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Sex Between the Lines

humor \ 2013-03-28

Spring break is over, and it’s time to start gearing up for midterms. You’re stuck in the library studying, and a fun night looks further away than an A in orgo. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. This week, I’m here to tell you how to woo the library hottie, that ravishing reference book reader, the one you put your heart on reserve for. I may be stating the obvious when I say that the library is not normally conducive to picking up a quick fling, but after many trials and too many tribulations, I have hit upon a set of reasonably sure-fire tips for going from checking out to checking out.

The first step is to establish that you can read. It’s likely that that’s the case, but I know some tribal leaders in Papua New Guinea who read my column to their illiterate tribesmen (Bilong me hangamapim bot stap pulap maleo!), so I’m just erring on the side of caution. You probably won’t need to prove this, but it’s best to be prepared. Second, be in a library. The Hotel School library doesn’t count, ‘cause seriously, I bet you didn’t even know the Hotel School had a library until just now (Nestlé Library — holla at me Toll House!) Once you’ve accomplished these two tasks, it’s time to get down to business.

The most important thing is to base your approach on the type of book your target is reading.

Reference Book

This is the easiest as it only requires a single fact. Once you know the general type of book he or she is reading (primarily done by looking for any word on the page and then Googling it), look up a general topic that relates to it. My go-to topic is usually pastry. It’s unexpected, but not totally implausible. If the person happens to be researching pastries, I would suggest using “war” as your topic of choice.

Once you have a topic in mind (ancient Greek pastries, pastries in Victorian Literature, the War of 1812 Pies, etc.), go up and ask if you can borrow the book for a quick second. BAM! Conversation. Great success. Now I hate to generalize about people who use reference books, but you’ve pretty much got sex in the bag. Or the library, or a bed or wherever you decide to have sex.

A Language You Don’t Speak

A little harder, but is going to require a little je ne sais quoi. That’s a lie; I totally know what you need. You need Volapük. You don’t know what Volapük is? That’s great, the person you’re talking to probably doesn’t either. It’s obscure, you’re obscure. People in the library love mysteries. Sidle up enigmatically and act real surprised: “Are you reading Volapük!?” He or she won’t be. But now here’s your time to shine: “Oh, really? What are you reading then? Uh huh, man, that’s cool, I’ve always wanted to learn NAME OF THE LANGUAGE.” If he or she asks about Volapük, just shrug it off as a dialect of German or something, don’t get into specifics. Once you’ve established whether or not he/she’s actually busy (he/she won’t be, because you’ve taken my advice and undoubtedly are exuding sex appeal), ask if he/she has time that night to teach you the basics of the language because you really need to use it for your thesis/roomates/cursing in Starcraft/talking to your grandma/finding better porn on the Internet.

Anything Else (a.k.a. Someone Who’s Actually Working)

Definitely the hardest and likely the majority of all people you will see in the library, except of course the assholes who use the computers to check Facebook when you really need to print something. I tend to use a note or a well-aimed paper airplane. Walk by and say to your object of desire that he/she dropped something and give her the slip of paper. Contents of the note can be anything from a provocative call number, such as S3X.N 0W PLZ, to a reference database you think he/she may have overlooked. Since Cornellians are generally opposed to doing anything but studying, you might be doomed to a cold bed, but if you get lucky and the person does not pierce you with anti-sexy-fun dagger-eyes, you’ve just accomplished something for the history books.

A Librarian

Keep going up and checking out suggestive books like Sleep With Me by Hanif Kureishi or Want Sex by Gang Zhao. If that’s not obvious enough, start writing your phone number where they go to stamp the books. Finally, if neither of those two work, saunter up casually, lean over the desk and say, “I’d file you under ‘Bibliographies of Modern Electronics,’” wink, slide your number over, and then leave. This always works for me. Or at least, I should say that it’s never not worked for me.

After that, it’s all you. I can get you into the door, but I can’t make your date dinner, sweet talk him/her and then go upstairs and ravage his/her body for you (though, in certain situations, I totally will.)

Written under the pseudonym Jimothy Singh for the Cornell Daily Sun