The Fall in Love 36 questions viral has been dominating water-cooler conversations for a few weeks now. For the uninitiated, it's a list of personal, probing questions designed to create a sense of intimacy between two people.
I should add that the questionnaire was not originally designed to make you fall in love - that idea no doubt came from a savvy SEO headline writer. It is, in fact, a tool to help people foster better relationships through back-and-forth self-disclosure. Vulnerability is the objective, and the questions gradually move from charmingly curious - "Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?" - to radically honest - "Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing?"
There are a few bells and whistles along the way - an opportunity to give each other compliments and a suggestion to stare into each other's eyes for four minutes - before, hey presto, you have a friend/lover for life . . . probably because you can't afford to make an enemy of anyone who knows you this well.
I'm sure this questionnaire has been answered by starry-eyed lovers the world over, but I wonder what questions they asked one another before they decided to become lovers. Wouldn't it be helpful if there were 36 questions to determine whether someone is relationship material? Here are mine:
1) Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Did he/she choose Gandhi or Martin Luther King? Don't expect much originality elsewhere.
2) Do you clap when a Ryanair flight lands?
3) For how many years of your adult life have you been single? Watch out for serial monogamists - they tend to dislike being alone more than they like being with you.
4) Have you ever worn a onesie?
5) What artistic performance(s) has moved you to tears? The Susan Boyle audition for Britain's Got Talent doesn't count.
6) What's your spirit animal? Watch out for responses that allude to sexual performance or size of genitalia, eg: "A donkey because I'm hung like one."
7) Did you partake in the Ice Bucket Challenge?
8) Tell me about your exes. Watch out for men who have a long line of "psycho ex-girlfriends" - you'll invariably become one of them. Likewise, always ask what was their ex's bone of contention. He probably won't tell you that she didn't exactly dig him wearing her underwear, but you'll definitely glean something of the challenges to come.
9) Do you own more than two fully operational mobile phones? Yes? RUN!
10) Have you ever auditioned for a Louis Walsh boyband?
11) Lights on or off?
12) Have you ever used an Excel document to map anything other than your work?
13) When was the last time you took a risk (forgoing the flu jab this year doesn't count)?
14) Can we slow things down here? Beware the man who talks about mortgage plans and wedding venues after three weeks.
15) What do the words World of Warcraft mean to you?
16) What was your DJ name? Just about every male Generation Y member had a DJ name, whether or not they owned decks and a mixer. These teenage monikers are invariably awful, but some are just inexcusable. Black mark for those that betrayed a superiority complex - DJ Big Balls - and for those that used it as an opportunity for pseudo-intellectual posturing. That's you, MC Squared.
17) Have you read anything by Neil Strauss? I should remind you that "my friend" means them in this circumstance.
18) You're having lunch with industry colleagues that you admire when they start criticising your best friend. What do you do?
19) How many lovers have you had? Beware anyone that answers anything other than "none of your business" or "I have no idea". Those that have the time, or inclination, to count their sexual encounters have no idea how to really let loose.
20) Nice guitar. Have you ever taken it to a festival and wowed your fellow campers with your rendition of Redemption Song (complete with dodgy attempt at Jamaican accent)?
21) Do you cry during sex?
22) Did you forget your manners? Always observe how he treats waiters, bank cashiers and the likes. It's telling.
23) Have you called a premium rate number to vote for a contestant on a television talent show? If yes, were you on drugs at the time?
24) So, did you fancy me the minute you saw me? This question will do nothing but validate your sense of self and boost your ego but it's the burning question in the early days of a relationship so get it out of the way now.
25) Can we stay sober tonight? Don't allow a relationship to get to the point when you realise that the only thing you have in common is Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A sober rendezvous or two is crucial in the early stages of courtship.
26) Can I see your sunglasses? Yes, we're in the bleak mid-winter but you need to get on top of this now.
27) Unlimited love or unlimited money?
28) Where did you get your boxers? Trick question, designed to give him the opportunity to answer: "Oh, my Mum bought them for me."
29) Are you a cat person or a dog person?
30) Have you ever sent a fan letter?
31) Have you ever been blocked on Facebook? If so, why?
32) Is that an Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 wireless headset I see? And can you use it to call me a cab?
33) Bank account details on wedding invites. Discuss.
34) How often do you see your family? Watch out for those who "don't get along with their family". At the very least it betrays a tendency to give up easily.
35) Did you just ask me to go Dutch on a first date? Het spijt me. Mijn Nederlands is niet zo goed. And I got a blow-dry, a Shellac and a new pair of tights for tonight. Cough up, tight wad.
36) Do you abbreviate the names of certain foodstuffs? Choccies, spag bol, biccies, veggies?
Somehow I've lost my appetite . . .