Flaunting the Cactus: Caption That Cover!

Teri S. sent me the following book cover, saying that it HAD to be an excellent book, what with the cover and the title.


Now, I think that’s hilarious. Almost as hilarious as the couple embracing in the avocado field, which, according to the person who was looking for that book, features the tagline, “The avocado farm was going well, but who could have predicted Jane’s brain aneurysm?….” Wow. From One More Chance among the avocodos to A Flaunting Cactus, old-old-skool Harlequin titles are as much fun as the newer-old-skool titles they’ve recently stopped using.

(NB: I was reading a Sara Craven book, The Highest Stakes Of All, which was pretty much about a woman who allows her long-absent con-artist father to re-enter her life and treat her as a hot distracting accessory to his poker games, all but prostituting her while insisting she pose as his niece. I couldn’t help but wonder what the title would have been had Harlequin not switched their title style. The Assmunch Absent Father’s Highest Stakes? Folded By The Greek Billionaire’s Disdain? Overboard: Where Her Father Was Thrown?)

Anyway, I digress. Since Teri sent me that cover, I’ve found myself wondering what the hell a Flaunting Cactus is. I mean, I know it’s a prick but it is also PRICKLY? If I’m not in a desert climate, do I look for Flaunting Daffodils? What does the title MEAN? Yet Teri and I still don’t know what it means.

So in a variation of Caption That Cover, please, tell me: what’s a flaunting cactus? Don’t Google the book itself – that’ll spoil the fun! Is the Flaunting Cactus the dance they’re doing? Are those balloons in PERIL? (Summon Balloony Tunes to the rescue!)

Winner of the best caption or explanation as voted by me (but feel free to pimp your fave) will get a $25 gift card to the bookstore of his/her choice. Standard disclaimers apply: I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Watch that cactus. Do not under any circumstances get caught between the moon and New York City. You’ve got 24 hours to hook me up with a viable explanation or caption.

Please, PLEASE, help us out here: What the hell is a Flaunting Cactus?!


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Emily says:

    Flaunting cactus: typically an action used when the male of the species (human or otherwise) begins a celebratory dance in front of his desired mate. This is usually performed sans pants and may include either gel for the you-know-where-hair or an unwelcome inflammatory rash. The female is expected to stare in wild-eyed rapture although she has been known to flee – this is a recent development and should not be expected in cases pre-late twentieth century.

    Also a highly intoxicating rum drink. Avoid at all costs. The ultimate weapon for Animal House-wannabes.

  2. 2
    MissQuoted says:

    Flaunting the Cactus: slang term for when a looner (balloon fetishist)  attempts to pop his balloon with a variety of different objects such as thorns, cactus needles, hat pins, etc .. .till the balloon actually explodes ending his sexual gratification.

    I know what this book is all about.

  3. 3
    Tina C. says:

    “Flaunting Cactus” is a little-used British expression, much like “preening peacock”, that is used when someone is a prick and is not just proud of it, he puts his prickishness on display whenever possible. 

    Example:  Charlie Sheen, that flaunting cactus, sold-out another of his “Torpedo of Truth” trainwrecks, er..“shows”, again—a sign of the Apocalypse if ever there was one.

  4. 4
    DKC says:

    Does anyone else get a mental image of a cactus grooming itself? Like an anthropomorphic cactus putting hair gel on it’s prickles and preening in front of a mirror?

  5. 5
    Sarah A-B says:

    Flaunting Cactus:  if you need to ask what it is, then you
    deserve to be pricked by one ;-)

  6. 6
    redcrow says:

    …what’s a flaunting cactus?

    Non-witty answer, but that thas my first thought: the weird pairing/ship name. (“Ship” in the fannish meaning of the word – “I want those characters to be together/believe they are together”, not “ship” as a mode of transportation.) Most people either go with “X/Y” or use a portmanteau of characters’ names… but there’s also this:


    I think “Flaunting Cactus” wouldn’t look out of place on that list.

  7. 7
    Mickie T says:

    I’ll just say to whoever came up with that title:  I do not think it means what you think it means.

    It sounds really uncomfortable, though!

  8. 8
    Deadline Hell says:

    Flaunting Cactus is
    an inwardly chafing form
    of the prickly pair.

  9. 9
    Galadriel says:

    The Flaunting Cactus is a rare species of animal related to the hedgehog. Unlike the hedgehog, however, the flaunting cactus lives in deserts, does not make a good pet, and when threatened, does not roll itself into a ball. Instead, it freezes, its arms lifted up in a U formation, mimicking the saguaro cactus plant in the hopes of being mistaken for same.

    More importantly, “flaunting the cactus” is a slang term in direct opposition to the famous saying/song, “The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All.” As a result of an impressive amount of research by very dedicated scientists, their conclusions show that unlike his hedgehog cousin, the flaunting cactus is relatively easy to bugger. However, it is not advised that amateurs attempt to reproduce these experiments for their own edification without appropriate body armour, a pair of tweezers, and a full box of bandaids.

  10. 10
    Diatryma says:

    A flaunting cactus is actually related to the recent discovery that humans lack the gene to make penises spiny.  Some men are called Neanderthals, others are throwbacks to a far, far earlier stage of evolution.  They do not become erect so much as weaponized, and they are the only people for whom ‘impale’ can be used in a sex scene.

  11. 11

    I am SO grateful that ya’ll are helping me figure this out.  I am on chapter four of the Flaunting Cactus, and I still don’t know what it’s about.  There is a heroine who’s got a deadbeat boyfriend, a hero with a deadbeat girlfriend, and an old lady who is trying to manipulate people into doing her will…we just aren’t yet sure what that is, yet.  No mention of cacti.

    I am pretty sure this is set in South Africa, however!

