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{n.} The degree to which a male possesses the capacity for raising a flaccid, favorite organ to an upright or distended positon (e.g., a man's "sleeping" penis or -- as is the case with a male sage grouse or frigatebird -- an uninflated gular sac).

' A unique physical feature of male great frigate birds was also bound to attract the attention of immature human males concerned with erectile performances of their own sex organs. Each male great frigate bird at mating time tried to attract the attention of females by inflating a bright red balloon at the base of his throat. At mating time, a typical rookery when viewed from the air resembled an enormous party for human children, at which every child had received a red balloon. The {Galápagos} island would in fact be paved with male great frigate birds with their heads tilted back, their qualifications as husbands inflated by their lungs to the bursting point—while, overhead, the females wheeled.

' One by one the females would drop from the sky, having chosen this or that red balloon.

" After Mary Hepburn showed her film about the great frigate birds, some student, . . . almost invariably a male, was sure to ask, sometimes clinically, sometimes as a comedian, sometimes bitterly, hating and fearing women: "Do the females always try to pick the biggest ones?"

' So Mary was ready with a reply: "To answer that, we would have to interview female great frigate birds, and no one has done that yet, so far as I know. Some people have devoted their lives to studying them, though, and it is their opinion that the females are in fact choosing the red balloons which mark the best nesting sites. " '

-- From Kurt Vonnegut's 1985 novel "Galápagos" -- Ch. 20 (p. 114).
by Dinkum August 24, 2013
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