It wasn’t until the rise of Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother that the wingman began to get the credit it had long been due. What is a wingman?
Urban Dictionary defines it as a guy you bring along with you to singles outings who helps you out with women. I guess, at its most basic level, that is a pretty accurate description of a wingman. A good wingman definitely does help you meet and potentially seduce a woman of the female variety.
But there’s more to being a good wingman than simply tapping a girl on the shoulder and shoving her in the direction of your bemused friend.
A good wingman has his friend’s (hereafter referred to as a ‘bro’) interests at heart in all things. It’s not just about finding a girl for your single friend to talk to – it’s about protecting him from undesirable attention; keeping him from getting tangled up with an ex girlfriend; making sure he has a drink in his hand; and ensuring he’s never left to sing at karaoke on his own.
I talked about Dean in my last entry – and he was most definitely the first guy I recognized as my wingman. For a few weeks in South Korea, the Podgestar was the guy who bugged me to come out on a weekend and shoved me in the right direction – which just happened to be away from my ex girlfriend.
But there had been good wingmen before him. My housemate and good friend Dave had saved me from the attempted seduction of a neighbor on several occasions by luring my drunken ass into the house with the promise of two minute noodles. An old high school friend, Magro, had once piloted me and a single female friend of his onto the same couch and instructed us to make out to great effect. And my housemate immediately before Korea, Ben, was one of the people who pushed hardest for me to quit my job in retail and take the plunge in Korea.
I’m not sure if girls have a similar kind of friend. I’d be interested to find out. Are there wingwomen out there who protect their friends from undesirables, point out eligible bachelors, and keep the cosmopolitans flowing? Inquiring minds want to know!
But back on topic.
A wingman is a particularly valuable thing to have when abroad. When there’s a language barrier to be dealt with, sometimes it takes two or even three guys to have a coherent conversation with that pretty Korean girl at the bar. When there’s only so many bars to choose from in the city – it’s the company rather than the venue that makes for a good night out. And whether they’re plying you with drinks at the local haunt or encouraging you to hop a train to Seoul at the absolute last minute so that you’ll have a fun story to tell the next night – they’re the guys who ensure that no one weekend is like the one before it.
In my last year in Korea I was lucky enough to have not one but three wingmen of the highest caliber. Paul ‘Pope’ Bishop, Jamie ‘Sorbet’ Corbett, and Brad ‘Stinson’ Andrews were the guys who got me motivated to suit up in true Stinson style, learn a new karaoke number to belt out, and scrape together my spare change so I could afford one last whiskey and Coke.
Jamie and Paul were the engineers of the spontaneous Seoul junket on which we were propositioned by prostitutes in an empty Russian bar. They were the guys who tagged along with me to a random party at the home of a girl I hardly knew. I met Fallon that night. They were the ones who dragged me to smoky Korean night clubs and smacked some sense into me when I was pining over an ex rather than paying attention to the girl right in front of me.
Getting into a relationship and doing a different kind of traveling meant that my wingmen took a back-seat, and it’s only a year on that I realize how important good wingmen are to a good time.
It’s a good wingman who arranges a bachelor party pub crawl of Sydney’s oldest pubs. It’s a good wingman who pushes another beer in front of you just as you’re eying your empty wallet.
So this is a tribute to the wingman. A tribute to the guy who shouts you drinks or the guy who asks ‘Have you met Chris?’ This one’s a slap on the back to the guy who rushes across the bar when Tenacious D’s Fuck Her Gently begins to play or who is on hand with their best scary look when some drunk clown decides you’ve offended him. He’s the one who offers to pay your fine for reckless littering.
In two and a half months I’ll be without my best friend for the first time in nearly two years. And then it’ll be time for me to find a wingman again. The bar has been set pretty high.
Lads, I salute you!