Published on February 28th, 2012 | by Alex Hum1
Sex and Dating: Wingman etiquette
Having wings when you go out to a bar or to a party (or any other location where you might be trying to find a hook up) is helpful. Extremely so, actually. It can be the difference between a drink in your face, or a solid close with someone going home with you that night, or perhaps the best thing, a proper date to look forward to with someone interesting.
The pressing questions are, what does a wing do, and how does a wing, wing well?
In order to address this issue, we are going to do a brief study of the key components of a wing. Let it be clear that men and women can wing for each other in any form. Any man can wing for any other man, and woman for any woman, and mixing and matching is often an effective ploy. Let it also be clear that the purpose of wings is not only to get you laid, but simply to help you approach someone you are attracted to and start a conversation and hopefully establish a connection with them.
So first, why is it that we need wings at all? What is it that wings do that makes them so important? Basically, because it makes it easier to interact with strangers when you’ve got some back up, someone familiar to help make you feel more comfortable in an otherwise altogether alienating situation.
Going up to a stranger is difficult on your own. And guys, you know that when you go up to a girl and isolate her right away you can very easily come off as being creepy. Going up to a group of girls though is terrifying. But with a good confident wing, you can approach a woman either on her own or in a group because it makes the initial encounter less intimate. Introductions can be made and banter cleverly exchanged with less fear of, “this tool is hitting on me, I wonder what he wants” or, “why doesn’t he have any friends? He must be a creeper”.
Having a wing, especially if your dynamic duo is of mixed genders, makes approaching someone much more casual, and it can be remarkably easy to make liberated conversation. That is the central purpose of a wing – to help you get past the initial barriers that everyone has up, and establish some sort of connection that will allow the encounter to move forward to a place where you will eventually be able to handle yourself with them in a more intimate setting.
Be a good wing
Most people don’t know how to wing. They make the mistake of being crude and obvious in their approach. “Yeah, my buddy has a solid job, he’s rolling in it! I wish I made as much as him”.
No. Just stop. You’re embarrassing the both of you. That is not the way to support your friend.
That becomes absolutely transparent. By selling your friend you are putting on a neon sign, “BE ATTRACTED TO THIS PERSON! THEY DO/HAVE COOL SHIT!” And that does not work at all. It’s arrogant, unattractive, and hard to respond to.
Wings must be much more elegant and graceful, subtle, and attractive themselves in order to put their friend in the best position possible.
So this is what a good wing looks like.
Well dressed, but not better than their friend. Attractive, but not more attractive than their friend. Confident, but not more charismatic than their friend. Well-spoken, but not funnier than their friend.
Essentially the point is, the wing must be kept to a high standard as well since you represent your friend in the company they keep. You will be seen as reflections of each other so you have to be tidy, attractive, and composed lest you be the reason your friend fails his approach. At the same time, the wing cannot pull too much focus from the friend for any reason. If you become the attractive one of the pair, you will be preventing your friend from getting anywhere, so make sure that you support your friend by being presentable, but not stealing the spotlight entirely.
What should a good wingman do?
Approach the target, or targets, together with your friend. At this very beginning point, you are both equals. You have to be well-liked just as much as your friend in order to gain acceptance of the target. Be funny and charismatic; make yourself someone worth listening to. Your friend should be doing the same. Winging for each other is about partnership. You both need to be successful in the initial approach.
Never forget that you are just as much a part of the initial encounter as the person you’re winging, which means that you have to approach the target with the same openness and interest that your friend has.
Once some conversation starts to flow, you can start to let your friend take control of the situation. Take a step back and play a supportive role in the interaction as they take an active in the target. This means different things for different types of people. It could mean letting your friend make the jokes, or letting your friend tell the story. In some cases, it might mean letting your friend be the brooding, sexy one. That depends on the chemistry between the two of you. If the interaction between your friend and the target is natural and comfortable, you have done your job. You have successfully gotten your friend past the initial barrier that makes it impossible to approach anyone without them being suspicious of your motives.
What does a wingman do next?
Once you have both been accepted by the target and the conversation is starting to move naturally, you need to slowly ease your way out of the interaction. Help your friend isolate one target by either isolating another to give them privacy, or excusing yourself casually to do something unsuspecting like going to the bathroom or getting a drink.
A good wing will also not disappear entirely unless things are moving very quickly and starting to get hot and heavy. In order to keep a shallow sense of comfort, the wing might reappear very briefly to say hi, to check on their friend, to ask their friend a quick question, and then find another excuse to leave. This will keep your friends encounter with the target light-hearted and comfortable. Only when your friend and the target are starting to get more intimate on their own do you want to disappear entirely. At that point, your friend can handle the situation on their own and you are no longer necessary to facilitate their interaction.
So there you have it. Being a good wing is quite simple. There are no tools or tricks, no bamboozles up any sleeves. It simply means helping your friend get introduced appropriately, making everyone in the interaction feel more comfortable, and presenting yourself well to reflect well on the friend you’re winging. Most importantly of all if the role you play in moving the interaction along and keeping it from getting awkward and uncomfortable, while giving it enough space to develop naturally into something more intimate that your friend can achieve something from, be it a one-night-stand, a date, or, because nothing is fail-safe, a rejection.