Y Me? Can a shy guy abandoned by his wingman complete the mission?

Posted 11:32pm on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011

Last week I introduced you to my friend Kevin, an honest-to-goodness play-ah. In my continuing effort to make myself more appealing to the opposite sex, I decided it was time to go into the field (a bar) with him. After some convincing and a lot of eye-rolling, Kevin agreed to be my wingman -- and even taught me a few tricks of the wingman trade.

A wingman, as I've always understood it, has three basic jobs: to engage a woman in conversation on my behalf, talk about how great I am and to run interference if one of that woman's friends or another suitor tries to interrupt my admittedly inept game. According to Kevin, a wingman is also responsible for running up my bar tab.

Kevin implored me to go to a dance club, and as much as I agreed with that idea, I just wasn't ready for that. I can only do one thing against my nature per night -- and I need time to practice my moves in front of a mirror.

We settled on Barcadia, a newish-to-Fort Worth bar that features old-school arcade games. It's not that meat-market-y, but there are always ladies around (which seems counterintuitive, given my experience with arcades). Being a huge nerd, I felt I could more easily handle rejection surrounded by the video games of my youth -- an electronic circle of trust. Then again, the last thing I wanted to do was crash and burn in front of Donkey Kong, who has a reputation for stealing women.

On a recent Friday night, the bar was hopping. Kevin wouldn't let me start out by playing a few games of skee ball, which I argued would bolster my confidence. Instead, we got right to "work." As Kevin approached a group of four women, I realized that I was standing in the middle of the room by myself watching him, waiting for a signal to come join the conversation. As Kevin retold it, I looked like an on-deck hitter in baseball, who was terrified of the pitcher. He hit the abort button on that first attempt and gave me a little pep talk at the bar.

Given my nerves and natural awkwardness, I did the one thing I knew would make the whole process easier -- it was also the one thing Kevin urged me not to do: shots. After burning my esophagus with two consecutive shots of bourbon, Kevin ushered me over to another group of gals.

I singled out one attractive woman and worked up the nerve to speak to her. I'd been preparing something clever to say all night for that very moment. To my surprise, she spoke to me first.

"Have you been crying?" she asked.

"Yes," I answered. "I just did two shots of bourbon in a row."

"Oh," she said, with a look of horror. And then she stared off into the middle distance, as though waiting for a bus.

After going to the bathroom to splash some water on my face, I returned to the bar, where I noticed Kevin was in deep conversation with one of the girls from the second group.

I knew that I was on my own at that point. Emboldened by a few more drinks, and the gut-wrenching pangs of watching my wingman betray the mission, I decided to give it one last go. I saw a girl playing skee ball by herself, so I challenged her. We had a nice, drunken talk, and I eventually asked for her number. She politely turned me down, because she was "sort of seeing someone." She gave me a half-hug and wandered off into the sea of bodies.

I didn't really care that I was rejected. The point is I talked to a girl, without use of a wingman or Kevin's creepy checklist of things to say. It's a baby step, but a step nonetheless.

I'm also done with Kevin's advice (I told him as much). He was a terrible wingman, and I'm pretty sure he put all of his drinks and that girl's -- with whom he eventually went home -- on my tab. If you think you'd make a better wingman/woman, shoot me an e-mail at dating@dfw.com.

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