WINTER STYLEWATCH: HOW TO PLAY WITH PLAID (THE RIGHT WAY)

Nothing is cuter on guys than plaid. It’s cozy, it’s rugged, and if done right, it makes us want to curl up in front of a crackling fireplace with you.

OK, maybe that’s pushing it a little – but you will look manly-yet-adorable. Which is always a good thing.

If you associate men in plaid with Scottish dudes in kilts, then open your minds – and your closets – to the bevy of other options out there. From tartans to buffalo checks to Blackwatch and glen plaids, there’s a pattern out there for every guy. The most important thing when choosing how to rock these prints is to never mix plaids at the same time. In fact, wearing only one item is the best way to showcase your seasonal spirit.

So I’ve gone ahead and curated some of my favorite plaid pieces for your viewing enjoyment. Hopefully this will give you an idea of how to integrate them into your wardrobe without looking like a walking picnic blanket. Enjoy.

Blackwatch plaid is my personal favorite version. Featuring dark green and black/navy, it’s the signature tartan of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, known as The Black Watch – hence the name.

It’s great in a button down, like this one (above) from Wallace & Barnes. Or, these Woolrich Pro-Keds are a fun and festive alternative (and easier on the wallet).

If glen plaid’s more your thing (huh?) then incorporating it into a scarf over your jacket is always a nice touch.

This more stately, simple plaid tends to look a bit more business-like or formal. Try Brooks Brothers’ merino wool glen plaid scarf, available in black or brown.

Moving right along to tartan, this plaid has come a long way since the days of Braveheart. A tartan work shirt is always a solid choice, in Miss Wingman’s opinion. Ralph Lauren Rugby makes this handsome version, or else be bold and liven up your formal wear with a tartan bow tie. If you dig preppy, this one by MacIntosh is perfect for holiday parties.

If cozy is what you desire, then look no further than these utility pants by Eddie Bauer. They feature a buffalo check flannel lining, and are the most subtle way to incorporate just a hint of that iconic plaid into your look (without looking like the Brawny man). Plus, they’ll keep your buns warm. Score.

And finally, if you’d prefer to let your pockets have a little fun, these handkerchiefs by Barbour liven up the breast of your coat just the right amount. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and are washable cotton.

Of course, if you’re a real enthusiast, you can always go the full-blown plaid pants route (eeek!), or even the wool newsboy cap route – but they’re a little too “Legend of Bagger Vance” for my liking. However you choose to rock it, plaids are the official pattern of gentlemen everywhere. Button it, drape it, tuck it in or roll it up. Just do yourselves a favor, boys, and “check” it out this season.DAPPER WINGMAN

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THIS GUY’S AN IDIOT. PERIOD.

Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to speak.

I awoke this morning ready to delve into one writing topic that had been swirling around in my head. Then I saw this ridiculous article, and I had to respond. It’s written by John Corrigan – Temple University college student, budding columnist, and certifiable jackass. Please, take a moment to read his mindless drivel – this post will make a lot more sense if you do.

Go on, do it. I’ll wait…

OK then. For the truly lazy or time constrained, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version. Kid has girlfriend. Kid’s girlfriend, by virtue of being female, has her period. Kid decides to write about this “phenomenon” as if he has some brilliant dude wisdom to impart on other males. Kid pats himself on the back. The end.

Honestly, judging by the author’s photo, I’m still stuck on how he even got a girl to sleep with him at all. But I digress…

Photo courtesy: Temple News

Rarely will you hear Miss Wingman write about things as private and, frankly, icky as periods, bodily functions, or bathroom-related humor on here. Why? Because I believe certain things are better left unsaid. Plus, I believe in preserving a modicum of girliness and tact. Also, it’s lazy. Never go for the cheap laugh – and that’s what low brow humor is all about.

But for you, John Corrigan, I make an exception.

Newsflash, man: There is no brilliant wisdom in there. There is, however, a lot of juvenile stereotyping. “You better duck those mood swings or else she’ll knock you out. When your girlfriend suffers, you sure will, too.”

(*Chuckling to myself*) Oh John. Silly, sil-ly, foolish little John. If there’s one thing I KNOW, it’s that your girlfriend in particular must suffer enough, just by virtue of holding that title.

Also, it’s that no male was left better off having read your column (which is loathsomely close to the title of my own, grrr). And females? We learned everything we need to know on the subject from Judy Blume books, health class and years of experience. So sit down, junior.

