I’ve always been fascinated by the art of flirting and picking someone up. We go from noticing someone, wanting to speak to them, approaching them….and then either having it go the way we wanted or not.
I am a bit of a paradox. I am the kind of girl who likes to be chased. I know, shocking, right? I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, that women like to feel desired. We want to feel special and a good way to do that is to pursue us. We don’t want to feel like you ended up with us because it was easy. That being said, I texted my last three boyfriends first, but I couldn’t help but feel a slight nagging sensation, wondering that if I hadn’t showed the initial interest or spark, if they would’ve pursued me. My current boyfriend assures me that he had every intention of calling me to ask me out, and that I just beat him to the punch. I actually believe him.
I’m digressing, as I always do. What I am (trying to) get at is the art of picking someone up that you don’t really know. I will go on the record to say that women have it easier: if we want someone and we approach them, the odds are more in our favor that the response will be positive, whereas men, no matter how good looking, or nice, or charming they are, have it a little bit harder. This is because women have this image of men only wanting one thing, of flirting with us simply to achieve their end goal of bringing us home at the end of the night. We women are suspicious, we believe the worst, we don’t want to be another notch on someones belt, so we, at times, will be prickly, we’ll shove off advances. Even if we are interested in someone, we’re faced with a conundrum of not wanting to shut them down completely but still having to play a certain degree of cool. If we think we could like someone, we don’t want to hand ourselves over so easily, we want to be sure that he’s different, he’s not like everyone else. This is why men often label women as a “tease” and women turn around and brand men as “players.” It’s complicated.
When we go out to a social spot, such as a bar, club or party, we’re usually flanked by our friends. This isn’t unusual, in fact, it would be less ordinary to show up alone. Sometimes we go out simply for the purpose of having fun with our friends, and aren’t interested in any outside parties, but sometimes we’re on the prowl to meet people, and our friends become our “wingmen.” Men use the term more than women do, mainly because it’s usually the groups of men that approach the women. They decide the one they’re interested in, tell their friend, and as a group they approach. This approach will usually result in some kind of interaction, but as women, we know what’s happening. We’re not stupid, and we know that you know we’re not, so as soon as you and your boys come up to us, we know it’s not discuss the latest developments in foreign policy. We instantly become girls: our guards come up and we will make you work for it. We’ll even do annoying things like drag our friend away from you at the end of the night. (I once had a guy earnestly tell me, “I really really like you.” “You do?” I asked, ‘Well that’s great. So that means that you’ll REALLY REALLY like me tomorrow. Call me then.”)
I am not begrudging men for this approach, or any approach actually. I think the idea of walking up to someone and essentially exposing yourself to rejection is a daunting feat, so putting yourself in the line of fire is commendable (that being said, if you get “leave me alone” vibes, and those are OBVIOUS, then move on) but I’ve found that the most successful pick ups happen when the woman doesn’t realize it’s happening.
Guys, let me introduce the wingwoman, a person who serves the same purpose as a wingman, but is a better option because they have the advantage of being the same sex as the person you’re trying to approach. A wingwoman is a valuable asset, because she is a completely non threatening entity and can secure the initial introduction in a way that eliminates awkwardness and your (potential) creepiness factor. For a woman to approach a woman in a social setting is easy, and doesn’t immediately heighten suspicion or raise guards. I talk to women all the time, not always as wingwomen, but over something as simple as really liking their dress. You’d be surprised how a comment like that can evolve into a full on conversation. As a wingwoman, I make a casual approach like that, engage the girl, and then my guy friend will join a few minutes later, under some kind of pretense. Best Example: “I’m going to the bar, would you like something?” It is at this point, which I introduce my guy friend to the girl he has secretly been interested in all night. He is nice and charming, and then offers to get the girl something. After he walks away, I define the relationship. She’ll most likely ask (especially if she finds him attractive) if he’s my boyfriend. If she doesn’t do this, I’ll discreetly mention how awesome he is, fending off creepy guys when my boyfriend is out of town. When he returns with drinks, conversation is facilitated and I, after a short time, have to use the bathroom, or run into someone, or get a call from my mother. From there, it’s up to my guy friend. I’ve led the horse to water, there’s not much more I can, or should, do.
Tips for Finding a Good Wingwoman:
1. Make sure she isn’t interested in you. No matter how good of friend she is or wants to be, if there are any romantic inclinations it will end in disaster. Girls with boyfriends make good options. Not only does the guy know that she’s not interested, but the other woman is reassured as well. Also, make sure you’re not interested in her, as it’ll also become obvious. Plus she may ask you to return the favor someday.
2. Make sure you actually like hanging out with the person and trust their judgment. It’s important that your friends know you and won’t but you in a weird or embarrassing situation.
3.Ability. You can have a friend who is great but may not be “wingwoman material.” Make sure the girl is able to insert herself into conversations, approach people and be comfortable. Also your wingwoman shouldn’t be drunk, otherwise she’ll come off as ridiculous and out of control. You want her in control and with her wits about her
4. Communication. You should be able to communicate with your wingwoman about the situation without being overly obvious about it. For example, when wingwomaning, I can find out easily whether or not the girl is interested in my friend, or even available, and I want to be able to warn my friend without making it too obvious. So make sure you can pick up her signals and read her.
If done correctly, having a wingwoman can be the most important person on your team. Approaching someone for the first time is never easy, so the more comfortable and open she can be upon the initial introduction, the better. They say behind every great man is a great woman, and in this case let it be your wingwoman.
Thanks for to MJ and MF for the inspiration and to the ever insightful HK for his contributions. To AB for pointing out that not all men are creepy in their approach. To JF who would've called me anyway. Also a big thanks to the men in my life who have trusted me with being their wingwoman, many of whom are now with the object of their affection.