Location – Bo’s Bar in Tuscaloosa
Date/Time – Saturday February 9th, 11:45 p.m
Location – Bo’s Bar in Tuscaloosa
Date/Time – Saturday February 9th, 11:45 p.m
Location: Small apartment party
I was a little under the weather this past weekend so my experience is not as flavorful or as varied as the rest. Saturday night I attended a small party at the people across the hall. Most of the people were not really involved with the party. There was one guy who was around 21 years of age. He was a medium height, attractive, and very flirtatious and intrigued by the girl next him. She was pretty in a very short reveling blue dress. He was seizing her up as she was talking to him. His body language was engaged and determined to take her home by the end of the night. He was smooth but almost eyeing her like prey. She was an easy pick up for him.
Next my eye panned to the dance floor. It was like animals in heat. So much passion and lust filled the dance floor. Everybody was having a great time. The party carried on and many people exchanged numbers and information flawlessly. Everyone had a great evening and many had fulfilling evenings.
For this social experiment I decided to go to Buffalo Phil’s, a local restaurant and bar located on The Strip. I decided to bring one of my male companions with me so as not to appear too conspicuous while observing people interacting. I wrote all my notes on the Notes app on my phone. To those around me it appeared as though I was texting one of my other friends. However, I’m pretty sure the waitress who was serving my friend and I noticed that I wasn’t texting. She didn’t say anything about it, however.
So for fifteen minutes I had to watch someone in the restaurant. I decided to watch a Caucasian male of about 20 years of age who had dark brown hair and glasses. This male was not dressed up, but was in a fraternity shirt and jeans. This particular male was at a table with two other males and one female. He was engrossed in a conversation that his friends were having. The whole time his posture was slumped towards the female in the group. The male also did not sit back in his chair, but leaned towards the middle of the table while slumping at the same time. He tended to spend a lot of time with his chin in his hand and chewing at his nails the whole time. This male would spend a lot of time looking at the table whenever his male companions would talk. This behavior is contrast to when the female would talk, which is when the male would spend more time looking at her. The female, however, would not return this same eye contact. His posture whenever he was looking at her would be to lean towards her and slightly lift his head so he was just barely looking up at her. When the male was talking to the group he would look at each person in the eyes. The male seemed to be more engrossed with the female than any other member of his group. In fact, the only time that he laughed was when the female told a joke. At the end of the fifteen minutes, the group left and the male put on his coat. He left Buffalo Phil’s with his hands in his pocket and shoulders slouched while looking intently at the group.
Not much happened during the first five minutes of scanning the room. There was a couple eating at a table adjacent to my own who were talking. Their bodies were leaning as close as the table would allow and they kept constant eye contact. They were not, however, holding hands or making any physical contact. There were a few males at the bar who were watching TV and unconsciously leaning towards each other. Another couple came in to the restaurant and sat at a table across from my own. The female decided to sit at a seat that was closest to male on his right side. Two of the waitresses exhibited mirror behavior by scratching behind their respective ears whilst having a conversation. There were also two females sitting at a table together who were dressed in a over-sized T-shirts and jeans, were having a discussion and leaning very far over the table.
The second five minutes were much the same. One waitress was engaged in a conversation with a male and moved to face him. During the observation time this particular couple moved closer together so there was less space between them. The female sitting at the table opposite my own with her assumed boyfriend was twirling her hair, while the male was looking at the ceiling and did not seem to be paying attention to her. At one point three males walked into the restaurant and were looking for a table. They decided to sit on the side where it is assumed there were more apparently single women. They may have been meeting with some friends as well. Two girls who were just standing in the middle of the room moved to sit with a group of males (may have been the same group previously mentioned). Shortly after this one girl gave a high pitched laugh to a joke one of the males must have given.
The final scan was about as fruitful as the first couple scans. The bartender was engaged in a conversation with a female and was leaning down so he could more easily see into her eyes. The couple at the table across from my own was not even looking at each other and seemed to be making a point of looking at every other spot in the place, except where the other person was sitting. Three males at the corner were huddled together and appeared to be looking for someone who had yet to show up. Their expressions were set so that, from a distance, they seemed a bit frustrated. One of the two girls who had joined the groups of males was positioning herself so that she was leaning more closely to her female friend than to the male who was sitting on her right. There was also a couple at the bar who were deep in conversation. The male was talking a great deal, but looking at a spot on the opposite side of the restaurant instead of at the female.
