Confessions of A Lousy Wing Man
Meet Mr. Tom "Maverick" Cruise . . .
A Salute to more Wing Men
1986 saw the release of a phenoman entitled, "Top Gun," that starred Tom Cruise as "Maverick," and his (pardon the cheesy pun) wing man, Anthony "Goose" Edwards. This mega-billions-film also starred Tom "Viper" Skerritt, Michael "Jester" Ironside and Val "Ice Man" Kilmer.
I never understood the thinking of the U.S. Navy's "Top Gun" elite training program, which was designed for only the "best" Navy pilots, allowed these candidates to use childish nick names. They are grown men, for God's sake.
Anyway, that is not my beef to chew. It wouldn't have mattered to me if they appeared in the movie as clowns in full-circus attire and all of the cast, including Cruise, had arrived and gotten out of a small, yellow car. In short, the movie didn't do it for me.
But one things's for darn sure. "Top Gun," without meaning to, introduced to our American culture, a new slang term that still exists, or endures I should say even today, "wing man." What a nifty way to say a guy is your "best bud."
I guess "buddy," is too border line feminine for most macho types, so to keep their testosterone in place, "wing man," is used when one of the single duo has his sights set on a beautiful girl sitting alone, or with her "best friend," in a dimly-lit bar. QUESTION: Why is it kosher for a girl to say, "my best girl," and a guy turns red as a Beef steak tomato when the term, "buddy," is brought up in bar room introductions? I must cry, "foul!"
When I was single and living a pretty-much unfulfilled teenage life, my friends and I never had that term, "wing man," that we could use when "scouting for chicks." No sir. It was just plain, "there she is. Here's what you and I are going to do," and that was that. Sometimes it worked.
Most times it didn't. I guess that girls even in my day loved to be romanced, complimented and hear us guys use our best smooth lines while they looked coy and enjoyed the moment.
That's where my now-late, legendary, Rondal Smotherman comes in. He was the all-time "master" of either part, the lead in a male duo chasing two pretty girls, or he could drop back and be the best "wing man" you ever met.
Actually Rondal himself, never needed the services of what few "wing men" were around when he and I were "on the prowl," for female companionship. He could talk two unassuming hot girls into climbing into his 1969 Chevelle equipped with sporty rims, eight-track tape player and shag carpeting, and go with us to dine at places that only the bravest truck drivers would dare enter. Rondal was "gifted" in smooth speech and sales techniques.
I wasn't. I was like I am now. Plain as dirt and smart as any topsoil anywhere. That's why I'm sharing this story . . ."Confessions of A Lousy Wing Man," with you, the "wing man failures" of yesteryear.
And here are more of my heart-wrenching confessions that until now, have been right at home with me in my heart. I just felt like it was time to unburden myself of these confessions of a wing man whose services never got off the ground.
QUICK WIT was not one of my gifts. Let's say that Rondal and I were talking to a couple of blond, blue-eyed, majorette-type girls. And I was asked to be Rondal's wing man. If you know your "Single Guy's Code," you know that one duty of any wing man is to make your buddy look really well to the girl he is talking to. And this required that "I" had to have a quick wit and make Rondal look like a genuine playboy.
This is how that scene would have unfolded.
Let's imagine for a moment, that Rondal and I are standing in-line at a walk-in movie theater somewhere out of our hometown. On purpose. Because we have done our research on the girl that he is going to talk into going out with him, because he knew someone who worked with this girl's second cousin and there "I" am as his wing man to help him "seal the deal."
RONDAL (to the girl he likes) "Hey, cutie. I like that dress. It makes you look so thin. Say, are you a head majorette at a nearby junior college?"
(Girl blushes, smiles a toothy grin of perfect white teeth).
"Wy' you are sure to-the-point aren't you, uh . . ."
"Rondal. Rondal Smotherman. What's your name?"
"Linda Sue Gefferey."
RONDAL (to me) "hear that, Ken, this is Linda Sue Gefferey."
ME: "Uhhh, Georgia Lou Gentry?! Err, (choke) just kidding around."
(Linda Sue and her best friend are both embarrassed at my obvious stupid response.)
RONDAL (laughs to cover my error) "That Ken, always got his head in the clouds." "Would you like to go with me to get a burger?"
LINDA: "Well, I don't usually go out with a guy when we first meet . . . but, you know, Judi, what the heck. let's do it. Okay, Rondal. Ohhh, what about Ken?"
ME: (stunned and in panic for I don't know anyone I can beg for a ride home) "What about ten? Say, Rondal, it's a school night and I need to, uhhh, be home at ten, errr, what's everyone laughing at?"
RONDAL (gets me out of earshot of Linda and Judi) "Idiot! Pay more attention or else "I" won't be scoring with Linda tonight! Okay? Now listen to what I say to them and simply agree. Got that?"
