Karen Fratti
June 14, 2017 2:07 pm
Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego /Getty Images

Remember that old pick-up artist handbook called The Game? Well, it looks like The Mystery Method has spread all the way into the ocean. While pick-up tricks are often silly and sometimes very, very sexist, scientists say that male dolphins are “peacocking” to find mates by wearing hats. No, seriously. OK, they aren’t wearing hats, but Australian researchers have observed male dolphins striking a “banana pose,” with their head and tail out of the water and sponges on their heads to attract females.

The sponges are actually ripped from the floor of the sea, so scientists think dolphins doing this to impress the females — a sign of strength and style. Dr. Simon Allen of the University of Western Australia said that it’s a “socio-sexual display,” though it hasn’t been effective. In many cases, Allen says his team notices females ignoring the sponges. Sometimes, they even see the male fling the sponge off his head at the female when she ignores it.

Sounds like some typical mating behavior.

Allen described the tossing as akin to a male throwing flowers at women they want to court. “So essentially ‘If you don’t want these roses, I’m then going to throw them at you,'” he said. Ugh, we hope human dudes aren’t taking tips from this strategy.

It’s actually really similar to The Mystery Method, which is outlined in The Game and was made popular a decade ago thanks to an MTV show hosted by its author, Mystery. There are a few rules to the Game — one is to “peacock,” meaning to wear a statement piece that can spark conversation, or hold something ridiculous to show off, like shuffling a deck of cards.

Other gems from the method? Men can “neg” a girl, which means that when talking to a woman, instead of respecting her or complimenting her, they say something nasty or mean. This is supposed to intrigue the prey, er, woman. There are tons of suggestions like that one in the ultimate pickup manual, which we highly suggest you read use as a paperweight or doorstop.

Dolphins are smart and all, but we have to assume that they haven’t formed a book club to read a pickup artists’ manual. Which must mean that mating instincts — including thinking it’s unfair that a female doesn’t appreciate a male’s effort — run very, very deep. The sponge hats are equal parts amusing and creepy that way. In any case, the next time you spot a dolphin with a sponge on his head at the beach or out on a boat ride, remember to duck.

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