There was not a lot of courting that happened during this excursion to Buffalo Phil’s. There was not a lot of attention getting observed because most people who were there already knew the people they were there with. There was quite a bit of talk going on and some people may have had it in their head that they were interested in someone they were with (like with the male in the focal sample). However, there was no talk that would seem to lead further than the restaurant. The exception being that someone may have come with their significant other. Touch was not really observed, even with the couples that were observed in the restaurant. There was mirror behavior with the waitresses. This may have been because they have worked with each other for a while and are comfortable together. There was no identifiable “pick-up” behavior observed, which may have been due to the fact that it was not a likely place to pick someone up or it may not have been the right time to observe such behavior.
Focal Sampling Summary
My focal subject was a man who was about 27 years old. He was sitting at the bar at Buffalo Phil’s. It was about 8:00 and the bar was full. There was a basketball game on TV but he was not watching it. He was sitting by himself and eating a cheeseburger. A lot of people at the bar were talking to each other and to the bartender but he kept to himself the whole time he was seated there. He didn’t look up much and he was wearing a baseball hat that hid his eyes. He also never took his leather jacket off the entire time he was there. He didn’t pull out his phone once. After each bite he would take a napkin and wipe his hands and wad it up. He had a pile of used napkins by the end of the meals. I was sitting fairly close to him at the bar too and after a little while he noticed me looking at him. After that, he would turn every so often to see if I was looking at him again. Other than that, he did not make eye contact with anyone or talk to anyone. At the end of his meal, he got up and left without saying thank you to the bartender who has served him his meal.
Scan Sampling Summary
I was at Buffalo Phil’s around 8:00pm, which was more dinner time than it was drinking. The restaurant/bar was packed and I immediately recognized people. Every table was full and because there was a $4 beer pitcher special, many people were drinking beer. Everyone was dressed very casually, wearing sweatshirts, sweatpants, sneakers and rain jackets. Many of the guys were wearing baseball hats and there were a lot of people with glasses on. It was obvious no one was there to get drunk, instead they were there to socialize and have dinner. The tables were mostly filled with same sex groups however there were a couple that had more than one girl but just one guy. There were about 5 tables with over 6 people at them. A lot of people were on their phones, especially at the smaller tables. Behind me, there was a table with two guys at it. Both of them were on their phones and they weren’t talking to each other. By 8:45, the restaurant had thinned out at most of the people had left the bar. There were a couple men remaining at the bar at this point that looked like regulars and kept looking over in our direction. The bigger groups stayed longer but most of the smaller tables were gone by this point. Everyone seemed really relaxed, the noise in the bar was at a minimum and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Other than beer, no one was really drinking alcoholic drinks and many people were eating French fries. Not many tables changed occupants throughout the time that I was there and there were a couple tables that stayed after we left.
In my observations I did a focal sample on a African American male that was well dressed in slacks and a button down shirt, he was reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. He seemed to be a happy man as he was smiling from the time I started watching him. He had amazing posture that was odd for the time of day that I was watching him. I observed him for answer a phone call that took about 5 minutes. After that he sent out two text messages. At the nine minute we made eye contact and continued to do so off and on for about a minute and a half. The 12 minute make I was forced to stop as my specimen came and began to engage me in conversation and tried to get my number.
Scanning the room was a little more difficult do to the shape of the room and my location in it. I was able to see a lot of people studying and doing work since I was doing this in the midday there were 6 study groups in different sections of the room. I observed the interactions between three of the six groups which were groups of what I believe were sorority girls as I they had on Greek letters. They talked to others that came in but would always come back to the original group. I wish I would have had more time to truly get a better view and observation of all the groups.
For the human ethology assignment, I went to Rounders Bar on The Strip. When I first arrived, there weren’t many people there so I wasn’t too sure if I was going to get a good outcome. But, as the night when on, the bar started filling up until it was almost impossible to move. For the focal sampling, I stood on the side of the bar by the exit and carefully kept my focus on one brunette girl who was there with what seemed like two or three of her friends. The girl, although underage (there were x’s on her hands), kept sipping from her friend’s drink throughout the first four minutes. The drink was a yellowy color so I’m assuming that it was a Red Bull and vodka. She was wearing a tight banded black skirt and a short, tight crop top tube top that showed part of her midriff and a lot of cleavage. After six minutes of just standing around with her friends, she started to look around the bar and move her body a little bit as if searching for an attractive person to dance with. She wasn’t really talking much, the only noises she’d make, really, were loud and over-exaggerated laughs. After about 11 minutes had passed and no one had come up to her, she found a guy with a wrist band and asked him to buy her a drink. She gave him money and got what looked to be like another Red Bull and vodka. She walked back over to her friends and then turned around to see if the guy was following her, but he wasn’t. Her face dropped for a second but then she just chugged her drink in about a minute and started dancing more openly with her friends. Towards the beginning of the 14th minute, a decently attractive guy grabbed her from behind and started dancing with her. They danced for maybe 30 seconds when they started holding hands. Another 15-20 seconds passed and they started kissing until the end of the 15 minutes. I observed 4 out of the 5 stages in the focal sampling exercise, but out of order: attention getting, recognition, touch, and total body synchrony. Fifteen minutes was not too short to observe all 5 stages. The only problem with my observation that I had was that it was difficult trying to hear what the girl was saying to her friends and to the guy who she wanted to buy a drink for her. I probably would have started dancing next to her in order to really hear what was happened and when she went to the bar, I would have followed and stood next to her there too.
