Illustration by Brent Wick

SO I WAS A SENIOR in college and there was this girl. She was a Russian exchange student, which is pretty much all I need to say. They don't make Russian exchange students who are not hot. (You might think this is an unfair stereotype, but it's actually true. They have bureaus over there to make sure of this. It's a policy Andropov instituted in '83.)

Anyway, the girl. We took a history class together, and she hung out at the coffee shop near my apartment. We both smoked French cigarettes—her, because she was European; me, because I was a pretentious asshole. I'd never really talked to her, though I'd made some offhand joke to her once, and she'd said, "You should be stand-up comedian!" You are so adorable when you leave out indefinite articles, I thought. I was flattered, obviously. Then I realized that she didn't understand English all that well, and that stand-up comedians are mostly awful and embarrassing. But it was awesome for like a minute.

My friends told me I should just talk to her, which was fucking absurd. They had not seen this girl, nor did they fully appreciate the extent of my awkwardness. I told one of my friends, a cute junior who I also kind of liked, that there was no way I could pull it off. "She's out of my league," I whined, charmingly. "Come on, you're cute!" said my friend. (I rode that particular high for about 20 minutes until I came into the room and overheard her talking with her friends about celebrities they thought were hot. "You know who I think is cute?" she said. "Drew Carey. I'm totally not kidding!")

College is a time for making awful decisions, so I saw her in a bar one night and decided to talk to her. This probably wouldn't have been such a big deal for someone even slightly less pathologically shy than me, but I was only able to do it because I was drunk. Barely standing, double-seeing, stranger-hugging, "So anyway I was OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS SONG, WHOOOOOOOO LET'S DANCE" drunk.

I should point out here that I had tried, obviously, to talk to cute girls before. Generally while sober. And I somehow always ended up saying the stupidest possible thing. I had actually once greeted a pretty high school classmate one day with "How's it doing?" and it just went downhill from there. But I thought I could pull it off this time. I was just that drunk.

"Hi!" I said. Holy fuck, I thought, I am actually doing this.

"Hi!" she said, and smiled adorably. My heart broke. She was carrying a book. That is something I kind of know about, I thought. "So what are you rea...."

And then I threw up. Not, luckily, on the Russian girl, though that did not seem like a really encouraging distinction at the time. I think she asked me if I was all right, and I think I said something unintelligible and stumbled in the direction of home.

There is a moral in this for you, new college kids, and it's this: Over the next four years, you will meet dozens upon dozens of young, smart, hot people. You will want to have sex with some of these people, and that is natural. Just remember: Do not combine heavy drinking with talking to people you're interested in. Actually, don't combine anything with talking to people you're interested in. Just don't do it at all. No talking to people you like until you're 27. You'll thank me later, if you're sober enough.

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