Rarely is Miss Wingman rendered speechless – after all, people share some dicey things when you have a site like this. But this morning, I found my notable exception. Whilst trolling the web, I came across this story. And I just…I mean, I can’t…There are. no. words.

For those of you who can’t be bothered to click the link (seriously, it may be Monday, but how lazy can you be?), here’s the gist: A couple of software engineers in Iceland just designed an award-winning dating app that, when you bump phones…wait for it…tells you whether the person you’re trying to, um, bump in other ways, is a blood relative.

That’s right, boys. If you’re worried about incest – there’s an app for that.

And why the f**k would any guy trying to take that smoke show home from the bar be concerned about such a thing, you ask? Good question. Because apparently, in Iceland – a country with a population of only 320,000 – virtually all of them “can trace their ancestry to the island’s 9th century settlers.” Many of whom, presumably, resemble Bjork. Either that or Ivan Drago’s wife in Rocky IV, with better hair.

Newsflash, gentlemen: If you live in a country that’s so inbred that you can’t even take a chick home without worrying that she may be your cousin, it’s time to move.

I don’t care how hot those viking women are, abort mission and start packing immediately. In fact, one of the most common questions men use in Iceland when they roll up on potential girlfriends isn’t, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” (ironic in and of itself, actually.) It’s “Hverra manna ert þú?” or, literally translated, “Who are your people?” Like, your ancestor people. Like, that’s a real thing. That they really have to ask.

No but seriously, dudes. That’s your cue to leave.

Incidentally, if you’re wondering how the app works, it taps into Iceland’s central genealogical database, which most Icelanders use to trace their lineage. Then, if the nearest ancestor is too closely related, your phone sets off an “incest-prevention alarm,” and sends you a text message.

Which, I’d imagine, says something like “Congratulations, your grandparents just c**k-blocked you.”

Anyway, sorry to disappoint all you curious types, but in order to download the app, you must have an Icelandic social security number. Guess you’ll just have to take your chances that you won’t run into your latest conquest at the family reunion. And for those of you in states like West Virginia, good luck with that.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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If you’re like most guys, you probably don’t play the role of Romeo with ease, or even very often. Everyone’s so busy in their daily hustle that it’s understandable if chivalry or shows of affection drop a notch or two on your list of priorities. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still dust off the ol’ charm and wow us every once in a while. And it might even be easier than you think.

Women love knowing that you’re thinking about us. And what better way to show us than in these small-in-magnitude but big-in-style-points ways? The good news is, you don’t have to be Ryan Gosling in a Rom-Com to melt our hearts. Here are some easy, everyday gestures that will make us swoon.

A “Just Because” email: I know it sounds cheesy, but something as small as “Hey, just wanted to say that I hope your day is going well and that this makes you smile,” could go a long way with us. Or text, whatever you prefer. And you know what? I bet it succeeds, too.

Flowers from the corner market: It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but there’s a reason this gesture is still in rotation, boys. Women love getting flowers. Love, love it – we’re suckers for unsolicited thoughtfulness, what can I say? It doesn’t have to be a dozen long stems. Even some daisies on your way home would do the trick. Hand delivery is best if you can swing it, plus seeing her expression will make it worthwhile.

Make her a playlist: If you know she runs a lot, or likes to take long bubble baths, or even just zone out to Pandora while she’s at work, then why not play DJ for your darling? Jump on Spotify or iTunes and cue up some of her favorite bands. Also, cultivating tunes she might like shows that you’re creative AND considerate.

Warm up her day: This time of year Mother Nature can be a cold hearted b*tch. Well, for those of us in the northeast at least. So if you notice that the object of your affection is usually shivering, try bringing her some hot cocoa or cider, taking her to a bar with a cozy fireplace, or just grabbing a gift card for her the next time you’re at Starbucks. Because sometimes the way to a woman’s heart is through caffeine, let’s be honest.

Manual labor: Women hate clearing off their cars when it snows, taking out the garbage or even hauling their groceries home. If you can step in and use your brawn, we’d be much obliged.

Leave her a hand-written message: I know of a guy who has a post-it on his computer at work that reads, “What have you done for your wife today?” (One of the more adorable things I’ve heard lately, I’ll admit). But maybe he’s onto something. Putting a sweet note on her car, in her bag, or just someplace she’ll find it is a surefire way to brighten up her day. Or, you can just…

Cook for her. Stop groaning. Even the most culinary challenged man can take a stab at making something edible for dinner, so stop making excuses, boys. Boiling some water for pasta or slapping together a sandwich for her are hardly Top Chef skills. But they do show us that you took the time to do something nice for us. The upside of your kitchen time? It might just lead to whipping up something for breakfast the next morning, too.

