In the name of love, STEPHEN PIETRZYOWSKI gives us some tips on how to pick up hot totty in the learning place.

Close to the entrance of the British Library is a sign adorned with an ‘inspiring’ quote from cancer poster girl Marie Curie: “Nothing in this world is to be feared, it is only to be understood”. She’s obviously never been inside the place.

First of all, it’s like a prison - there’s even a bag search at the door, because apparently terrorists hate learning. To enter any of the reading rooms, you’re required to place all of your belongings in see-through carrier bags, and dispense of any sharp implements - like pens or chewing gum.  If you want to read something – anything! - you need to use a computerised order system. Sometimes it takes 48 hours for the book to arrive. It’s like Waiting For Godot and if you talk, you’re taken outside and shot in the tongue.

But, that’s not to say there’s “nothing to do”, and prisons have never been this sexy.  You see, top to bottom, left to right, the reading rooms are packed with girls so fearsomely fine (yep, that’s right Curie, scary hot) that I can barely open the pages of the books I’ve spent two days waiting to read.  Hot pants? In a library? Seriously? YES! I’m going blind thinking about it. And we’re not just talking intimidating bodies either; there’s also book smarts to freak out to. Beauty and intelligence have always been a winning, but rare combination, but here the air’s so charged with sex and literature that you could resuscitate Georges Bataille with a hand fan.

I know: hot people in the British Library? Weirdo. It’s like living in a Belle and Sebastian song, I admit. But we’ve all seen Ghost World. We all know that there’s nothing hotter than nerd specs, a copy of Plague of Fantasies and a furrowed brow of concentration that’s cute enough to turn glasses steamy and jeans creamy.

But while perving is never anything other than fun, it’s also the root of all frustration. So, what are the chances of actually pulling? This is tricky to qualify, especially since of the main drawbacks is that you can’t talk. This might actually be a blessing though, especially if you’re one of those shy types who gets so nervous around the opposite sex you set a Rottweiler on them. For the main part though, this is potentially a huge problem, because if you don’t talk, you don’t fuck. That’s a golden rule. It means you will have to rely on non-verbal communication and plan your approach in advance.



Abundance is not exactly a problem in the British Library, but you don’t want to shoot for the moon too soon. It’s worth taking an inconspicuous stroll around and surveying the room. Pick a seat opposite (ideal), or next to, the best heartbreaker you can find. Secondly, eye contact is very important, which is why a seat opposite is best. But remember, not everyone is as horny as you. People are mainly here to study, so don’t be too obvious with the eyeballing. You’re not in Amsterdam. But also remember that if studying was the only thing on said heartbreaker’s mind, why have they made an effort to look Fahrenheit 451 in a room filled with paper? Chances are, if you catch their eye more than once, they’ve been crushing out on you for a while too. Besides, they’ll want a distraction as no one can concentrate on post-colonialism for eight hours solid and if they can, that’s not a libido you want to be harnessing.


Observe what it is they are reading. This will give you an opportunity to look up the subject on Wikipedia so you can pretend you’re as interested in them as much as you are in being in them. Wait until they leave their desk and take the opportunity to scrawl a note, clearly marked for their attention, containing some witty remark, an invitation to coffee and, duh, something along the lines of “I’m the guy sitting opposite you”. You don’t want them to think that it’s the Greek guy at the next desk and unwittingly bring them together. You are not John Cusack and this is not Serendipity (you wish).


This is very important. Do not come back until you’re sure they’ve read the note. You don’t want to be there when they read it, as either you or them may die of embarrassment if it goes wrong. When you return, you will (hopefully) have a reply. You will then go for coffee and have sex in the toilets, or, you know, something even better. If this doesn’t work out, you have lost nothing because a) no one knows what you did other than the person in question and they’re ugly anyway and you never really liked them b) it still looks cute because you weren’t creepy like the Spanish guys with their tops off in Fabric, and c) there are millions of other beauties waiting for that note every moment of every day. It’s a numbers game that requires only a few choice words and a bit of bravery. And you didn’t have to spend a million pounds in a club talking to people with bad breath and cocaine dreams to find that out.

Word of warning: make sure you stay in the reading rooms. Outside them it’s all old people who fart loudly and argue about lost umbrellas, and tourists in bad coloured trousers finding white washed walls and the spines of books interesting. Not hot. And also make sure you attend during term time, otherwise it can be half empty with only a scattering of wrinkle-faced postgrads who actually really want to do work (me excluded). Sick. These are minor gripes though, because The British Library equals pretty fucking sexy pretty much all the fucking time. Just don’t expect to get any work done.