Now and then, I get asked advice on how to pick up guys. The college I went to is mostly... naive. They lack any sense whatsoever on how to date. People there are either religiously single (pun intended), or totally devoted to their partner. It's kind of archaic, and smacks of middle school style relationships. People get twitterpated for one another, and they have no idea how to let the other person know that they're interested. A month or two ago, one such friend asked me how to let a guy know she was interested in him. She didn't want to ruin their already established friendship, so the situation was delicate to say the least.

My first suggestion was to just grab his ass and say "Hi, I like you." It's simple and direct, and utterly unmistakable. The problem is that it's much like a Queen's Gambit—it either works or it fails. Fortunately, in this case the guy was also interested in her, and had planned to have a special first kiss on top of the Empire State Building. It's cute in a romantic/akward middle school kind of way. In the end, it all worked out, and she didn't have to grab his ass (That time).

Just yesterday, I came up with an even better, foolproof way of making a play at starting a romantic relationship with an established friend. There's a few things required for this to work, namely an existing friendship, honesty, and you have to be able to hang out (ie, do things that aren't dates, but it's still just you two). It works in three phases: Bait, Explore, and Switch.

So, step 1: Set up a non-date (Bait)

The first step should be simple: setup a time to hang out. It doesn't matter what you do, because plans will change later. Planning for Saturdays or Sundays works best, because you also need to 'hang out' the day before. We'll refer to this as the Bait.

Step 2: "Spontaneously" set up a pre-date date (Explore)

A couple of days before the Bait is supposed to happen, you'll need to call up the guy and spontaneously suggest that you two should hang out. This has to be something where conversation is acceptable and appropriate, like a restaurant or coffee house. Bars also work, if they are semi quiet. And it needs to be right away. Once you're at the place, plan on spending at least two hours sitting around talking.

At some point in this conversation, you'll need to confess to the guy that you're interested in someone, and you need advice on how to let the mystery guy know that you're interested. Watch his face very carefully. You'll either see a glimpse of despair, or a ambivalence. If you see despair, you'll know that you've got him, and the plan can move forward. If not, you can keep the friendship moving along smoothly, and there shouldn't be any complications, after all he doesn't know you like him. Before he can respond, ask him if he could tell you how he would like to be "seduced". This is the Exploratory session.

Hopefully, at this point, he'll tell you everything he'd like to have happen to him if a girl were to plan his perfect date. Connected the dots yet? If not... here's step 3.

Switch: Execute the plan he just told you

On the day that you initially planned to hang out, change the schedule to everything he just told you. Chances are, he'll catch on pretty quickly, and then... well, you'll have to make it up from that point on.

If you end up using this method, let me know how it goes. Please?