There are few things in life that, no matter how much money you have, you should really just do yourself. Like wiping your own arse (classy, I know), writing someone’s eulogy or, you know, PLANNING A WEDDING PROPOSAL.

Or, you can be lazy, thoughtless and entitled and pay a woman like this up to $10,000 to do it for you. That’s right, if you just can’t be bothered to think up a sufficiently overblown, inauthentic way to ask your beloved to marry you, now you can punt that job to a total stranger.

How. Fucking. Romantic.

So who is this proposal planner for hire? Sorry fellas, I find the idea of men who would do this even more unsavory than a woman who would be opportunistic enough to make a career out of it, so I’m not going to plug her any more than I have already. But I will say that the blame isn’t solely hers. If there wasn’t a market out there of men who don’t feel inspired or impassioned enough to put some thought behind asking someone the most important request of their lives, then we wouldn’t even be discussing this story. Sadly, though, this service is in demand.

So why the Miss Wingman tirade? Why the disdain? The problem with dudes hiring someone else to plan their wedding proposal is that it takes everything that’s intimate and personal out of one of the most momentous occasions in a woman’s life (and hopefully, a man’s too.) Even the least romantic, least sentimental chicks among us have daydreamed about what it would be like when the person we love takes a knee and pops that box open.

We envision you thinking about it ahead of time, orchestrating just the right moment and incorporating something that’s unique to our relationship. Something meaningful, that helps you convey how you feel about us. Not farming it out like dry cleaning.

We do not, however, envision you cutting a check to some Hitch-meets-Olivia-Pope lady and her “team” after answering a lengthy survey about our likes and interests. Seriously, gentlemen, set the bar higher. Not flash mob higher, sincerity higher. So, if you’re inclined to jump on the “engagement season” bandwagon any time soon (Vom.It.), heed this advice: it’s only special if it seems so quintessentially you. And authenticity trumps pageantry any day.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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It’s Friday again, Wingman faithful (you didn’t think I’d forgotten, did you?). And you know what that means – dating disasters, romantic misery and horror stories of all shapes and sizes. What could be better than that? Well, maybe if you were reading this with a happy hour cocktail in your hand…

This week’s tale of cyber dating woe comes from Amanda in Manhattan, and it involves a move so shameful it almost makes me lose faith in people’s morals these days. Almost. So sit back, relax, and be happy you’re neither of these people (or the other person, yikes).

Jason, the sales guy: “I met Jason through one of the lesser-known dating websites very recently. Like, two weeks ago recently. We chatted back and forth several times before he asked me to meet him downtown, which in hindsight I realize was nowhere near either of our neighborhoods. And was probably his attempt at being cautious. Perhaps you can see where this is headed already….

When I saw him, he was very attractive, confident and liked to talk. We chose a bar with cafe seating that wasn’t entirely on the sidewalk, but the front of the restaurant was all open. I sat facing the people walking by, he sat with his back to the street, facing inward.

After about 40 minutes of casual banter, where he told me he thought I was pretty and suggested a bar we should try “the next time we go out,” I was convinced things were going well. He also inadvertently turned his body sideways in his chair, and was now partially facing outward, leaning his back on the wall. I guess he forgot to keep his face hidden, because all of a sudden he saw something that made him go white.

He whipped around, put his hand up to obscure his face, and slumped down in his seat. He was stammering so badly he couldn’t even remember what he’d been saying. I asked if he was OK, and he said he thought he’d seen someone he knew – an old boss he hated – and was trying to dodge her. I bought it for a minute until, visibly shifting in his chair, I noticed a girl approaching our table who tapped him violently on the shoulder. Her face was way too pissed off to be a coworker, this girl was seeing red.

“Jason?” she hissed. Incredibly, he was still trying to hide in his chair, and only turned around to face her after she yelled, “Are you kidding me?!” loudly enough for everyone around us to hear. Now succumbing to the fact that he’d been caught, he turned to me and began to explain. “Uh this is my…” is all he could get out, before the girl spat out that she was his girlfriend. Correction, his LIVE-IN girlfriend. I wanted to die right there on the spot.

She was hurling a steady stream of obscenities at him and demanding to know who I was, and what the hell he was doing. Maybe it’s because he’s a salesman and thought he could talk his way out of it, but he just kept asking her what she was doing in that neighborhood. It’s like he was accusing her of being the one in the wrong. (*Miss Wingman note: Bad move, buddy. Bad, bad move).

For all her rage towards him, I have to give this girl credit that she heard me out while I explained that I had no idea he wasn’t single, and I’d never have gone out with him had I known. I also outed that we’d met online and, upon hearing that, her eyes got so wide I thought she might actually haul off and hit him.

It was then that I took my cue to get the hell out of there, and apologized to her repeatedly as I beelined for the sidewalk. Obviously, I never spoke to him again, and I can’t even believe that a guy could be that bold and shameless. I guess as far as dating horror stories go, it doesn’t get much uglier than your date being caught in the act by his girlfriend.”

Amanda: Oh contraire. Actually, it does (brother and sister story anyone? pregnant girl? we’ve had some doozies), but yours is pretty damn impressive. I’m sorry that you got caught in a real life “Jerry Springer” episode, but I’m even more sorry that I wasn’t sitting at that cafe watching that whole thing go down. There’s nothing more awesome than real life drama unfolding when you’re within earshot. It’s like free entertainment.

As for your date taking the Shaggy method of denial (“It wasn’t me”), that’s on him. I can only assume that, if his girlfriend even allowed them to travel home together after that, that she was tempted to push him in front of the subway train. Actually, come to think of it, if you haven’t heard from him again, maybe she did.

