but other than that there was no overt sexual energy between the
people in this bar.

Jessica’s Human Ethology Assignment

In order to observe some typical American mating behavior, I chose to sit at Hooters and watch countless advances of creepy old men. Hooters is a very American atmosphere, as it embodies much of our cultural heritage: hot wings, hot girls and cold beer. The inside of any Hooters is not very aesthetically pleasing (it looks to me like a teenage boys dream room, but with tables and chairs), but that’s ok; there are boobs and booties bouncing around in spandex. The food, also, is fair at best, but no one really goes there solely for the food. The majority of patrons are middle-aged men whose wives would most likely kill them in their sleep if they went to a strip club (exaggerated, but true).

I chose a waitress named Lindsey to be my focal individual. She wore the normal Hooters uniform—white Hooters tank top, orange spandex shorts, tan tights, white crew socks and white tennis shoes. She wore her hair in a half-pony-tail and curled the ends. Her makeup reminded me of many porn stars I may or may not have seen. I watched her greet a table of four middle-aged men by nonchalantly scooting into a booth (causing the men to have to shift their bodies to accommodate her) and cross her legs dramatically. She kept her back straight and her shoulders open and made eye contact with every man at the table. During a conversation, the gentlemen each took turns talking, while the waitress turned her whole body towards each speaker (rather than simply turning her head). Much of the laughter coming from both males and female is loud, exaggerated and probably fake.

On my scans around the room, I was very disappointed that there were no creepy old guys trying to hit on young waitresses (I thought that would be fun to witness). Instead, I was confronted with many groups of middle-aged men socializing amongst themselves at tables. A younger crowd gathered at the bar and remained mostly conversational with their immediate neighbors and with the bartender. The bartender spent a whole fifteen minutes wiping down her bar, walking up and down talking with every patron as she cleaned up imaginary spills. One couple I noticed seated themselves at a high-top table and kept to themselves. When the waitress approached, the female sat up straighter and smiled, in imitation of the waitress. Many people stay until the bartender calls last call. Some order one more round, some pay their bills. Everyone leaves with the groups they arrived with.

Hooters is not technically a pick-up spot. It is mostly a place where middle-aged men can gather and be men: drinking beer and fantasizing about hooking up with someone they know will never give them the opportunity. Sex singes the air, yet is not blatantly seen. Waitresses use their sexuality to their advantage, to get more tips, and the men seem to realize this and be content with it.

Andreas’ Human Ethology Assignment

Location: The Woodlands 1100 Hargrove Rd E  Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
Arrival Time: 11:37pm


The open living space of the apartment where the party guest are located in extremely dimly lit. The lighting is so that only the dark figures of people can be made out, and guest must use the light from their cellphones to identify friends. The guest are composed of mostly college students, and few sorority and fraternity members. The atmosphere, outside of the loud music, is not very noisy. Most guess are casually chatting with friends or other guest.

Focal Sampling:

The subject is wearing a short fitted Aztec print dress and high heels. She is walking to the punch bowl that assumedly contains and alcohol beverage. Subject is now drinking said beverage. A tall African American grabs the subjects hand and greets her, and she begins talking to the male. Subject begins to smile and laugh as the male talks, and flips her hair over her shoulder. The male brushes the subject’s waist. Subject laughs and pushed the males hand away, and then takes a sip of her drink. Subject and the male continue to talk. Subject walks away from male, and walks over to a group of women. Subject pulls into one of the women and talks in her ear. Subject and the other woman laugh. Subject begins to dance and sing the lyrics to a song that is playing, and begin to drink her drink again. Subject continues to dance with friends. Subject finishes the rest of her drink. Subject walks back towards the punch bowl and fill up her cup with more punch. She walks over to a group of people, two males and one female. She hugs the exchanges hugs with them all, and begins to hold a conversation with the group. Subject continues to talk to the group for one to two minutes while drinking her drink. Subject walks back over to the original group of women. Subject continues to dance and finish her drink.

Scan Sampling:

The other people in the party are conversing with friends, scrolling through their phones or dancing to the music. Some are standing back surveying the room. A group of people walk outside to balcony to presumably smoke. Individuals are clustered into groups, some people leave their group to go social with people in other groups and then return to their group. Others leave the group to go to the punch bowl.

