Matt stresses that Bar Buddy is not an escort service. “The girls are not going out to be your arm candy for the night; they’re not going out to be your date.” For $50 an hour, a man can employ a “bar buddy” to accompany him to a social event or bar and break the ice between him and any woman who interests him. Of the $50, the woman gets $20. “As we get a little more busy and are sending girls out on multiple dates, we will try to send feedback forms. Obviously, the better a girl scores, the more her rate is going to be.” After a five-outing probationary period, the woman’s pay is bumped to $25. Eventually, a bar buddy can make up to $35 per hour.
“We get somewhere in the range of 10 to 15 emails a week from girls who want to be bar buddies,” says Matt. “We probably receive 6 to 10 emails a week from guys. Unfortunately, a very small percentage of them end up panning out.” So far, the company has had about a dozen clients.
Rick, a superfit cutie with light eyes and sun-bleached hair who reeks of quarterback, is responsible for compiling what he says is a collection of attractive, sociable females aged 21 to 35. Matt doesn’t expect older men to use his service, but if they do, they would most likely be paired with a younger woman. “Whether it’s right or wrong, a lot of the guys in their 50s are going to bars looking for 21-year-olds anyway.”
The prime objective of a bar buddy, Matt explains, is “obviously a phone number,” but he emphasizes that there are no guarantees and that it is better for a client to make one real connection than to collect a long list of numbers.
“The main goal is for a guy to feel satisfied,” says Rick. “This is a matchmaking service, so building up his confidence is one thing I harp on the girls to do. If he feels satisfied, if he’s out there meeting girls and talking to them and having fun, that’s going to do it.”
Barbarella, Volunteer Wingwoman
According to Bar Buddy’s website, “Studies have shown that it is easier to meet women when you are introduced to them by another woman.” My personal experience corroborates the statement. Countless male friends have me to thank for dates they’ve had with women I introduced them to. Once, while sipping on a cheap and strong cocktail at Nunu’s, my friend Randy gestured toward a girl at the bar and said, “She’s so beautiful. I could never approach her. How do you talk to a woman like that?” “Wait here, I’ll show you,” I said and left my friend to stand alone while I sidled up to the bar next to the woman and ordered another drink from Jeff, my bar buddy.
While I waited for my vodka concoction, I turned to the girl and said, “Your brows are perfect. You do them yourself?” Thus we were speaking. Several minutes later, Randy appeared at my side, and I casually introduced him. “Oh, hey, Lisa, this is my friend Randy. You know, it’s funny, you were just talking about how much you love the museum, and Randy here volunteers as a docent there once a month. I’ve got to use the restroom. Will you two watch my drink for me?” By the time I returned after half an hour of chatting with other friends, Randy and Lisa had exchanged contact information.
Morgan Gill, Paid Wingwoman
“You kind of act like his sister, his friend, or the girlfriend of his brother’s buddy,” says Morgan Gill, who’d been Anderson’s assigned bar buddy two nights before he met me for dinner. “You help break down the barriers that women instantly put up when they go out into the bar scene.” Anderson was her first (and, at the time we spoke, only) assignment in San Diego, but Gill had been on many such outings while working for Wingwomen’s Seattle branch. I met up with Gill one breezy, overcast August afternoon at a Starbucks in Clairemont Mesa. Her pink blouse and printed skirt ensemble was feminine but professional, and not a strand of her thick, straight dark hair was out of place. Her coloring, high cheekbones, and small, pretty features reminded me of Catherine Zeta-Jones. In addition to her day job as a project manager, Gill runs a relationship consulting business called Proper Me. She found Bar Buddy through its ad on craigslist.
Gill describes Anderson as “an attractive, six-foot-four guy who works out on a regular basis and has dark hair and very strong, manly features.” She says he is a “prime candidate” for her consulting business, “because he grew up in a very small town and didn’t have a lot of women to talk to.” Such men, Gill says, may need to be coached on the “rule of a thousand no’s,” which she defines as “It takes a thousand no’s to get a really good yes. Guys who live in cities, they attest they’ve all had a thousand no’s. That’s why they have the confidence they have now. I’ve worked in sales a lot in my life — most people are afraid to approach people they don’t know, because they’re scared of what they’re going to say to them. They can’t handle [rejection], but if you asked a lot of people and they all said no in any way, shape, or form, what’s the fear now? You’ve already been told.”
Gill contacted Anderson by phone to establish a time and place to meet. “It was hard to get him to call me back,” she remembers. “It’s that fear thing.” It is up to the bar buddy to work out the venue for an outing; the decision is based on the client’s interests, availability, and location. At no point is a bar buddy supposed to get in a car or taxi with her client. If she and her client decide to leave one club and go to another, they should walk or take the trolley. If a bar buddy becomes too drunk to drive, Rick says he would pick her up or pay for a cab, because “that’s part of the job, where they’re going out and guys are buying them drinks — they don’t have to drink, of course, they want to keep their wits about them because they’re on the job, but if they do.” When Gill finally got hold of Anderson, she suggested they meet at In Cahoots, a country-western nightclub in Mission Valley, and she emailed a photo of herself so that he would recognize her.