I give his girlfriend credit for recognizing that you were just an innocent bystander to his betrayal, and I almost (almost) have to give him credit for having the balls to think he could even pull that off in the first place. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in this line of work, it’s that people’s behavior never ceases to amaze me. So, I won’t even begin to go into what brings someone to pull a stunt like that. But rest assured, you probably weren’t his first, and I doubt you’ll be his last.

Whatever you do, don’t let this experience keep you from getting back on the online dating horse. Just remember next time to bring a purse big enough to carry a helmet. And maybe some running sneakers, too. Better luck next time. –MWTHAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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Nothing lasts forever, especially in matters of dating. But even though the song tells us “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” that’s not always the case. Sometimes, if we know exactly why it wasn’t working, breaking up is actually pretty damn easy to do. A relief, even.

So what would make us cut the romantic cord and not look back? A few things, though the official reason we give you might not be the real one. Look no further than a recent study conducted by the dating postmortem website Wot Went Wrong (and yes, the pseudo-British spelling of “what” really bothers me, too).

The site surveyed men and women (though I’m not entirely convinced of it’s scientific integrity), and found that one of the top 10 reasons that women offered for breaking up with a man – in a short term, 6 date maximum situation – was that he was “too tall.” Um, what? Ten percent of women also claimed that the men they were dating were “too high maintenance.” Again, WTF? Haven’t women called “shotgun” on the whole high maintenance thing? Who are these guys they’re dating anyway?

Furthering my contention that this survey was complete and utter bullshit is the fact that, in only slightly longer relationships (1-6 months), women cited the #1 reason for breaking up to be that their “dietary habits differed too much.” They also buried the “You don’t make enough money for the lifestyle I want to have” reason further down the chart, hovering only slightly above “lack of punctuality.” (cough*bullshit*cough)

So allow me to set the record straight, men. Even though we’ve talked deal breakers before, phase outs and even exit interviews, the only way to get an honest answer is to ask a woman who won’t sugarcoat them. Besides, people are notoriously inaccurate when self-reporting data. Sad but true.

I think the most important thing to lead off with is the distinction that women in a long term relationship, where we’re dating you for a significant amount of time (8 months – several years), really only end things for one of two reasons. *Cheesy disclaimer: Yes there are exceptions, but for the most part things funnel into one of two categories. So don’t kill the messenger.* Drum roll please…

Either there’s someone else, or we’ve realized that you’re not The One-slash-we clearly want different things. Sound oversimplified? Nope, it’s pretty accurate actually.

Women generally won’t end things in an otherwise good relationship unless they’ve fallen out of love with you (or into lust with someone else) or unless they’re convinced it won’t go anywhere in the long run. We don’t want to waste your time, or our own. Sometimes there are other life circumstances that might mistakenly make us think we’re not on the same page (i.e. a quarter life crisis or plain old timing), but for the most part, thems the breaks, boys.

Short term dating, however, is a very different story. Women will end things for much less profound reasons, and they’ll likely be less forthright with you about why to spare your feelings. Oh who am I kidding? To spare an awkward confrontation – a move we learned from you, I’m afraid.

Some of the primary reasons we’ll close up shop? Physical attraction, for starters. As in, “there was one initially, but it’s fizzled now and I don’t want to keep hooking up with you.” Or possibly that we’ve already hooked up with you, and it was so lackluster that we’re trying to avoid an encore. I know a man who believes that women should always tell guys outright if she’s just not into him physically, and I strongly disagree. While it would effectively clear up any ambiguity, it would also level someone to hear that. Who wants to be told that they’re not as attractive as they’d previously thought? OUCH.

We’ll also end things if you have annoying habits, like being stingy with money or rarely leaving your couch in your free time. Your friends and/or family could factor into our decision, in both short and long term set ups. Or if you work too much and we fear you don’t have room in your life for us. Scheduling can suck, after all.

Sometimes you bring out something about ourselves that upsets us, like criticizing our physiques, dieting or beauty habits (Think that stuff doesn’t mess with a girl’s head? Think again). Other times, I hate to admit it, but women really do like you for the wrong reasons – as in paycheck reasons – and they’ll flee if they don’t think you’ll provide them with a certain lifestyle, like the survey said. That one always sickens me, but it’s too prevalent to ignore, so there it is.

A huge reason for breaking up with a guy in a short term dating situation, and one that Miss Wingman can’t emphasize enough, is lack of self awareness. Allow me to repeat that for the cheap seats: Lack of self awareness. Have trouble picking up on social cues? Don’t realize when a woman’s not into you? Generally have zero concept of how people view you, or the image you put forth? This spells disaster, guys.

Why? Because it makes us view you as less than manly, even bordering on pathetic in some extreme cases. Self awareness is to a woman’s dating radar like a hot body is to a man’s. Even a woman with an underwhelming face can be viewed as highly dateable if she has an exceptional figure. And even a guy who looks more like Zach Galifianakis than Zac Efron can have his pick of women if he’s really self aware, I’ve seen it happen. (Because we’re better people than you shallow men are, obviously. Kidding). But the reverse is also true, so beware.

There are also a bevy of other reasons why women would pull the plug on a casual dating relationship, like if we think that you’re the wandering eye type (or if we suspect that you’re sleeping with other females). Or maybe if religion is an inflexible issue, or if people in our inner circle feel that you don’t bring out the best in us. Hell, even geography can be a sticking point. Not for us New Yorkers, but apparently you LA folks aren’t willing to brave gridlock for love (and understandably so).

So it’s a mixed bag, but one that we most likely won’t open up and let you peer into completely. Unless you send us a survey, of course. No matter what ultimately causes us to call Time of Death on our budding romance, once the headstone is in place, make sure you take that as your cue and walk away. That way you leave with your dignity – and your dating cred – intact.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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