Need Backup at the Bar? You Can Now Hire a Wingman

Forget online dating. Just fork over some cash for some much-needed pickup help.

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Ladies (and gentlemen): take heed the next time you’re approached by an interested single at a bar. The attractive, overly complimentary friend he’s with might just be hired help.

According to the Wall Street Journal, hiring a professional “wingman” or “wingwoman” is a possible future of dating, with services having popped up all over the country.

While dating sites are often littered with profiles featuring outdated pictures or misleading information, Susan Baxter, founder of Hire a Boston Wingwoman, told the Journal that her service allows clients to see past initial judgments by meeting women in person. (Of course, by using a hired wingwoman, the client is being a bit misleading themselves.)

A $130 fee gets clients 2 hours of time with their Boston wingwoman, during which time she helps her shy client break the ice with women, facilitating conversation, and generally making them look good. The Hire a Boston Wingwoman website notes, “Men look that much more desirable when they are seen with an attractive lady by their side,” and that by having a woman start up the conversation it “will not give the appearance of ‘hitting on’ a woman of interest.”

The concept isn’t necessarily a bad one, though—having a friend help with easing into a conversation, and perhaps picking up knowledge about what women and men do and don’t respond to are all useful and helpful experiences.

(READ: Stuff We Didn’t Know About Until Today: You Can Rent a Friend)

Miss Pivot, a dating service based in Indianapolis, offers workshops, as well as a wingwoman (or “pivot,” as they call them) service. On the website, they address the million-dollar question: “Is your coaching like Hitch or Pick-Up Artist stuff?”

“While a great movie, Hitch is a Hollywood fantasy,” they write, citing the unrealistic idea of pursuing and dating just the one person on which the client is fixated. The Pick-Up Artist focuses too much on “short-term goals, canned lines, and the sexual side of relationships.”

Those with a crippling shyness or no idea how to approach someone who’s caught their eye might find that a professional confidence-booster (in the form of a wingperson) may be just the help they need. However, just in case their act slips up, he or she should hope their newfound love interest has a generous sense of humor.

MORE: The Science of Single: One Year’s Worth of Dating Advice