(I nod in agreement to do penitence for my social blunders).
LINDA: "What is it you do, Rondal?"
RONDAL: "I, uhh, am into doing live DJ work while I am not being the program director for WQLT-FM, Florence." (a real station by the way).
LINDA: "Ken, sweetie. Is Rondal telling me the truth?"
ME: "Course, Linda. Rondal's a program director alright. Take last week. He played some of the best LP's by Slim Whitman and Sonny James that you ever heard."
(Linda looks at Judi with suspicion on her pretty face.)
(Rondal suddenly scowls with anger at my non-thought-out remark).
"are you trying to wreck my chances for some "hot love," with Linda, Ken?"
ME: "No, buddy. Why would I do that?"
RONDAL: "Because you aren't suave and debonair as I am, so cut it out and try to make "me" look good. Okay?
(I once again nod in agreement. And with a fresh-gameplan, Rondal restarts his onslaught on Linda's resistance to going out with him.)
RONDAL: "What do your parents do for a living, Linda? Maybe I know them?
LINDA: "Oh, they own a couple of furniture stores in town and hey, they have a new line of dining room suites, couches, chairs and rugs."
RONDAL: "Hear that, Ken? Linda's family owns a couple of furniture stores and has new dining room suites, couches, chairs and rugs."
ME: "Do whattt? Linda's family has made two big scores? And selling chairs and "drugs?"
RONDAL: (Gasp!) "Uhh, errr, that Ken. Always fooling around."
LINDA: "Say, Ron, it's getting kinda late and uhhh, errr, Judi and I need to be heading home for tomorrow is a school day and well, I just don't think this, you and I, is going to work."
RONDAL: "Not going to work?"
ME: "Are you sick and out of work? I might know some . . .
"Shut up, Ken! Just shut up." "Linda, may I call you next week or something?"
ME: "That's a strange thing to call a pretty girl, "next week"!
(LINDA AND JUDI KEEP WALKING TOWARD THEIR CAR. RONDAL STORMS TOWARD HIS CAR WITH ME FOLLOWING HIM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY HE IS SO ANGRY.)
Hey, no one gave me a copy (back then) of "The Wing Man's Formulas to Help Buddies Score With Hot Chicks," so I am not going to continue to beat myself up.
Here are more solid reasons why "I" made a lousy wing man . . .
Rondal insisted on wearing dress slacks and a button-down shirts. He loved to look good at all times.
MY WARDROBE consisted of two new pair of Levi's, a couple of sports shirts and some black slippers that my mom had purchased at our local Dollar Store and frankly, my wardrobe didn't stir-up that much interest from the girls we were talking to, but my clothes sure did cause the girls to look at me with pity.
Rondal had the "gift of gab," and knew what to say and when to say it.
MY STYLE OF TALKING was first to squint my eyes in confusion, but most of the girls Rondal wanted to date were highly-intelligent and said things that I had to figure out before I commented. This made me look "slow," and that was a hindrance to Rondal's success rate in getting hot girls for dates.
Rondal, I have to admit, was the most-confident guy friend that I had. And I am totally-serious.
MY CONFIDENCE LEVEL was so low that it did races with my self-esteem to see who was the lowest. When we would meet these hot girls sitting in their convertibles with their long, silky hair piling-up on their tan shoulders, I would immediately shrink like a pair of cheap socks in a late-night laundry mat. That left Rondal to do most of the talking and covering for me by saying, "just look past Ken. He has a speech problem." Most girls bought that line. And I was "off the hook" to try and make-up conversation.
Rondal always wanted to "hide" behind some big job or title in a fictitious office somewhere not in our hometown.
MY PROMOTIONS OF HIS FAKE JOBS were poor. I would either get his title or company name wrong. And when this happened, I would start sweating profusely causing the girls to be as suspicious as two female deer grazing at the edge of the forest. Then as the conversation continued and my verbal errors piled-up, and Rondal was looking more and more like the phony which he was causing the girls to automatically fire-up their car, wink at us and wave as they drove away. Never to be seen by us again.
In closing. Some great news. Rondal did, one day, meet and date the girl of his dream. A gorgeous girl named Debbie. He was so happy that he built a house on "cloud nine." And he even went ahead and married her. What a lucky guy, that Rondal.
And you know how he got involved with this lovely angel named Debbie?
That one Saturday night that he didn't tell me that he was going to see her, well, I have to admit it, I felt left-out for . . .
he left me at home.
WING MEN OF AMERICA
"I salute you for all of your sacrifice, hard work, and going far and beyond what is expected of you just so your best buddy can get a date (or dates) with "the" girl of his dreams.
You are all heroes in my eyes.
Live long. And be proud.