YOU DO WHAT IT TAKES.
by Mark Frisbee
As the stray hand from an angry redhead connected with my cheek, I thought, for the millionth time that night, 'Why in the hell did I agree to be Harry's wingman? Why?' See, as the wingman, I've taken quite a few for the team. But this was bringing that concept to a whole new level.
The wingman is the set up man, the guy who tests the waters, the guy who takes the bumps and bruises. In my case, as wingman, I'm the one who sets up my best friend Harry so he can get some booty. I am like Goose was for Maverick, Jon Baker for Frank Poncherello, #2 for Dr. Evil and Igor for Dr. Frankenstein.
The mission set before me was straightforward, yet extremely challenging. My good friend needed to get laid. Not a relationship, not a date, just a good, old-fashioned one night stand. But Harry isn't the best looking dude (picture a tall version of Yoda), well mannered (nose picking, scratching his bathing suit places and belching are common), or real up to date with fashion trends (remember acid washed jeans and high top Reeboks?).
But he does have one redeeming quality some women are drawn to. It's hard to put your finger on it, but there is something contagious about his personality. The more he drinks, the more fun he is to be around. And if I could just find the right girl and get her to actually talk to him, I knew I could pull this off. I was the set-up guy, the used car salesman. I needed to take this run-down lemon of a car and find someone to give it a test drive.
About 9 pm on a Thursday night we met up at Jameson's, a new bar downtown. I had picked a quiet, laid back place where we could talk — I needed to go through a laundry list of pre-party prep with Harry. And we needed a few stiff drinks.
"First of all, Harry, don't scratch at your bathing suit places," I said bluntly. Harry frowned. "Yeah, but I can't help it, especially when I am nervous," he responded. "See I sweat a lot and I get this rash … "
"Whoa! OK, too much information, Harry," I said quickly. "Secondly, we have to pull your ass out of the '80s butt rock era and get you into some newer clothes." I opened my bag and pulled out the outfit I had picked up for him at Buffalo Exchange. Nothing too lavish, just a nice (non-acid washed) pair of jeans, a black Kenneth Cole button up shirt and a pair of black leather lug sole shoes.
When Harry returned from the bathroom in his new duds, it was a marked improvement. But there was one final thing we had to go over. "Now for the love of God, Harry, you have to remember to be outgoing," I pleaded. "We're working with a few strikes against us here so we need to bring out your A-game personality and we need it sooner rather than later."
I slid him a generously filled tumbler of single malt scotch. After downing a few, Harry and I headed out into the cool February night and across the way to John Henry's. Since it was '80s Night, Harry almost could have gotten away with wearing his own clothes. But he looked almost attractive in his new outfit and in the loud, dark room, he blended right in.
I will spare you all the gory details of the crash and burn attempts at John Henry's. They're too painful to recount and too numerous to tally. At one point, I thought he had hit pay dirt. I approached a tall, leggy brunette that I thought was about Harry's speed. She had just sat down at the bar and was drinking something pink and icy cold. As the first bit hit her mouth, her eyes seemed to cross and she grabbed the side of her head (brain freeze), spilling just a bit on the front of her skirt.
"Bet you could use one of these," I said, handing her a bar napkin. She thanked me politely and we continued to talk. As I had already done repeatedly that night, I pointed Harry out at the other end of the bar and told her I had a friend that I thought she should get to know.
"Who? Yoda?" she said, laughing a bit too loudly. "Yeah, he is kinda goofy looking, but once you talk to him you'll see what a great guy he is," I said convincingly. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong, but a long middle finger 2 inches from Harry's nose was not a sign of a one night stand in the making.
Not ready to admit defeat, I told Harry it was time to pull out all the stops — we were going to go to Diablo's, the Mecca of the singles scene in Eugene. It was almost 1:30 am and the dance floor at Diablo's was packed. We had both had our share of drinks and as I watched Harry, I could tell his standards had dropped a few notches. Not that his standards were very high to begin with, but we were getting to a level that was a bit more attainable for him.
In the final minutes after last call, Harry, drink in hand, approached a woman who had made eye contact with him earlier. Slurred speech and clumsy dancing aside, he seemed like he was doing OK. I on the other hand was getting the spins and that freakin' disco ball was about one sparkle away from making me blow chunks.
It was then that I made the decision to leave Harry to his own devices. I had done all that a wingman is expected to do. I prepped him as best I could, dressed him up, got some booze in him and talked him up to more women than I can remember. I stumbled my way across the dance floor toward the stairs leading out of the club giving him the nod. As I passed him on my way out, I whispered, "Good luck Mav!"