JUST WINGING IT POST #1: F TRAIN DUDE

F train bobby

You know you’re keeping an open dating mind when you meet a guy on the subway.

I know, I know. Who does that? I’ve lived in NYC forever and never so much as made eye contact on the train, let alone talked to someone on the platform. But this past encounter (Miss Wingman has to backdate some of these adventures) left me challenging my previously-held belief that you can’t pick someone up on the subway.

So without further ado, here’s how it all went down.

The scene: F train platform on a Friday night, post-friend’s birthday cocktails in midtown.

The guy: *Bobby (*Obviously his name’s not really “Bobby.” But I do enjoy that this makes him sound like he should be one of Jan’s crushes on “The Brady Bunch.”)

Age: 24. Yup, you read that right. I could’ve practically babysat for him. Hometown: Somewhere in Massachusetts.

Vocation: Something finance-y for a well-known company I won’t disclose, but he was dressed well and appeared normal and clean cut.

Height: At least 4″ taller than me. And yes, that usually matters to us (sorry boys.)

The approach: Thanks to a very unusual subway platform performer who was playing music seemingly without an instrument (long story), we both stared at her in confusion for a minute, made eye contact and started to laugh. This broke the ice enough, small talk ensued, and it came out that he was just at the gym. Due to our location, I asked if he went to New York Athletic Club. He said yes and with that common ground (my grandfather was a fixture there once upon a time), we ended up chatting the whole ride downtown.

When we eventually got off at the same stop, he hit me with, “We should get a drink sometime.”

I’m pretty sure I laughed in his face and said something like, “Did you seriously just ask me out on the F train?” He replied with, “I’m going to meet friends for a birthday, so if you met me 15 minutes from now I’d be ‘The Guy You Met At The Bar’ and not ‘The Guy Who Picked You Up On The F Train.’”

He had a point, and that – coupled with the fact that he seemed normal and harmless – clinched it. I gave him my card.

The date: Fast forward to him being surprisingly charming over text message, so we agreed to meet in the East Village for drinks on a Friday. At this point, I knew he was 24 (yes, you definitely Google dudes you meet on the F train) but he didn’t realize how much older I was than him. When I broke the news, he said I was the only one hung up on it – he didn’t think I looked or acted older. Game on, apparently.

(*Miss Wingman note: While that’s sweet, and I’m often told how young I look, no one wants to be the novelty story you tell your friends about the time you took down a cougar. This was never going to end well…)

Drinks turned into a late dinner, and though I never had any intention of seriously dating someone who graduated from college in 2012, at this point he was winning me over.

Flag on the play: All this changed at the end of the evening when it became apparent to him that he wasn’t going to close the deal (again – my parents read this, so no further detail) and he showed his true age – by pouting. Hardcore. And then it got really, really awkward.

Postgame analysis: To his credit, he followed up with some casual banter text messages in the days following, presumably so he wouldn’t look like a dick. I haven’t spoken to him since, and although he did impress me by being surprisingly mature for MOST of the night, the end of it was telltale. LET THIS BE A LESSON FOR ALL MEN: if you’re going to put in the work and the time, don’t throw it all away by showing your was-just-trying-to-get-laid cards in the final stretch. We assume that anyway, but there’s no need to tip your hand.

The takeaway: Don’t date boys who were born the year you were old enough to get your own phone line. Also, shared humorous/awkward circumstances (Tall Dave, anyone?) make for the perfect introduction. It’s an easy in.

Final score: 3 out of 5 Web‘s. Normally, I’d give a dude a score of 1, but F Train Bobby deserves serious credit for pulling digits on public transportation.

So that’s it for the inaugural post of Miss Wingman’s Good Man Experiment, aka “Where are all the good men in NYC?” aka sweet-Jesus-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into? Obviously these initial ones will be on rewind, but stay tuned for upcoming chances to roll up your sleeves and get involved. Until then, as usual, I’ll be just winging it.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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CALL ME, MAYBE? FLIRTING FOR BEGINNERS.

Flirting. It’s a delicate art. When done correctly, it can be playful and intriguing. But, when done poorly, it can come off as creepy, uncomfortable, or resemble a Tourettes-like seizure in a public place. And which side of the line you land on, I’m afraid, is entirely up to you.

That’s why I’ve come to your rescue, single men of the world, to streamline a potentially awkward process. It’s been brought to my attention that there’s a new trend that’s being touted as “the future of flirting,” but God help us all if that’s true. I haven’t seen anything this cheesy since Velveeta in the blue box was introduced.

Suffice it to say, boys, that if I were a guy and some woman did this to me, I’d think she was a few colors shy of a full Crayola box. Or the type of chick who watches a lot of Lifetime Television for Women.

