Pandarus’s Playbook

We all know a wingman. Some of us may be one and some of us may have one. Many of us know one of the most famous wingmen in television history as Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. He was the type of guy to find a new woman every night and even had his own book of plays to get women to sleep with him. He could make up any reason in the world and be convincing enough about it to take a woman home that night. He also helped his friend, Ted, by using his playbook, as well.Ted was a hopeless romantic that just wanted to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.

I’m telling you this because there are some similarities between Pandarus from Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and Barney Stinson from HIMYM.

Pandarus is Criseyde’s uncle and Troilus’s best friend. Obviously, Troilus is Ted in this scenario. Pandarus comes up with extremely convoluted plans to get Troilus and Criseyde to sleep together. He comes up with so many different crazy plans that somehow seem to work at times and other times are just so crazy that they’re impossible to pull off, such as: telling Troilus to kidnap Criseyde in order to keep her from going to the Greeks with her father.

Both Barney and Pandarus try their best to get their best friend laid, no matter what it takes. Barney’s most important scene of him being Ted’s wingman is called the “Have You Met Ted?” Now, I will explain it in all of its glory, although it is very simple. Ted will express interest in someone, most likely at the bar that the HIMYM crew hang out at. He will try to figure out a plan to go talk to that person but will ultimately not do it on his own. Barney will then approach said woman and say the exact phrase “Have you met Ted?” and that will start the conversation between
Ted and that woman enabling him to be able to talk her up. This is how Robin got introduced to the story of How I Met Your Mother.

How I Met Your Mother GIF


Pandarus did something similar to introduce Criseyde and Troilus. Once Troilus expressed interest in Criseyde, Pandarus went into full wingman mode. Pandarus went to visit his niece and decided it was time to talk up his bestie Troilus. Criseyde asks him about Hector and Pandarus says:

‘Ful wel, I thonk it God,’ quod Pandarus,

‘Save in his arm he hath a little wownde;

and ek his fresshe brother Troilus.

the wise, worthi Ector the secounde,

in whom that all vert list habounde,

as all troth and all gentilesse,

Wisdom, honor, fredom, and worthinesse.’

His oh-so-brave brother Troilus who is so kind and handsome and knightly and wise and did I mention handsome? Pandarus was out here really working hard for his best friend Troilus. Pandarus’s version of “Have you met Ted?” is the “Oh, have you met Troilus, Hector’s younger, handsomer, and still as great little brother?” Troilus also just shows up during this time while Pandarus is talking him up so Criseyde can see how great and amazing he is. It’s perfect for Troilus because that might have been the time where Criseyde would have wanted to talk to him. (It wasn’t, though.) It might have been a different story if Troilus had taken a page out of Barney’s playbook. But, Pandarus’s playbook in his mind was good enough to get Troilus a chance with Criseyde and that’s all that Barney would have wanted for him.

Coghlan, J., active early 19th cent., artist.

Honestly, it’s important to note that Troilus and Criseyde would not have gotten together without Pandarus in the same way that Ted and Robin may have never met without Barney. The wingmen are the comic relief of these shows but they are also the main reason that these stories were able to happen in the first place. Imagine Troilus trying to hit on Criseyde by himself. Would he even be able to form words while he’s fainting all the time? Probably not. Without Pandarus putting in work, this tragedy may not have happened. And, without Pandarus, this tragedy would not have been as fun and interesting to read without his ridiculous plans to get his niece to fall in love with his best friend. We would not have gotten to see this glorious story with that darn meddling Pandarus.