Friday, October 30, 2009

EPIC FAIL: The Wingman Chronicles Part IIII, or, EMMY AWARD Winning Loss of Dignity

Occasionally, even the best wingman missions go awry. Generally, this leads to public embarrassment and, sometimes, blue balls.

Or, it you're wingmanning with Ariel and I, it can turn into a belligerent shit show that ends with a slightly immature scavenger hunt through an Emmy Award winning actor's apartment.

A few Mondays ago, Ariel and I hit wingman turbulence. Short version: Ariel got blacked-out drunk in a midtown bar, told me she was going to the bathroom and disappeared. For an hour. Midway through her evaporation, I abandoned my drink and went tearing through the craphole, three-level bar we'd landed in to find her, accidentally stumbling upon an authentic freak show (no, seriously...bearded lady, burlesque dancers, the works) getting ready for their 1am performance in the process. Taking the bearded lady as a bad omen, I called Ariel's roommate--who calmly informed me that Ariel was already HOME, slurring drunk, and wearing MY coat. In QUEENS. Ariel did not find anything odd about this.

Soon I was standing on the streets of Times Square, around 1:30am, drunk and without outerwear. Naturally, because life is a sitcom, it began to rain. I did not have enough money for a cab to Brooklyn, and my Metrocard was in the pocket of the jacket Ariel was curled fetally upon, like a tiny, drunk, Irish puppy in a whelping box. A whelping box in Queens. Then, my phone hummed a text:

Mr. EMMY: Up to anything this rainy night?

Mr. EMMY is an older, unreasonably friendly, single and exceptionally talented actor we've affectionately nicknamed for the honor bestowed up him during one of those televised awards shows. We all met through mutual friends, resulting in his randomly joining Ariel and I for a platonic concert and meal one night. Whenever we catch him on TV, or whenever he's not off being successful and is bored, we occasionally like to verbally spar via text-message, because I am a smart-ass and he went to Harvard and bizarrely finds gauche smart-assedness amusing.

POLLY: I am wet, cold, stranded. May whore myself for cab money to the Lil' Wayne wanna-be giving me the eye.

Mr. EMMY: Only worth it if he's ACTUALLY Lil' Wayne. Do you need to crash here?

Which is how I woke up in Mr. EMMY's freaking beautiful apartment because Ariel went all fucking kamikaze on me. NO, there was no illicit behavior between Mr. EMMY and I. (This isn't US Magazine.) We kept conversation to the basics (Him: "I just finished shooting with Salma Hayek." Me: "I farted next to Howard Stern once. Everyone thought it was him.") until I eventually sobered up enough to sprawl on his couch. (It's a really nice couch.)

The following is a true-life transcript of the string of texts that were exchanged between Ariel and I after I woke up, alone, in said apartment. Mr. EMMY had left at some earlier time to do whatever it is successful actors do after 9AM, leaving me his spare keys to let myself out whenever I was not quite so pathetic again:

**ARIEL'S PRELUDE: "I think this text log is funnier when you include YOUR belligerent texting of me before you made it to Mr. EMMY's, you Hot Mess." 

She's right, so I'm including it.

Also, on THE VERY OFF CHANCE "Mr. Emmy" ever read this himself, I hope he'd understand we love and adore his hospitality, and him, and hold his privacy in high regard (and have hence changed many details in this post to protect his identity)--but when broke and 26 just don't have the maturity NOT to be fascinated by things like Emmy Awards and really nice apartments in mainland Manhattan**

POLLY (12:45am): Where are you??? We are looking.
POLLY(1:30am): I blame you.
POLLY(4:55am): Goddamn you Ariel. Let's play Polly Ended Up ___________________.

POLLY(4:57am): And do you really have my jacket, or is that lost forever in some scum hole in Midtown? 

(Polly wakes, hungover. Polly DID NOT have sex with the owner of said apartment, but is in his pajamas anyway. Her phone lights up.)

ARIEL: Based on these drunken musings......Shit! You're at MR. EMMY's, aren't you?
ARIEL: And I really do have your jacket.
ARIEL: You're totally spooning next to THE EMMY right now....... Amaaaaaahhhhhhzing. 

(Polly finally acknowledges phone. Is thrown into blind, stubborn, but bemused rage by Ariel's texts, which are coming from Ariel's desk in corporate America.)