Either way, run.

So what’s all the fuss about? There’s a company called FlipMe that allows women to order a set of small cards to pass along to any men with whom they’d like to flirt. The cards have silly phrases on them, like “The night just took a turn…” or “I’m playing easy to get.” Or even the ridiculously obvious, “You’re being hit on” card, for the dude who doesn’t quite grasp subtlety yet.

Each card comes with a unique code on it that allows the recipient to visit the site, log in and view the woman’s profile, which she’s set up prior to the exchange. Then, hypothetically, she can either contact him or not – though it’s not entirely clear what the man is supposed to do once he’s viewed her page.

FlipMe describes itself as being your “go-to gal pal” and making things mysterious and fun. That might be the case, I suppose… if the people who’re flirting are in the 7th grade.

Here’s the thing, men: A lot of times, women think we’re being cute and coy, and you guys either A) don’t agree and are horrified or B) don’t pick up on it, and it’s entirely lost on you. So utilizing a service which is essentially the adult equivalent of passing some stranger a note in class that says, “Do you like me? Check one box. YES___ or NO ___” is a little juvenile, no?

I totally understand why, from a safety stand point, a woman would be hesitant to give out her business card or personal information. That’s a concern that you men rarely think about, but is often in the back of our heads (a result of watching too many “48 Hours Mysteries” and “Dateline,” no doubt). But there are other ways to get someone’s attention, and then you can decide if they seem “safe” enough to exchange biographical information later.

But, they require that you actually have a conversation, and not just that you drop a purple, swirly card in front of them and then dash for the door while the guy is still trying to process what the hell just happened.

I’m all for initiating contact if you notice someone you find attractive, especially someone that you seemingly might never run into again barring a twist of fate. Think about it – how many times have you been on a subway, or paying for your morning coffee, or in line at the bank and you’ve spotted someone cute that you’d like to get to know? But do you talk to them? Walk over and introduce yourself? Smile and hope they smile back?

No. Most of the time, you just steal a few glances and then let them walk out of your life forever. Like a wuss. Like a coward. Like a scaredy cat (thanks for bringing that phrase back, RW, it’s awesomely under-utilized).

So what should you do, you ask? Well for starters, smile at us. And hold eye contact for a few seconds. Not in a creepy, now-we-have-to-go-find-security-and-ask-for-help kind of way, but in a “Yes, I noticed you, and I think you’re cute” kind of way. I say this all the time – whether it’s in the grocery store, a book store, at the gym, etc etc etc, smiling is one of the most disarming things people can do. We should all use it more often.

Then, if she smiles back, casually make your way over to where she is – but don’t beeline right for her. Maintain a healthy, arm’s length distance away so that you show her that you respect her personal space. Then – and this is the real shocker, boys – just say “hi.” If you’re feeling especially brave, you can quickly follow it up with, “I’m _____ (so and so),” but only if you’re feeling crazy that day.

Name introductions, who would’ve thought, right? Such a novel approach, but simple and non-threatening…which should be your aim in such instances.

After that, you can come up with a million things to say based on the environment you’re in (refer to Miss Wingman’s suggestions if you’re at a loss). Or, it can be something as multi-purpose as, “I don’t mean to bother you, I just noticed you and wanted to come say hello.” Right away you’ve told us that you not only have self-awareness (and recognize that a cold approach is unconventional), but also that you’re flattering us, and that you’ve removed the onus from of us in reaching out.

I don’t envy dudes for having to take the social bullet for us all the time, but in the end it just comes down to this: You’re men, it’s your job. Take a deep breath and seize the opportunity when it arises. Confidence is sexy, it’ll liven up your boring day, and you might meet someone new as a result. Plus, if you don’t, no one will ever sack up and meet each other organically ever again. It’ll be all fix ups and online profiles (which are great for my literary purposes, but far less exciting and spontaneous for all of you).

Or if not, some foolish and impressionable women will be forced to pass you a silly card, enticing you to some sort of romantic scavenger hunt, where the prize at the end may or may not be her vajayjay. Awesome. But, if you don’t have time or tolerance for that type of BS, take my advice and just come say hello. You may still come away with some digits in the end, but at least this time they’ll be the right kind.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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PICK UP POINTERS: BEHOLD! YOGA CLASS.