Here’s what I would tell men about their girlfriends/wives/sisters/females in close proximity’s time of the month. Get out your pencils, boys, and take some notes.

1. It’s nothing that guys “deal with.” On the contrary, we’re the ones dealing with it. Are you the one using a tampon and taking Midol? No? Then shut the f**k up. Please, and thank you.

2. For many women, and I fall into that category, it’s just a thing that we manage. A minor detail. An afterthought, really. It doesn’t cause violent mood swings, bouts of hysterical tears or moments of pure rage. Men often cause those things though. Hormones? Eh, only occasionally.

3. For some of the female population, a statistically smaller but highly unlucky group, their period causes real agony. Like, doubled over in pain, nauseous, unmanageable discomfort. I first learned this being around other women in college – and I felt really, really badly for them. And you should too. Where’s your sensitivity? Dick.

4. The way to cajole sexual favors out of your girlfriend during this week of circling the no fly zone is NOT to make her feel like a pariah or guilt trip her for neglecting your needs. Or to write about it publicly. Good strategy, bro. Let me know how that works out for you. And finally…

5. Do all women a favor and approach our time of the month in the following way: Yes, we have it. No, we know you’ll never really understand it. No, we don’t need you to tiptoe around us. And yes, we think it’s better not to talk about it either.

Oh and one last thing: Please discontinue use of all ridiculous menstrual euphemisms. Like visits from Aunt Flo. Or riding the crimson wave. Or several others that are so vulgar and unsavory that I won’t repeat them because it simply wouldn’t be ladylike. Here’s hoping you learned something, boys. And that a meteor falls on that kid’s dorm room. Cheers  –MW.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID


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ZIP IT WINGMAN: THE TOP 5 THINGS TO NEVER SAY TO WOMEN

Miss WIngman can do a lot of things to try and help the men of the world, but sometimes – and I hate to say this – you’re on your own. Like when you open your mouths without thinking and accidentally offend the hell out of us. We know deep down it’s unintentional, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve just skyrocketed us to a 9.5 on the rage scale. Congratulations, I hope you don’t plan on getting laid ever again.

And by the way, how does that foot taste?

That’s why I’ve compiled a handy dandy guide of verbal no no’s, so that you boys can avoid pushing our buttons (unless that’s what you’re going for). It’s not an exact science, but it should keep you out of the dog house. So here you go, men: The Top 5 Things You Should Never Say To Women.

If you’re smart, you’ll put this on a card, laminate it and keep it in your wallet at all times. If not and you forget to dodge these pitfalls, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, may God have mercy on your soul.

5 – “I didn’t think you’d mind.” Um, I think it’s safe to say that, if she’s pissed enough that you’re actually having that conversation, that you were dead wrong. She did mind. And no amount of defending yourself will change that. So what should you say? “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking,” is the quickest way out of a tight spot. You may not actually believe that, and you don’t have to employ it, but a well-timed Mea culpa is always a solid life-preserver in a pinch.

4 – “Did you go to the gym today?” Riiiiiiiight. Do you own a helmet? Because you might consider strapping it on immediately after asking that question. Granted, it’s a completely harmless, benign question probably posed out of pure curiosity or small talk. But what we hear? “You need to go to the gym. Because you’re getting fat. And I’m not attracted to you.”

Irrational and insane? ABSOLUTELY. Does that make it any less true from our perspective? Nope, totally not. Leave that question out of rotation altogether, boys. Trust me on this one.

3- That something is “not that bad” or “It’s better than before.” As in clothing malfunction, haircut snafu, or a visible imperfection on our faces or physiques. Why? Because trying to make us feel better by saying something isn’t that bad is like acknowledging that at one point you realize that it was pretty damn bad, or that it’s still heinous but hey – it could be worse. Why is this no bueno? Because you’re supposed to pretend that whatever is upsetting us about our appearance never even occurred to you before we pointed it out. Period, end of story.

2- “You remind me of my_____(fill in the blank female).” Chances are, you’re probably finishing that sentence with “friend,” or “coworker.” But just in case you were planning on saying “mother,” “sister” or “ex,” you’d better be wearing some form of genital protection, or have quick reflexes. We generally don’t like to be compared to any of our fellow females, least of all your blood relatives or women you’ve cast aside for one reason or another. Play it safe and steer clear of this phrase, if you know what’s good for you.