And there you have it – some quick, inexpensive and painless ways to show us some love. Of course if you’re up for it, go the romantic, over the top, sweeping gesture route. But beware, you’ll be really putting yourself out there. Like the this kid, in the below video.

I urge you to watch the full five minutes of his serenade to “Emily,” who I can only assume is a girl he’s not officially dating at the time. If you give up before his heartfelt plea to his beloved into the camera at the end, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice, trust me.

First and foremost, this disclaimer: I am in no way making fun of this boy. What he did took a SERIOUS set to wear his heart on his sleeve like that. It also apparently took his buddy Mike with a tripod, multiple forest set ups (on his dirt bike is my favorite), and his very best Hawaiian shirt to pull it off.

Though the production value and singing are painful at best, and the parts where he really puts some emotion into the lyrics might also make you cringe (seriously, I watched most of this with my hands covering my eyes), I have to hand it to this guy. I think we can all agree that he’s probably not a Don Juan in his high school, but with a gesture this bold (and public), he probably managed to get this girl’s attention. How it worked out in the end? That’s anybody’s guess. If someone out there knows what Emily’s reaction was, I’d love to hear it. So good luck to hopeless romantics everywhere, and remember – sometimes a little act goes a long way.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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By now you’re probably all nursing your holiday hangovers and contemplating New Years Eve plans. Add to that the fact that everyone will be hitting the gym to work off those Christmas cookies, and it creates the perfect storm of opportunity for you to chat up that cute girl on the elliptical.

We’ve established that the grocery store is a prime spot for picking up more than just produce, and also that the cold approach is a little…tricky. But the biggest advantage you have in sidling up to any potential gym targets is familiarity – as in, “Haven’t I seen you here before?” Normally that line would leave you dead where you stand, but in these cases, if she recognizes your face or has kept the same fitness habits/schedule, that could actually work in your favor.

As a female who has been privy to gym game before, it helps to put us at ease if we have spent multiple workouts alongside you. We automatically know or assume a few things: A) that you live or work in the neighborhood, which is our ‘hood too, after all, and B) that you’ve seen us at our most unattractive and are still willing to roll up on us anyway – a check mark in the “plus” column for you, as far as I’m concerned. And finally, that you’re most likely single if we haven’t seen a workout partner of the female persuasion with you on a regular basis.

Working against you, however, are two possible scenarios. The first is that many of us feel self-conscious or will have our defenses up if we’re sweaty messes and you’re looking squarely at us, matted-down hair and all. Even girls who get gussied up for the gym eventually have to break a sweat.

The second is that she may just be looking to get her fitness on in a limited amount of time and isn’t trying to get sidetracked by your advances…unless you’re really good looking. A strong rule of thumb is that no girl will rebuff a guy’s advances if he’s exceptionally easy on the eyes, no matter how momentarily unattractive or rushed we may feel. Attention is attention, after all.

The best way to make your approach is to put yourself in her immediate vicinity. Jump on the machine next to hers, post up in the same corner to do your ab workout, whatever – just get in her line of sight so it’s not so random when you begin speaking. Or you could try a well-timed out trip to the water fountain right when she’s headed there, and then step back to allow her to go first (the obvious plus being that you now have an unobstructed view of her posterior – just don’t get caught scoping it out).

What you choose to say could vary anywhere from flattery to curiosity. If you’ve noticed she barely batted an eyelash during her five mile run, ask her if she ran track or ask if she has any pointers for that half-marathon you just signed up for. Did she just put up an impressive amount of weight on those leg presses or show off her speed bag skills? Use those slightly-stronger-than-your-average-female-bear abilities to ask her how she got those skills. She’ll appreciate that you noticed, so long as you don’t do it in a condescending way.

Then there’s the use-what-she-has-on method to strike up a conversation. If she’s rocking a lacrosse T-shirt and you played lax, too, ask her if she played offense or defense. If she’s wearing shorts from a school you’re very familiar with (read: you or a family member went there), ask if it’s her Alma mater, too. PS, you might want to avoid using that tactic if it’s a school that’s been in the news for something scandal-related recently. Penn Staters generally don’t like hearing the name Sandusky, for some odd reason.

If all else fails, ask what she’s listening to and tell her you need some new workout music if she has any suggestions? Sounds lame, but people tend to put some thought into their gym playlists, so maybe she’ll jump at the chance to share her tunes.

