When you have your eye on a certain woman at a party, one of the biggest obstacles is separating her from her friends. You can only demonstrate how spectacular you are in a one-on-one environment, otherwise the friends will use those secret hand gestures instructing her to "run away from the loser." They always do.
As every lad mag and bro blog has drummed into your noggin, the best way to accomplish this goal is by using the oldest trick in the book: the wingman.
But don't think you can lure away the room's finest lady by distracting her friends with a mildly attractive, vaguely amusing buddy who didn't have anything better to do with his time than serve as a distraction. We're not dum-dums.
"So that's how I got my third highest Candy Crush score. My second came during ..."
Ladies know they're being wingman-zoned. It's expected when you hit the town with a friend who owns the entire Spanx catalog. But if we're going to be receptive to your little charade, our needs have to be met. And you have to put at least as much effort into thinking about those needs as you are toward whether or not our friend is wearing Spanx. Because, frankly, one group trip to the ladies room is all it takes for us to derail your entire night.
Look, we'll admit, it's not a bad thing to be the focus of someone's attention all night, even if it's in pursuit of shucking our bestie's clothes off. It takes a lot of pressure off the evening. But we're not so desperate for attention that any bozo will do.
Sheesh. We shouldn't even be helping you. But here's how to choose the best wingman the designated "friend" would be happy to be saddled with.
#5. Funny, But Not TOO Funny
They say, "Nobody likes a comedian," and this is true. Nobody. But if we've got to kill a couple of hours with some random dude, a good sense of humor is a must. Wait, "Isn't this a giant contradiction?" you ask. No. They are two very different things.
Note we said a GOOD sense of humor. That means no monologues, and definitely no impressions. Little known fact: Rich Little? Worst Wingman Ever. Also, prop comedy is absolutely verboten. Only four people have ever been able to pull that kind of thing off, even professionally. So unless Steve Martin is your bro, you need to avoid this at all costs. Nobody wants to watch your pal explore the improvisational possibilities of a carved out watermelon and an empty case of light beer.
Best case: You guys go home alone. Worst case: You get attacked by the Gallaghers.
Also, it's important to know your audience. While your buddy's belching rendition of "O Solo Mio" may have killed it at the frat house, rest assured, the ladies will not be impressed. You need an entertainer who listens and responds to what's happening around him -- somebody who's good with crowd work, and knows how to warm up a room, but doesn't need the spotlight and knows how to keep things light. Finally, it should go without saying that under no circumstances should there be any kind of ventriloquism. The only dummy at the party should be you.
#4. A Protector
No woman wants some big hambone of a guy looming over her all night giving the rest of the room the stink-eye. Yet we do appreciate not being jostled by revelers and having our cocktails spilled down our fronts instead of our throats.
"Hey, is that red wine? Yeah, you need to keep five feet away from her blouse at all times."
So long as your wingman doesn't reek of body spray and/or salami, having a physical buffer between us and the crowd is a nice boon.
And at a crowded event, we enjoy being in the company of someone who can plow a path to the bar and prevent jerks from weasling their way in front, frantically waving their limp dollar bills at the bartender to trump us in the booze queue.
#3. A Hunter/Gatherer
Most of us have been stuck at a soiree that went from dance party to Donner Party in a flash. When the snacks and libations are in short supply, people panic and all hell can break loose. So a woman will appreciate a calm, cool wingman with the ability to provide for her and other guests. We're not talking about a hooligan who employs tips he learned from post-apocalyptic TV shows like Revolution. While that might play in a loud and crowded bar, it's not going to work at a classy event. We prefer more of a smooth operator who keeps things moving without calling attention to himself by cracking skulls.
Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images
"Good news: I got some pigs in a blanket. Bad news: There's no way the caterer's not pressing charges."
This type of wingman usually has heightened senses, an almost preternatural ability to figure out where the host is hiding his other bottles of Burnett's, and is willing to position himself directly in front of the circulating hors d'oeuvres. He can smell tiny grilled cheeses from a distance of about 20 yards, and he'll patiently stalk anything on a stick or mini-bun. He's a stand-up guy who brings back extra chips (and salsa!) for the whole group. As long as he keeps the plates and glasses full, we won't even notice how long you've been cornering our friend.