POLLY: Oh, fuck you. You don't know me! 
ARIEL: He took you in his big drama major arms........Bwahahahahahahahahaha.
POLLY: I. Hate.You. I do. I. Hate. you.
ARIEL: Sooooooooo not true.
ARIEL: But points for punctuation on what must be a rough-like-mcduff morning.
POLLY: Also, big, beautiful picture of Mr. EMMY and [show he's famed for] in the foyer....

ARIEL: He has a foyer..... I hate him. 
POLLY: You were sooooooo not supposed to take my jacket, withOUT me in it, back to Astoria. Wtf am I doing in Flatiron??
ARIEL: Making out with an EMMY.... duh.


(Polly sees she's alone in the apt. Begins exploring apartment while holding phone.)

POLLY: Oh my God. He left me a towel, a wash cloth, and a spare set of keys stacked in the bathroom.

ARIEL: KEYS! Danger Will Robinson. Tread lightly. But make a latte first. He so has an espresso machine.
ARIEL: He has amazing skin products too, doesn't he? FML. 

(Polly looks in bathroom.)
POLLY: Holy shit. Full Origin's men's care line. Like, every product. Are you hiding in this apartment with me?? 

(Polly pauses, peeks back at the pile of towells and the keys. She begins to text her hungover idiot wingman again.) 

POLLY: Keys? Fuck. Keys.............................................Fuck. [Note: Keys are scary, because they must be returned. Which means you'll have to face the person you drunkenly appeared on the doorstep of. And admit to being a Hot Mess. In their home. And then apologize. Fun, right?] 
ARIEL: It's going to be okay......
POLLY: I brought this tragicness upon myself.
ARIEL: Oh, it's so hard being 26 and pretty with a brain and sharp wit. 

(Ariel gauges exactly how fucking hungover she is in the middle of corporate America and remembers she and Polly have to see a violent indie-film starring Willem Dafoe and Willem Dafoe's penis later that very same night.) 

ARIEL: Also? Tell me we are rescheduling Willem Dafoe's screening? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease??
POLLY: Oh we are so not even a little bit going to that fucking film.
ARIEL: Holla......... 

(Polly passes by the bedroom. Looks around, then flops onto empty bed.)

POLLY: Oh, these pillows of his though. Thread count is HIGH. So*buries face in pillow*
ARIEL: **slams head on desk** 

(Peels herself out of bed. Continues exploration.)

POLLY: Hmm. Dipolma from HARVARD, huh?
ARIEL: Oh cool. He's crazy smart too...I feel smaller and more unimportant by the second.
POLLY: Floor to ceiling vinyl. Complete Bob Dylan next to Gorillaz Demon Days next to Fleet Foxes. ALL VINYL.
ARIEL: Omg. I want to make out with him...
POLLY: I look for The EMMY?
ARIEL: FIND IT AND TAKE A PICTURE! Then text it to me immediately. 

(Looks around at walls, shelves and desks. No luck.)

(After a few more moments of wandering, amazed, through eclectic, Not-A-Rich-Douche apartment, Polly notices framed item on the wall. It's a picture, with a note hand written on it. She takes picture, sends it to Ariel.)

POLLY: No EMMY. But this. The signature: "With awe, love always, STEVE." As in SPIELBERG.
ARIEL: "With Awe"....Right, me too. 


ARIEL: Already done. Duh.
POLLY: So many humidifiers here. And dehumidifiers. And other nifty---oh, look, a Fender guitar.
ARIEL: I love that people let us stay alone in their homes...Fools.
POLLY: Fuck. What am I going to wear to work?
ARIEL: ideas. Buy something?
ARIEL: Cool shirt of his? 
POLLY: Dammit. All he has is man hats. I cannot make yesterday's outfit, sans coat, sans make-up, work with an Indiana Jones hat...
ARIEL: Own it.
POLLY: I'm stealing his Harvard hoodie...............I mean borrowing.........
POLLY: What? I need a coat.
ARIEL: Sorry about your coat. I have no idea what the thought process was on that. But there was one...somewhere.
POLLY: Ur cute.
(Hot Mess Walk of Shame Polly leaves note for Mr. Emmy apologizing, explaining about the hoodie and confessing she went through his record collection. She begs forgiveness. She then emerges from apartment wearing last night's heels, jeans, a Harvard hoodie and smeared, black eye liner.)
POLLY (texting Bromeo, she and Ariel's gay, male wingman): Just stumbled into midtown morning in last night's clothes and MR. EMMY's Harvard hoodie. Um......right.
BROMEO: Bwhahahahaahahhaahahahahha.
POLLY: I blame Ariel.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#11: Wingman Chronicles Part III: Lap Dances and Emmy Award Nominated Accidental Wingmen

Oprah calls it secreting. Religious types call it praying. Psychologists call it delusional and put you on meds. I call it common sense: ask and ye shall receive.