And finally, occupying the #1 most we’re-going-to-hate-you-for-a-while-if-you-say-this spot is, drum roll please…

1- “Relax.” Single most annoying thing to can say to anyone, whether they’re actually worked up or not. Strike that, especially if they’re not worked up, because it implies that you think we are visibly agitated. On behalf of women everywhere, I simply say “F**k you.”

No, seriously, f**k you.

Basically that’s it. In a nutshell, minus a few incident-specific examples. Like I said, we may realize that we’re overreacting or that you didn’t necessarily mean to upset us, but that won’t get the look of frozen horror off our faces any quicker.

Play it safe. Or if you’re a gambling man, don’t…just don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself a party of one. May your wit always be quick, boys, your tone always be kind, and may you keep the number of the nearest florist on speed dial.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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CRAZY WINGMAN: THE TOP 5 MOST DISTURBING THINGS I’VE HEARD LATELY

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing this blog. I poke fun at the things that warrant mockery, make light of those universal love themes with which we all struggle, and occasionally even help the men of America. It’s an outstanding gig.

But one of the unintended side effects of running this site is that it has opened the door to people telling me all sorts of batsh*t crazy things that they’ve done, someone’s done to them, or things that they swear they’d never do (and are obviously lying, duh).

So I thought it only fair to compile a list for your reading enjoyment to illustrate what I deal with on a daily basis. Consider it a Pandora’s box of Have-You-No-Shame? Also, try not to let it give you nightmares.

Some of the most disturbing stories come from Miss Wingman’s inner circle, thus aren’t for public consumption. But if I were a less loyal person, I’d demonstrate just how degenerate the company I keep is – so consider yourselves (and you know who you are) lucky.

5- To the newlywed male who, right before the big day, lamented having to get married by saying, “Soooo…I guess that’s it then?” I say to you: Yes. Yes that’s typically the idea behind marriage, ironically enough. Also, I hope you were joking.

4- To the girl who accepted a date with a fabulous guy and then, after they nailed down plans, said to him “You’re lucky. I gave you a Thursday. Hope you’re impressive,” I say to you: Please stop speaking. It’s arrogant, chicken-headed remarks like this that give the rest of us women a bad name.

3- To the dude who ditched his fiance for another woman, then when he grew tired of hooking up with Other Woman decided to woo ex-fiance back only to eventually tell her “Nah, I’m going to move abroad for a while. I think I was right the first time,” (after all of her friends and family alienated her for taking him back), I say: You are the reason why women are so insecure. May I suggest moving as far away as humanly possible? I hear Guam’s nice.

2- To the TRULY DESPICABLE married guy who doesn’t even bother taking his wedding ring off when he goes out to pick up women, because he tells them he’s a widow whose wife died of ovarian cancer (and then he gets sympathy ass because of it), I say to you: On behalf of all women, if I ever meet you face to face you better hope your junk-protecting reflexes are quick. Also, on behalf of anyone who’s been affected by cancer, I say: If karma exists, you’re definitely coming back in your next life as a toilet seat. And, I’d look both ways before crossing the street if I were you. It’d be a shame if you were taken out by a bus…

And finally, 1- This. I pray to God that this is wrong. Sweet Jesus, please let this be a mistake. But if it’s not, I’m moving to Seattle. Or someplace where they don’t wear sunglasses very often. PS, this does NOT serve as vindication for those of you ardent supporters who have been harassing me lately. It just means that miserable style loves company.

An honorable mention should go out to the other most disturbing thing I’ve seen this week, this clip of a girl so distraught by the news of the “Twilight” chick cheating on her boyfriend that she is inconsolable.

Oh the legions of heart broken, black nail polish-wearing tweens who are grieving right now. I don’t know what I’m more disturbed by, her level of anxiety at around 3 minutes in, or the fact that the guy KStew cheated with was a married father of two. Classy.

So that’s it, kids. Despite all the buckets of crazy that get hurled at me every day, I do believe that people are fundamentally good, and that you can actually find a loving, non-dysfunctional relationship. You just have to sift through the shameless riff raff to get there. So keep the faith, and here’s to making the dig as painless as possible. Cheers –MW.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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MAN-GAGEMENT RINGS? I CAN’T.

Well well, Wingman faithful, it’s been a minute since last we’ve met. My apologies for the lengthy pause, but I’ve recently rejoined the world of working stiffs and have taken on a salaried job in addition to my Wingman responsibilities (mama’s gotta pay the bills, what can I say?) The gig is great. The people are great. The fatigue is making me feel 90 years old.

