The following is an excerpt from CollegeHumor's new book Faking It: How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Actually Improving Yourself out in bookstores , everywhere today!

For the great bulk of us, it is almost impossible to look a girl in the eye and ask her out on a date. When her breasts aren't distracting us,the overwhleming urge to stare at the ground is. As recently as 1989, this would have been a crippling problem. Now, however, cowards can hide behind email to do their flirting. No stammers, no stutters, and no ludicrous sweating problems, just clever, spontaneous banter that you can spend hours editing and perfecting before hitting "send."

Unfortunately, girls know that only cowards resort to this measure, so you really have to elevate your game. A single flaw could completely derail weeks of carefully-crafted wordplay. Here's how you make it happen:

The first email you send has to be playful and nonthreatening. Make some jokes and ask some questions so she has something to respond to. Don't make any plans yet or allude to any intentions. Your ultimate goal may be getting a date, but the first email is just to gauge how possible this is. Feel free to use the following quotes verbatim (though it would be wise of you to change the names)

First Email Do's:
"Hey it was fun talking with you on Saturday. I sincerely hope I smelled appropriately"

"Beth gave me your contact info. Don't worry; she only told me the first 6 digits of your Social Security number. She's a stickler for privacy, isn't she?"

First Email Dont's:
"I want to see you again. Soon."

"Shaking your hand when I left broke my heart. I hoped we would hug. The kind of hug where the two people rub each others' backs in a circular motion."

If you get a timely and favorable response to email number one, it's time to step up one intimacy level. Ask what she is doing later this week. Don't suggest anything yet, just merely inquire if she is free. And leave her open to suggest time/place.

Second Email Do's:
"Would you be free next week to hang out in person? I've got some great jokes that I wouldn't dare type out (it's all in the vocal delivery)."

"Hey, we should meet up some time; my typing skills will only impress you so much."

Second Email Dont's:
"You. Me. Four bottles of wine. I already made the reservations. Get your coat."

"I'm sending this email from outside your place. The wireless reception is great. So is that shirt you're wearing."

If she says she is free and available, then you're almost there. The second-email hump is the hardest to get over, but if she is free to hang out, then suggest something. Nothing too fancy or ridiculous, just a meeting for the two of you. If she's made it this far its hard to say no now.

Third Email Do's:
"I actually know this really good restaurant opening up if you're interested. If not, I make a killer Boboli pizza. The secret ingredient is cheese."

"I don't suppose you like food, do you? I'm absolutely mad for it. I can eat up to three meals a day if left unchecked. Hopefully we can eat one together?"

Third Email Dont's:
"I'm supposed to go home this weekend; it's my parents' anniversary. I would love for you to be my date."

"I have two one-way tickets to Delaware. Dover is lovely this time of year, so won't you join me on an indefinite vacation? Your boss already told me he'd give you the time off."

Note: At this point you will have to physically talk to her, but most of the legwork is done. Don't bring your laptop to the date; she won't be checking her email when she's actually with you.


More advice like this (as well as how to hit on girls in real life, seeming like a well read individual without ever lifting a book, and knowing everything about art history without having to hurt your GPA) can be found in Faking It: How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Actually Improving Yourself , in every bookstore today. (or Order your copy for less than 16 bucks on Amazon!)