Just make sure to avoid these pitfalls: If she has earphones in and you’re trying to talk over it (and she seems oblivious to your attempts – intentionally or not) beg off, lest you embarrass yourself. If she’s running on the treadmill, obviously engaging in conversation is less than ideal, unless she has the breath control of Usain Bolt. And if you signed up for that yoga class just to get closer to her, probably don’t wait until you’re mid-pose to break the ice. There’s nothing more awkward than a fumbled attempt at small talk during a downward-facing dog, unless that’s what you’re into.

Remember to use what you have at your disposal, and pay close attention to her body language and behavior. She won’t appreciate being a captive audience to your advances while she’s doing cardio any more than you’ll enjoy getting brushed off in front of others, trust me.

Even though the gym is one of the harder scenarios for picking up women, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible – unless you skimp on the deodorant, in which case you’re on your own buddy. So just remember to be confident, flex your flirting muscles, and try not to sweat it.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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For all those asking for an update, here it is: There was no record of Union Square guy on Google, and let’s face it: the Internet doesn’t lie. Though there has been some debate as to how telling it is for someone to NOT leave a virtual trace somewhere, the most telling thing to me was his demeanor after he sent me a text message.

That’s right, I received a few next-day text messages, and needless to say just as aggressively and confidently as he’d come charging out the gate, he retreated even more aggressively when pressed for details…like his name.

No, really, that’s what happened – I asked him his name again and he backpedaled – hard. Red flags abounded, to say the least. I live my life by the mantra, “People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.”

So, c’est la vie and thanks for playing, James. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t learn more of his mindset first, so that I could dissect it for you further. Alas my gut tells me it is better – and safer – this way.

Speaking of which, here’s another clarification: This was for your benefit, not mine, boys. As God is my witness, the entire time that I stood there I was thinking that this would make fabulous content (and maybe a wee bit because it’s only human to like flattery every once in a while), but not that I was interested in a relationship with him. I had to give credit where bravery credit was due – even if it may have been fueled by sketchy intentions. Sorry to disappoint you guys, but thems the facts.

Further, the thing that I so glaringly left out before – possibly because I’d blocked it out – was that he did commit one serious cardinal sin when we said goodbye: he hugged me. Twice. Ugh, I know – I have no idea how I forgot to include this before, because it is by far the sketchiest part of the story.

But men, please heed this advice: Do not, I repeat, do not touch us unless you are fairly certain that you’ve gotten the green light. How do you know if we’ve given it to you? Oh you’ll know. Until then, respect our personal space, please.

But mostly, I was just amused by the many emails and comments I’ve received from this story. Some of my favorites from today are:

“The fact that this guy doesn’t turn up on Google concerns me, can he track your IP address from your website? I realize I watch too much SVU, but I’m concerned…”

Also: “This is why you should never give your number unless you have given a DNA test, do a Google search and interview 3 of his close friends.”

Further: “It could be one of three things that motivated him 1) he has seen you once or twice before and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to chat you up, and had no plan of conversation 2) he has a massive ego and a case of narcissism to a spectacular degree 3) he’s crazy and you should run from him and change your #.”

Also, after commenting that this isn’t the first incident someone had heard of like this taking place in Union Square: “Maybe there is a secret society of dbag NYC dudes that have identified the area as being a “hot kill zone” or “target rich environment” as they say in the military. To answer your question, no I do not have those type of sober balls…”

And finally: “…You experienced day game, you were a moving target and it was a cold approach. Research has shown that as a moving target she should be approached from the side and he should have walked with you. When somebody stops you cold, especially a stranger, the first reaction is that they want something, like a beggar.”

All valid and amazing points, thank you. So perhaps the takeaway for future pick ups is that being fearless is admirable, but it’s so often tied to being shady that it tends to be off-putting. There’s a reason that most men simply could not and do not employ these kinds of tactics, and though they seem refreshing at first, most of us would just as soon avoid the outliers. Now if you’ll excuse me, if anyone needs me I’ll be purchasing a taser gun and some pepper spray…THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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Rarely am I left speechless, but an incident last night did the trick. In the nearly nine years that I’ve lived in NYC, I’ve never had an encounter quite like the one I’m about to tell you. Naturally then, I had no choice but to turn it into fodder for the masses, for two reasons: A) So that you boys can learn something from the rogue behavior of one of your own, and B) So that my entire reading audience can weigh in on whether this guy is brilliant or just straight up insane.