In related news, office life hasn’t changed since last I left it. Nor has my inability to juggle my time effectively. I flop down after work exhausted, my fitness is suffering, my tan is suffering, and my apartment has surpassed resembling a hoarder’s lair and is rapidly nearing health code violation status. Good times. But most importantly, I’m not going to get evicted and have to move home. It’s hard to write about romance when you live with your mom and dad.

But have no fear, Miss Wingman will remain alive and thriving, and the added bonus is that now I’ll have even more love in the workplace fodder to include. See? It’s a win-win. And speaking of things I’ve picked up in the office lately, I recently learned of a trend from my coworkers that I couldn’t help but pass along to all of you. And by “pass along,” I mean shame mercilessly. Behold! I give you the man-gagement ring.

I know. I wish I was kidding.

First of all, if you need a definition of the term A) you might be a little slow on the uptake, I thought I was the only one in need of serious caffeine, and B) ask and ye shall receive. A man-gagement ring is a ring that guys wear after they’ve proposed to their significant other (or vice versa, but that’s a whole other ball of crazy that I can’t really get behind), and this ring alerts the rest of the population that said male is OTM. That’s “off the market,” for those who aren’t in 7th grade.

For the record, it also announces that he’s also officially whipped, but that’s beside the point.

There are several things wrong with this idea, not the least of which being that it’s a well-documented fact that Miss Wingman hates man jewelry. But since wedding/engagement rings don’t really fall into that category, I’ll let them slide. That still doesn’t mean dudes have any business wearing engagement rings, though.

My biggest issue with this phenomenon is that if you have to broadcast that your man is off the market, then you’re either a very insecure individual or else you just don’t trust him. But if it’s the latter, then you shouldn’t even be dating him, let alone marrying him.

Also, that’s just a little too Jonas Brothers/purity ring for my liking. Or should I say “too Michael Buble,” as he has openly worn the dreaded man band himself in public. If you’ve asked a woman to spend the rest of her life with you, shouldn’t it just go without saying that you’re going to forsake all others (at least until someone younger/hotter comes along?)

I’m putting the man-gagement ring right up there with couples who have a joint Facebook account. And we all know how I feel about that.

Some things, while they seem like a good idea at the time, are simply – in a word – unnecessary. So what do you think, boys? Am I being too judgmental? (Who moi? Never). Or are the people who rock this craze straight up crazy? Incidentally, I’m not talking about guys who marry each other who choose to wear man-gagement rings – that’s totally fine – just in case you were going to come at me like that.

Log on and weigh in, because I’d love to hear the male perspective on this one. Apparently this whole man-gagement mania is common practice in several European countries and Norway and Finland. But since Norway also brought us Swims, I think it’s fair to say their opinion no longer counts.

So hit me up in the comments section or at misswingman@gmail.com. If you’re ranting, I’m listening. Just don’t try to convince me to like Croakies or Crocs, boys. Thanks.DAPPER WINGMAN

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CAN MEN AND WOMEN REALLY BE FRIENDS?

It never ceases to amuse me how men and women can look at the same situation from two completely different angles. No place is this disparity more glaring than in matters of male/female friendships.

True story: In having a conversation with a female friend recently, she referred to a guy with whom she spends time. I asked if they’d ever dated before, and her response was, “Oh god no, we’re just friends.”

BOOM. There it was. Her justification for being able to continue hanging out with him: that she felt no weirdness or sexual tension. She simply just didn’t view him “that way.”

I told her I’d bet a million dollars that if a guy asked that same male friend what the nature of his relationship with her was, that his answer would be something along the lines of “I haven’t hit that yet, but as soon as I get the chance, I’m all over it.”

And why am I so sure about that? Because the sad truth is, as much as I’d love to believe differently, men and women can’t just be friends.

No way, no how, no matter how altruistic and pure-intentioned we think we’re capable of being. It just doesn’t work that way.

A woman can look at a male in her life and classify him as a “friend,” with no intention of ever removing him from that platonic category (The dreaded Friend Zone, sorry boys – I’ve tried to help). While a man can look at that same woman and label her not as a “friend,” but more like a female he just hasn’t slept with yet. Both are accurate from each person’s perspective, but the difference is one of intentions. Ours? Harmless. Yours? Up to no good, if we let you.

