Dear Mr. Knightley:
How do I catch a girl’s attention? There’s a girl in one of my classes who’s cute and charming and I’d love to get a chance to talk to her, but she doesn’t know I exist. It’s a large class and she’s never spoken to me. She always leaves right after class, so I don’t have a chance to catch her then, and I can’t arrive early. Thanks for your advice.
Admiring from Afar
Well I commend you for your bravery. So many people are merely content to sit and languish after the one they love, wasting their lives away pining for some unreachable Adonis or Venus. Success requires endeavor, so be ready to adventure forth if you wish to obtain the object of your affection. First of all, you should avoid confronting her directly with your love. This is brutish and without consideration for her, in that her feelings may lie elsewhere as well in that such directness places her in the position of having to respond to unsolicited advances. Rather, you should create the opportunity to further your acquaintance of her before letting her know how you feel about her. This can be done in several ways. You may attempt to be one of her partners during an assignment for the class. Or even better, the partner of one of the individuals in the class with which she has proven to be close with. It is also worth pursuing this individual’s acquaintanceship, since they may have more flexible schedules than she does, and it may be easier to become their friend. The friend of your friend is the path to surest victory.
Once you have valid grounds for speaking to her (either by being group partners or by working with her friend) you may find it appropriate to ask her to help you with a problem you have been having at class. This will prove her character to you as well as informing you of whether she currently has the time to entertain strangers in her life. Make sure you are at your utmost presentability at this time, since you most definitely want to be recognized for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. If she accepts, then have the meeting, making sure only to stay on the topic of school with slight divergences in the conversation to related topics. This will allow her to show whether she intends to take the meetings further while still also allowing her to stay on topic if in fact she is only entertaining your questions to be charitable.
However, the hardest hurdle to overcome is merely finding grounds to speak to her. The above method is one of several. You could also try asking her for a pencil, forgetting it each day, so that it becomes somewhat of a charming routine for her. Again, this allows her the room she needs to either open the door or shut it. If you feel an icy reply from her by the third asking do not continue and bring your own pencil the following class. This may in fact cause her to miss the routine, and gain you the attention you seek as well.
Above all, remember to be a gentleman. Let your invitations be soft at first, so that she may accept or decline your offers while maintaining her own honor, grace, and dignity. You would not want to force her association because it will be vapid and brief at best. Once you can speak to her, you may invite her to an event where several persons of her acquaintance will be present, to avoid unneeded discomfort on her part. From there, you may call her friend and call upon her with as much frequency as she desires. You should also take this time to get to know her father and brothers. Perhaps go out shooting with them. Also, do not forget the importance of her mother. When meeting her, take great care to compliment her on her parlor and the placement of the windows, as this proves you to be a person of discerning taste and good judgement. She will sing your praises once you have departed. And then you may be set to propose before next Michaelmas.
These are the fruits of endeavor; the success of the heart.