5 steps to being a good wing man

So I was observing my fellow singletons out the other night and it occurred to me that there are several key "do's and don't's" to being a good wing man.

1. Have a key "get me the hell out of Dodge" phrase. "Ants on a log", "Pacific Northwest" and "salmon mousse" are all good key phrases to clue in your wing man that you are not enamored of the person hitting on/sitting next to/attempting to stick his-her tongue down your throat. These are phrases not typically used in everyday conversation and are therefore good options (unless you are a pre-school teacher, actually live in the Pacific Northwest, or are a contestant on "Top Chef." If any of these apply to you, modify accordingly.)

2. Do not approach a "target" for your friend without explicit permission to do so. What is explicit permission? "Damn, I'd like to take her home tonight" or "I have to find a way to give him my phone number" give you permission to approach the target. When do you not have permission? When your friend says "Do you think that piercing hurt?" or "I need someone to help me clean my garage." If either of those apply, you are not being asked to play "wing man".

3. When approaching the "target" on behalf of your friend, do not do your friend any "favors". For example "She usually looks much better than she does tonight. She's just had a hard month" or "He's not drunk, he always slurs his words" are not good opening lines. Neither is "I told my friend I'd come get your number for him, but I'm really wondering if I can buy you a drink." Being a true wing man means putting your friendship ahead of yourself.

4. If things seem to be going well with your friend and the "target", you should make yourself scarce. Not invisible. (Nothing is worse than talking to a "target", realizing you have nothing in common with this person but then having to ask that person for a ride home because your "wing man" left you in the lurch.) Being a good wing man means knowing how to read the signs to see if things are progressing well. Laughing, moving in closer to talk, women playing with their hair, men playing with their... baseball hats- all good signs. Gesturing to your wing man using the universal signal for choking, yawning, gesticulating wildly for your wing man to get the hell back to the table- all signs that things are not moving in a "happily ever after" direction and the wing-man-rescue-plan should be put in effect. (See #5 for further details).

5. If you remember nothing else, please remember this oldie but goodie (it wouldn't be old or good if it weren't true): friends don't let friends beer-goggle. No matter how long it's been since your friend has dated, not even if the last time s/he had a real date was in a year beginning with "19" do not, under any circumstances, let your friend go home with, make out with, give his/her number to anyone who you would not want to see in the cold, harsh light of day. A good wing man knows how to approach a target, as well as how to extricate a friend from a potential stalker. "Hey, I'm not feeling well, I think we need to go"; "Hey, you're really drunk and I'm concerned you're going to throw up like you usually do"; or "Let's get out of here" are all good wing-man-rescue-plans.

Learn it. Live it. Love it. Follow these simple steps and a good time shall be had by all.

This is the life.
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