As a bartender, I’ve served as a wingman on numerous occasions, usually because I could tell the woman, or in some rare cases a man, didn’t want the attention.
I want patrons to feel comfortable in the Dancing Pony. Part of that means doing what I can to make sure it doesn’t become known as a meat market, or someplace a woman couldn’t expect to go to enjoy a drink, relax, and be left in peace if that’s what she wants.
Anyway, one night in the Dancing Pony, a guy was hitting on a pretty young woman named Jenny who was sitting at the bar. At first Jenny was polite and tried to be nice to him without encouraging him, but she was a little too shy to be blunt and tell him to get lost. Problem is, if you get enough drink in a guy like this one, all subtlety goes right over his head.
He kept leaning toward her, talking a little too loudly, and nearly spilled his beer on her, and she frowned as she leaned away from him. That was the cue we were waiting for.
Right as one of my bartenders was about to step in and act as her boyfriend, a cowboy who’d evidently been observing her predicament walked up. He met her gaze and smiled as he laid his forearm around the back of her chair in an obviously territorial gesture and stared at the man who was bothering her, “Hey, pal, are you hitting on my lady?”
She blinked and was about to speak up when the light bulb went on and she gazed up in awe at her good-looking cowboy savior and gave him a big smile…and relaxed against his arm.
The difference in size between the two men was considerable, and the annoying one left.
The young lady thanked the cowboy, who introduced himself as Paul, and he tipped his hat to her and said, “You’re more than welcome, pretty lady. I’m glad I could help. If he bothers you again just look my way. I’ll be right over there…admiring you.” He held her gaze and smiled, I think, to let her know he was serious about admiring her but respectful of her boundaries if she’d rather be left alone.
Jenny looked ready to swoon and stared up at him. I think she was trying to formulate a coherent response and not having much luck. Right as he turned to walk away she grasped his coat sleeve. “Don’t go.” She patted the empty chair beside her. “You could do that from this chair…if you wanted to, that is. If your friends don’t mind. I wouldn’t mind.”
He smiled kindly at her and nodded. “They won’t mind a bit. And I’d be honored to sit with you.”
He sat down and they talked and danced the rest of the night together.
As I said before, we’ll help someone who is being bothered, from behind the bar, but I enjoy the occasions where these situations sort themselves out. And I’m pleased to report…since that particular evening, I’ve seen them come in together several more times. This one might just last beyond the wing-man stage.