The crowd begins to get noisy and more people began to dance when a particular song comes on. The song is recognized as “All Gold Everything” by rapper Trinidad James. Many of the women began to dance, and the move slightly to the music. All of those persons that know the words to the song and feel compelled to sing it do, many of them shouting the obscenities in the song. After the song goes off, the crowd returns to the previous mentioned behavior. As more people begin to walk in the party, people stare at them.

People that are new to the party walk in, join a group to stand with or create their own group. One woman begins to complain that someone has put cigarette ash in the punch bowl. Some people began to search for the hostess of the party to tell her about the fiasco with the punch bowl. Some women in the room began to dance slowly and whine their hips to a Rihanna song. In some dark corners women and men are dancing together; the women use the same seductive dance moves. Groups of men in the room stare at the women dancing alone. Some men attempt to get a woman to dance with them. Some are successful, some are not.


Male and female contact at the house party seemed to occur in sporadic instances, and did not last for long lengths of time. Although some groups were composed of both sexes, the majority of the party guests were separated by sex. The alcohol at the party seem to make many of the party goers become more social, and as some of them begin to drink more they begin to dance and mingle more. Other remained completely aloof and their behavior was unaltered by the presence of alcohol. Music was the unifying element of the party. Although everyone at the party was not familiar with one another, they all had similar responses when certain genres of music were played. When a Hip-Hop song was played, the party goers became excited and sang the words together cheerfully. When a slower R&B song was played, the female party goers sang the song quietly to themselves, while some dance amongst friends and others danced with males. A threat to the supply of alcohol caused conflict within the party. Flirting could visually be seen throughout the party. However, women had most of the power when it came to flirting, and chose with guys they would talk to or dance with.


I observed all of the five stages, attention getting, recognition, talk, touch and total body synchrony during my time at the house party. They all seem to occur in this exact order, as one stage seemed to lead into the other, and party guest became more comfortable with each other as they drank and mingled more. Fifteen minutes was amble time to observes the five stages. However, I believe that this was made capable by my arrival time at the party. I arrived an hour and half after it began; thus, this is just when guest were beginning to truly enjoy the party. I noticed that mostly women acted in the attention getting stage, while men conducted the recognition. Talk, touch and total body synchrony were conducted by both sexes. The men approached the women for body synchrony, or dancing, and the women enticed men to approach them to dance. I had trouble performing the five minute intervals, and deciphering what and who was important to look at in a room with so many people, and what was important to put in my observation. If I were to do this this experiment again, I would conduct it with a partner. This would allow us to have different key focuses, and get a better observation of the socialization at the party.

Kyle’s Human Ethology Assignment


I went to the research grounds on a busy Friday night with a friend. For my specimen I chose a Caucasian female with dark brown hair that I could watch over my friends shoulder. She was dressed in a green cocktail dress with high heels and a leather jacket. Her hair was down and her makeup was tastefully done. She was also out with a blonde friend, having a drink at the bar and chatting. This continued for about four minutes, until a male patron walked up and began chatting with the pair. Her reaction was relaxed, she seemed to know the man from some other meeting, possibly school. The subject’s friend began to appear agitated about two minutes in, probably due to the fact that the male was focusing all his attention on the brunette. The male subject was sending signals such as putting his chest out and nodding constantly but the brunette did not seem to be reciprocating. After another minute the male seemed to notice the blonde’s agitation and retreated back to his group of friends. Three more minutes pass with the two women just chatting before two men sit next to them. At this point the brunette seems to have found a possible interest in the male next to her, having looked at him, flashed a brief smile before turning back to her friend and giggling. This is when the subject began to show more noticeable signs of attention getting. She began to play with her hair, laugh a bit louder, and became much more interested in the side of the room that her potential mate was on. At this point the blonde left to go smoke a cigarette. The male took about a minute to either notice or gather up the courage to lean into the subject’s personal space and say something. It must have been well received because the subject laughed coyly and flipped her hair to turn and speak to him. During the next four minutes they begin to people watch through the mirror behind the bar, gently bumping elbows or touching backs of hands to get the attention of the other while they found interesting individuals in the bar to talk about, moving from the talk to touch stage effortlessly. At this point, I stopped the formal research and relaxed my time as the fifteen minutes were up. I did notice that over the next half hour, the blonde returned with a male who she began to loudly flirt with. This interrupted the original subject’s courting though I did notice that the two appeared to exchange numbers before her potential mate left the bar. My position and help from my friend allowed me to patiently observe the subject for the appropriate amount of time with relative ease. Next time I would choose a smaller, quieter bar so that I could possibly hear the conversation.


