How to Dance like a Peacock Spider

by Alison Xin

*Warning: the following article slowly becomes more deranged. Viewer discretion is advised.

So this is it, huh.

You’ve tried everything to woo that special someone, but nothing has worked.

Flirting, gifts, food items…no results.

Now you’re here.

Here to learn the secrets of the mystical peacock spider.

Part peacock. Part Spider. All fabulous.

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The peacock spider is what happens when an ordinary arachnid decides that camouflage is overrated and decides that the best method to survive is to confuse any predators.

It’s what happens when evolution has already finished with making things live and has decided that a boring life is a life not worth living.

To go with their glamorous exterior decoration, the peacock spider also has a special tradition: the mating dance. When a male senses the presence of a female, it will lift its legs into the air, and the wooing will commence. Some species will also unfurl a flap running along their abdomen to up the “wow” factor. While this elaborate ritual is generally restricted to only male peacock spiders, readers of this helpful guide need not be held down by such gender roles.

Let’s start with the actual instruction.

The first step to the dance is to grow an extra two pairs of appendages. Optimally, it should be two pairs of arms, though one pair of arms and a pair of legs will work as well. Two extra sets of legs are not recommended. If you lack the ability to spontaneously generate extra limbs, try “borrowing” some from mannequins. The author of this guide does not recommend “borrowing” limbs from living humans. If none of these options appeal to you, the dance can be modified to work with one set of arms and one set of legs, though it is not guaranteed to work its full magic when performed in this fashion. For the purposes of the guide, appendages will be numbered based on distance from the head. E.g., R3 is the right limb that is located third from the head.

After the limbs have been obtained, you must dress to impress. Think “Lady Gaga.” Peacock spiders typically have a large ornamental tuft that they wave and wiggle to accentuate their dancing. The human equivalent of this is a little hard to pin down. Some possibilities include a large headdress, a cape, or a large skirt. Whatever you chose should be heavily accented with feathers and bright colors. If you don’t want to wear a flamboyant costume, the minimum requirement is a generous application of face paint. Remember: think Lady Gaga.

Next, identify a possible mate to perform the dance to. When practicing, use a mirror or cardboard cutout. Maintain eye contact throughout the entire process — blinking should be reduced to a minimum. If you wish, you may grow another pair of eyes to complete the look, though previous guide users have concluded that it doesn’t really add much to the presentation.

Now you can start working on choreography. Select music of your choice – it really should be a reflection of your style and personal taste. However, I do not recommend music in these genres: heavy rock, EDM, dance, slow pop, rap, country, baroque, soul, gospel, regular pop, metal, anything that ends in “-core,” indie, chill, Latino, Reggae, punk, funk, blues, classic rock, jazz, orchestral, nature sounds, royalty-free music, marching band, cinematic, soundtracks, abstract, romantic/mood, scream-o, classical, hip hop, R&B, folk, Celtic, Americana, K-pop, J-pop, C-pop, and anything else associated with a nationality or culture. But really, no pressure. If it screams “you,” just go for it. Unless it falls into the previously listed categories.

The really fun stuff starts here. Start planning your dance, keeping to the rhythm of the song you selected. To fully incorporate the style of the peacock spider, you must move in jerky, quick movements (similar to having a nervous fit or seizure.) Your dancing must be smooth yet sharp, powerful yet delicate, beautiful yet modest, and ornate yet simple. Shouldn’t be too hard.

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What, you need more guidance? Well, if you insist, here’s some helpfully provided inspiration choreography.

  1. Jump in front of your potential mate to attract their attention. Don’t say anything, just start dancing. Don’t worry about escape; your potential mate will be too enraptured to move.
    • If your mate does appear disinterested and about to move, be attentive to their feedback. Occasionally, male peacock spiders will be devoured by females due to sub-par dancing. It would be a shame for such an event to befall a reader of this article.
  2. Slowly raise R3 and L3 while also wiggling and raising your preferred flamboyant article of clothing. If you decided to not wear any special costume (you dirty non-committer) continue staring. Maybe widen your eyes.
  3. Drop your legs back down while shaking them to the beat.
  4. Clap a few times or something, I don’t know.
  5. Pick your favorite pair of limbs and wave them back and forth. Imagine you’re one of those people with glow sticks at an airport waving down incoming airplanes. left and repeat.
  6. Teleport several body lengths to the right and continue waving, albeit faster. Teleport to the left and repeat.
  7. Without warning, leap forward toward your potential mate.
    • Do not let any loud noises from your potential mate distract you from your moment in the spotlight. Think of it as audience feedback.
  8. Move toward your mate in slow zigzags.
    • Are you remembering to retain eye contact? Some of the more inexperienced dancers will often times lose their focus during this part of the dance.
  9. Clap your second favorite pair of limbs together rapidly.
    • At this point, a lot of your limbs will be in the air. I would suggest being cognizant of not attempting to use all four pairs at once, as this often results in accidents.
  10. Abruptly stop clapping. Quickly move behind your mate. Preferably, this step should be as silent as physically possible.
  11. Again, keeping as silent as possible, slowly creep toward your mate’s back. If they turn silent as physically possible. around, just try to keep out of their line of sight. At this point, for added glamour, R3 and L3 should be held parallel to the ground and as still as possible.
  12. Slowly extend R1 and L1 toward your mate.
    • If your mate appears uncooperative, do not attempt to grab them. You may be victim to legal action and/or an unpleasant reaction from the physical contact.
    • Remember to stay aware of potentially hostile and/or cannibalistic impulses from the potential mate.
  13. Burst into an explosion of movement and emotion. This should catch the attention of your mate, who will turn around to locate the source of the disturbance. This is your grand finale.
    • Advice to the reader: during this process, jump back several body lengths to minimize risk of anyone getting hit “accidentally.”
  14. Success?

If you follow the steps of this guide exactly, you…still may or may not get the desired results. The sheer grandiloquence of the peacock spider may not be able to properly channel through your body. Practice makes perfect — do not be afraid to try again. Perseverance is the key component to making sure the dance is successful. On a similar note, you shouldn’t let anything hold you back from letting your inner star shine – remember that fabulousness can overcome anything, including underlying crippling self-esteem problems, poor hand-eye coordination, generally accepted social norms, and restraining orders!