They say good things come to those who wait. And, if you’re a diehard Miss Wingman fan, then you’ve been waiting a pretty long time for another edition of “Pick Up Pointers.” We’ve delved into the world of The Approach at the gym differently before, and also within the grocery store aisles. But this time, I suggest you put down the produce and pick up a spongy floor mat, because yoga class is where it’s at, boys.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of yoga myself, (Miss Wingman prefers to wail on a heavy bag. Namaste, my ass) but last night my sore muscles drove me into the land of trippy music and cleansing breaths. Apart from the fact that the workout itself is beneficial to everyone, if you can get past the bizarre meditations (I don’t do “zen,” apologies to my Yogi friends), there’s another obvious bonus to taking a class: The women.

Men of the world, I’m sure common sense dictates that you’ve thought of this before, but allow me to emphasize how RIDICULOUSLY STACKED those classes are with women – hot women – wearing tight clothing, and doing bendy things.

I felt euphoric, like I’d found the promised land for guys. Much like the time I found a bar overflowing with a sea of dudes watching hoops at the Garden, or stumbled upon a good after-work spot in the finance district (so that’s where you’ve all been hiding…) Hitting the mother lode is fun, especially if I can spin it in your favor.

If you don’t need any further convincing, allow me to help you navigate the proper way to approach a woman in yoga class. Here are The Do’s and Don’ts of Fitness Flirting:

Do: Hit up a class in a normal gym, not a yoga-only spot. Why? Because there’s a difference between seeming like you just want to try out this yoga thing, and appearing that you’re either A) Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Man B) blatantly creeping on women or C) of questionable sexual orientation. Regular gym yoga classes are harmless and could just have landed you there out of sheer curiosity (hey, it’s plausible enough).

Don’t: Go the Bikram yoga route (read: hot yoga). Why? Because the only thing less sexy than having your own sweat pour off of your body is having someone else’s sweat drip on you. Plus, it’s a little hard to work up your charm when you feel like you’re breathing through a cocktail straw.

Do: Wait until before or after the class to chat up any cute women you spot. They’re pretty serious about the whole silence/mood music/soothing lighting thing, and you wouldn’t want her to think you have no sense of self-awareness. Etiquette is key.

Don’t: Stare. Yes, many of the poses involve putting your ass in the air or spreading your legs far apart, but that doesn’t give you license to skeeve us out (Down Dog, anyone?). Be crafty in the quick glances that you steal. Kind of like how you check out our cleavage when we’re “not looking.” Remember – eyes on your own paper, boys.

Do: Casually establish why you’re in the class in the first place, if you feel self-conscious about it. Asking the girl on the next mat over if she likes the workout because you “have this sports injury in my back that I’m trying to fix, and someone suggested trying yoga,” isn’t a bad idea. Sure, it’s lying, but it’s the little white kind. You have my permission.

Don’t: Be too good at it. If we wanted to date a guy who was Gumby-flexible or could hold a difficult pose indefinitely, we’d date a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet. There’s a difference between being open-minded enough to try yoga, and chipping away at your masculinity. Walk that line at your own risk.

Do: Be adorably clumsy – which probably won’t be intentional. You’ll likely have a hard time with yoga at first anyway. Watching the few guys in the class around me struggle to keep their balance was endearing, actually. And it gives you a good excuse to chat a girl up afterward if you catch her chuckling.

Asking for pointers or making a joke about how much your skills are lacking is a harmless way to get our attention. Just don’t ask her if she can do that thing with her legs in other places, too – unless you want to hear her tell you to “Nama-stay away.”  Far less amusing, boys.

Also, Do: Take care of your feet. Yoga involves being barefoot, and nothing will kill your game faster than if she looks over and sees your mangled, gnarly man-hooves. You don’t have to go full pedicure, but for the love of God at least trim the nails.

And finally, Don’t: Be afraid to say nothing at all. If you can tolerate a few weeks of going to the same class (you might actually like it), you’ll develop enough of a rapport or familiarity with the people in it to strike up a conversation with them elsewhere. If you’re too shy or just don’t feel confident that you’ll say the right thing, try just putting your mat in close proximity to hers for a few classes, so she gets to recognize your face.

But be mindful of personal space, don’t crowd the poor girl. Then, if you want to chat her up at the water fountain or arrange an “accidental” run in arriving at or leaving the gym, you can use the “Hey aren’t you in that yoga class?” line without sounding like a D-bag. It’s a slow strategy, but still effective.

But all of this is to say that it should, theoretically, offer you the opportunity to showcase your personality and allow her the chance to get to know you. Once you’ve got our attention, it’s up to you to be yourself (which is charming, I assume) and let things play out naturally. Pick up tactics only work if they’re only used to get your foot in the door, not to guide the whole process.

So go ahead – bust out your best spandex (please don’t), take some deep breaths, and don’t forget to limber up, boys. If you do this right and get lucky, you just might need it.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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