Wingman Red, she of blues-singing sexual dalliances, casually mentioned a few months ago that she'd never been to a strip club and would like to go, unknowingly sending that request into the universe on an Oprah-shaped comet in the process. Fortunately, I was standing close enough when she did this it to be included in the return.

A personal note on strip clubs:

1.) I love 'em. I've never denied my significant other the right to go and ogle some boobies, with our without me there. Though I will say they have more fun when I'm there, because girls have more fun at strip clubs than guys. Period. Guys, if you don't believe me, bring your two most fun-loving, sexually secure wingwomen to the club next time and see how different the experience is. We're like a vagina-ed bridge between you and your fantasy, because no good female wingman will let her male counterpart be a creepy customer while she's around, and strippers know it. They will flock like sequined moths to an Alabamian bug-zapper in mid-July.

2.) I, personally, can't get behind the feminist argument that ALL strippers are being degraded. And I'm not getting into that argument here, so moving on...

3.) I may or may not have brought Alex to the strip club for his birthday several years ago and ended up onstage with a bottle of champagne giving him a special birthday dance with the help a stripper named Violet who I kind-of-sort-of-maybe-hooked-up with in the bathroom for half and hour while Alex swigged beer and watched. May. Or may not have. Done that. 

Alex may or may not have called it the best night of his life. This is all hypothetical.

4.) As a former Hooters girl, one who never felt degraded by her job (except the scrunchy-socks part of the uniform--any adornment that gives even the leggiest women cankles should be illegal), I'd be a hypocrite to turn and bash anyone whose sex appeal has contributed to a paycheck.

Personal note on strippers over.

Red and I met up at an innocuous Irish pub for a low key evening--minimal primping, no expectations. Beer, girl-talk and bar banter. We were about two drinks deep when QB walked in.

Now. What to say about QB? QB is a very well-known and lusted after TV actor. We call him QB because he's a chiseled hunk of Quarterback-looking manflesh grown in the woods of Maine, topped with a Ken-doll style head manufactured at The Hot Professional Athlete Manufacturing Firm of America (affectionately known as HPAMFA, which is coincidentally the sound many women make when QB walks into a room). At some point this tall, square-jawed piece of magazine-worthy Americana decided life as an athletic all-star didn't offer nearly enough immediate fawning gratification--so he switched to acting. Successfully. He is very pretty, very loaded and very unfortunately has a tattoo of a jungle cat on his shoulder.

He is also very much not my type, which is why we hit if off on a non-fuck-me level after working together on a freelance gig, settling instead into the kind of random dude-banter that tends to be my base form of communication with any guy I am not trying to bed. He is very fun to get drunk with, if you happen to run into him--which you will not, knowingly, because I'm not stupid enough to tell you what TV show he's on.

I gave him an appropriately obnoxious "Whatssup, playa playa!!" from our corner of the bar (yes, I'm a real lady), signaling he should come sit with us. QB smiled, then tripped over the two bridge-and-tunnel-bimbos who were already trying to suck his dick.

Soon our quartet (he had a wingman too) were having many brews while he sucked down many vodka-sodas. Red kept giving me the well-concealed but still entirely hilarious "OMG WE'RE GETTING DRUNK WITH _________ FROM THAT SHOW ________!" look. And I was shooting her "Don't get too excited" looks back, because QB is married.

QB is wedded to one of those scorchingly hot antelope-women with three miles of leg and Sahara-flat torso, one that has no right being as legitimately talented as she is when she's already been given other assets for social leverage. (She's also a TV actress, because that's what you do when God makes you an antelope-woman with no visible pores.) To the best of my knowledge, they both have industry-standard marital vows, which means they occasionally cheat with their co-stars but genuinely love each other. And have really photogenic make-up sex.

NO, this is not the post where I check "sleeping with a married man off my list," so untwist your panties and keep reading.

Anyway, we're all drinking. QB's wingman ducks out to go home to his wife, but QB is a "bachelor for the weekend," all by his lonesome while honeypie is out of town filming. So we all keep drinking. The conversation goes the only place it could foreseeably go: Canada.

