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Thirteen Ways the Pick-Up Line Wins

Allison C. Lewis

Hey Mom,

Well, I’m here at MIT. I’ve moved into my room, bought my books, and met lots of interesting new people. Guys mostly. I know you told me to watch out for them not to get involved with any jerks. But what’s so wrong with dating jerks anyway?

Because I’ve about had it looking for a “nice MIT boy” to date. It’s really quite a shame that, around here, “nice” and “non-jerky” is synonymous with “weird.”

Brett, the first guy I met, had a hamster collection and hated dogs. He said, “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who prefer more peanut butter and those who prefer more jelly. Which one are you?” I said “jelly” and he told me I wasn’t his type. Would I like to meet his roommate?

Brandon, wearing a business suit, squeezed my hand hard, and introduced himself as a “Libertarian-Fascist-Nazi.” I said, isn’t that redundant? So he explained each word to me. After showing me his gun collection, he asked me to marry him (he thought I’d make the perfect wife) and live with him in the utopia he will one day build, with only beautiful people and purebred dogs.

Rico, the guy next door, had a tattoo of an angel (named Elvira) on his neck and a collection of nunchucks, hatchets, and Marilyn Manson posters. I asked him about the cardboard cutout of Prince in a purple jumpsuit (it didn’t quite belong in the center of his room) and he said Marilyn had a thing for Prince.

I spent an evening with Hans, Fernando, Elmer, Patrick, and Abdul, discussing and playing jazz in their frat house basement. I thought they were cool until Elmer, who wore his hair in tiny beaded braids, insisted Miles Davis was God. The guys had formed a group to worship him, called the Jazz Purists, and did I want to join, because if so, I had to learn some essential chords. I told them sorry, but no.

I met a guy named Sue, a stereotypical MIT dork with a pocket protector, who had memorized the first 500 digits of pi. He bought me lunch and told me all about the chemical (almost magical!) makeup of silly putty. You know, it’s really a wonderful thing it bounces like rubber, is water-resistant, and shatters like glass when it’s hit by a sledgehammer. Sue demonstrated this for me.

In the gym one morning, a bronzed, greasy guy in a purple wife-beater introduced himself as “Tony the Tiger,” and showed me his leopard skin boxers. He asked me to dinner, but instead of picking me up at 6 p.m., he called and said he needed to take a nap. He had strained his entire body (fingers, toes, and all) from the workout that morning.

Butch wore a navy bowtie and spoke fourteen different languages (including several rare African ones), all at once. I thought he was funny (and cute, with red, curly hair) but he hardly spoke a word of English until he pinched my arm and said, “Does that hurt?” I still have a bruise.

Otto arrived at my door dressed in a tuxedo and said, “Hi darling. Nice hair, but pink is definitely not your color.” At dinner, he said I was just like his mom and insisted I pay, because she always does.

Jasper picked me up in a red convertible, handed me a rose, and took me shopping. He wore Georgio Armani sunglasses, a gold chain around his neck, leather boots, and a long ponytail down his back. He enjoyed the shopping more than I did (and I didn’t think that was possible).

Just when I’d lost all hope, I ran into Bill in a bar off campus. He was wearing an ironed Polo shirt, and khakis, and he had gel in his hair. He leaned against a wall, tilted his head forward, and said to me, “Sweetie, when you walked in, the whole room lit up.” He offered me a drink and asked what bra size I wear.

I think I’m in love with him now.