Fake it 'til you make it, bro.
If M is grading you on too much of a curve, you're back to self-study. I really wasn't kidding when I suggested chatting up (perhaps that's a better term in this case than hitting on) people you meet in normal daily interaction. I started chatting with staff folks years ago because I sometimes have questions that won't go away, and I let myself be bold enough to voice them. You'd be amazed what strangers will share when you engage them in conversation as though they're normal humans worth listening to. (A restaurant in Philly used to make their staff pick through the garbage every night to get flatware out because the busboys would just dump the entire plate over and the new manager was a jerk--but now they don't lose flatware anymore, for example. Those old people over there just order hot water and nothing else, and when the water comes out, they pull out their own tea bags and use the sugar on the table...)
Anyway, set a few goals for yourself:
1) I'm going to learn her name.
2) I'm going to learn something about her that is not readily aparent.
3) I'm going to find something about her to compliment.
If you try these as a personal exercise while going through your normal routines, then you might find it's easier to get the ball rolling in the hormone-infused atmosphere of a convention. Heck, you might find a perfectly fine target at the Safeway and not worry about the cons altogether.
It's about having fun and trying out new stuff. Save the decoder rings and throat-clogging Deep Talks <tm> for after she's bowled over by your witty banter.