Canada is known for its waterfalls, that song from the South Park movie, syrup...and strippers. Why strippers? I dunno. Probably because the native tundra-like temperatures mean the stripper's nipples are always more alert and appealing than that of their southern, American-grown counterparts.

As a connoisseur of strip clubs, I get off on a stripper tangent with QB ("I once sliced my cornea on a rogue piece of body glitter." "Yeah? Well I hooked up with the stripper at my ex-boyfriend's birthday." pause. "And he didn't marry you?" "Well, see...."). Finally, Red looks at QB with subtle but palpable feminine wiles armed.

"I've never been to a strip club. Ever," she says, casually stirring the foam on the pint glass rim with one finger.

God I love this woman.

"Really?" QB replies, hooked. "What, you're some kind of feminist?"

"No, not at all. I'm a grad student. I can't afford a train ticket home, let alone a strip club," she laughs, Irish eyes smiling. Grinning even. I pick up the slack.

"Yeah, it's true. She's never been. God, isn't it so sad this pale, pink, porcelain skin has never been baptized by the cleavage sweat of a Ukrainian undergrad in a pink thong," I sigh, placing my head against her bosom for effect.

"Yeah. This is sad." QB's eyes are distant, thoughtful. And he is not pondering the economic implications of the proposed Obama health care plan.

"Well, c'est la vie! Another round?" I ask, waiting to see if he'll take the bait.

"We should go," QB says, eyes on us again.

"Go where?" Coy. Play coy.

"The strip club. We should go. Red, we should pop your cherry."

"QB, you are a married man," I say, resisting. "You'll get in trouble."

"I am a bachelor for the weekend, my wife is trashed in some bar in Houston with a bunch of production assistants trying to sleep with her and she loves strip clubs," he replies before swigging the last of his drink and placing the glass decisively on the bar. "We're going. Red, get your game face on."

We plan a totally pointless, semi-elaborate ruse where Red and I pay and exit first, meeting QB a few minutes later at the side door of a conveniently located strip joint so no random photogs snag shots of QB leaving a bar (or entering a strip joint) with two random girls who are not his wife. The VIP bouncer, clearly fresh off his win from the Ving Rhames Look-a-Like Contest, ushers us in covertly, whisking past the red velvet rope and into the thumping, subterranean lair of sin and glass surfaces below.

We're led around the carpeted manse, eventually escorted to a dimly lit banquet near one of the stages, where a smiley blonde with black-light reactive white panties is showing everyone how firemen get from Point A to Point B when the elevators are down. Only she's doing it with her back arched like a Slinky down stairs, both hands free to wave at two drooling Neanderthals at the base of the stage.

After a brief visual sweep of the floor, which is littered with black leather lilypad-like risers topped with gyrating lap-dance blossoms, we pick our preliminary favorites and proceed to kick it classy:

12 bottles of Coors Light and $300 worth of lap dances.

What? I said he was from Maine. He was paying, so it was his choice.

Two hours, many, many slurred words, and the lifestory of a girl named Zora later (she, of course, took a shine to Red, bonding over their shared love of Chekov no doubt), it was time to go. We were crossing into that drunken no-mans-land where hormones and alcohol bring parties invloved dangerously close to sleeping with people they shouldn't. Though I was far more interested in leaving with Anya, the pixie-brunette who kept putting her strawberry lipgloss all over my neck, than I was with QB, just to set the record straight.

We thanked QB profusely, sprung for his next lapdance, and left him there with what I am convinced is a totally average boner. (Sorry, but God just doesn't give that much pretty a massive wang too. Djimon Hounsou is the exception to this rule.)

"What just happened??" Red asked as we made it outside, sudden gust of wind blowing her mane of red hair around and making every guy, and even me, stop and stare. "I mean, like. WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?" Her eyes were wide and incredulous and glazed with lust and cheap beer.

"You just had your virgin strip club experience, loved it, may marry Zora, and that guy from that show you love treated you to it." I lit her cigarette, and we started hand in hand down the Avenue, Brooklyn-bound.

"This stuff doesn't happen in real life," she said on the exhale.

