Let me take you to flight school

October 15th, 2009

There are three essentials for a guy before he goes out: clean underwear, an Ace bandage and a wingman.

Clean underwear is the most obvious, the Ace bandage is the most open-ended, but the wingman is the most important of the three. It’s a man’s best friend when trying to get to know young ladies.

The wingman stirs up the pot, then he gets out of the way. He takes the bullet. He might even pay the bar tab. He does whatever needs to be done.

Before I begin, it’s important to define some of the terms I’ll be using throughout this educational experience.

The wingman, by definition, needs someone to assist. That someone is the pilot. He’s the one who’s there to take home the glory. Remember Tom Cruise as Maverick in “Top Gun?” Yeah, that’s the pilot.

The target is special. The pilot spotted her across the room and decided he needed to approach with back-up. She’s what the pilot is after and what the wingman is supposed to help the pilot lock on to. However, there will be obstacles in the way, and we call those obstacles bogeys.

Also, there’s the tailgunner, but I’ll get to that later.

In order to be a great wingman, you need to be completely dedicated to the mission. You have to have the mindset that there is no such thing as failure.  You can’t settle for anything less than a final result of “mission accomplished.”

The job description of a wingman is wide-ranging. Depending on the situation he may be asked to do different things. In some cases he is required to set-up the pilot in advance while the pilot “stands at the bar and puts out the vibe” kind of like Lloyd Christmas.

Other situations call for the wingman to hit the “eject” button when the pilot no longer wants to chase his target. There are plenty of ways to rescue the pilot, but my personal favorite involves the phrase “hey man, we gotta go, Barack just called.” Not only does it  relieve you of your duties but it makes you sound important and you feel like you’re really in the Air Force.

Sometimes the wingman job is too big for one man. There are circumstances under which you’ll need to assemble a fleet and squadron it up. Inside jokes between buddies can work when trying to entertain your new friends, but you always have to focus on entertaining the targets and opening a window of opportunity for the pilot. When you’ve got a group wingman, the sum is greater than the parts.

Chemistry is key when using the group method, if the team doesn’t work together then you’ll end up worse than the 2004 L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. The only difference is you won’t have Kobe there to win game two, (although, Kobe could potentially be a great wingman if he isn’t a tailgunner).

I told you I’d get back to the tailgunner. He’s pretty much the opposite of the wingman. The tailgunner shoots at anything that moves (all to improve his own statistics mind you), and his erratic aim can foil a mission for the pilot and wingman.

The one catch to using a wingman is that at some point you have to pay back the favor. You can’t expect people to have your back if you don’t have their’s. Selfishness is not rewarded, Karma is real, and someone that abuses his wingmen ends up without any wingmen left.

So if you don’t have a wingman, I’ve got a pretty full schedule, but The CN is off next week so I might be able to pencil you in. Just let me know whether or not I should bring an extra Ace bandage for you.