By now, you've heard all about the 36 questions that make you fall in love — three dozen scientifically verified queries that will instantly turn a stranger in a bar into the person you'll be divorcing in six years, all through the magic of invasive prodding about their childhood and their greatest fears. It's how we've all dreamed of meeting our partners, ever since we were little girls — that's why there was that scene in Beauty and the Beast where Beast asks Belle how she thinks she will die, and then demands that they maintain unbroken eye contact for four minutes, remember?
But while the 36 questions will surely yield many happy couplings, they could also be a disaster waiting to happen. Not all people out there will be using the 36 questions responsibly — some will exploit them to create an air of false intimacy to get some casual sex going; some will fall back on them because they are too uncreative to think of their own conversation topics; and some will just be trying to use them to figure out the password to your bank account. And worst of all, some folks that will want to try the 36 questions on you will be people who you already know you're not interested in, even before they tell you if they sing to themselves (though let's get real, you can tell within 30 seconds of meeting someone if they sing to themselves).
So how do you gracefully extricate yourself these less-appealing situationsd? Sure, you could just politely say "no I will not play this very revealing game with you." But where would be the fun in that? You could also answer the 36 questions in the most off-putting, horrifying way possible, so that your potential partner thinks you are a terror-being created of equal parts garbage, nightmares, and spoiled Taco Bell Doritos Locos. I'm not saying which is the better idea, I'm just saying you have options, and isn't that what modern life is all about?
So if you'd like to shut down someone giving you the 36 question treatment, please feel free to join us in entering the 36 question chambers below. Also, if you use the answers below and end up falling in love anyway, please invite us to your Smash Mouth-themed wedding.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
The guy who invented wearing sunglasses on the back of your head.
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I would like to become famous as Guy Fieri's personal spiritual advisor.
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
No, because most of my telephone calls are just me yowling like a wounded animal caught in a trap, sure that he will not live another day, for a few minutes. But I do like to do some vocal exercises beforehand. May-me-ma-mo-moo!
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
A quick screening of my Criterion edition Blu-Ray of Will Forte's masterpiece MacGruber to start the day, followed by some Tae Bo for about four to six hours to really get things going. Then I'd fuel up with some breakfast burritos, and then go to see my close person friends Smash Mouth in concert, where they pull me on stage to dance, like Courtney Cox in that one Bruce Springsteen video. Then one more quick screening of MacGruber before bed, and I'm out (I don't really know the members of Smash Mouth, so that's what makes this "perfect" instead of just my usual day).
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
How are we defining the "self" here? Are we including Guy Fieri? Because I consider him a part of me. Anyway, the answer to both questions is: last night at 3 a.m. (it was "A Whole New World;" I sing both parts because I have a really amazing vocal range).
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Which is the Benjamin Button disease? I want that one.
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
Are you...implying something?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
We are carbon-based lifeforms, we both eat food, and we both have apparently spent at least some time thinking about how I will die.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
That I was able to beat my case of "restless egg syndrome" (it's a poorly understood medical condition where you just can't seem to stop shaking eggs).
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
I would probably make sure I had more alone time, for introspection. Also, I would change the part where my mother was just a pile of paint-smeared rags that my father insisted I address as "Mother."
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
I was born in Minnesota, and attended college in Arizona. I majored in ceramics, and had a short-lived first marriage to my college sweetheart, but we left things on good terms. I love horses, and used to ride competitively growing up. I once ran a guy over and drove away, but if you really listen to my side of the story, I think you'll find that I had my reasons. I'm currently getting my MBA at night. I love living in New York, because of all the culture and thrilling nightlife!
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I would love to wake up tomorrow and be a real human being, rather than four dogs balanced precariously on each other's shoulders, hidden underneath a trench coat. Uh, wait, I mean, I would like to be better at golf! What did you think I said?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
Will they ever get around to making a sequel to Nicolas Cage's Drive Angry 3D? I think it is crazy that it's taken this long — the plot basically writes itself (although if film execs don't quite agree, I have also written my own script treatment — 40 pages, nothing crazy. Do you want to check it out now, maybe? I would be so grateful for some notes)
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
I'd like to follow Smash Mouth on tour, bonding with fellow fans (we're called "'Mouthheads"), but I haven't been able to find the time away from work, or get my contact info to Guy Fieri, in case he needs to contact me while I'm on the road.
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
I invented the phrase "OK, I want to tell you something, but you have to promise not to get mad."
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
That my friend never, ever pressure me to go anywhere that sets off my fear of heights, eat foods that are too weird for me, or attempt to catfish Dancing with the Stars choreographer Derek Hough with a plan so intricately fiendish, so beautifully evil, it will be the ruin of him. THE RUIN OF HIM! I think these things are just the basics of platonic intimacy and trust.
17. What is your most treasured memory?
The day that doctors brought me back after I was technically dead for three minutes.
18. What is your most terrible memory?
The time I was technically dead for three minutes after I choked on a hair extension (still not positive how it got inside my Jamba Juice).
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
I feel like you really know something here that you're not telling me, right? I have pepper spray in my purse, you know. Don't try to look, just trust me, it's in there.
20. What does friendship mean to you?
Friendship means never having to say "Moist." (I really hate the word "moist")
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
Far less of a role than the Illuminati do, I'll say that much.
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
1. You're pretty attractive.
2. You approached me alone in this bar, which connotes confidence.
3. You approached me alone in this bar even though I am absolutely drenched in fake blood, which shows that you go after what you want, even if it is dripping fake blood pretty much everywhere.
4. When I told you that narwhals aren't real, you stood your ground, which shows that you believe in yourself.
5. You don't mind the fact that this island is just a figment of our imaginations as we endure the tortures of the afterlife.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
I think my childhood was probably happier than Guy Fieri's, though I guess maybe not, who knows anybody else's life, really?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
Sometimes I wish she was not a pile of paint-smeared rags. And sometimes I wish she listened better, instead of just immediately trying to solve my problems whenever I tell her anything.
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
-The slow rotation of the earth.
-The pull of a life of adventure and danger upon the high seas.
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
That I can only orgasm while listening to the song "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane (the Rascal Flatts version only works if we're doing it at a hotel. I can't explain why — a woman's body is a wonderland!)
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
I can see the outline of your genitals through your pants, which shows self-confidence.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
The Jamba Juice with the hair extension in it was prepared for me by Nicolas Cage; I knew it was there the whole time, but I didn't want to say anything, you know? I thought he was maybe just preparing for a role or something.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
The answer to both is "right now."
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
The fact that you're not even a little embarrassed about the way your body seems to emit the scent of hardboiled eggs. I think that's brave!
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
I would regret not having told anyone that I met a stranger at a bar who was very interested in making small talk about my own death, and yet all night, I did nothing — I didn't even send a text to my roommate with his name, just in case I never made it back home.
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
So now you're going after them, too? Is this an organized crime thing? Who sent you, the members of Train? I told them, that was an ACCIDENT, not a calculated move to get them kicked off the Smashmouth Still Walkin' On The Sun Sizzlin' Summer 2014 Tour!
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
Sometimes, the fact that all of our elected officials are morphing lizard people from deep within the earth's core makes me mistrust their judgment. But then I think, isn't this the essence of democracy? Even if you don't love the morphing lizard people your fellow Americans have elected, you have to live with it and make the best of it. How should I make peace with this?
Follow this up by wordlessly gazing into their eyes without blinking for four minutes straight, without telling them why.