Le Big Mack

How to Hook up at Harvard

It is a well-known and much-lamented truism that relationships are difficult in this pressure-cooker known as Harvard. Valentine's Day has passed, but the fact remains that most Harvard students are chronically single. Flying solo need not mean a lack of physical companionship, however. While in search of Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now, don't neglect the more immediate appeal of Mr. Tonight Only. At the next party when your libido silences your good judgment, try out these time-honored hints on how to hook up at Harvard.

Preliminaries

Dress to impress; somebody does care what comes between you and your Calvins. Yes, that nasty old underwear and ripped t-shirt will see you through the end of the laundry cycle, but they will not win you any bonus points in the romance department.

Don't stink. Although this may seem self-evident, taking that extra thirty seconds to dig out the CK One or to spritz on some of that air freshener from your bathroom shelf can only help to get you closer to the goal.

Clean your room. This applies as a general rule before going out, as you never know who will come home with you, or in what capacity. The five-CD changer should be loaded with appropriate mood music: a select sampling of jazz is apt, while Nine Inch Nails is not.

Scoping

Cruise the party. Although alcohol is optional in the hunt for nooky, it certainly facilitates consensual interactions. Potential targets should be identified early, taking into account the fact that the pool may grow or shrink as the evening progresses. Proper identification of candidates depends upon such attributes as availability (did they come alone?), appropriate species characteristics (open to debate) and size (height differentials can be damaging in dance situations). Good scoping spots include raised areas (backs of couches, edges of platforms) from which the room can be fully surveyed, as well as locations near the beverages.

Targeting

Make eye contact. A long gaze is enticing, flattering and plain old intriguing. Self-aware, yet not self-conscious gestures are appropriate at this point; run your fingers through your hair, light a cigarette or freestyle. Once your target knows there's something up, act casual. Although you may be impatient, it is crucial to appear disinterested for a period of time. Let them wonder, but never let them wander.

Initial contact

Initial contact is tricky. Casual introductions from friends work well, but overlapping social circles may lead to embarrassing questions the morning after or unwanted future meetings.

A simple route is the physical one: dance with your target. Do not, however, engage in risky dance moves. Few things are more mortifying than flailing about wildly, and few are more off-putting than being flailed at. God forbid you should hit the target of your affections! Be sure to dance extra close, letting your target catch a whiff of your well-planned deodorizing efforts. Engage in the vertical version of the Horizontal Mambo.

When making an independent move on a relative stranger, remember that pickup lines don't work. Nobody really says things like, "Was your father a thief? I'd like to know just who stole the stars and put them in your eyes."

The Touch Game

You know...the Touch Game. Hello, I want you, and I will not-so-subtly indicate my intentions by putting my hand on your arm, leg, shoulder, thigh, etc. while we talk, and I will leave it there just a little tooooo long. Everyone is aware of the principle of collegiate physical interaction, whereby libido disguises itself as "friendly affection." Admit it-there's a subtext to every "innocent goodnight hug." Play the Touch Game with abandon in this case; thoroughly invade the personal space of your target.

Conversation

Much like other facets of romantic interaction, interesting conversation can be faked. Feign intense interest in whatever inane subject comes up. "Wow, Bowling! I love bowling!" This is especially effective with seniors and their thesis topics.

Make occasional reference to previous points in the conversation. What has the person said so far? Bring it up again. This tactic gives the impression of interest in the person's limited life.

Exaggerate your popularity. Any passerby whom you've ever encountered should be greeted as a life-long friend-actual friends, enemies, former lovers, people in your roommate's Ec 10 section, library checkers and so forth. Beware of greeting too many individuals of your target's gender, however, as the target may A) get jealous or B) suspect that he/she is not the only one you've macked.)

Be blase. Remember: the target person is interesting, the party is not. If the party were so spectacular, why would you find each other so fascinating? This principle leads to the perfect suggestion: "This party needs help. Wanna get out of here?"

Transitions

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and the shortest walk of your life is between the party and your bed.

Beware of some of the pitfalls you may encounter on the way. Holding hands on the streets, for example, can lead to gossip and sabotage the situation. Halt for no man, as stopping to talk to friends cools the flames of passion.

Unless you are fortunate enough to live alone, the roommate situation can be hazardous. Things can only go so far in a heavily trafficked common room without suffering embarrassing and, er, wilting interruptions. Cancel the dog and pony show, and get thy booty to the bedroom!

In the Bedroom

There's always an excuse to visit your bedroom, no matter how flimsy. "Gee, I have something really interesting to show you. In my room. Come look." Some, if not all, of your interesting shit should have been planted near the bed during "Preliminaries." Strategically located condoms, of course, count as interesting shit.

The standard set of college gear falls into several spheres, depending on your personal taste: "interesting artsy decorations" (German Expressionist prints, obscure band posters, Dali), "I'm holding out on adulthood toys" (Star Wars action figures, Muppet collectibles, the Magic 8 Ball, anything from the JFK Street level of Urban Outfitters), and "sexually suggestive paraphrenalia" (massage oil, Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World, whips, handcuffs). Invite the person to sit down on the bed with you so that they can get a good look at your stuff, and let the good times roll.

You know the drill from this point on. There's some flimsy excuse for physical contact, followed by the hideously awkward first kiss, and before you know it, someone's trying to hide their bad hair and lipstick smudges while doing the walk of shame home. Glory in your temporary triumph-just do yourself a favor and wash your sheets soon afterward.