Although FAMU doesn’t have an official fall break, each year, the last week in October unofficially serves as our first semester spring break. When homecoming hits “the Hill,” people from all over the country flock to Tallahassee for this one event.
Like most Rattlers, I too have visitors coming in town for the week’s festivities. I’ve been at FAMU for four plus years (super senior) and this will be the first time that my best friends from Delaware are attending.
Now at any event, the general rule is “the more the merrier.” All week, friends will populate parties, concerts, clubs and other functions in groups of four, five, and on special occasions like this, even in bundles of 7 to 10.
Moving in big groups is normally a good thing, except for when it comes to the opposite sex. When your group of six meets a group of the opposite sex, naturally, everyone is silently deciding which person they find the most attractive. Since I’ve been in college, I have yet to walk into a club and see a group of women where each one looked like Beyoncè—never. Which means, fellas, somebody in your group is going to have to be satisfied with Kelly and someone is going to get stuck with Michelle.
Unfortunately ladies, the same goes for you.
When you and your girlfriends get approached by a group of gentlemen at the bar, it’s highly unlikely that each one will resemble Idris Elba or Trey Songz.
This is where the problem arises, but luckily there is an easy solution—teamwork.
At a very young age, most of us have been taught, either by a teacher or sports coach, that it is important to work as a team. And that’s what you and your friends are when you go out, a team.
In basketball, Paul Pierce can’t catch an “alley-oop” without a pass from Rajon Rondo. In football, Adrian Peterson can’t run for an 80-yard touchdown without an excellent block from Anthony Herrera. When going out, your team must function in the same manner—working together to help each other succeed.
This is why the “wingman” is so important. If you have more than one “player” on your team fighting over who has dibs on who, you’ll lose the attention of the other group and everybody goes home unhappy. The wingman’s job is to help the other members of the team make a connection with someone from the other group—doing so as discreetly as possible.
For example, last week when I went out, I was talking to an attractive young lady whose phone number I knew I was going to secure. Like I thought, she offered me her number and I saved it in my phone—or at least what she thought was “my” phone. What the young lady didn’t know is that my phone had died earlier that evening (due to excessive tweeting) and I had to borrow my wingman’s cell phone just in case she offered me her number. Without an “assist” from my wingman, I probably wouldn’t have “scored” that night.
Now that was an easy one. There are also more delicate situations that require wingmen to be both observant and capable of defusing connection-breaking situations.
For example, many times there is that one pessimist in a group that doesn’t want anybody talking to any of her friends. Whether it’s because she’s not getting any attention herself or simply because she wants to go home to be with her boyfriend—the “obstacle friend” often creates a problem for the team.
It also makes it easier for the “star player” to interact with the target if her friends are also having fun. This is where a good wingman is needed.
Before the obstacle friend has a chance to be Mutombo and block the connection your group member is trying to make, you need to distract her at all costs. Put on your best smile and engage her in small conversation. You know, “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?”—the usual conversation starters. If your teammate still isn’t finished, this is when you have to put on your best Denzel performance by pretending to be interested in her. Start off with compliments—stuff like “I really like that purple animal print on your dress,” or “…in this light, I couldn’t even tell that you had on a lace-front.” Trust me, if she has the audacity to have it on, she won’t take it as an insult. Now if your friend still isn’t done, swallow your pride and exchange numbers with the young lady. At this point, you’ve more than fulfilled your duties as wingman and your friend owes you.
Now just because you’re the wingman at one party doesn’t mean you’re obligated to be at the next one. The most successful teams alternate positions. One night you might be Derek Fisher and another you’ll be Kobe, going for a career-high 81 points.