Picture*My senior pictures. Peacocking.
There are these birds called peafowl, that most people just call peacocks. This isn’t totally correct – the peacock refers to the male only. The female is the peahen and the little babies are peachicks. The peacock – again, the male – is known for its extravagant, eye-spotted tail plumage, which is hard to describe in words. It’s bright and opalescent and brilliant and, well, extravagant. When the peacock sees a peahen with which it would like to have intercourse[1], it stands tall and spreads its extravagant plumage in an effort to attract the female.

“Peacocking” is the human version of this. It’s when a human man puts on airs and makes some extravagant attempt to persuade a woman (or another man) to have intercourse with him.

The Iranians – your people – are famous for their peacocking. It’s possible they invented it.

One of your uncles told me that Iranians also invented backgammon, math, etiquette, and that they were the first in flight. If I had been a woman, your uncle telling me that would have been a good example of peacocking.

Peacocking can also mean wearing a lot of cologne, or a flashy or stylish suit, or driving around in a brightly colored or large or expensive car, or showing off a lot of chest hair. This is the Iranian way.

When I was your age, assuming you’re 20 when you read this, my style of peacocking was slightly subtler. I took guitar lessons, listened to the Indigo Girls[2], and wrote a lot of poetry. I should say that peacocking is almost never successful, as you might have already concluded. Not for anyone. I don’t know why women decide to have intercourse with men, but it’s generally not because we listen to the Indigo Girls (although maybe?).

Men/boys your age wake up peacocking (so to speak) – our whole lives are dedicated to trying to persuade women to have intercourse with us. When a boy tells you about camping in Zion, that’s peacocking. When a boy brings you flowers, that’s peacocking. When a boy likes dogs, that’s peacocking.

That’s all fine.

Peafowl behave this way because their species depends on it. It’s unconscious. They don’t think to themselves, “If I display my plumage, perhaps that peahen would like to have intercourse with me.” Human’s peacocking is similarly unconscious. If men didn’t have some innate urge to have intercourse with women, there would be no offspring. In other words, our peacocking isn’t malicious. We’re not trying to own or destroy you. We’re trying to impress you.

This isn’t always the case, of course, and you should always keep that in mind.

[1] I’m not sure that sex between two birds is called intercourse. I’m taking some creative license here because I think it’s funny to say when two birds have intercourse. That’s the power of personification, which is sort of the point of this memo.

[2] The Indigo Girls were a folk/rock music duo consisting of two women. They were popular starting in the late 1980’s, and are now, in 2011 – the year you will be born – are self-releasing albums. Read more about them in the memo titled “College Lesbianism.”