Face it – your NCAA bracket is not going to win. Probably. No, not probably. Likely. In fact, even if you made every single one of your selections based on choosing the better-seeded team, the likelihood of that bracket being perfect is still 35 billion to one odds.That’s billion with a “B.”

In other words, you’re about seven times more likely to be killed by falling debris from space than you are of beating those bracket odds. Feel better now that the pressure’s off?

Good. But even though March Madness is Miss Wingman’s favorite time of the year, better even than my birthday, the beginning of summer or the days leading up to Christmas, that doesn’t mean I fill out a bracket with any reasonable expectation of winning. But damn if watching teams vie for glory in the tourney doesn’t make losing a hell of a lot of fun.

That said, there is an obvious link between the process of filling out your bracket and how you should approach dating. Yes, the bracketology-to-broads parallel is a strong one, and one that can be used for your educational purposes, gentlemen. And if there’s one thing Miss Wingman prides herself upon (other than being an unabashed smartass), it’s schooling dudes on how to navigate through our crazy and land the woman of your dreams.

So, even though I thought it wasn’t possible to beat last year’s “Selection Wingman” posting, I will try to elevate my game. I give you The Top 5 Ways Bracketology is Like Dating. Ready, set, go…

#5 Do Your Homework: From figuring out what Florida’s 3 pt shooting percentage is, to nailing down who Louisville has beaten out of conference, to analyzing the kind of defense Minnesota runs, it’s all about the research, boys. Stats and figures are your best friend. Just as, if you meet a girl you might be interested in, you should e-stalk the bejesus out of her like you’re recruiting a player. Hey, in fairness, we Google you, too.

There’s a reason Facebook is so useful, and it doesn’t involve being subjected to your high school friends’ baby’s photo shoot, engagement announcements or viral videos of the Harlem Shake. Incidentally, if you post any of that shizz, I’ve definitely blocked you from my news feed.

Do a little digging, find out what she’s into, and try to handicap the likelihood of your compatibility. And if it doesn’t look good, you can always scope out her friends.

#4 Use Common Sense/Instincts: If it seems like a long shot that a 16 seed will win, it is (and incidentally, it’s never happened). If she seems too high maintenance or over-dramatic for your liking, listen to your gut and cut your losses.

I know it’s better to check your emotions at the door when fill out your bracket, like ignoring your love for your Alma mater in favor of their actual hoop skills, but try to get a clear picture of their prowess free of bias. It’ll eliminate misleading distractions. Unless, of course, you’re me and your team just dominates (Hoya Saxa, b*tches).

But seriously, listen to the logical voice inside of your head. If you have a history of dating girls with dependency issues, or if she’s never been able to sustain a relationship long term, this is telling you something. Past performance is a powerful predictor of the future, so don’t forget to factor that in. Um, that said, ignore what I just said as an air-tight rule and…

#3 Don’t Ignore The Dark Horse: Sure, the numbers usually don’t lie. I’d love to imagine that UAlbany will take down Duke, because the only thing stronger than my hometown pride is my full-on hatred of the the Blue Devils. But it’ll never happen.

Back to my point, though – there are exceptions. Every year there’s always that long shot that achieves an upset none of us saw coming (Butler, anyone?). Those Cinderella stories that make us love the Madness, rip up our brackets, and ask, “Where the hell is Liberty University, anyway?”

You should approach the unlikely dating candidate the same way. Does she seem a little nerdy or serious for you? Maybe she’ll end up being fascinating. Physically not your type? She might make you laugh so hard she wins your heart. All I’m saying is, she may not be the prettiest girl at the dance, but entertain the possibility that she could be the Lehigh to your 2012 Duke team. Just as long as you stay open-minded.

Sorry, another Duke cheap shot. Like I said, aversion.

#2 The “WTF?!” Factor: Some things in life (and basketball) are unexplainable. Why does the clueless girl who picks teams based on cutest uniforms or favorite mascots win the office pool every year? Why do your douchiest friends always seem to land amazing girls and yet you’re single? You know what I’m talking about here, guys.

I wish I could explain it, but I’m a writer, not an effing magician. Just accept that there are going to be outliers, and that you should ignore what everyone else is doing and just focus on yourself. Process of elimination can be a crazy thing.