The scan sampling was done on the same night, at a different bar later on. I saw many distinct groups form but decided to focus on one group of twenty-something males that entered soon after I did. In the first five minutes the group began to seize territory in the bar, taking a booth as soon as it opened and asking a nearby group of females if they were using two stools that were unoccupied. They weren’t, so they were taken back to the group. Then a single male went to procure a round of drinks. After another five minutes a few members of the group, including the original one, had broken off to chat with the earlier female group. There was three men to five females and they seemed to be fairly successful, eliciting copious laughs and flirtatious looks from a few of the females. At the next five minute mark the group of males was not in the bar, due to the bar fight outside that had pretty much emptied the establishment due to how interesting those can be. I would like to complete this survey again at another less rowdy establishment.

Shelby’s Human Ethology Assignment

Date: 2/9/2013

Time: 8:06 PM (arrival)

Location: Workplay Theatre (Birmingham, AL)

550 23rd Street S.


  • very dark, smokey, crowded
  • hipsters everywhere (flannel, PBR and thick rimmed glasses are abundant)
  • older crowd (25 – baby boomers)
  • locals – very talkative (not boisterous); everyone has a drink


  •  white male; 20s; tall; longer brown hair
  • flannel
  • drinking – whiskey and coke, PBR; smiling; swaying; laughing
  • with a flanneled friend (male)
  • swaying to music, occasionally glancing around; not nervous but obviously interested in finding a partner
  • focal point and friend talk and glance around a lot; laughing occasionally
  • lots of eye contact with other women (attractive crowd) – winking or smiling
  • very receptive to all attention
  • makes eye contact with me at 8 min
    • again at 11 min
  • walks over after 2nd round of eye contact
  • “Are you going to dance with me or am I going to have to buy you a shot or two to get your back off of this wall?” *he taps hand on wall I’m leaning against at back of the pit
  • *slight smile* “Well.. I wouldn’t be opposed to either.”
  • *he sees my underage wristband
  • “Oh?” *little uncomfortable – feels like he might be hitting on a 16 y.o.
  • “I’m 19.”
  • “I’m 22” *sigh of relief* *little chuckle*
  • “I’m sure my friends would love your offer” *gesture to my two female friends*
  • begins dancing with blonde; his wingman picks up brunette;
  • dancing only lasts for one song



  • last act (a quiet band) is off stage now
  • crew setting up for main act
  • lots of mingling
  • people leaving to use restroom
    • most come back with drinks in hand
    • bringing drinks for friends
    • friends save spots
  • lots of phone usage


  • crowd is standing around
  • couples
  • women making eye contact with attractive males
  • some guys trying to buy girls drinks
  • most are on phones
  • drinks in hand; cigarettes behind ears
  • pictures
  • waiting for band

10 MIN

  • band comes on
  • crowd buzzing
  • talking; laughing; yelling; raising drinks in air
  • lots of phone usage
  • swaying

15 MIN

  • dancing started
  • some couples kissing
  • some still on phones
  • girl next to me can’t put down phone long enough to drink her PBR

Alejandra’s Human Ethology Assignment

Last night I went to Crimson Café to do my ethology experiment.

It was a Monday night, so there were not many people there, and my results are not as exciting, but I could at least observe some of the stages and characteristics.

Focal Sampling

I sat on the upper level of the Café so that I could see everything else and pretend that I was watching TV while looking at the people.

When I got in, I noticed a girl sitting at the bar, talking very vividly to a man. She was sitting very close to her, as well as to other guy who, then I figured out, was there by himself. I thought maybe he was sitting so close to her because there had been more people at the bar before.

The girl I observed was wearing casual clothes (jeans and a long-sleeved shirt) and glasses. I do not think that she was wearing a lot of makeup, if any.