For the scan sampling, I chose three different groups. One group was of tall football players, another group was of a bunch of frat boys, and another group was of some sorority girls. During the first minute, the football players were standing on the wall with their arms crossed, the fraternity boys were gathered in a circle nodding their heads to the music, and the sorority girls were scanning the room and dancing on each other simultaneously as if trying to gain attention. At the 5 minute marking period, the football players were pointing out attractive girls to one another and rapping to the music, most of the frat boys at that point had found a girl to dance with and a few others were getting drinks, and most of the sorority girls were drinking and still dancing on each other while a few were dancing with boys. At the 10 minute marking period, some of the football players were drinking but all of them were still on the wall nodding their head to the music. A few of them were reaching for girls trying to talk to them but most of the girls shrugged them off. Only two of the football players were successful in getting women. The frat boys were jumping up and down to the music in the center of the room, and the sorority girls had dispersed and were all over the club each individually trying to talk to guys. At the 15 minute marking period, one of the football players was kissing a girl and the rest were just standing on the wall and rapping to the music. The frat boys ended up moving across the room towards the bar to try and pick up women, and the sorority girls had joined back up again, most of them having a boy to dance with by now. I observed all 5 of the stages but out of order. Fifteen minutes was not too short to observe all 5 stages. I didn’t have any problems making my observations.
This past weekend I traveled to New Orleans with a group of friends to celebrate Mardi Gras and a friend’s 21st birthday. Counting myself, there were three girls in the group and we had never been to a strip club. We convinced the boys to take us to one on Bourbon Street, and I saw an opportunity to complete the assignment in a prime location for studying the anthropology of sex.
The strip club, Lipstyxx, had the usual (or so I’m told) mix of people, mostly male. The pole and dance platform was in the middle of an octagonally-shaped room, with chairs circling the platform, and tables interspersed throughout the room. The bar is located against the back wall of the room, and a door to the right of the bar leads to the VIP back room. Dancers can be taken to the back room for $40 a lap-dance. One of my guy friends, who is a NOLA local, told me some of the strippers also offer up other options. His previous trip there with the boys, he was solicited for “anything he could think of” for a flat rate of $250, in the upstairs of the club.
I chose to focus on a guy that had situated himself right up next to the stripper’s platform, where the strippers would trade out each song or two. The man was probably around 35-40, with a slight build, and about 5’10”. He had a rather wild look about him—evident in the mane of dirty blonde hair that stuck out in every direction from his head, and the goofy smile perpetually on his face.
The method of getting a stripper’s attention at this particular club (it may be at all clubs, but I’m a newbie) was to place a dollar bill either on the edge of the platform or in the participant’s mouth and wait for the stripper to notice. She would then either come and dance for the participant, or get more physical. In the fifteen minutes I was watching this guy, he perfected the “come hither” method with every single stripper that came up at least two times during her time on stage or more. Bluntly, he wasn’t playing around, and wasn’t bashful in the least about what he was there to enjoy.
The man watched each and every dance intently and obviously paid attention to detail. He tried and seemingly failed to get some of the dancers to do more than their usual dancing. Others, he succeeded at getting boobs in his face, and motor-boating a couple, always for another dollar in the g-string.
He had one companion with him, a guy with similar looks and seemingly a bit younger, who didn’t get as into the strippers as his friend did. He was drinking Budweiser the entire night, and didn’t go back to the VIP room while I was observing. He sat straight up in his chair and watched with rapt attention at first, but occasionally lost interest in a couple of the dancers. I noticed he wasn’t particularly choosy about what type he liked, but seemed to be more of an “ass man” as the time wore on.
I must not have been very inconspicuous, because the fellow approached me about an hour after I had ceased observing him. I was offended at first, but as my friend reminded me, he probably though, “well she is in a strip club too.” He told me, “You have piercing eyes, they haunt me from across the room, absolutely beautiful.”