So in keeping with that honesty, here’s my confession: I’ve always been a girl who enjoyed hanging with the boys more than my own gender. Sure, I have lifelong friendships with girls who I’d trust with my life, and who I thoroughly appreciate and value. That type of female camaraderie is precious. But that said, with very few exceptions, I’ve always been more comfortable amongst the Y chromosome crowd. Room full of dudes? My favorite place to be. Room full of females? My own personal version of hell. Even still, I’m under no delusions about the nature of our “friendship.” And any woman who isn’t aware of it should read this, too.

I don’t mean to sound disparaging to my fellow females, but guys are more low maintenance, transparent, and they carry with them very little drama. We, on the other hand, can be finicky, passive aggressive, and tend to place ourselves and our friendships into a social hierarchy in which inevitably someone gets left out.

And if hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Then watch out, because we can hold grudges with the best of ‘em. So it’s no wonder that some women gravitate toward guy time. We just need to realize that the sexes have entirely different end games in mind.

But going back to the statement that we can’t just be friends, it’s necessary to finish it off with “….unless one of four things is at play.” If one of these factors is activated, then a male/female friendship can exist in perpetuity. And what are those four things? I’m glad you asked, boys, because it’s about to get real up in here.

1- One or both of you is taken. If either side of the friendship has a significant other (or historically has over the duration of your friendship, thus preventing the proper timing needed to act upon your attraction), then it’s fair game. Taking the possibility of hooking up off the table pretty much diffuses the sexual tension time bomb, temporarily at least.

2 – You’ve already consummated that attraction in some way. Whether with just a drunken make out session or a full-blown hook up, if you’ve seen that person with bedhead the next morning, sometimes that’s all the action you need. Once the thrill of the chase is over and you’ve reached that (sometimes anti-climactic) pinnacle, men and women can often go back to being friends. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again later down the line. Hey, who doesn’t love a good encore?

3 – Something is legitimately preventing you from taking things to a non-platonic level. What could those things be? That you’ve dated their best friend and are now off-limits, the hot girl is your buddy’s sister (thus he would kill you), or that one of you is flat out not attracted to the other. If you’d rather hook up with a blood relative than get with her or him, that would make it easy to hang out without getting physical. Also, sucks to be them, for what it’s worth.

And finally, 4 – That you just plain haven’t hooked up yet, but it’s coming. And if the case is that it’s bound to happen sooner or later, then you’d better buckle up, because you never know if it’ll be a bumpy ride afterwards.

As with many of my steadfast decrees, I’ll add a final addendum: I reserve the right to be wrong. Perhaps there are totally healthy, platonic friendships out there between men and women. Look at Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock (totally gonna hook up). Or Chandler and Monica (definitely got it on). Or no, here you go – Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Oh hell, who are we kidding? They’ve totally f***ed. Whatever – no disclaimer necessary. See? I was totally right all along.

But whichever category you fall into, realize that true friends are hard to come by. And however you consider said friend – with benefits or without – always remember to consider their feelings above all else. Mostly because it’s good karma, but also because you never know when the embargo could be lifted. Happy Friday, my friends. May your weekends be filled with good company, great possibility and even better stories –MW.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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AMERICANA WINGMAN: HAPPY BDAY, USA

Happy fourth, Wingman faithful. While I’ve been busy OD’ing on wholesome summer fun (think sprinkler runs, corn on the cob and sticky ice cream faces), I’ve been thinking about what this holiday really means. And so far I’ve come up with the following: time with family, the smell of barbecue, lightning bugs, cold beer on the patio, sandy toes and, of course, the birth of our nation.

And what a badass one she is at that.

For all of her flaws, on this the anniversary of the birth of our country, it’s only fair that we salute her, the men and women who defend her, and all of the ideals we’ve fought to uphold for the past 236 years.

Say what you will about our undeniably-flawed U.S of A., what you can’t deny is that here anything is possible. She might not always be the prettiest girl at the dance, but she’s ours. Like it or not.

And what better embodiment of old-fashioned 4th of July nostalgia than a nod to our national pastime? Forget apple pie, and move over flag-waving parades and firework displays. It is my patriotic duty to bring you one of my longtime favorites, “The Sandlot.” Because nothing says “Americana” like baseball and smack talk (“you’re killing me, Smalls”).

So enjoy this clip, take care of one another, and whatever you do – don’t play ball like a girl.

http://youtu.be/ACXta-oH1lU

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