I decided to use her for my experiment, rather than the man, because she was facing me while he had his whole body turned towards her, which I found interesting.

They were talking the whole time while drinking. She seemed very relaxed and comfortable talking to him, but it did not seem to me that they were a couple. Her face was turned towards him but her body was facing another direction.

She kept smiling and laughing but these smiles did not show me any signs of her being sexually interested in the man, but his body language did show interest in her.

I could not observe all the stages in 15 minutes but I did see a lot of eye contact, some attention getting and body movements (maybe not synchrony).

Scan Sampling

During my scans I observed different people. Since it was a Monday night and there were not many people in Crimson Café, not much really changed during the time I was doing my scans, so first I am going to describe the people I saw and then write about their interactions during the scans.

  • There was a couple sitting near my table. They were eating, talking and laughing, especially her, she talked with many exaggerated movements and laughed very loud.
  • The man sitting at the bar by himself that I mentioned before was using his tablet almost the entire time.
  • There was a small table with a guy and a girl, who to me it seemed were just friends. But I was not so sure of this; perhaps it was my own bias because I thought she would be too attractive for him.
  • In another table there was a group of guys having dinner and watching sports together.
  • There were more people at the end of the bar, but it was difficult to see them from where I was.

First scan: The couple were talking and laughing. I noticed that the man with the tablet kept glancing at them, mostly at the woman, but she was focusing all her attention on the man she was with. Their bodies were almost facing each other, even though they were sitting right next to one another. The subject of my focal sampling was still talking to the man. The guy and the girl were getting a little closer to each other because the noise of the guys watching sports was too loud for them to hear each other.

Second scan: Everything is the same. I notice the bar tender started to talk to the couple and laugh, at the same time that the woman in the couple started talking much more loudly.

Third scan: Three people came in, two girls and one guy, but they only stayed for five minutes and left. The guy with the tablet keeps glancing around the room and it seems to me that he is listening to the girl with the glasses’ conversation. The guys are not so loud now, so the girl with the guy sat back on her chair, while the guy is still pointing his body closer to her.

Fourth scan: The guys have left. The couple is leaving. The woman in the couple is saying “bye” to the bartender in a very loud voice. Everything else is the same.

I think that the guy talking to the girl with the glasses definitely wanted to have sex with her, because of the invasive position of his body. While she, even though she seemed comfortable and maintained eye contact, was not very receptive to his body language.

The girl with the guy, I think, were just friends but he showed more interest in her than she did in him.

These intervals were not enough to see all the stages, I got most of my conclusions from body language and eye contact.

Tate’s Human Ethology Assignment

Focal Sampling and Scan Sampling Analyzation

            I chose to do my Human Ethology Assignment in Fairhope, Alabama, where I went home for Mardi Gras. The samplings took place Friday, February 8,2013 between 11:15 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. The bar is called My Place and is located at 68 N Bancroft Street. The environment consists of a small inside bar with three male bartenders. There is also an outside courtyard, half is tented in and the other half is open air (there is a fire pit outside for people to stay warm which creates a smoky, campfire smell while outside). The inside is a darker atmosphere that is not lit very well and is very smoky. The people inside the bar seem to be more intoxicated and more approachable, unless they are secluded in a booth, which is by their own choosing. This is also where the band plays, so the drunk women really like to dance in front of them and are very receptive to being picked up. The outside is much brighter and very well-lit and seems to have a friendly vibe. The younger crowd tended to stay outside more. Most of the people hanging out there were college kids who had come home from Mardi Gras and many locals and tourists with a wide range of variety. The college kids are all fraternity and sorority types. The locals include very artsy, hipsters, the Fairhope “elite”, as well as the more “trashy” type of people. The inside is very loud: there is live music and a lot of people talking. The outside is not nearly as loud. I chose to do my samplings in the inside in a corner table which allowed me a perfect view of the whole bar as well as the band and the dance floor and I could also view who was coming and going through both of their doors.

