The pseudo-science of seduction

Classes have been in session all summer but September is when things really start to heat up on campus. Thousands of new students reluctantly say goodbye to summer jobs and summer flings to enter the more serious world of academics. It’s those first few weeks of classes that are my favourite part of fall. There is a palpable energy in the air as students can’t quite shake summer’s seductive hedonism; a feeling that is both mesmerizing and fleeting. It won’t be long before cut-offs and tank tops are traded in for sweat pants and hoodies as study-mode takes over students’ lives.

The time is now, and these next few weeks must be capitalized upon. Every last drop of summer sizzle must be absorbed and savoured. In this spirit, for those of you looking to pair up, this feature is for you. If you are a student on campus, this is what you need to know to increase your chances of getting a date.


The very first thing you have to try to master before dating is self-confidence, which can be defined as feeling secure in your actions and abilities. No one should even consider the prospect of dating without first realistically assessing their confidence level. Confidence is something that cannot be underestimated, but the good news is that it is also something that can be learned. Anyone has the potential to be confident, and when they are, it becomes obvious in numerous subtle ways, from speech to body language.

A major way to boost confidence is positive self-talk; start thinking like a confident person and telling yourself positive messages about yourself. It sounds a little odd, but when we hear these messages often enough, we begin to internalize them and we start to actually believe them. Similarly, another creative way to increase self-confidence is to do what minimalist author Leo Babauta calls “Photoshopping your self-image.” Babauta makes a strong link between the mental pictures that we have of ourselves and our confidence levels. His strategy to improve self-image entails instructions to mentally Photoshop negative images that we have of ourselves. By recognizing why we see ourselves the way we do, we are then able to modify our unhealthy self-views and change them into healthy ones.

Other indicators of confidence that can become apparent on a date include posture — sit straight and keep your head up, keep your hands still and don’t fidget, use eye contact, don’t talk too fast, smile often and don’t try too hard. Although there is no substitute for confidence that radiates from inside of a person, paying attention to these minor mannerisms will at least make you appear to be more confident than you may actually be.


Are you a parking ticket? Because you’ve got fine written all over you.

You better have a license, because you are driving me crazy!

If you were the new burger at McDonalds you would be the McGorgeous!

I wanna bag you like some groceries.

Do these lines work? Sometimes. But you’re in university now and it’s time to step up your game. Also known as openers, confidence is key to successfully picking-up, no matter what your approach is. Pick-up lines like the ones above are short, funny and non-committal so it shouldn’t really be a big deal if you get shot down. Look at it as a way to test the waters. These are universal openers that can be used on any person you are interested in. They are useful in high energy, busy situations like parties and bars where there are numerous distractions such as loud music and lots of people. In these types of circumstances, light pick-up lines may be your best bet.

On the other hand, if you are in a more quiet and relaxed atmosphere such as the university campus, situational openers are much more appropriate and much more likely to be successful. Dating advice author Joseph Matthews explains that situational openers are effective because “this type of opener is unique to the interaction you are having [ . . . ]. Not only that, but it shows that you guys have a common understanding of the reality you are mutually experiencing. And that, my friends, creates a connection between the two of you.” Therefore, by establishing communication based on something that you both have in common, you increase your chances of having a positive connection with that person.

If you are both in the same class together, opening with a conversation about anything class related would be opportune. If you don’t have a class together but you see someone that you would like to talk to, pay attention to details. Are they reading a book? Catch a glimpse of the title and ask them something specific about the book. Is it a textbook? Strike up a conversation about what that person’s studying in school. Easy, right?

Once you have chosen a way to initiate conversation, make it short, five minutes total. Assuming that getting this person’s contact information is your goal, dating strategist David DeAngelo recommends asking for a person’s email address as you are about to walk away, like it’s an after-thought. His rationale is that people find that giving out their email address is far less obtrusive and safer than giving out their phone number. Good luck!


So let’s say you managed to get a date. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind that will hopefully increase your chances of getting a second date. There is a litany of advice out there about first dates. It is now commonly advised to plan an activity-based date if you do not know the person very well. This way, awkward silences can be avoided while there is increased potential for a rapport to be built between the two of you. It is also taught by dating guru Paul Dobransky that the two elements that will help ensure a second date are mystery and touch. Mystery in the sense that you want your date to want to know more about you and touch as in a simple high-five. So keep these tips in mind. If your first date is a success and you both decide to proceed to a second, this is when going for dinner is a good idea.

When you do find yourself face-to-face with only a table between you and your date, maintaining conversation flow is crucial. One way to keep the conversation going is to ask open-ended questions, as opposed to questions that only require a yes or no answer. Some traits to aspire exuding on a date include genuine interest in the other person, sincerity, confidence and a sense of humour. Avoid appearing judgmental, indecisive and self-absorbed. This means being observant and not talking too much about yourself. And of course, this should go without saying, don’t talk about your exes! If you made it this far, you may be doing alright. If not, read on . . .


It is never easy to deal with being rejected. Whether it’s at the opener, the first date or even the second date, there are a few things to keep in mind when your interest in another person is not returned. To begin, don’t take it personally. People tend to blame lack of interest from another person on their biggest personal insecurities. The truth is, the two of you were just not a good match and it is you that is single-handedly magnifying what you feel most insecure about in yourself. It is also important to realize that there are many amazing people out there so get back out and try again with someone else.