Ode to the wingman

In the world of dating and seduction, a wingman plays a vital role — he helps an eligible male socialize and interact with eligible females. The wingman may also occupy less attractive female companions, so that the friend can focus his attentions on the prized target.

The wingman existed long before the popular Coors Light ad. Jane Austen, in fact, introduces Mr. Darcy as a wingman. We meet Mr. Bingley first, and only learn of Mr. Darcy as the friend Bingley has dragged to the assembly in Meryton.

Mr. Darcy is really a horrible wingman (of course, Mr. Hurst is worse. Poor Bingley!). Darcy’s pride, conceit, and inability/refusal to converse with strangers cause him to fail Bingley miserably. Rather than helping Bingley along, Darcy distracts Bingley from Jane rebuffs his suggestions to socialize. More wallflower than wingman!

Darcy’s failure as a wingman is required for the story line — he needs to create that poor first impression. “She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

But poor Mr. Bingley would have been much better served with someone else as his wingman. It’s really rather amazing that Mr. Bingley was successful at the assembly, weighed down by Darcy, Caroline, and the Hursts. Not a wingman in sight for our Bingley! Perhaps he should have befriended Colonel Fitzwilliam instead.

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