For my focal sample, I chose a female who appeared to be in her mid-30s. She has a drink in her hand that appears to be a vodka (or gin) and tonic (or soda) with lime. She is wearing a shorter purple dress with high heel black boots. The dress is very low cut and is rather provocative. She has dark brown hair a little longer than her shoulders. She has heavy eye make-up, but no lipstick. Her posture is slightly hunched which makes me think she may be lacking self-confidence. She is with a group of three other girls (one blonde and the other three brunette, but none dressed quite as provocatively as her). They are all standing in front of the band dancing. She keeps scanning the room, while bobbing her head like a turtle and poking her lips out. She is very receptive to being picked up. She isn’t really talking to her friends because when she is not scanning the room, she is trying to sing along with the band, but she is either too drunk or doesn’t know the words. She took a cowboy hat off a man walking by her. Now she is wearing the cowboy hat and dancing around with her arms in the air cheering on the band. The man immediately starts to dance with her. She seems very interested and dances with him for the remainder of the song, spilling her drink on herself and him a few time, but both too drunk to even realize it happened. She is not smiling, but she does not look unhappy either. After the song is finally over she gives him his hat back and turns to go back to dancing with her girlfriends to the next song, which ironically happened to be “Use Me Up.” The guy doesn’t take the hint and offers to buy her a drink which she drunkenly accepts (turns out she was drinking a gin, soda, and lime) and continues to dance and have a good time. That song finally ends and the cowboy hat man still hasn’t come back with her drink so her and her friends go to the bar and order their own drinks. She goes back to dancing and looking around the room. She tries to make eye contact with almost every male walking by, most not even paying her attention or if they do it is to give her a funny look because she is so drunk. Finally a man, maybe in his 40s, came up to her and asked to dance. They seemed to have a great time dancing and after they he asked her to go to the bar to get a drink. They ordered drinks and stood by the bar talking for a while. My analyzation of this woman consists of all five stages of Helen Fisher’s review. First she uses her outfit and her dancing as a form of attention getting. She is also constantly scanning the room trying to make eye contact to get attention. She even uses stealing a man’s hat as an attention getter. Second is the recognition phase. The woman grabs his attention by snatching his hat, then when he stops and they make eye contact, he is creating recognition. Also, when the older man sees her and approaches her. The third stage is talk. This would be when the men ask her to dance with them and she agrees. The touch stage is when he touches her before they dance and when they begin to engage in the act of dancing. The last stage, the total body synchrony stage, is acquired when their bodies begin to synchronize when they dance, and then after the dance when the man offers to buy her a drink and she accepts, they are still touching each other in total body synchrony.

My scan samples are as follows: Scan number one started right in front of me where a guy is attempting to pick up a younger girl. He is offering to buy her a drink while she is smiling and blushing, not entirely sure whether or not to accept. Next to them is a group of three guys who seem to be the soccer player type. They are not really concerned with talking to anyone else and seemed very caught up in their own conversation at the bar while they all drink Magic Hat #9. Behind them, and closer to the door is a group of five girls. They all appear to be in college or just graduated. One boy is attempting to break the tall, skinny blonde girl away from the group to go outside. Three of the girls have mixed drinks while two girls have beers. The blonde girl (who had a beer) gives in to the guy and the walk outside leaving the other four girls who all shoot her mean looks as she is walking away with the guy. In front of the band the woman who was my focal sample is still dancing in front of the band with her three friends. She is now staring at all the band members trying to seduce them with her eyes and dance moves while they play. Behind that in the corner booth in the back, a group of hipsters were sitting around talking and drinking beer, all decked out in Mardi Gras beads and decor. They only seemed interested in talking to themselves. Next to them and behind the bar were a large group of 15 college kids all drinking. Two of the guys were playing Wii bowling while three were talking to the group of seven girls with them. Three other guys were standing next to them but engaging in conversation with themselves. The whole group seemed very approachable, but none of them seemed receptive to being picked up except by someone in that group.

Scan number two started with the couple in front of me taking a shot and are now walking outside. An older man and woman have come up to the bar right in front of me trying to order a drink. They seem very irritated at the crowd and the slow service. They keep talking about how “Charlie and Alexa” hate waiting and seem very concerned for their friends more so than themselves. The soccer player guys are still sitting there, however three other guys have come up and talked to them (guys from the group of college kids behind the bar). They know each other very well and act very excited to see each other, like it had been a long time. The group of five girls, or four now since the tall skinny, blonde went outside, are huddled together talking but their voices were very muffled making it hard to hear. They stand there a little while longer then make the decision to go outside. The woman and her three friends are still dancing, but the band decides to take a break. All five band members immediately rush to the bar to get drinks then outside for some fresh air. The hipsters are no longer sitting in the back booth, but the two college kids playing Wii are sitting there along with three other guys and four of the seven girls. The other three girls are standing in line for the bathroom behind a big, short woman who has so many Mardi Gras beads on her neck is not visible.