I said thank you, but he persisted. He turned out to be from Alaska (if he was telling the truth, which for some reason I feel like he was…reminded me much of Grizzly Man) and was visiting his nephew (his companion) for Mardi Gras. We left, at my request, soon after, before he had the chance to ask me to dance for him.
Prior to being approached by my individual subject, I observed a group of college-age boys from LSU (judging from their baseball caps and misplaced swagger). The boys arrived after our group and immediately placed themselves in chairs that were right up against the dance platform. There were four boys in the group.
First five minutes:
Two of the boys in the group seemed to be the ringleaders and masterminds behind the strip club jaunt. These two were enraptured by the strippers and spent dollar bill after dollar bill tucking them in, throwing them up, or using them to solicit boobs-in-face. The other two watched as they did this, and occasionally threw a dollar onto the stage.
Second five minutes:
The two ringleaders remained in a trance, watching each and every stripper come up, oohing and aahing at the more acrobatic dancers as they swung upside down on and off the pole. The third guy in the group was beginning to get slightly more interested. The fourth guy was beginning to seem bored/agitated. He pulled out his phone and began scrolling through Facebook and only glancing up at the stripper every so often.
Third five minutes:
The ringleaders attempted to get tricks out of the current stripper on stage. She didn’t appease them, and they became rude and crass. They mouthed obscenities at her and made some crude gestures. The third watched lazily but did not act. The fourth guy, Facebook boy, however, became increasingly annoyed as the gestures got worse. By the time Alaskan man came to speak to me, the fourth boy got up and left the club.
The boys were all drinking steadily throughout my observation, and as it was Mardi Gras, I’m sure they had been drinking all day. They also, with the exception of the fourth guy, seemed to feed off each other and act accordingly.
While the situation/environment I was in was slightly different from a bar, in which singles go looking for a romantic interest, I think there are some interesting points to make in this circumstance.
I didn’t originally intend to do my observations in a strip club. However, I think it will provide interesting contrasting discussion for the rest of the class if the majority did their work at bars. The strip club, after all, is the embodiment of sex. Not only that though, but the method of picking up strippers, and my experience with a strip club-attendee are both worth noting in terms of “picking up”
Me and the wild Alaskan man:
He did follow the five stages of courtship to some extent. Instead of thinking I was odd, he took my keen observation as an invitation to hit on me (1. Attention getting). When he saw me continue to observe him, he could have taken it as recognition that I was interested. Stage three: he approached me to talk. Stage four even progressed, as he gave me an awkward side hug while speaking to my guy friends. Unfortunately total body synchrony didn’t pan out as my only interest was in leaving as soon as possible.
Strippers and the bros:
An interesting scene to watch was the method of “picking up” the boys employed when talking to the strippers. They were paying for any services they might receive, yet they still used many of the classic moves we all expect guys to use in a bar situation. The gentle touch of the hand on the back, the cocky look on the guy’s face as he spoke to the girl, and the looks to his friends to determine interest were all there. Only in addition to these were the not-so-respectful advances, such as the ass grab, which morphed into a gradual slide down the leg. Only a small change in scene and girl and the guy suddenly felt entitled to touch, speak and act entirely differently.
Besides the group I discussed, there were several other interesting facts about the place. For one, the DJ in question chose the genre of music he played for each dance based on the stripper’s ethnicity, almost every single time. Whether or not this was intentional, I don’t know. The bouncers of the club kept a protective eye on the strippers milling about the room, but also took their turn in grabbing the occasional ass as it walked by. The most interesting thing to observe was the look in the eyes as the audience watched the girl on said pole, and the facial expressions that matched each pair of eyes. Almost always, a hungry look accompanied eyes that never left the “essential” body parts.
Having been to many bars and only one strip club, I think the comparison in relation to “sex” one can make from both experiences has large similarities. Both are hunting grounds, in a sense. To be honest, the club made me kind of sad. From an anthropologist’s view, a strip club is an excellent place to study. As a woman, it made me sad to what the women working had become desensitized. I would think it would be interesting to go to a male strip club, to see if my feelings were different in that sense, and if it were easier to view the place as an ethnographic opportunity, rather than constantly thinking about the objectification of the women working inside.
Subject is a male, who is probably either 19 or 20 years old. He cannot be 21 or older because he does not have the wristband that would enable him to buy drinks from the bar. He is sitting at a booth with a group of friends he arrived with, many of whom are female. Even though he is not currently drinking, his open and somewhat forward behavior towards his female friends, and their receptivity, suggests that there might have been drinking beforehand.