#1 Enjoy The Dance: In college hoops and in life, truer words have never been spoken (Thanks, MB). If the name of the bracket-slash-romance game is surviving and advancing to the next level, the only way to do that is to roll with the punches and leave it all out on the court.

Because in the end, dating is a lot like the tourney – everyone’s full of advice, but ultimately you just have to go with it. Things just have a way of coming together, so try not to forget that it should be fun. A lot, a lot, of fun. Good luck, gentlemen, keep your eyes on the prize, and as I’ve said before but it bears repeating – remember, it’s anybody’s game. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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It’s that time of year again, gentlemen. The Irish-fueled equivalent of New Year’s Eve, Halloween and Superbowl Sunday all rolled into one sloppy, joyful, day drinking event. It’s one giant green-clad amateur hour…and it’s outstanding.

At least in NYC it is, or any major city and it’s environs (although I’d wager a guess that sidewalk vomit-dodging is the toughest here). But what St. Paddy’s also means, in addition to copious amounts of green beer, Guinness and Jameson shots, is that everyone will be out and about and in a good mood. Prime opportunity for picking up some cute lasses at the bar, boys.

Granted, you might argue that trying to spit game while 10 beers deep is a bad idea, I’ll remind you that A) liquid courage is sometimes a good thing and B) Miss Wingman hates the idea of “game” anyway. Just be your charming, leprechaun pin-wearing self, and it’ll all fall into place. If you do it right, she may just kiss you…not because you’re Irish, but because you’re awesome. But first, remember these guidelines…

1) Know your goal for the day. Are you looking to capitalize on the many social settings where you could spot a cute friend-of-a-friend type you might actually be interested in pursuing? Or are you just looking for a drunken fling to cap off the revelry? It’s OK if it’s the latter, just don’t approach the two the same way, boys. We know the difference.

2) Look extra handsome. This one seems obvious, but in order to offset your head to toe green attire and (most likely) beer splattered shirt, you should class it up a little if possible. Try layering a button-down shirt over that Guinness tee, or at least wear your least hideous shoes. It’s hard to look dapper on a novelty holiday, but as a favor to me, kindly try.

3) Play the numbers game. If you spot a cute female parade-watcher nearby, or think the girl ordering shots seems like your type, assess your condition – and hers – and assign it a number.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Why the hell are you sober?” 10 being “Where’s the nearest E.R.?” and 8 being the teetering, getting-tossed-out-of-bars kind of drunk, please play it safe, gentlemen. Don’t approach her if you’re above a 6.5…or if she is, for that matter. Slow blinking isn’t sexy, kids. Neither is having a virtual stranger puke on you.

4. Remember her name, remember her name, remember her name. Nothing will kill your game when calling her mid-week like not knowing if she’s a Danielle or a Desiree, trust me. Make sure to commit your target’s young lady’s name and her digits to your phone, even if “Jennifer” looks like dJnnifeR with drunken typos.

And just hope her name isn’t close to an actual word, or else Auto Correct is your worst enemy.

And finally, 5). Pay attention to the signs. Did she offer to buy you and your friends a round to thank you for bank rolling her drinks all night? Thoughtful. Was she down with late night pizza or even (gasp!) suggest it herself as a solid end to the evening? Low maintenance! If she’s seen you sloppily devouring a drunken slice whilst slumped on a curb and she still likes you, this girl’s a keeper.

But on the flip side, if your day ends in girl tears after someone spilled a drink on her, she lost her hoodie, whatever – this is not a good sign. Drama’s still drama, drunk or not. You deserve to set the bar higher.

So that’s it, fellas. My heartfelt suggestions for finding a female to sham-rock your world this weekend. Hopefully she’ll intoxicate you with her beauty & wit, and you don’t wake up finding that her appeal was just plain old intoxication. Either way, may the luck o’ the Irish be with you. And if not, there’s always college hoops to cheer you up. Slainte –MW.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

*Miss Wingman note: I leave you with one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day themes, though forgive me, it’s for sentimental reasons. So if your Irish drinking songs tend to be more bandwagon, then here you go. (And psst! There are other bands than Dropkick Murphy’s, fyi). If you’re more of a St. Paddy’s purist, a la Pogues & Dubliners, then here’s an authentic little link of your own. To everyone else, enjoy.

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