Hi, kids. If you’ve landed on this website and read past its front page, there’s at least a 40% chance that you’re a nerd. And I offer that epithet in complimentary fashion—nerds are my people. We’re as much a family as any political party, any college fraternity, any professional football team or its fans. We’re Nerds with a capital. The name for our people is a goddamned proper noun.
A number of Sesquipedalism’s hits—yes, I monitor these things—come from repeat visitors. As such, I’ve deduced that, if you’re on this website and it’s not your first time, you’re probably a certain subset of Nerd: you’re what they used to call a “Bookworm.” A reader. A writer. Someone whose annoyed by the very obvious grammatical error in this sentence (imagine the pain it caused me to actually type it). If you’ve been here more than once, there’s a very real chance that you’re someone who, like me, may have had the urge to correct the syntax of bathroom graffiti (for which purpose, between 2003 and 2006, I carried a Sharpie whenever I went to the bar).
If this is, in fact, the case, you may also be a lonely soul. Romance often isn’t easy for our people, and you may sometimes wonder what it is that you could do in social settings to reduce the amount of wasted time spent smiling coyly at relative strangers who turn out to be complete ninnyhammers. If you choose to flirt, what might you do to make sure the lady or gentleman with whom you choose to mince words is another Bookworm? Well, if you don’t feel like memorizing and reciting bits of “To His Coy Mistress” to every potential, I offer an alternative. Here are nine perfectly cromulent pickup lines that work in a twofold manner: first, they will surely send the blood to the nether regions and naughty bits of any other word-minded Nerd—greatly increasing one’s chances of seriously nebbish sex later on; and second, they will likely cause a fairly immediate conversational miscarriage should you be making moves, wasting time, on a non-Nerd. You know—one of the lower folks. Some of them—and I’m guessing it’ll be obvious which—will only work for one sex or the other.
01. “You know, I can tie a cherry stem into an ampersand using just my tongue. An ampersand with serifs.”
02. “I’ve got a set of parentheses for your interrobang.”
03. ”My bedposts look just like pilcrows. Want to check them out?”
04. “Let’s go somewhere private and see if I can’t get you to make some high back vowel sounds.” (BONUS: If the flirtee is taken, you can throw in the insult: “I’ll bet your man/woman can only get you to make schwas.”)
05. “I can go longer than a Faulkner sentence.” (BONUS: Swap “Faulkner sentence” for “David Foster Wallace paragraph” if either party has or is suspected to have a foot fetish.)
06. “I know Godot never comes, but give me twenty minutes and you will.”
07. “When I look at you, I can’t stop thinking about doing something wrong. Yeah, I want to split you like an infinitive.”
08. “If you don’t come home with me, you’ll regret it more than time spent trying to finish Finnegans Wake.”
09. “I saw you from across the way and, let me tell you, my hyphen turned into an em-dash.”
If all of these fail, but you’re certain you’re talking to a nerd, you can always offer to go and rehearse the end of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy. If they work, well, then I encourage you to shout out en flagrante delicto, “Quaff, oh quaff my sweet nepenthe, baby!”