Posted by Matt
A lone rider emerges on the horizon. His horse gallops under him leaving dust in the air as they move. The sun blurs their outline as a distant guitar plays a minor chord. The cacti seem to move from his path. The air is still and the sun bears down on everything; somehow he is comfortable under his wool poncho and leather hat. The alpha. An icon. A stereotype. An archetype that is as familiar as the scent of vanilla on a stripper. Yet, something is missing from this picture. Something is needed to complete this scene. Something essential…something primal…something dumb…the wingman, the sidekick, the foil, the carnival mirror of the hero concept. The “everyman” that heroes can’t survive without. The overweight, dirty seemingly slow minded dolt riding the burro in the hero’s dust cloud saying “Hey, wait up,” as they ride into the sunset.
Oh, wingmen…this one is for you.
A wingman is defined by freedictionary.com as a “A pilot whose plane is positioned behind and outside the leader in a formation of flying aircraft.” This is not the definition I was looking for. Urbandictionary.com comes closer with, “A Wingman is a guy you bring along with you on singles outings (like to bars) that helps you out with the women.”
The “only for sex” limitation is too, well limiting. A wingman give status and validity to his “Red Leader” that may or may not lead to sex, but does always lead to a more favorable and definite picture of the “alpha.”
Let me explain, I was at a charity event this weekend and something became perfectly clear. Social stigma, social hierarchy, financial clout, suit fabric, purse designer, shoe heel height, and watch brand are merely tertiary aspects of a much simpler concept; simply put clothes DO NOT make the man, his interaction with the other men around him makes the man. The “alphas” (I use that for lack of a better term) seem to have a constant rotation of subordinates revolving around them at all times. You can watch this for yourself at the next party or social event you attend. It is easy…all you do is watch for non-motion. I am not talking about the shy, unengaged wall flowers. Watch the man or woman to whom some of the others in attendance gravitate to. They won’t move until forced to. The others will circle into and out of contact all night long. I was honestly shocked that it was this obvious and I had never seen it before. The alphas never moved and when they did the others relocated as well to remain in close proximity to the alpha. Amazing.
The next day I was thinking about all of this and the concept of “wingman” came into my mind and then it clicked. The wingman dosen’t NEED the alpha. Another alpha is readily found. We all know it is easy to find someone to follow and idolize. Ironically, the alpha NEEDS the wingman. The alpha is defined as the leader of the pack, the strongest lion, the silverback gorilla, the meanest marmoset….however, not having a pack equals no pack to lead. STATUS REMOVED.
Working thesis: Wingmen dictate social and cultural significance.
Chew on that for a minute before you dismiss it. Paparazzi, fans, wingmen, wingwomen, and “handlers” all give fame and status to the ones they fawn over. The perception that is fostered is one of alpha status…at least to the detached observer. The “That dude must be somebody,” thought or statement is often caused just because there seems to be people clamoring around this person. The number of people has nothing to do with the alpha status however…Holmes only had Watson and that dude from Scotland Yard, Batman had Robin, Darrel Hall had John Oats, Mav had Goose (eventually Iceman cause Goose died *SPOILER*). It seems that one well placed wingman seems to be all one needs to get the assumption of the alpha started.
Here are some examples of movie wingmen that make you believe the people they are supporting matter. TOP 10 MOVIE WINGMEN
Here is another list of wingmen from a variety of areas: 10 MORE
Here is a video on how one can be a better wingman: WATCH
Here is a website that has the “LAWS” for wingmen.
I hope that all of you who read this thank your wingmen daily for the PROPS they are sending you and to those of you, who are wingmen, choose your alphas carefully. They only have anything because you give it to them.
**NOTE** “Wingman, wingmen, alpha, and other terms used are NOT gender specific. Men or women can be any and all of the above terms. No sexism is allowed, people.