“Picture it, Sicily, 1927…” Just kidding. I couldn’t resist the urge to make a Sophia on “The Golden Girls” reference – which hopefully wasn’t lost on you. Ahem. Sorry, where was I?

Right. I was walking through Manhattan’s Union Square last night around 9pm, having just finished some Christmas shopping errands, on my way to the gym. Suddenly, a guy came up behind me and ran out in front of me, stopping me and waving his hands. “Hold on, wait wait wait – can you stop for a minute?” he asked. “My name is James (changed for privacy), what’s yours? I just saw you walking and thought you were really pretty. So I wanted to come talk to you, I needed to introduce myself,” (or some slight variation, it’s as close as my memory can recall).

While I stood there, dazed and slow blinking in shock, I immediately looked around for either John Quinones from ABC with a camera crew, or for a con artist sidekick who would inevitably be rushing up behind me to steal my wallet any moment now. Maybe it’s a New York thing, but my first impression was to check my pockets. This couldn’t be for real.

Turns out it was. Dude literally ran down a stone cold stranger in the middle of a busy intersection and proceeded to try and pick me up – gym clothes and all. *Note: I’m not the girl who wears cute clothes to the gym, never have been. In fact, I was wearing baggy track pants, an athletic department-issue T-shirt from my college and a hoodie – hardly Workout Barbie attire.

So, since a large part of my interaction with all of you hinges on whether or not you can meet girls in various places (like the grocery store) and how to approach us, how could I in good conscience not turn this into a tutorial? Thus, here are the answers to the questions you’re probably asking right now, in no particular order…

What did he look like? He appeared to be normal, probably late twenties, wearing a button down shirt and overcoat – which he explained by the fact that he’d just gotten out of work. What did I do? I couldn’t stop laughing, and then once I realized he wasn’t kidding I flat-out blurted, “Is this what you do? Did you really just run down a complete stranger?”

Then I informed him of his grievous misfortune in choosing the one female whose job requires that I spin this and possibly use it against him (or not, that’s still up in the air). He thought it was funny, I told him he may not be laughing for that long. And PS, he knows the name of this website, so if you’re reading this, James, let’s see how much of a sense of humor you really have now…

What did we talk about? He lead off by asking me what my nationality is – and choosing correctly (I am ambiguously ethnic, so it was a decent guess). Then he quickly looked for common ground and told me he was partially that nationality as well. He started using anything he could as fodder for conversation – “Oh you’re going to the gym, are you a runner? You look like a runner,” and on and on. How long did this interaction last? About ten minutes, three or so minutes into which he managed to appear disarming enough for me not to run away.

So what happened next? He told me he wanted to take me out for coffee. Boys – take note: he didn’t just loosely throw it out there, he told me when he’d be back from the holidays, and attempted to nail down a date and time. His persistence was actually fairly impressive, and I had to congratulate him on his bravery (even if he is totally full of it). Any guy who pulls a play like this deserves some respect if for no other reason than that it’s such a bold move. I had to tip my hat (and check for my wallet at least two more times).

He asked for my number, upon which time I told him that I don’t give my number out to random strangers in the craziest city in the world. He wouldn’t give up though, and eventually…sigh…I relented. Yup, that’s right, the most critical female of these sorts of moments finally gave in and gave him my digits – the real ones, since I know you’re wondering. Even I can’t believe I did that, actually.

In all honesty, he said, “OK so it’s a date,” and I responded, “Actually it’s more like a case study. I have to figure out where your head was at when you did this, I’m stunned,” which may be most of my motivation should we ever actually speak again.

So now what? Am I crazy? Is he crazy? Am I about to be the victim of some corporate-type, harmless looking con artist, or was he just a guy who saw an opportunity and seized it? You decide, and please weigh in.

I realize how flawed my “he looked normal enough” rationale is, especially since that’s how Ted Bundy got away with picking off dozens of women. But, what he had working in his favor was that he appeared similar to someone I’d be friends with, a fairly regulation NYC male. I am still highly skeptical of his intentions, partially flattered but mostly just not buying it. Again – almost no makeup, hair in a ponytail, Rocky Balboa clothes. But, out of curiosity I stuck around.

So now I flip the script on all of you for once and ask for your feedback. Would you ever try this method, which is essentially the dating equivalent of a cold call? What in the world could possibly be someone’s motivation to do this? Do you think other women would be averse to this or play along, too? Hit up Miss Wingman’s handy dandy comments section or email misswingman@gmail.com and weigh in, please. I have a feeling this is going to be fun… THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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