After only a few minutes after arriving his entire table begins to dance. He and the only other male in the group dance with two of the girls, which leaves the rest of the females to dance together with a group. His dancing is very provocative, with him gyrating his hips while he is pressed behind the girl he is dancing with. He is dressed in a button down plaid shirt, with blue jeans. After a few minutes of dancing, he begins unbuttoning his shirt making his state of dress more provocative.
When the girl who he is dancing with begins to dance with another male in the crowd, he quickly moves on to find another dance partner. When he does find another girl, he dances just as provocatively with her as he did with the first girl. However, within the same song he is back dancing with the original girl. I take his dancing with another girl to be a technique to show off his prowess on the dance floor in order to win back his original partner. He and this girl continue to “grind” for the remaining time of my observation period.
First Scan- A crowd of people sit at the bar, and it’s mostly the older crowd. Younger adults are sitting further away, some of them probably in an attempt to not have their age questioned. There is one couple on the dance floor dancing to the country song that is playing. Most people are sitting at tables talking with friends, drinking, and looking around the room.
Second Scan- The music has changed to a rap song with a heavy bass beat, and most of younger adults in the bar have piled onto the dance floor. Men and women have coupled up, but there are always groups of females dancing with each other. Sometimes a single man will approach these female groups in order to find a dance partner. Some of them are happy to comply, while others turn him down and keep dancing by themselves.
Third scan- The dance floor has thinned out a little, but it is still populated by college kids. The rest of the bar crowd has gone back to sitting and drinking, but now there is more interaction between people from different groups. The bar gets smokier as more people pull out cigarettes while they drink. More men have started offering to buy women drinks after they come off the dance floor.
Fourth Scan- A popular song is being played and the majority of the people are back on the dance floor. “The Cupid Shuffle” does not require a dance partner, yet the pairing of men and women is still observable. Females who do not have a male partner are improvising within the proscribed dance steps in order to attract attention. Most of the males who do not have a partner for this dance sit at tables and look at the female dancers.
In my focal sampling, I definitely observed the steps of touch and total body synchrony. The male and his original dance partner seem to have already been friends, and so the first three stages were skipped. As they danced, touch was definitely involved and body synchrony evolved the more they danced with each other.
In my scan sampling, the different stages were apparent in different coupling situations throughout the bar. Attention getting was apparent in females dancing in order to attract a male. Recognition happened when a man noticed a particular woman and then engaged her in dancing. The talking stage was observable when a couple stepped off the dance floor, but then sat down together and began conversing. From that point whether or not touch and body synchrony followed, was hit or miss.
Fifteen minutes was not long enough to observe all five stages in an individual couple. The stages take time to accomplish individually, as well as the transition from one to another. It may take quite awhile to get from one simple touch to total body synchrony, if it happens at all. The only trouble I had in my observations is that it is hard to continually take notes for 15 minutes. I could not pretend to talk on the phone in a place that was so loud, and it is hard to go 15 minutes without someone talking to you in such a populated place. If given this assignment again, I would probably aim for a place that is a little less loud and crowded.
I went to Rounder’s on Friday where I conducted this experiment. Here I noticed a male probably around 20’s. He was drinking a variety of drinks, but mostly beer. He was with one other guy friend who was also drinking. As far as I could tell both of them were talking to numerous girls. Every time I looked they were talking to a different group of girls. The guy I choose to focus on was dressed nice and seemed to be flashing his “expensive” watch. His posture let everyone know around him that he was confident. To me, he seemed like the cocky jock in high school that knew he could get any girl he wanted. When he wasn’t talking to a variety of girls he stood at the bar and was casually scoping the room. Once he made eye contact with someone he would then go over and begins to make conversation. When he isn’t flirting with girls, I hardly saw him smile, but immediately turned it on when around the female species.
This sampling was quite difficult considering Rounder’s is a very crowded place on Friday night. Near the bar a lot of people were socializing with each other and meeting up with new people. The wall near the bathroom seemed to be where they shy people stood. I also noticed some of the football players stood there too. Then there was the dancing area. The closer you got to the stage the more heated it got between people. I also noticed there were a few “creepy” guys who just stood in the middle of the dancing area and watched girls who were dancing with other guys. When they were done, that’s when the guys would swoop in and start dancing with the girls. I also seemed to notice the more self-conscious girls stood far away from the where the majority of people.
I did notice that in getting flirting with the opposite sex, the person first grabbed the other’s attention. After that I noticed that usually the guy got enough courage to go up and talk to the girl. After talking for awhile the girl began to get touchy feely with the guy and that lead to them to start dancing and probably end up hooking up later that night. I did think that 15 minutes was too short to observe all these stages, but I guessed from personal experience.