Scan number three started with people arriving from the Mardi Gras Ball. There are men of all ages dressed in tuxes with tails and women of all ages wearing evening gowns. They are all trying to make a mad dash towards the bar, making it very difficult to group all of these people. They are all extremely intoxicated and very loud and rambunctious. They have changed the atmosphere of the bar into more of a party place. As soon as they start arriving, the college kids make a mad dash to the bar to each take a shots. They all seem to have started coupling off. They all go outside when the bar becomes so crowded from all the Mardi Gras people. The line at the bar is taking forever, one couple to my right starts groping each other and making out in the middle of the crowd, but no one even notices because they are all so intoxicated and all they care about is getting another drink. One man who is being served starts raising his voice and screaming at the bartender because they were out of the type of beer he wanted. The soccer players have moved from the bar to allow the ball go-ers to get to the bar. They are now standing in front of me by the door and I finally realize all three of them are British.

In my scan samples, all five stages are met. However, for the majority of my samples I missed the first stage, attention getting, and the second stage, recognition. The majority of people I observed had already gotten the attention of the other or I was viewing other people. The talk stage is demonstrated when the people are sitting a the booth. Both the hipsters and college kids seemed to all be in the “talk stage” because they were all past recognition and knowing each other, but they were not quite yet to the touch phase. The touch phase is recognized by the man trying to by the girl a drink because he was leaning in and kept touching her arm, back, and hair, and she would giggle and lean into him. It also began to be recognized when the college kids all went to the bar and started coupling off and taking shots. The guys that were interested in one of the girls there started paying her the majority of their attention and would lean in extremely close and try to touch her in any way possible (without being creepy). Also, when the tall, skinny blonde girl leaves her friends this shows recognition because she makes eye contact with this guy for him to have to want her to walk outside. It shows touch because he leaned in to her and kept touching her arm asking her to go outside. Total body synchrony occurs when he takes her hand and she follows him outside (they were not seen again that night, but this did not occur during my scan sampling). Total body synchrony also occurs when the couple from the Mardi Gras ball began making out in the bar. It also demonstrated when the older man takes a shot with the younger girl and then they exit together. Most of my samplings took place in order of the five stages, but there were a few exceptions. I noticed that sometimes attention getting is not necessary and that strictly recognition can is a big player in courting. Also, I noticed that a lot of the time talk and touch were correlated together: most men were touching women when they first began to talk or even before they had spoken. I also learned that certain types of touch do not lead to total body synchrony. Instead, sometimes touch can ruin any potential total body synchrony and send the person back to talk or recognition. I also saw that sometimes touch and total body synchrony would happen before a word was even spoken, so the talk stage was skipped completely. It is my belief the talk stage came after the total body synchrony stage. In my opinion, this proves that the five stages do take place in this order for most “routine,” or typical pick-ups. However, more often than not pick-ups are not simply routine because from my observations it appeared most people, especially the college kids and the hipsters, already knew the people they wanted to pick-up which eliminates basically three phases: attention getting because you already have the person’s attention, recognition because you have already made eye contact and know each other rather well (and could have potentially hooked-up previously), and talk because they have been talking to the person the whole night and could have even been together previously. I thought fifteen minutes would go by a lot slower, but it flew by and I observed more than I thought was humanly possible. If this study was longer than fifteen minutes it would give more of a thorough understanding but too much information for this assignment. I did not have any problems making my observations. I did have to ask one man to move who was obstructing my view, but he did not cause a problem. No one even seemed to notice I was there making observations. If I was to do this study again, I would choose a weekend that was not so crowded and without so many out of town guests. All in all, I feel like my strategies worked very well and I was able to make some very interesting observations.