"It does if you have the right wingman."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

#53: Equal Marital Rights, aka, The Sanctity of Marriage Myth (with a Lady Gaga cameo)

It went down Sunday. The National Equality March hit Washington D.C., and both my Hitch List and personal belief that equal marriage rights are in line with, and mandated by, the foundation this country was built upon meant I had front row seats. I try to avoid cloying sweetness and melodramatic sappiness on this blog, so I need to be careful with this one--because it was the type of day that made even my cold, cynical heart race with hope. And pride. Marching was cathartic. But a picture is worth a hundred words. So here are a few highlights:

After a 5 hour bus trip, D.C. was so beautiful that everything looked like a Hollywood backdrop.

We were at the front of the march. Just before the crowd began moving, a rainbow appeared in the sky overhead. There was no rain, and no clouds.

People filled the streets--literally. City blocks spilled and overflowed with bodies, people, signs, chants. The air buzzed with energy, both spoken and silent.

On the way to the Capital, we passed this. It was a good motivator.

This is the front. It took over two hours for the back of the march to join us at the Capitol.

Pundits had declared no one cared. They said no one would show up for the rally...

...they were wrong. This picture was taken a 2pm, when thousands of activists hadn't even made it to the west lawn yet.

Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy, was one of many speakers. My voice caught in my throat when she was done.

Lt. Daniel Choi, a war hero dishonorably discharged after years risking his life for his country, entered silenced by black tape. Tape pulled, he started a chant: "Love is worth it."

Lady Gaga. Lady FREAKIN' Gaga, who gave a poignant and effective speech, sans pokerface. Plus. Cynthia Nixon. Hugging it out. Amazeballs.

After 18 hours on our feet in the sun, everything post-rally was a blur. I'd do it again tomorrow if I could.

Opponents of the march called it a waste of time, saying that the only thing the event "put pressure on was the grass." And, logistically, they were right. Marches rarely (if ever) scare government into action. If 100,000 (as some sources are reporting--an official number has yet to be released) protestors had spent the day at home lobbying their government by phone and written word to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell and legalize gay marriage, maybe something tangible would have been accomplished sooner. 

But the naysayers overlook something more valuable. Nearly every protester I met was young. They weren't all old hippies looking for a return to radicalism. It was twentysomethings, thirtysomethings, artists, businessmen, students, doctors, all young...and committed. 

If a single event can galvanize thousands of members of Generation Apathy into action, then it's worth it. A successful march is the sort of tangible kick in the ass the next generation of activists needs in order to take the passed torch firmly between their palms. We're an immediate gratification nation full of easily distracted minds, and the experience of standing shoulder to shoulder with 70-year-old lovers still unable to marry on one side and 17-year-old-heteros fighting for strangers on the other is something we need. Because without that experience, its too easy to get distracted and get back to beer pong. 

And let me clear up some myths.

I have had it with the "Defense of Marriage Act," and the arcane argument that the very "sanctity of marriage" is at stake in this gays vs. government fight. Let me break something down for you: marriage, as "marriage preservers" know it, is a fallacy. I'm not talking about that Disney ideal---I'm talking about a cult of ignorance that believes, in the history of the world, marriage is, has, and always will be a profound union between man and woman.

It's time to get real about so-called "the sanctity of marriage" which some people feel the need to "preserve." Here's some fun facts: Around the time of the New Testament, marriage was an almost informal agreement. No ceremony. No flowers. No TV specials. No vows before god. A pair of mates decided to cohabitate, and that was pretty much it. They were married. Live long and prosper.

Flash forward to the last 200 years. In Eskimo cultures, married couples frequently participate in co-spousal arrangements, where two sets of married couples share resources, friendship and sexual contact. Their children are raised as spirit siblings, and share a special bond. The community accepts all as members of the same family.

Across the globe, non-Mormon polygamy exists with such regularity that it's no wonder people don't give a shit about HBO's "Big Love." The Cheyenne Indians of the 1940s took many wives, who worked in tandem to preserve their family unit. In Botswana, polygamous wives invented the saying "Without cowives a woman's work is never done," railing against the supermom standard and working as a team. 

In China, a good wife treats her husband like "an honored guest," never showing outward signs of affection, and vice versa. For hundreds of years, wives used a secret language only other women knew so they could bitch about their marriage or swoon over their husbands without getting caught.

The Ancient Romans had absolutely no taboos placed on homosexuality whatsoever, and did not believe heterosexual marriages were sacred. In sections of Tibet, India and Nepal, women may marry two or more of their husband's brothers, having sex with all of them and serving as their wife--and sexual jealousy is seen as gauche. 

