“It’s a good thing I have a library card because I have been checking you out all night.”
Students say lines like these echo through the stacks at College Library every night and are partly why Helen C. White has become publicized nationally as a hot place to pick up dates.
A 1994 Playboy magazine article ranked the library the third-best alcohol-free place for men to pick up women in the country. Ever since, big names including Jay Leno and Rolling Stone magazine have acknowledged University of Wisconsin’s College Library for its promise as a place to find future partners.
But is it true that university singles can look for Valentine’s Day sweethearts with their heads in the books?
UW freshman Daniel Brunow says the library’s matchmaking reputation is as alive as ever. Although he admits he was intimidated by the thought of asking girls out during his first semester at UW, he says he has now perfected the art of cheesy pickup lines and averages two phone numbers a week at the library.
“My most successful line thus far is, ‘If I could rewrite the alphabet I would put U and I together,'” Brunow said. “It works every time.”
Although these situations often earn a laugh at the receiving end, not all encounters are corny one-liners. Most of the time, students say, these are serious invitations.
According to many undergrads, it takes a long time to find the right person and to come up with the perfect way to ask them out.
“It is really important to think about the context with which you are meeting people to date,” said an undergraduate blushing too hard to reveal his name. “My mother would much rather have me bring home a girl I met at the library than at a bar.”
Some say it is fair to assume there is already a common link between two people just based on the fact that they met while studying at the library.
A front desk employee at Helen C. White agreed UW students go to the library for more than studying. He said it also serves as a place for students to see others outside formal classroom settings or living arrangements.
Many people stressed that it can be difficult to meet people in classes, even when they are interested. But students say if they recognize someone from class while studying at the library, they are more apt to approach them.
At this campus, social atmosphere surely influences where students like to spend their time.
Employees say they see many students who spend a fair amount of time in the restrooms “preening.” They noticed the way students dress at the library has changed over the years from sweatpants and sweatshirts to more impressive clothing.
Regulars seem to agree the reason College Library is such a desirable social ground is partly due to its layout and atmosphere. It lends itself to socializing, students say, because it has open spaces that enable people to watch others come and go.
Helen C. White also has a reputation as easygoing library, providing a comfortable studying experience. Group study areas and a great view of Lake Mendota also add to the romantic potential.
The next person at Helen C. White who comes at you with a line and a smile may just be your Cupid.