Erica’s Human Ethology Assignment

I observed a party on Friday, February 8, 2013. This party was in the “East Edge” apartment complex near the University of Alabama campus. I arrived at approximately 10:00 pm. The environment was very dark and the room had a strobe light and several black lights. Because of this, the party-goers clothing was glowing. The room had a disorienting effect on the party-goers. The room was not very smoky, but there is a strong smell of cigarette smoke and marijuana.  There was extensive alcohol and marijuana use visible. The people at the party do not have a particularly unifying appearance (i.e. hipster, fraternity), however many people at the party have tattoos and facial piercings. In general, by the time I arrived, the majority of the people at the party are heavily intoxicated. There is an abundance of playful flirtation that is demonstrated through “butt slapping” and “grinding”. However, there does not appear to be any serious efforts at picking up a member of the opposite sex. I was not able to bring a voice recorder or notebook without attracting significant attention. It was a fairly small party. However, I took notes on my phone in order to not attract attention. Many people at the party were on their phones, so I did not look out-of-place.

I chose an average looking female for the “focal” study. She entered the party with a man who looked approximately the same age. It was very clear that she was the date of the man, and it was also clear that she was not familiar with most of the people attending the party. For the first few minutes of the party she sat alone on the couch. Her date (who appeared to know the majority of the party-goers) left her on the couch as he greeted his friends. She sat on the couch, occasionally adding to a conversation that was going on to her left, but overall remaining quiet. She appeared fairly uncomfortable and spent a portion of time biting her fingernails, sipping on a beer, and refreshing her Facebook newsfeed on her iPhone. She was sitting with reasonably good posture, with her shoulders back and chin up. She had her legs crossed, but continuously uncrossed and recrossed them. It appeared that she tried to get more comfortable or appear more relaxed by uncrossing her legs and slouching slightly, but she ended up reverting to her proper posture. After a few minutes, her date returned to her side. She looked obviously annoyed, but kept reassuring her date that she was fine, just a little bored. The date remained near her for a while longer. Soon after the date rejoined the female on the couch, several of the date’s friends wished to be introduced to the her. He introduced her, and she smiled and shook all of their hands. She quickly changed from being sullen to sociable. A girl who appeared to not know either of them particularly well asked the female “Is he your boyfriend?’ Although the male hesitated in response, the female replied very quickly and firmly ‘no’.  A male nearby who had been periodically looking over at this female (although she did not seem to notice or acknowledge him) came over and sat down next to her on the couch. He introduced himself and both the female and her date appeared to be fairly uncomfortable with this new male entering the situation. The female enters into a conversation with the new male about their hobbies, which quickly transformed to a conversation about their college majors. The male who she came to the party with looked increasingly uncomfortable with the entrance of this new male. Periodically he would place his hand on her knee and upper thigh, as if to display claim for the female. Eventually the new male realized what the “date” male was attempting to show. The girl appeared to not want the man to touch her leg like he was doing as she turned her body away from him each time he did it. It was unclear whether she did not like to be ‘claimed’ by someone, or she was uncomfortable with the physical interaction.

The scan sampling was less significant of an observation. Every 5 minutes in my 15-minute time slot was very similar. The first scan at the start of the 15 minutes, the majority of the people in the room (approximately 20 people in the room) were drinking, playing beer pong, playing “battle shots,” taking a hit off a bong, and dancing in the strobe light. The second scan was very similar. People were still playing the drinking games and dancing, however the marijuana was hidden away as more people started to arrive.  At the third set of 5 minutes intervals, many people (about half of the party) went outside to smoke cigarettes. Other than smoking, the people on the patio were talking. It was much quieter on the patio than it was inside the apartment, so polite conversation was possible. At the last scan, the people who were on the balcony came back inside. At this point, there was very little alcohol being consumed, but the people were dancing more frequently and with more vigor. A few people sat in the corners alone, but they were the minority in this scan of the room.