In West Africa, there are societies in which a woman can choose and marry a female, while certain Native American cultures allow male-male unions.

The point is--WHO exactly has the audacity to think they can protect "the sanctity of marriage," when the union, by nature, is as malleable and specific as the regions and people who practice it? Here' another one: WHO exactly gets to define what a MARRIAGE is? 

The Defense of Marriage Act serves one purpose: Proving how ignorant the author and his supporters are about what marriage is. The law protects what is, at best, an isolated social norm specific to the US, Canada and parts of which, given the divorce rate, doesn't work so well. 

The DMA is an act of allegorical abomination--it's like penning legislature to prevent the evolution of a biological organism. I'm just suuuuure the organism will listen too. 

Crap. I think I put a dent in my soap box. I gotta lay off the gelato.

Look, I don't mean to alienate those who believe in traditional marriage. Wed, make babies, buy dogs, join the PTA. Live, love and live some more. I pray for it all one day. But for those people arguing that marriage must be protected like a frail virgin from the godless unions of heathens? Try doing some research. Then put down the porno mag, head into the kitchen, and tell your spouse you love them. And do it quick, before the gays beat you too it and love has to be rescued from the fires of hell as well.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ms. Syllabick Goes to Washington, aka, POLLY GOES GAYING

We interrupt your previously scheduled continuation of the Wingman Chronicles for this announcement:

Polly's going gaying.

Tomorrow is the National Equality Rally in Washington D.C. Since the blogosphere's been atwitter with news of the movement for weeks I won't bore you with rhetoric or start waxing poetic about the Million Mo March. For those of you living under a rock, it's a major event bussing, training and trekking tens of thousands of gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgender and sympathetic individuals, as well as many other civil rights groups, to the capitol to make some pretty basic demands: equal rights for everyone of every sexual orientation and skin color. You can bet your sweet assless chaps that gay marriage will definitely be a hot-button issue, running neck in neck with the military's archaic "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Anyone who has read this blog is well aware of my mercurial feelings on the modern institution of marriage. While it may or may not be right for me, I feel no upstanding and law abiding man, woman, drag queen, drama queen or kid on Eight Ave. in hot pants with a penis popsicle in his hand deserves to have a "democratic" government dictate whether their commitment for the person they love is legally legitimate or not. 

And so I march, very proudly, alongside the thousands of others whose voices should be heard. 

For the ubergay readers, I respectfully request that you dress yourself in the most offensive lingerie you have, toss on a feather boa and run up and down the capitol spraying anti-gay protesters in the face with a penis-super-soaker water gun. That's what you call having a good offense.

For the defensers, I'll be right there with you. People going, just Direct Message @pollysyllabick on Twitter and maybe we can join forces. @pollysyllabick will be live tweeting throughout the day as well, and my tweets will be WAY cooler than those of, say, the New York Times. Maybe not as informative, but cooler. 

Pictures and tales from the front lines to follow. The Wingman Chronicles will continue soon thereafter.

Wish us luck!

Friday, October 2, 2009

#20: The Wingman Chronicles Part II: Playing the Ivy Leagues

The second rule for wingmen to remember as we hit Part II of the chronicles: Karma.

Alright, karma's not really a rule, but this is hardly the blog for discussing religious doctrine and I'm really bad at writing intros, so screw off. Point is: Be an attentive, unselfish wingman and the pendulum will swing back in your favor.

Having successfully wingmanned my lady Red a chain-smoking, blues-singing rocker, I was feeling...good. I was back on the scene after years missing in action, had helped a dear friend score and had only stepped marginally closer to lung cancer (note to self: corner next prospect in Whole Foods, not on a smoking patio) in the process. But how hard it is to help a model, one who swigs Guinness in dive bars, get laid by a rock star? Wingmanning Red is like winning the Special Olympics when you have both...nevermind. What I mean is, I had to test my success and make sure it wasn't just luck.

It was time to draft Ariel.

Ariel is my original wingman. I learned the definition of the term from my exploits with this girl, a kinetic ball of energy blessed with the gift of gab, a contagious staccato laugh and a pair of perky C-cups which have not moved so much as a centimeter south in the last decade. (And I know "Ariel" is an asinine fake name, even for a blog. But for eight years it's been her bar alias...and dudes buy it. Not one man has ever called shenanigans on that ricockulously fake name, stolen from either an animated mermaid, a Shakespearian nymph or a bottle of non-alcoholic wine, depending on how highbrow you like your pop-culture references.)

