I am one of the dudes who stares at girls (yes, you) in the library. And it’s really not my fault. A guy has girls on his mind all the time, everywhere he goes. In the library, keeping your eyes on your book is next to impossible. Why? I think you know why. Let’s just say New Haven has far more “Watch Girls Take Their Clothes Off” clubs than “Work on Problem Sets” and “Read Tyco Course Packets” clubs.

I do try to study. It’s not like I go to the library just to look at girls. I mean honestly, I have porn on my computer at home. If I could study without being distracted I’d do it; it would mean more porn time. But the best I can do, I’ve decided, is work at the efficiency of a Carnot Engine (physics majors where you at?): 60 percent focused on homework, 40 percent on mentally undressing the brunette with the history of art book (note to non-Group IVs–this is a pretty sweet efficiency level for a Carnot Engine). That way homework gets done, and my right hand and I don’t have to make a sudden trip to the bathroom.

So on Sunday night I rolled up to the Berkeley library, and the place was in effect. Tight-bangin’ chicas everywhere (actually there were just four girls in the library and they weren’t all tight-bangin’). I sat down at one of the tables, pulled out my set and my TI, and tried to work. But by the first question, I was already gawking blankly. There was a cute stoned girl across the table from me looking at Spanish, an athletic girl across the room reading some sort Group III bullshit, and a girl with huge breasts reading criticism (Why do lit majors always have such big breasts? I don’t get it). I pondered for a while, counting the number of big-breasted girls in my various classes. Would breasts get in the way of certain kinds of reading?

And already I’m far, far away from my homework. I used to study with my girlfriend, and for guys with the option it works nicely. First of all, it keeps you from staring at other girls’ breasts. Second, if you stare at her breasts, she patiently tells you to look back at your book and continue studying. But I can’t do this with my girlfriend anymore, because we broke up kind of early on in the semester. Actually, she broke up with me, on the first day of school. Three hours after I arrived. Twenty minutes after my dad left the room. Five minutes after I gave her her birthday present. Apparently a trip to South America “changes you” and makes “things different” between you and your “non-Argentinean” boyfriend.

Moving on. Library staring for me is a definite problem. But it’s even worse for girls. Although I get none of my work done, I have a good time because of my active fantasy life (Aww yeah, baby, keep studying, just like that, yeah!). I have no idea how girls deal with it. I was the subject of library staring only once, when I was a young and tender freshman. I was in the Starr reference room, and a guy with a glittery T-shirt and gelled hair three tables down took an interest in me. He stared at me suggestively while moving his eyebrows up and down. Then he started making kissy faces. To tell you the truth, rather than feeling attracted to him, I felt sort of uncomfortable.

Perhaps this is the way girls feel.

So anyway, the bastard son of library staring is “library macking,” which, beyond a mumbled “Can you watch my computer?” is incredibly inappropriate. Neither the whispering nor the note-passing is cute, and it distracts other students. I do it all the time.

Unlike frat late-nights, library macking is nice because it’s so wholesome. My favorite technique is to write “Smile if you want to sleep with me” in child-like handwriting on a piece of paper and throw it at the girl (Try it! It really works!). So Sunday night, I decided to give up on the physics altogether and put the mack down. My weekend had been horrible, and it was time to pick up the pieces. And, with perfect timing, a fifth girl walked into the library, one that (bonus) I had hooked up with before. Granted, it was a very, very long time ago. The re-hookup never actually happens. But to skeezy guys, there is no statute of limitations on this kind of thing — it’s a matter of “getting to know them” again. I’ll just “ask her how she’s doing” and “see if she wants to hang out this weekend” to “have sex with me.” “Hey,” I whispered to her. “Have you gotten coffee yet? Do you want to get coffee with me later?”

According to her, she’d like to but didn’t have any money. No problem, I’d heard this one before.

“I have a cheap cappuccino maker in my room. I could make us coffee there!”

Girls, beware of any invite up to a guy’s room, whatever the reason. I had a suitemate freshman year (hint: he writes for Rumpus) who lured many, many confused girls up to his bedroom after D.S. lecture to get “a snack.” To all the women in the Class of ’04: There’s an 800 number to call if you want to get involved in the class-action suit against him.

As it turned out, however, I was out of espresso. From there, we went from Gourmet Heaven (they don’t sell espresso) to Koffee Too (I bought her coffee, and realized I had a dollar in my wallet), to the ATM outside (it didn’t accept my card and made a loud “this guy is poor” beeping rejection noise), to Gourmet Heaven again (the ATM there gave me money, thankfully) and back to Koffee Too to pay them for our cold coffee. It was like descending through the nine levels of “Burt is a loser” hell.

The girl was patiently annoyed, and physics was sounding kind of like fun.

“Do you always embarrass yourself this much?” she asked. Clearly, it had been a long, long time since we’d done anything together. The night we hooked up she must have been very drunk. No chance for post-library play.

“Um no,” I said. “Usually I’m cool.”

Burt Helm actually has a cappuccino maker (machine sounds too preppy) in his room.