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I've seen it; I've done it. Tounge-tied at the bar, stuttering, hands wet, knees weak. "So, uh, yeah, you said you were from Kansas, huh? Cool. So what's the deal with Kansas City being in two states?"

Sure, sometimes you get punched in the face for saying "Size six?" Penn women are a tough nut to crack, but sometimes, you're on. Men, learn from my story:

We met at Starbucks. She was getting a grande white-chocolate mocha, and when she reached around for her wallet her arm grazed my stomach. "I think we're moving to fast," I said as she blushed.

"I'm so sorry," she stammered, smiling. "I'm Amy."

I knew who she was. Flowery, and radiant, the girl next door. Soft lips, creamy skin. "I'm prisoner number 7665," I replied. "But the warden calls me Alex."

Her lashes fluttered. "Well, Alex," she said. "It's nice to meet you."

Girls like macho guys. Who's more macho than a convicted felon? Check your local news for unique crimes to put on your fake record.

Saturday my Nokia woke me up. "What do you want?" I yelled. "You blew me off last night."

"Shut up," Amy hissed. "You're coming over tonight."

"Oh am I?" I replied.

"Yes, you are," she said. "And you're bringing me flowers."

Never bring flowers. Bring a vase and say: "If you give a woman flowers, they'll brighten her life for a day. If you give a woman a vase, she can get her own damn flowers."

At 9:30 I stopped in front of the wrought-iron gate at 38th and Walnut. I'd seen the house for three years. Now I was going in. I rang the bell.

"Yes? Who is it?" she answered playfully.

"The cable guy," I said with a baritone into the speaker. "I'm here to fix your cable."

The gate buzzed. I pushed through and stepped up to the heavy door. Knock knock. "Who is it?" she asked again.

"This is Bruce, from Comcast," I said to the peephole.

The door opened. "Wow," I thought. She was wearing a Puck Frinceton T-shirt and, well, a Puck Frinceton T-shirt. I swallowed but held my composure. "So, Dr. Gutmann," I read from an imaginary clipboard. "You'd like to begin receiving Cinemax?"

"Shut up," she purred, yanking me close. "I'll do the talking, Cable Boy."

Role playing is a creative way to add humor to a first date. Even if she doesn't play along, don't stop.

The bedside lamp was on in her room. She slammed the door and twisted the handle lock with her fingers. Coltrane played for a love supreme, and Amy poured us Hennessey.

"Dr. Gutmann, you don't seem to have a television in this room," I said.

She ignored me. "Have you ever been with a hot, older woman?" she asked.

"Here name was Nancy," I answered. "She was a stewardess for Continental Airlines."

"Very nice," she said, impressed. "But, have you ever been with a hot, educated, older woman?"

"Her name was Judith Rodin." I replied.

"Shut up," she barked, yanking my ear. "Kiss me."

I brought her close, and peppermint met wintergreen.

Five seconds into any kiss, pull away and tell her you're gay, that you can't lie to yourself any more. Women want what they can't have.

The sun woke us. "You have to go," she whispered.

"Leave me alone," I snarled. "You just let me go to sleep an hour ago."

"No, you have to go now," she whined. "You can't be seen leaving my house on Sunday morning. Stop tickling me!"

"I'm telling my friends every last detail," I said.

"No!" she squealed. "I'm supposed to be having breakfast with Jon Huntsman - stop that! I cancelled on him last night so I could see you."

I rolled out of bed and pulled my jeans off the lamp. "That was horrible." I said, grimacing. "Talk about beer goggles."

She laughed and pulled the sheets up to her chin. "Are you going to call me tomorrow, Ali?"

"Probably not," I said, shaking my head. "Tomorrow I'm taking Rodin to White Dog."

I headed toward the door without looking back. "Later," I said.

"Wait," she called. I turned. Her yellow hair lay soft against the pillow.

"It's late," she whispered. But it's not that late."

One last tip. Always steal something when you leave. That way, later, even if she's disgusted with herself, you're guaranteed a second date. "Hey, it's Alex. from this morning? You know what I found in my jacket?... Yeah its so weird. I don't know how I didn't notice a laptop. No, it's my fault. I'll bring it to you. How about tonight, say. 1?"

Alex Weinstein is a College senior from Bridgeport, W.Va. His e-mail address is Straight to Hell appears on Thursdays.

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