In both my focal sample and my scan sampling I noticed several stages of the singles-bar courtship. In the focal sample, the girl experienced talk and touch with the male she entered the party with. She did not employ any means of “attention getting” as her date already was interested. The new male who entered the situation achieved “attention getting” by attempting to assert dominance over the situation. He also talked to the female. However, because of the original male placing his hand on her legs, he backed away from the situation. I generally did not see the a “recognition phase,” but otherwise the people I observed followed the five stages in the order they were given. Tactically, I struggled with observations because I knew several of the people there. It was difficult for me to judge the situations without assuming the intentions of certain people simply because I knew their personalities. In addition, because I knew many of the people, I was continuously interrupted by people asking me if everything was okay, and asking about why I was sitting by myself. If I did this assignment again, I would definitely bring a voice recorder or I would go to a place where I’d be less likely to run into friends or acquaintances, such as a crowded bar.

Stephanie’s Human Ethology Assignment


  • Place: Icon, Tuscaloosa
  • Time: Arrived at around 12 am. Left at 3:00 am.
  • People: There was a mix of early 20-somethings and middle-aged gay men. Not to mention a healthy dose of drag queens (Bambi was my favorite).
  • Ambience: The bar was very inviting. I noted how friendly the bouncer was at the door when he had to attach a band to my wrist to denote my age: “No! I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that. Alcohol is gooood!” as he leaned backwards in an excited motion.

Focal Sampling:

By this point, Icon was pretty packed, so I hopped aboard the dancing stage to increase my chances of honing in on a subject. As I was standing there, half-heartedly swaying, I noticed a gorgeous fellow appear on stage, seemingly out of nowhere (Criss Angel, I’m onto your tricks). What made him stand out so was his apparent affinity for tweed jackets and his beard (mainly his beard; it was so uniform).

Trying not to be ousted as the true beard-lover that I am, I spent a few moments taking note of his actions. Although completely confident to mingle and mouth the lyrics to M.I.A. alone, he seemed to be scanning the stage for a receptive dance partner to share in the gyrating glory. Quickly enough, he found such a partner. She appeared to be in her early 20’s, pixie-cut, and very androgynous. As soon as GS Boyz’s “Stanky Leg” blasted, all bets were off. The attraction was there.

The song eventually ended and another began playing. After “Stanky Leg” having had ignited the flame, the pair engaged in sensual kissing. It beared a likeness to the mating of Gartner snakes, with their production of male and female pheromones. With the pair still intertwined, I honestly began wondering how long this odd pair could last. Her denim button-up became untucked, his pinstripe shirt ruffled… and as quickly as it began, it ended by the female subject’s stern: “I’ll be right back. I’ve gotta go to the bathroom.” She never came back.

Scan Sampling:

First Scan- The bar is comparable to a sardine can, people in every direction. I do notice a heavy influx of people at the bar, filing every seat. While looking in that direction, I notice a fellow go to the bar in an attempt to order a drink, however, his attempt is met with failure when the bartender does not notice him. He waits patiently for the remainder of the minutes to receive his drink,

Second Scan- By this point, I noticed everyone in the room seemed to be dancing. I tried to narrow my target to a group of girls who seemed to be lesbians. Of the four, there seemed to be two couples. Of said couples, one pair couldn’t seem to keep their eyes off one another. The wavy-haired woman kept a firm grasp over her lady as they swayed to the music. As for the other couple (right  next to them) they seemed a bit less entranced.

Third Scan- My next scan leads me to a sparkly drag queen talking to a gentleman off to the side, in front of the mirror. Flirtation is abound as smirks and tender touches run high. The drag queen gently rests her hand on the gentleman’s shoulder and whispers something into his ear. They both seem to be having an engaging conversation.

Fourth Scan- Two men dressed in suits (appearing to have arrived there separately) begin hugging. A third party pops up, waving a camera and makes a motion for the duo to kiss. The pair obliged and engage in a fairly long make-out sesh. The photog is pleased by this and flashes a big smile. Meanwhile, the pair end their passion in turn for some casual conversation. They likely were discussing their snazzy suits, because that’s what I would have done.

Analysis of Notes: 

I did observe the 5 stages of courtship in relation to the study. The beard-wielding fellow and his pixie-cut comrade both followed the five stages fairly exact. He began by getting her attention with his suave moves, her acknowledging him, them exchanging words, slight touch, and then completely to full body synchrony.

With that being said, not all couples or groups on the dance floor followed these steps. Some couple opted to skip stages two and three altogether. 15 minutes certainly makes it difficult to adequately observes all of these stages without missing steps.