I’ve always been a math and science geek. When I went to university, I studied engineering, then technical writing. Naturally, my jobs have been in the high-tech sector.
I am also a science-fiction nerd.
Not surprisingly, most of my friends are men. Last time I checked, I was not. I believe that is still the case.
Most of these men are straight. So am I. Most of the time, one of us is taken, I’m not their type or they’re not my type. (My type is PhyllisD, in spite of the popular misconception that I am Wingdings.)
Socializing in a group with single male friends has some peculiarities. Even if they’re not on the make, they’re keeping their eyes open for companionship. They’re guys. They’re also my friends, and as much as they don’t want to hurt me, my proximity drops their stock values to the opposite sex–that is, unless I actively do something about it.
* Visibly remove myself from the competition: Bring along another guy. Use the Universal Girl Language to show that I’m with him. Apply more UGL to show that I’m not chumming the waters anyway.
* Make myself logistically unattractive: If possible, along bring my five-year-old daughter. Being a single mom isn’t necessarily a deterrent, but having to wrangle a diva screams “I have more pressing issues to deal with, thanks.”
Sometimes neither option is viable. Then, I must become The Wingwoman.
Unlike the Wingman, the Wingwoman for the Single Guy is obviously not the one who lost the game of rock-paper-scissors. (Yeah, we chicks know all about how you guys pick which one of you gets to hit on us.) When the opportunity arises, it is our job to use the more subtle aspects of the Universal Girl Language as a social lubricant between the two of you, or at least not block your chances.
I’m not very good at the subtleties of UGL, so I’ve had to develop my own tricks. I need to help him convince her that he’s a great guy (he’s my friend so of course he’s great), while not letting the question of “If he’s so great, why doesn’t SHE take him?” get in the way.
* Emphasize my footwear. Stretch my legs, complain that my feet hurt, whatever it takes. I’m a hard fit, so I tend to go for comfort over fashion. Conclusion: I am too dorky to be attractive to this fine man. Possibly, I am a lesbian.
* Forget to wear makeup. Conclusion: Same as above.
* “Pardon, I have to take this text message from my boyfriend. He’s on contract in California.” Conclusion: I am already taken by a successful man. I am moping, possibly jealous, and my dear friend is getting me out of the house. What a sweetheart he is. He’s just not my sweetheart.
* Ask her questions about her career. Chances are I’m genuinely interested and I really do want her card. I’m totally shameless that way. Tech writers and social media people are potentially useful to darned near everyone, right? Offer her my card. Conclusion: My friend gets a free pass to ask her if she has another card and he doesn’t look like a creep about it. I get a new business contact and all is right with my world, anyway. Did I mention that I have her number as backup, in case he loses it? And maybe she’s more comfortable knowing she has a means to scope him out with me at her leisure. It’s a chick thing.
* Use my social media ninja skills to make some connection between his career and hers, especially if he hasn’t picked up the clue I dropped when I got her card. Remind him to give her his card if he’s so awestruck that he can’t make the next move. (That’s okay, we chicks think “awestruck” is cute.) Conclusion: Oh come on, she’s figured out the game by now.
If there is any ambiguity at this point, I can resort to the standard Universal Girl trick of suggesting a trip to the bathroom. There, either she explains to me privately how she’s not interested, or she shows interest and I get to do a sales pitch.
Did I mention that I get a new business contact out of this? I love my friends, but love doesn’t buy a decent social network.
I’m not seeing the downside, here.