If Red and I are a perfectly balanced yin-yang of feminine mystique, Ariel and I are the Boondock Saints of wingmanning--a rogue team of petite, busty, hustling vigilantes set loose on an unsuspecting world. We've infiltrated the West Point Military Ball, commandeered an entire winery and its reserve stock for a private tasting, talked our way into a closed party for a cosmetic surgery mogul we did not know to drink $300 worth of his champagne, used the infamous "one phone call" to dial up the other from short, she's that friend.

We picked a nuetral, unassuming bar to meet at for a night of tactical planning. Our only mission: celebrate both being single (at the same time!) and discuss battle plans for the following weekend's Wingman Reunion 2009. I even wore a scrubby hat to keep booty at bay.

Ariel and I had been sitting with our pints, planning animatedly, for about half-an-hour when a pretty, square-jawed, tall and wholesome type with a full head of thick, chestnutty hair and bright blue eyes sat down at one of two empty stools at our table.

"Hi," he said.
"Hi," Ariel said.
"Hi," I said.

We all stared at each other for a moment. "Good talk," I finished.

His mouth spread into the sort of sweet, Mentadent white smile that can only be grown (organically) in midwestern fields. I had been ready to fire a dismissive snark-barb at him as soon as he sat down, but the genuineness of that smile disarmed the table. Ariel pulled a thick cascade of hair over to one side of her face, using the movement to flash me the "he gets five minutes not to say anything stupid" look. 

He did not say anything stupid. His name was Tommy (-2 points for not dropping the "y" after college); he was a Yale (+5 points) graduate (+10 points), in the city for a long weekend (+5 points) before returning to his job as a landscape architect desiging parks for a community improvement firm (+50 points). He loved Aimee Mann (WTF?? -5 points), black and tans (+1 point) and the journalistic stylings of Matt Lauer (no points either way). His wingman for the night was a pixie-girl named Tracy, who bonded with Ariel in three minutes flat before buying them both a beer. At the bar. Leaving Tommy and I. Alone.

Three brews, one shot and two hours of conversation later, Tracy and Ariel still hadn't returned. I could see them at the bar over Tommy's shoulder, heads pressed together like sleeping marsupials. Plotting. They're plotting.  Tommy cupped his hands over mine and I didn't pull them back. (What? They felt nice.) Ariel appeared a few minutes later, collecting her purse while whispering into my ear.

"Full report: great guy with history of monogamy and chivalry. Has been talking to Tracy about needing to meet you since you walked in. Monday he goes back to his house, which he owns, upstate, so you won't have to see him again if you don't want to. He will not try to rape, murder, kill, or fuck you if you go with him to Tracy's apartment, which is two blocks away. My spare keys are in your bag and the phone is on loud case you need to eject at the last second," she spat sotto voce while pulling on her coat.

"Where are you going?" I hissed back, watching as Tracy also whispered something into Tommy's ear while pressing a set of keys into his hands.

"Downtown with Tracy to meet her boyfriend, who she is staying with for the night so Mikey can ask you back to her beautiful Hell's Kitchen apartment with a balcony," she replied. "Just say yes." And just like that, Tracy and Ariel were gone.

Which is how I found myself on a balcony with a pretty Ivy League grad who designs parks for underprivileged families kissing all over my face, whispering how beautiful I was in spite of my truly epic hat-hair. True to Ariel's report, there was no sex pressuring when the night officially ended with an exhausted collapse into Tracy's bed. No "just the tip," no casual boob-grazes--just my weary head on a pillow. Next to a full-blown, domestically-raised adult male sharing the bed who didn't try and cajole himself into any of my orifices. (Gay, or just good? The Aimee Mann thing threw me.)

Tommy woke me in the morning (remembering on his own that I had to be up for a heinous Saturday morning meeting at work) with a text message from his side of the bed: "You are breathtaking in this moment." I still cannot decide whether this was a ripe slice of cheddar or the sweetest thing ever.

Then he made me breakfast.

I walk-of-shamed it to the office, survived the meeting, went home, tried not to think about how kissing Tommy didn't feel like kissing Alex, and crashed. Sunday night, my phone lit up with another text from Tommy:

"You are my New York. Thank you."

I texted something, but not to Tommy: "Well played, Ariel. Well played."