Why is it that a liaison with my TA is the only thing I can concentrate on in section? Of course, my fantasies are always a little far-fetched, mostly because if I took time to actually plot out the reality, I know I’d ruin whatever chance I had with uncontrollable laughter. We’d have to keep stopping every time I thought about the chorus from Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” You know, David Lee Roth singing, “I think of all the education that I’ve missed / But then my homework was never quite like this.” Cue laughter. Cue apologies. Cue restart. Cue drum intro. Cue failing.

You’re lying if you say you’ve never had a daydream about your TA while you watched her mindlessly ramble on about tangents and cosines. You know you’ve taken that moment to kick back and picture an office hour rendezvous: you, perplexed and in need of assistance, her, worn out from teaching, but prepared to take on one last equation…. But no pitching a tent in class. Control yourself.

Unfortunately, TAs are a different breed than the average Isla Vistan. While it’s easy to knock some worthwhile ass down on Friday night with minimal conversation, the average TA has gotten the taste of dirty undergrad sex out of their system long ago. There are a few exceptions, mind you, but not enough to go around. Also, your TA isn’t going to put his or her job on the line simply to score with you, so you better make sure the one chance you are given is stellar.

Your approach must be well calculated. It must be one of intellectual substance and haughty opinions in order to provoke the right amount of interest. You have to say things like, “I just think the works of Henry James are pure literary masturbation,” or “Do you suppose Fermat knew that elliptic curves were modular when he threw out that little theorem?” Then use coffee to back up your argument. TAs love coffee. But no silly sugar-free, non-fat, no-foam vanilla lattes. It’s just the basics, unless you’re a guy, in which case it’s tea – trust me, it’s tea. That’s it, no cutting corners.

Because all this “intellectual conversation” is a little alien and a ton of work, it’s up to you to justify the workload you undertake in order to finagle your way into your TA’s personal favor. But can you really put a price on the envious looks all your friends will give you? It doesn’t matter if you scored because you really won her over, or because she saw right through your feeble little plan and took pity on you. The product is the same, either way.

There is another side to the tale, however. If you capitalize on your TA mid-quarter, what do you do with the five weeks you have left? You may be able to continue to maintain innocent eye contact, but what if your TA is the clingy, broken type? With any other guy, you could just give him the ol’ brush off and pretend you didn’t get the 30 text messages he sent you on Friday. But this is a little trickier to extricate yourself from. Grades are at stake. So my advice is to save the nookie for after you pass the class with your natural intellect and charisma. Then, when you jump his bones, you’re entirely free from any complications that may arise from your actions, whether it be his neediness, or, a rarer possibility, your attachment issues.

But make sure your little game stops the second you step back into your Rainbows. In Isla Vista, pretension is only mildly tolerated and often mistaken for other things. As soon as you start talking about Shakespearean sonnets and whether or not Shakespeare was gay, any drunk girl will light up as she innocently calls her gay male friend over and introduces the two of you. She thinks you two would be soooo cuuute together. She, however, is going to catch the next tipsy guy who knows when to shut up. Lesson learned.

Daily Nexus sex columnist Nina Anthony has absolutely nothing against literary masturbation. In fact, she hopes you’re masturbating right now.