Recently, as I enjoyed a pleasant lunch at Downer, one of my companions suggested that I comment on the potential to pick up honeys at Downer and the proper etiquette when doing so. Personally, this concept is terrifying to me, because I hate talking to strangers, especially when I am trying really hard to ignore them, and especially when they are trying to “pick me up,” as it were. In fact, I can really think of nothing more annoying than having my peaceful lunch interrupted by some loser trying to date me, unless this person was Heath Ledger, who is actually dead, so a pleasing outcome here is totally impossible. At this point in my Lawrence career, I suppose I should be more grateful that anyone, anyone at all, would want to try dating me, however, so I will attempt to envision this as a flattering, welcome opportunity, which I guess ideally, it would be. In my estimation, there are several ways to endear yourself to potential dates while at Downer. The first, undoubtedly most brazen, and frankly, kind of annoying, is the uninvited sit-down. Because this move is so socially straining on both parties, conditions must be perfect. Trying to pull off an uninvited sit-down during breakfast would be completely idiotic, because everyone is crabby during breakfast, and in fact, if the person with whom you sit down is not crabby during breakfast, even after being surprised with your company, this is not a person you should have any interest dating, or really even being around more than a little. This person is clearly unnecessarily perky, and would make an exhausting companion. The only way this move would not be a monstrous failure is if you are in Downer at the time when they are serving the personal pizzas, and you are a stop-and-chat acquaintance of the person whom you are courting, and if you have detected a slight amount of romantic interest on her side of the equation in the past (it counts if you were both inebriated, because otherwise, I would be giving you the strike zone of a midget). Really, the late afternoon lunch is the ideal time for planting the seeds of a relationship while at Downer. Even if people eating the late lunch have lots of friends, they don’t have any good enough to call them to eat lunch at the normal time, so they’re probably feeling a little lonely about that. They also are about to wait for twenty minutes to eat at all, because those pizzas are not fast food, so they’re probably feeling a little bored. And if the situation is a total fail, once you separate to pick up your pizzas, you can each drift off to different dining rooms and pretend to have forgotten about each other. The most promising, and surely most successful, way to strike up conversation with babes at Downer is to make a witty remark about the other person’s Downer activity. Potential comments would include remarks about the speed with which someone is collecting their food or the selections someone is making in front of you (“That tortellini looks good, but it would look better on my floor.” “That roast beef looks delicious, but not as delicious as you.” ‘Wow, I guess you were really hungry.”) Although if it is a girl, you might want to avoid comments about the sheer amount of food she is piling onto her plate. I have heard some girls are sensitive about how much they eat. These comments, when calculated and slightly sarcastic, are generally appreciated for their humor, and for the way in which they make a miserable situation (eating at Downer) enjoyable. People are pretty eager to laugh while they’re staring down at their prospective dinner. I haven’t tried out any of these methods, because frankly, The Lawrentian doesn’t pay me enough to sit in Downer and try to flirt with the other poor slobs eating there. If I knew I was going to make bank, I’d hang out at Downer all day macking on unsuspecting freshmen boys mooning over their long-distance girlfriends who accidentally hooked up with some frat guy at the kegger before the Madison game last Saturday. But I don’t have that kind of time, so you’re just going to have to trust me. Someone at Downer probably wants to date you. At least, if you make a lasting impression over the pizza bar, I can pretty much insure a sweaty hookup at the ORC party on Friday. Zach Patrick-Riley, I hope this helps.