The Proust Questionnaire

The new year causes many people to look within; think about what they’re doing, where they’re headed, and setting a whack of (somewhat unrealistic) goals to carry out by the end the year.

I thought I’d cheat a little with my first post of 2012 and jump on that bandwagon and have you, the darling boys (and ladies) who read this blog write your own post.

Sorta.

One of my favourite things is the Proust Questionnaire. This questionnaire appears as the last page in each issue of Vanity Fair. Every 6-12 months, I answer the questionnaire and see if my answers have changed much (my “idea of perfect happiness” hasn’t).

Instead of me providing some insight on some random thing, and before you start saying what you’re going to do this year, I invite you to take a moment to think about who you are, right now…

1.   What is your idea of perfect happiness?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. On what occasion do you lie?
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
11. Which living person do you most despise?
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
16. When and where were you happiest?
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
21. Where would you most like to live?
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
24. What is your favorite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
26. What do you most value in your friends?
27. Who are your favorite writers?
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
31. What are your favorite names?
32. What is it that you most dislike?
33. What is your greatest regret?
34. How would you like to die?
35. What is your motto?

Look, I’m even putting my answers on here:

1.   What is your idea of perfect happiness? – Solitude and a great book.
2. What is your greatest fear? – Death.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Shyness.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Willful ignorance.
5. Which living person do you most admire? Erm. No one.
6. What is your greatest extravagance? Books.
7. What is your current state of mind? Introspective.
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Arrogance disguised as humility (“I do for others”, “I’m a nice person”, “I’m a giver…”) if you have to tell people that you are “a (insert positive trait here) person” you’re not.
9. On what occasion do you lie? Rarely. When I do, it’s to protect someone’s feelings.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? My eyes. Too small.
11. Which living person do you most despise? I despise a lot of people.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man? Confidence.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Discretion.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “No worries…” “meh”
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Me.
16. When and where were you happiest? 4 years old. First apartment. Reading a book in the corner of the living room.
17. Which talent would you most like to have? To be able to sing.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be stronger (physically/emotionally)
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Making it to age 30 (I’m well past that)
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A White male from the suburbs.
21. Where would you most like to live? I already live there.
22. What is your most treasured possession? The last present my late sister never got a chance to give to me. I found it in her possessions.
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? January 1, 2007
24. What is your favorite occupation? I dislike this word. If you love it, it doesn’t feel like work.
25. What is your most marked characteristic? Sarcasm.
26. What do you most value in your friends? Intelligence.
27. Who are your favorite writers? Baldwin. Atwood. Vincenzi.
28. Who is your hero of fiction? Holly Golightly (novella and movie)
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Elizabeth I
30. Who are your heroes in real life? I have no heroes…
31. What are your favorite names? Xavier, Isabella, Malcolm, Leonard
32. What is it that you most dislike? Laziness
33. What is your greatest regret? I put aside all regrets. Once something is done, it cannot be undone. I’ll likely have regrets on my deathbed, but now it’s too early to tell.
34. How would you like to die? I want to be immortal… really. (refer to my greatest fear)
35. What is your motto? “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” – Machiavelli

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7 thoughts on “The Proust Questionnaire

  1. First heard of this in the modified version Inside the Actor’s Studio host Lipton asks guests.

    1. Reading a much loved book for the first time.
    2. That I become or accept what I dislike in others.
    3. My avoidance of others due to feeling different
    4. The desire to be with others so much they go to those they do not like
    5. Admire many, but nobody as ‘most’
    6. Don’t have I don’t think
    7. Motivated, but doubtful
    8 Public display of charity
    9. Only to spare one from being attacked/hurt. Otherwise i’d rather be quiet than lie
    10. Hair grows too quick
    11. Nobody is ‘most’
    12. Kindness
    13. Kindness
    14. Bloody hell
    15. Stories, in any medium
    16. Can’t remember
    17. Read people’s faces
    18. Be more willing to give things a shot
    19. Erm, probably something academic
    20. Never thought of that
    21. London maybe, for awhile though
    22. My intellect
    23. Ignorance, including ignorance of being ignorant
    24. Medical field
    25. Humor
    26. Loyalty
    27. Hmmm, difficult. Agatha Christie as a teenager, Roald Dahl as a kid and others now
    28. Random pick from many is Remus Lupin
    29. None
    30. None
    31. None
    32. Lying
    33. That I wasted so much time concerning myself what other people think
    34. Didn’t decide how I came, can’t think of a way to die. Probably after attempting my dreams at least
    35. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

      • Well, your answers to 2, 3, 15, 20, and 21 were very intriguing but I didn’t want to ask as they are really personal, so I figured I’d give this a shot too.

        It was interesting to think about something I never considered until asked.

  2. Leonard??! That’s the only response of yours that stunned me HLBB. Will post my responses once I’ve had a chance to think about it. Great post.

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