Andy's Brain Blog: Valentine's Day Edition

For those who have been in academia for nearly their entire life, the stage at which one is nearly done with their graduate work, around the time they are in their late twenties or early thirties, is a good time to start thinking about dating.

Luckily, whereas our ancestors were all a bunch of stiff-necked prudes who knew next to nothing about amorous affairs, today all of our race's available knowledge about love and relationships has been synthesized and condensed into the minds of a very few select sages, by which I mean: Pick-Up Artists.

These people, out of their generosity, have decided to share their wisdom and insights through various books, TV shows, and websites, in order to make their disciples as happy and fulfilled as possible. The fact that their advice seems to constitute what more old-fashioned people would call "narcissistic," "anti-social," or "I'm pretty sure doing that would get you arrested in most countries," should not deter you from following their instructions. Neither should the fact that they tend to dress up as, say, meth addicts.

Famous Pick-Up Artists

In any case, it is clear that following the advice of these people is better than doing nothing. Under no circumstances should you assume that you, some loser dirtbag, knows better than they do.

Fortunately, after reading through their books and listening to their lectures, I've been able to boil down their ideas into a few main points. Simply follow these, and then sit back and wait for the babe stampede.


1. Be assertive. Girls like guys who are assertive, which, contrary to popular belief, doesn't mean just being confident about who you are and forthright about what you believe; instead, it means being brash enough and loud enough to the point where anyone else around you who wants to talk either has to talk louder than you are or talk directly at you, ensuring your control of the conversation and your immediate environment; a technique, incidentally, that has been perfected on several political talkshows.

The reason girls are attracted to this can be explained by the theory of evolution, which states that females, being insane, prefer to copulate with psychopathic jerks, because it's good for the survival of the species, somehow. (Actually, to be honest, I have no idea why this is the case, and using evolution to explain it always seems like kind of a cop-out; similar to using natural selection to explain why humans have formed such horrifyingly self-destructive activities such as war, or home-improvement projects.)

2. Be Charismatic. Girls like guys who are charismatic. Having charisma means being able to persuade and influence other people into doing things they would not otherwise do, such as dating you, or eating a used tissue. Having charisma also means being able to attract people by the sheer magnetism of your personality, as exemplified by the following famous historical figures:

What do each of these people have in common? That's right: They're all murderous sociopaths! Having a few screws loose is, unfortunately, often highly correlated with charisma. But then again, everybody likes a little spice in their relationship.

3. Be Witty. Girls like guys who are witty. Ideally, you should constantly be making remarks that reflect your sophistication and vast erudition cultivated over the years by reading poetry and great works of world literature, and possibly one or two neuroscience blogs. Eschew lowbrow, vulgar subjects and try to keep your witty remarks limited to more refined topics such as classical music, literature, and competitive eating.

Example: "Nietzsche's √úbermensch is very much like Wagner's Siegfried, except that he knows Greek. Also, care to guess what my Chubby Bunny record is?"

4. Be Conspicuous. In order to be noticed, it helps to have some attribute that makes you stand out apart from the herd. It can be something as simple as donning garish clothing, sporting a new hairstyle, or developing a personality disorder. Be creative. I'm told that histrionic types are in style these days.

That's about it, and once you have all of these bases covered, success is all but guaranteed. Over time you may even find yourself in a relationship with this person you have managed to attract; and while it may be hard to determine whether you are, exactly, in a relationship, one or more of the following signs may mean that you are indeed in some kind of commitment:
  1. You find yourself celebrating a five-year wedding anniversary;
  2. You have just witnessed the birth of your third child with this person;
  3. You find you and your significant other frequently engaging in "committed relationship" activities such as eating together, sleeping together, and trimming each other's nose hairs.
On a more serious note, I wish you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day that isn't plagued by doubt, insecurity, and loneliness. Many people tend to hate on Valentine's Day, labeling it as a cynical marketing ploy by the nefarious Card Industry, the abominable Flower Industry, and Big Chocolate; however, this tends to obscure the fact that this holiday tends to occur on a typically dreary, cold, slushy day during which everyone is trying to drive to fancy restaurants, and that somehow the malefic Road Salting Union may be involved as well.

In any case, I hope that the preceding advice works, and if it doesn't, I even more sincerely hope that you don't come running after me with a machete. Remember that this is the distilled advice of literally half a dozen or so self-described experts and possible drug abusers - and they can't all be wrong, can they?