I’ve been watching trashy American TV since the days when Friends episodes were still being played on Channel Four, and weren’t even repeats! And so the phrase ‘wingman’ has been in my vocabulary as long as I can remember.
However, it’s only over the past few months, as I’ve begun to attend more and more singles events, that I’ve actually begun to learn the virtue of a good wingman. And just how bad, in general, women are at the role!
I’ve never gone to bars with the intention of picking up guys. And so I guess that’s why I’ve never been too fussed about needing a wingwoman. Most of my past relationships developed from friendships, and so I didn’t overtly need a third party to help showcase my assets.
But in a world of singles events and dating-related socials, the need for a decent wingman is more pronounced.
You’re meeting complete strangers, in a room full of other singletons.
For a start, with so many members of the opposite sex to trawl through, it can help to have a second pair of trained eyes. Someone to give you a nudge in the right direction if they spot someone you might like.
And then, if you do spot someone you might like, you need to catch their eye, and keep it.
Often the best way to do that, is with the help of a friend, who has a common goal in mind. The goal of setting YOU up with a match. And ONLY YOU!
Which is where the Wingman issues begin. Because at a singles event, your Wingman is also single. Which means he or she has their own needs to attend to at the same time.
The thing about adopting the role of Wingman, is that you can’t make a half-hearted effort.
It’s a joint mission. And you have to see it through to the end. Regardless of your own desires and needs. Your achievement is your friend’s happiness. Not your own.
And so like a military operation, that means communication and forward planning.
You and your friends need to understand who likes which guy or girl, and who is going to help the other person achieve their goal that evening.
To be perfectly honest, one of the reasons I think I fail so badly when it comes to selecting Wingmen or women, is by the very fact I’m not planning an attack. I’m not tactical in my dating. I just see dating events as fun nights out, not a serious attempt to find a boyfriend.
And so when I go on nights out, rather than choosing the best companions to complement my personality, and help me find a nice guy, I choose my most fun, sociable single friends.
All well and good normally, but often the completely wrong approach for a singles event!
Firstly, fun and sociable can often mean loud and overpowering.
And whilst a friend who loves to be the centre of attention can be great in a number of situations, when you’re trying to chat up a guy you like is most certainly NOT one of them! No one wants to recruit a wingman who draws more attention to his or herself than they do to you. They’re meant to be there to help you, not cause more of a distraction or hindrance.
And secondly, I’ve never thought enough about what kind of guys me and my friends are attracted to.
Because, if you’re recruiting single friends to go to a dating event with, then the worst thing you can do is tag along with a friend who is attracted to the exact same guys or girls as you. That person isn’t your wingman. He or she is your competition. And when you’re competition is your friend, it all gets far too messy.
Which is why the best wingmen are people with zero interest in the men or women you’re hoping to meet.
The obvious solution is to recruit a wingman who isn’t single. Which works in a normal social environment, but just isn’t playing fair if you’re attending an all-single event.
Failing this, in my opinion, the best wingmen are therefore either friends of the opposite sex, or gay friends (if you’re straight). That way you ensure you’re not going to be trying to seduce the same target.
As for How to be a Good Wingman –
Well, at a singles event, once you’ve established who you are trying to set up (work on one person at a time, unless both of you like two members of the same group), the key to acing the role of wingman is to remember that you’re trying to showcase your friend, not yourself.
Think carefully before you speak.
Rather than turning conversation to your own stories, try to turn the conversation to something your friend can talk about. Contribute to conversation, but don’t dominate it!
Know when to walk away.
If your friend is getting on well with his or her ‘target’, and it’s just the three of you in the conversation, move away. If there is a fourth person involved, draw them into a separate conversation, so your friend can talk one-on-one with the person he or she likes.
Take one for the team.
A crass expression, but it sums up the situation. No, you might not be interested in the target’s friend, but be a good friend, and at least be polite and engage in conversation with them for a bit. It’s the traditional comedic Wingman scenario – where the wingman gets stuck with an unattractive friend. No, you don’t have to pretend to be interested in them, just be polite. Hopefully they will be intuitive enough to know whether or not their friend wants to be left alone in conversation with your friend.
Don’t cock block.
Again a crass phrase – and it’s interesting, because I think this topic really brings out the ‘male dater’ in me, but there’s no appropriate female equivalent of this phrase (as far as I’m aware?) that sums up the scenario this well.
There is nothing more frustrating, as a singleton, than getting on well with someone, only to have your friend intervene in some way that completely ruins the magic. Whether that’s simply interrupting the flow of conversation, dragging you away, or full on flirting with your ‘target’.
Read the situation.
Take a step back, and try to work out what your friend is doing. If he or she looks happy, then don’t interrupt conversation. We’re adults, most of us don’t need ‘rescuing’ from bad conversations, we can make our excuses and leave.
And if you’re really bad at reading signs, then pre-organise some code words or gestures, so that you know whether your friend is happy or not.
One of my friends uses a fake name whenever a guys she’s not interested introduces himself. Simple, and effective (though confusing if you meet up again later in the night!)
Miss Twenty-Three xxx
BOOM BOOM!! 😉