Back in high school, my brother came up with an interesting way to meet girls: he was the manager of the girls’ field hockey team. When I started high school, he brought me on as his co-manager.

We were friends with many of the girls, so what we were doing wasn’t really looked at as inappropriate or loserish; they actually enjoyed having us around. We were nicknamed the “Dynamic Duo” back then, and we played it up to the hilt for laughs, doing our best Adam West/Burt Ward imitations.

By the time my senior year rolled around, I thought it would be a great idea to find a co-manager/wingman, and I enlisted someone I thought would be perfect for the job. Artie and I were friendly acquaintances, and he seemed pretty fearless when it came to talking to the girls. Me, I just didn’t have the mojo to engage them on my own.

Well, homecoming was around the corner, and the mad scramble began. The dance itself was about two weeks away, so the official unofficial deadline to ask a girl was a week off.

There was one girl, Holli, whom I’d actually had my eye on for a long time. So I asked a mutual friend, Simone, to help finesse an introduction. Ironically, Simone ended up being a better wingman than Artie, who spent most of his time annoying the crap out of the girls to be of any help.

Of course, if Holli didn’t realize what was going on when Simone brought me into their conversation and introduced me to her, then she must have been blind. Nevertheless, Holli was friendly and nice and receptive and said all the right things.

Later, I went to Simone for more advice. She told me just to ask Holli to homecoming, that it was really no big deal. But I needed to get a move-on, since homecoming was almost a week away. I resolved to call her the next night after her game.

During the big game, Artie decided to announce that he was going to ask Holli to homecoming. Not only was he well aware that I really wanted to ask her, but he knew that I’d had my eye on her for months. He hadn’t, up to that moment, shown the slightest bit of interest in her.

Worse, Artie boasted to me that he was going to ask Holli while I was occupied on the field doing my varsity manager duties. I wasn’t thrilled, but there wasn’t much I could really do.

In the middle of the huge semi-final-regional thing, all the drama that had been building up to that moment hit a searing crescendo. Simone put herself in the unpleasant position of refereeing things between Artie and me.

Then, Artie came down to the sidelines, with no other purpose than to gloat that he was about to ask Holli out. Simone got fed up, and when the coach asked us what the hell was going on, she blurted out, “They both want to ask out the same girl!”

Simone decided to shout this out when about half the hockey squad was in earshot. The coach and all the girls all wanted to know who the mystery woman was. The whole scene was so wonderfully surreal ... here we were in the middle of this big, important hockey game, and they just dropped everything for that moment, more fixated on the action happening on the sidelines.

Well, needless to say, the whole thing was destined to blow up in all of our faces. And it didn’t take long: while Artie and I were bickering down on the sidelines, a third guy snaked in and asked Holli to homecoming.

My whole point in telling this story is that when it comes to finding a good wingman, trustworthiness trumps talent. The thing I find most interesting about this incident is that it was the first time that I, on a small, personal level, really got to experience that “me first” mentality that didn’t end in high school.

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