By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"Peacocking" is a term popularized by the mondo-douchebag's guide to picking up women, The Game. It means dressing to get the attention of women, but I like to apply it to the douchebag vs. douchebag verbal competition in which each attempts to one-up their opponent by bragging about the expensive things they own. For the birds, it's colorful feathers. For the $30,000 millionaire, it's usually cars.
"Hey, man, what kind of car do you drive?" Wes grabs the elbow of the first guy who walks by.
"Infiniti." Low-end $30k-er. Perfect.
Next, a shocker from a blond guy who doesn't look a day over 19: "Aston Martin," he says, grinning and putting his arms around two bulbous-chested blondes in sweater dresses. I try to look impressed rather than incredulous. "What do you do for a living?"
"Oil and gas," he says, winking. Something tells me that might mean running the grill at Cuba Libre, not closing billion-dollar natural resource deals in South Texas.
Finally, lightning strikes. The fifth or sixth guy who comes by is bursting with pride. "ME?" He yells over the music, knocking over a freshly poured Cape Cod at the same time, "I have four cars! Well, three and a motorcycle." He rattles off the ways he rolls: a starter Lexus and BMW, plus a Nissan 350Z and a crotch rocket. Can't get a loan on a $100,000 Bentley? Get $30,000 loans and go for quantity over quality. How did this guy make his fortune? The trademark vagueness with regard to Homo sapiens douchebagus' employment wins: "I sell computers."
In the end, the only people really attracted by my tank top bait are waitstaff and bartenders, the people who end up suffering when the $30,000 millionaire walks his tab or tips 5 percent.
Wearing the shirt to free sushi happy hour at Steel in Oak Lawn, I get laughs and high-fives from every waiter I pass. "You're in the right place," one whispers. "Look around!" another says, gesturing to the whole bar. Same thing at Cretia's on McKinney. "They never tip," the bartender says.
I was done being honest. Like Dian Fossey and her gorillas, I was never going to get anywhere by causing alarm, so I squeezed myself into a tube dress and parked myself at the end of a posh bar, alone on a Saturday night.
Time: Early Saturday night
Location: Kenichi in Victory Park
Research team members: Self, honoring the great tradition of other women who sit alone at bars, such as drunks and prostitutes
Target: A soft-featured guy with a blue button-down shirt tucked neatly into his slacks; lacks the flash usually evident on Homo sapiens douchebagus, but he's worth a try
I'm drawn in when "John" and his friends order six cherry-something-or-other-hoo-hah shots, the kind of wussy, trendy shooters favored by guys reluctant to fork over $17 for top-shelf tequila when they just need to get drunk enough to talk to a couple of bimbos. But they pay cash—not typical $30k behavior. There is one shot left over. John puts his arm on my chair and pushes the drink toward me.
"Who are you rooting for?" I ask, gesturing toward the television over the bar. Oklahoma's losing to Texas Tech.
"Tech, babe!" he says. "It's my alma mater." I sympathize. As a Longhorn fan, I say, I love to see Oklahoma lose any which way. "Did you go to UT?" he asks. I didn't, I admit. I went to NYU. No football there. But UT's my surrogate team. He rolls his eyes.
"That's lame," he says. What am I doing here all by myself, he wants to know. I'm a writer, I gush. I'm looking for $30,000 millionaires.
"Oh, I used to be one of those guys," he says. "I fucked up my credit bad."
I try to keep myself from jumping off of the barstool and kissing him. A real, live, recovering $30,000 millionaire! Mere inches from me! Just as I am about to ask him about how he came to be the kind of guy who pays with cash instead of Visa, Tech scores. A short, blond sorority-type to John's right cheers.
"GOOOOOO, TECH!" she screams. In no time at all, the only conversation available to me is with the back of John's head. "That's my school!" the girl continues to cheer. Within seconds, he is ushering her out the door, hand on her lower back, and I am left alone.
Results: Pleased with success in identifying former Homo sapiens douchebagus. Important lesson learned. Lose all interesting attributes, become as generic as possible and absolutely do not talk about having a job. These things detract from the $30,000 millionaire's desire to divulge copious amounts of personal information in an attempt to sleep with me.
Finally, with this understanding of what it would take to lock down a $30k-er, I proceeded to my final destination: Mantus and Naked Sundays.
All the elements aligned that Sunday night—valets, velvet ropes and the fact that it was Sunday. Lawyers, doctors, businessmen and anyone else likely to be raking in real millions has to work on Monday morning. Homo sapiens douchebagus' life of never-ending leisure is the ultimate giveaway.