Of Wings and Women

These two might not be doing it right.

These two might not be doing it right.

By Alexa Day

Zig Ziglar had this to say about the fine art of having it all: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

He probably wasn’t talking about being a wingwoman, but his message about service definitely applies.

What’s a wingwoman? Glad you asked.

The wingwoman accompanies a friend, either male or female, to a target-rich environment, to facilitate the friend’s meeting other people for fun, romance, and perhaps sexytimes.

A wingwoman’s job isn’t easy, although the best practitioners make it look that way. The real virtuosos are hard to find. In my time, I have known exactly three, two of whom have moved far enough away that I can no longer call on them when I need support.

I do think the requisite skills can be taught. It just takes a little patience.

Want to give it a whirl? Find yourself a single friend — for our purposes, I’m talking about another woman — and prepare to learn a thing or two about a thing or two.

The first thing to consider as you enter WingWorld? It isn’t about you. Indeed, if there are two of you, I think you are best served to take turns. You could either decide that one of you is going to be the wing all night long, or you can switch off as you go from place to place. But I’ve seen people try to wing for each other simultaneously, and it doesn’t work all that well.

Your job as the wing is to make sure your friend is getting what she wants. You’re not getting what you want for her. You’re not getting what you want, unless you just want her to be happy. You don’t even get to pick the place. All this is about your friend. Make sure you’re both dressed appropriately, and then let her lead.

Now that you know your role, let’s see how this plays out on the ground. Follow along with me, won’t you?

1. Show up a little early. If you’re at your destination on the early side, say during the beginning of happy hour, you’ll get a nice place to sit. Do not concern yourself with hanging out there for a long time after you are done eating. Smart bartenders don’t mind sharp-looking ladies chilling at the bar because we encourage sharp-looking fellas to buy themselves a drink and then to buy a little something for us. It’s Zig Ziglar’s theory in action.

Are you the sort of woman who insists on buying her own drinks? Don’t let me tell you to stop. I, however, am not that sort of woman, so you might need a couple of grains of salt to work with me.

2. Bend the conversation. Be open and welcoming to everyone. Converse. Flirt. Have fun. But remember your job. Tell him what you do, but play up your friend’s job. Accept a compliment about that dazzling choker; you borrowed it from your bud. Try to be subtle. Bend the conversation, but don’t force it. Your friend has likely joined the conversation at the same time you did, but remember — your job is to serve.

3. Check in. I mentioned a moment ago that this is not about what you want for your friend; it’s about what your friend wants. I see way too many wingwannabes trying to steer their friends toward men in whom their friends have no interest at all. That’s kind of like what the Urban Dictionary calls a Bowling Ball Present: something you give another person that’s really intended for you. It’s obnoxious. Checking in with your friend from time to time ensures that she is getting the intended search results.

4. Consider your exit strategy, or as they say in the Thunderdome: Two women enter, one woman leaves. If you have accomplished your mission and introduced your friend to the hottie of her choosing, it’s time for you to get out of the way. Be delicate. In my experience as the wingwoman, I’ve found it effective to wait until my friend’s new friend gets up for some reason (like the bathroom). During his absence, I check in with my friend and take my leave if she’s all set. I’ve fallen back on the legendary early meeting. If it looks like the two of them are moving on to the next bar, I’ve noped out to leave them alone.

Exit strategy is not without risk.

If your friend is too inebriated to effectively participate in exit strategy, you don’t go anywhere (except to take her home). If your friend is not enthusiastic about exit strategy, you don’t exit. If you have intuition that risk exists, you declare this. If you do exit, you do still have to check in, both during the course of the evening and at an appropriate time in the morning. It is impossible to eliminate risk in our world, but risk can be reduced to manageable levels.

5. Celebrate. If you reached the exit successfully, it’s time to start thinking about your turn. Maybe next time she’s your wing. If you’re not in the market for free-range gentlemen, maybe you just make her buy the drinks and tell those secrets.

Either way, isn’t volunteering grand?

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  • Elizabeth SaFleur
    August 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Where were you when I was single??? Who knew I was missing a wing woman? And come to think of it, I was probably a TERRIBLE wing woman when I was trolling the bars in DC with my girlfriends. Oh, to be young again…

    • Alexa Day
      August 17, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      You know, in my experience, some of the best wingwomen are married. It’s not too late to train with a pro. 😉

      • Elizabeth SaFleur
        August 18, 2016 at 9:42 am

        I can see that. We won’t steal your man. We want a fun night out away from Hubby. And, we don’t mind going home early because we’re exhausted from our two jobs: our regular jobs and our wifely jobs. (I don’t care HOW feminist you are, being married takes work. Gee, that might be a good blog post I should write. Since I got married for the first time at age 42, I know what it’s like to be single AND married. Hmmm, Lexi, you are an inspiration!)

        • Alexa Day
          August 20, 2016 at 10:16 am

          Aw, thank you for the kind words! But yes, a married wingwoman is great to know. She won’t poach (a cardinal sin of winging), and many of them love the girls’ night out with flirtatious fun added.

          I can totally see how the very act of being married takes work; it’s making it that much easier to write off the institution as a whole, at least for me. But who knows how things will change?

  • Alexa Day
    August 19, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Alexa J. Day and commented:

    Shoutout to the wings who help us be fly. 🙂


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