He was beautiful. Standing there like a god, his posture intimidating, strut staggering, beard hanging. Dark and handsome, he looked good. Good enough to eat.
I stood in disbelief, staring, holding my breath as I attempted to admire from afar. I took a step forward, afraid to get too close. But I knew he wasn’t looking at me. Not truly looking, anyway. He was looking at Them. A group of girls standing about 10 feet away.
My gaze followed him as he took a few steps, showing more swagger than Mick Jagger and P. Diddy at the All-White Party, combined. With a side of John Mayer, I suppose. Because that dude has been with a lot of hot female celebrities.
As he walked—no, strutted—the girls in front of him stayed together. A pack of pretty, they looked unaware and uninterested. Like they had no idea he was standing there. But that’s a trick. All females know when they are being watched. Even if we act like we don’t see, we see. Oh, we see.
He continued to walk forward, but I could feel his frustration--tangible, thick in the air—as the girls continued to ignore him. How could they not see him? Or care? I waited, counting the seconds because I knew it was coming. One, two, three…Wait for it…
He stopped, closer than ever to the group, who looked more disinterested than before, their backs turned, heads looking towards the ground. And then, like a magician unveiling a rabbit under his top hat, a wave of dark feathers opened like nature’s gift as he let out a loud, throaty gobble, urgent. As he stood, more puffed than a Corn Pop, his stance confident as if he was saying, “Hey, ladies. You like what you see? ”
Ole’ Turkey Tom was getting his pimp juice on. In my backyard.
And the hens weren’t havin’ it.
My parents live in the woods on 18 acres, so I’ve grown up around the Calls of the Wild, if you will. These days, my mom has gotten into bird watching, even buying a book called “Backyard Birds: Michigan”, and dog-earing the pages that showcase birds we have seen. After seeing bluebirds nest in our boxed birdhouses, woodpeckers knock their noses against oak trees and robins lay blue eggs every year in the front yard spruce, I can honestly say that no bird has more swagger than that of the male turkey.
It’s comical to watch a male turkey try to get the attention of a pack of hens, especially because of how eerily similar it is to a gel-haired guy’s attempt to penetrate a pack of women in high-heels at a club Just replace the feathers with a tight Affliction tee or button down striped shirt, the throaty gobble with a smooth “You wanna a drink?” comment and the sunlight streaming in through the leaves with strobe lights and a crowded dance floor, and you’ve got yourself a Mating Call copycat scenario.
The male swagger is still there. The desperate “Look at me” is there. The girls trying to ignore and get tighter and tighter together when a dude approaches is there.
As I watched Turkey Tom become frustrated with his “I’m So Pretty” approach while the hens clucked away, I realized how many females –turkey or human or whatever—seem to travel in packs when it comes to attracting the opposite sex, while a guy goes at it alone or with one other dude. My boyfriend and I were recently swapping stories of college days and going out. I spoke of getting ready with the girls and our process for keeping the Creepers at bay, but he wasn’t all like, “Yeah, we got about 10 dudes together and then danced and fistpumped and strategized.” Getting girls is a solo mission, while ladies are out doing their thang. Just like the hens.
And we seem to have the same strategies as the female turkeys do. Stay in a pack. Get close together. Do not make eye contact and appear unaware. You don’t see him, he’s not there, keep walking, keep talking. Sometimes them boys puff out their feathers or pump their fists. But it’s all in good fun. Good-natured fun.
And you gotta give it to Ole’ Turkey Tom. Swagger is key. So is persistence. So I will continue to watch him get his game on and maybe, just maybe, one day, he will find that lucky hen to break away from the pack.