Film is rife with kickass sidekicks, but as far as wingmen go, one (literally and figuratively) soars high above the rest: Top Gun's Goose (Anthony Edwards). Goofy, mustachioed, and wifed up (to Meg Ryan's character, no less), Goose is the foil to Tom Cruise's Maverick, taking the highway to the danger zone for his partner, from the cockpit to the piano to, legendarily, the volleyball court. In the end, he's the reason Maverick gets the girl and (spoiler alert) defeats the Russians. Here are five ways to channel your inner-Goose and serve as a top-flight wingman.
You've got nothing to lose, and your friend has everything to gain. Be an assertive, charismatic kamikaze pilot and fly fearlessly toward your friend's, uh, "target." Once you're in, you're a spy, infiltrating the situation, looking for answers. Is he or she actually single? Friendly? Just in town for the weekend? Prone to laughing at dumb jokes? Likely to be impressed by a guy rocking Aviators?
Imagine it's the Revolutionary War: Each side would send those poor, shoeless dudes (that's you, only with shoes) to destroy one another on the frontlines before the cavalry (that's your friend) rode in for the victory and, hopefully, off into the sunset with a special someone.
You are, to a certain extent, "selling" your friend, so prep your spiel before you enter the Shark Tank, crafting it to illuminate all his glowing benefits and features. It should be like an elevator pitch, a concise description that includes:
- His name, even a nickname if it has an interesting story. ("Goose" is already taken.)
- Adjectives (superlative but not hyperbole), like, "He's literally the most easygoing guy I know. Down to try anything."
- A fact (interesting or endearing but not bizarre), like, "In college, I made him try and hike the Appalachian Trail with me. After three days, we booked a room at the Hampton Inn."
- A question to continue the conversation, like, "You traveled much?"
After that, see Reconnaissance.
Complementary and self-deprecating, you are there to contrast your friend and illuminate his positive qualities. Dial down a bit of your charm and let him dial up his. Imagine throwing an alley-oop: you selflessly pass to him for a thunderous dunk. You step out of the spotlight while he lights up the highlight reel.
A win for him, regardless of your individual results, is still a win for your team. Put another way: You're Cal Naughton, he's Ricky Bobby, and this is Talladega Nights. Get off to a strong start, then let him draft. Shake and bake, baby. Shake and bake.
Be prepared to make sacrifices—beyond the ones you've made already. You may spend additional time with people you didn't want to spend time with in the first place, like that intoxicated other bridesmaid or the leather-clad friend with the apparent motorcycle fetish. You may have to leave early or stay late or go somewhere you don't want to go.
You're like a boxing trainer, unconditionally supporting and encouraging your prizefighting stud. Whether he's killing it or taking an epic pummeling, you remain steadfast in your positivity and confidence. Give him a pep talk, a massage, a swig of water, whatever, then get him back out there.
Either way, stay focused and supportive. Who knows? Maybe you'll need a wing(gentle)man at some point. Your friend will be primed to return the favor—and return it well. And if he's paid proper attention, he will have learned from the best.