  12. 12
    SB Sarah says:

    @TeriAnne: Maybe the old lady is the cactus?

  13. 13
    Katlyn Costello says:

    In a selfless attempt to distribute all of the disturbing imagery possible, I offer my opinion.

    Flaunting Cactus: a sexual position imitating a saguaro. (You know, for those die-hard botanists among us who like to take their work home…)

  14. 14
    Sarah S. says:

    It’s a gymnastics dismount, of course.

    Though it appears in a somewhat…different context in the novel.

  15. 15
    Joy says:

    Flaunting cacti show their pricks.

  16. 16

    I think this Harlequin was ahead of its time, presenting both scientific information integral to the plot, and giving us a hero who overcomes a potentially heartbreaking congenital condition to find true love. It’s clear the hero has vestigial penile spines, similar to those still sported by many primates today. And the cover picture, while unfortunate, alludes to that condition brilliantly; like any young man tends to do when engaging in that lascivious, godless slow-dancing with his ladyfriend…the hero is “flaunting cactus.”

  17. 17
    JaniceG says:

    The Flaunting Cactus is attending the same party as the dancing couple and, in a fit of drunken flaunting, claimed it could burst with its thorns all the balloons everyone tossed up in the air before they hit the ground. Yeehah!

  18. 18

    Teri S., you’re cracking me up, both with your book find and your comment! You’re also inspiring me to scour local goodwills and thrift stores for finds.

    This book appears to be the untold tale of Mommy Dearest and Rock Hudson. Maybe Flaunting the Cactus is about that oddly uncomfortable and awkward romance before they went on to their infamy.

  19. 19
    Elizabeth says:

    This term comes from The Fallible Fiend, by L. Sprague de Camp an early fantasy novel in which a demon has been forced into servitude at a circus. At one point he is ordered to sleep with a woman, and out pops his penis, which is covered in needles. She naturally declines and it retracts back inside the demon. No, Really. You can buy this on Amazon.

    Obviously, I infer that this means that in certain fantasy circles, a demon with its junk out has come to be referred to as flaunting one’s cactus. It logically follows that this book is an early paranormal romance, and that a quiet loner gets taken to prom by a demon who most likely sparkles in the sunlight. This then became a little-known precursor to the famous Twilight series, and is finally receiving the recognition it deserves.

  20. 20
    Donna D. says:

    Example:  Charlie Sheen, that flaunting cactus, sold-out another of his “Torpedo of Truth” trainwrecks, er..“shows”, again—a sign of the Apocalypse if ever there was one.

    Okay, that made me LOL so hard I choked on my coffee.

  21. 21
    Cathy says:

    A “flaunting cactus” is a slang term in the Southwest for a transvestite prostitute.  Beautiful to look at, but if you get too close, out pops the prick(er).

  22. 22
    Kris Bock says:

    As a resident of New Mexico, I can say with absolute authority because I just made it up that a Flaunting Cactus is a slang term for a female who flaunts her beauty (much like the cactus in bloom) but when you get too close you suffer from her cruel jabs. Also known as a Red Berry—as in, “Don’t eat Red Berries. They’re poisonous.”

  23. 23
    quichepup says:

    I don’t know why but I’m imagining a big tricked out lowrider with spiky fins, flames on the side called the Flaunting Cactus. Owned by the dude in the dinner jacket, he’s a secret street racer by night. By day he’s an international playboy and semi-professional prom date. He learns the lady is a rival street racer and he’s trying to sprain her her driving hand by bending it back, so she can’t race against him later that night. Because he cannot bear to compete against her, true lurve, y’know.

    At least that’s what I imagine.

  24. 24
    Tamara Hogan says:

    A flaunting cactus?  He’s gotta be her beard.

  25. 25
    Abby says:

    The Flaunting Cactus is an advanced yoga pose traditionally performed by men, though women can perform it with the help of specialized equipment.

  26. 26

    A flaunting cactus is a reference to the gyrations of her pelvis two-three days after shaving. See, the hairs get so long they can poke right through the thin material of her sundress, and since she’s not wearing any panties (heh!) she is then sporting a Flaunting Cactus. It is a derogatory term from the same creator as Bat Wings.

    Proper usage by a guy: “She came at me with that Flaunting Cactus and I jerked my equipment away afraid of permanent damage. One poke was enough, so no, we didn’t slow dance.”

  27. 27
    Lady T says:

    My research tells me that a flaunting cactus is the biological trigger for what is commonly known as “purple passion”-symptoms include bad ballroom dancing,surrounding yourself with different shades of purple while ignoring it’s constant presence and of course,severe scrotum bruising.

    Some have tried to ward off purple passion with doses of the cactus flower but that only inflames the condition,with the additional side effect of obsessively watching Goldie Hawn movies.
    If that happens,take two Kate Hudson films and call into work the next morning.

  28. 28
    Kismet says:

    Flaunting Cactus: Your zipper’s down

  29. 29
    SAM I Was, SAH I Am now.. says:

    Hahahahahahaha!!!! I am sooo using your term, Sorcha Mowbray, when I’m feeling lazy. Love it!

  30. 30
    U.A.C says:

    “Flaunting Cactus” is acutally the guy’s luchador alter ego that spectacularly comes to life while he’s in the ring…

    The Flaunting Cactus is a true sight to behold!  So manly as he parades his beefy body, promenading to the chants of the spectators!  Then, swift as lightning, he swoops in to disable his opponent with his famous two fingered prickly cactus eye poke maneuver. 

    Later tonight, he has plans on showing some lucky lady another of his prickly cactus maneuvers that he’s famous for…hint, hint, wink,wink.  Because he’s feeling…a little thorny.

↑ Back to Top