For $50 an hour, Meredith sips cocktails with well-heeled men who dream of getting lucky. But Meredith is no escort and certainly no prostitute: She's a "wing woman." Meredith, 28, works by day at a top investment bank in New York. But for the past few months she has also been moonlighting at a different trade -- accompanying men, too busy or too shy to meet women, to bars to make connections.

Meredith works for, a three-month-old service aimed at men who are tired of trying to figure out the best way to approach that attractive female across the room. For a fee starting at $150, they offer the company of a girl whose charms might help attract others.

That may sound like a lot of money but in hectic, career-obsessed New York the company says there has been plenty of demand and many repeat customers.

"Normally, you might go out ten times before you meet one girl," said Brandon, a 28-year-old investment banker who has used the service several times. "With Wingwomen, I met four girls and went home with two phone numbers in a single night."
The wing woman title comes from the military aviation term "wing man" for a second pilot who flies behind first plane as a backup. The name became slang for men who prowled bars in pairs to pick up women.

Meredith said she works as a wing woman because she could not think of a better part-time gig to earn extra cash. Others who work for the service are actresses and students with odd schedules, some free time and not enough cash.

"You get to meet tons of people and feel like you're doing a nice thing for somebody," Meredith said.

Her job is to start up a conversation with any woman the client wants to get to know. Then the ball is more or less in his court. If things are moving along smoothly, wing women are experts at leaving the chattering pair alone.

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