Friday, April 12, 2013

Proust Questionnaire

Of course I know about Proust's Questionnaire since I was 14 years old, I just did not know it's associated with him.
There were some memories albums (read: notebooks) we used to circulate in our 8th grade to all our classmates. Kids would answer a number of questions, some stolen from bellow, I assume, some added as per our personal interests. The most fun section, since we were all kids facing the scary prospect of adolescence, feeling the first unquestionably romantic heartbeats, writing the first (bad) poems (mine were not love sonnets, but hate rhymes: I hate you for this and that, and I hope you will die, or I will die, or somebody will die...), were the last ones. In order.

One question per page:

1. Hi (following by a list of hi-backs)
2. Your name:
3. Your age: ....
from here on, you had to follow a specific hand writing associated with a number in the list, the source of your interest, and see what he/she is like. Obviously nobody cared what's the girl with big glasses or the boy with freckles favorite anything.
4. Favorite flower
5. Favorite car...
blah blah blah...
Painful exercise of replying to questions about shoes, style, actress, movies, books, writers, poets, foods, a dissection of your preferences, written in color pencils, in pink, in blue, in black, underlined, embellished, big, small, cursive, detailed, in a hurry, bored, in iambic verse, using your creativity to stand out, until the last and most important pages:
569. Are you in love?
570. With whom? (the really smart-asses would say: "yes, with a girl/boy", not dignifying your genuine curiosity with a straight-foreword answer;  or, if you wanted to make an impression: "with somebody from college" - that would be smart+bad-ass. The courageous ones will get almost too adventurous:  George (Maria)  from 8A (8th grade, class A.) And then poor George(Maria) will pay for the creepy honesty of answerer #27 until the last day of his/her class, being mocked and pocked by their intellectually and emotionally underdeveloped  peers.
Everyone had one page at the end of the notebook to write whatever they had in mind, usually something translatable in "Roses are red, Violets are ...well...violet", Picassonian drawings, quotes and references, and the mandatory secret (usually a girl exclusive exercise) in the lower-right corner, carefully sealed with duck-tape or hot pink wax, something dumb, sometimes not even a mystery, other times just a not-so-shy lips stamp wearing the color of mom's lipstick. Guys would not mess up with the corners, for having secrets was seen very unmanly.

I don't know if this was exclusively Romanian, but if that's so, I can make the following claim:
We invented Facebook. Period.

But, outside the Facebook age, we were not the only one filling out "My fav X" type of questionnaires, and seeing Proust's amused my Friday afternoon, reason for which I share:

 (1)Cristina and (2)Proust

Confessions questions

PProust's answers 1890

Your favorite virtue
The need to be loved; more precisely, the need to be caressed and spoiled much more than the need to be admired
Your favorite qualities in a man.
courage + number 1
Feminine charms.
Your favorite qualities in a woman.
courage + number 1
Manly virtues, and frankness in friendship.
Your chief characteristic

 What you appreciate the most in your friends
unconditional love
To have tenderness for me, if their personage is exquisite enough to render quite high the price of their tenderness
Your main fault
laziness and impatience
Not knowing, not being able to "want".
Your favourite occupation.
listening to interesting people
Your idea of happiness
love and be loved
I am afraid it be not great enough, I dare not speak it, I am afraid of destroying it by speaking it.
Your idea of misery.
being sick/my friends or family being sick
Not to have known my mother or my grandmother.
If not yourself, who would you be?
The cat in the image, because that’s the only way you can get away with doing evil things
Myself, as the people whom I admire would like me to be.
Where would you like to live?
in the present or the wonderland
A country where certain things that I should like would come true as though by magic, and where tenderness would always be reciprocated
Your favourite colour and flower.
the million grays in a black and white photo
The beauty is not in the colours, but in their harmony.

Your favorite prose authors.
Proust, Bernard Shaw(for plays), Twain and Jules Verne from childhood, Woolf, Dostoevsky, Barthes’ critiques
Currently, Anatole France and Pierre Loti.
Your favorite poets.
Sappho, Neruda
Your favorite heroes in fiction.
Dostoevsky's mind
Your favorite heroines in fiction.
Your favorite painters and composers.
The 3 B’s: Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz
Van Gogh, Renoir, Rembrandt, 
Goya's Black Paintings
Your heroes in real life.

Mr. Darlu, Mr. Boutroux.
Your favorite heroines in real life.

What characters in history do you most dislike.
dysfunctional, hungry, dictators
Your heroines in World history
Helen of Troy-ancient civilization, de Beauvoir-for standing up, Curie for dedication
Your favorite food and drink.
raw fish, white rice, wine
Your favorite names.
have no idea. Something with R's and S?
I only have one at a time.
What I hate the most.
careless people
What is bad about me.
World history characters I hate the most
self-centered dictators
I am not educated enough.
The military event I admire the most
My military service!

The natural talent I'd like to be gifted with
Will-power, and seductiveness.
How I wish to die
in my sleep, of old age, sudden
Improved—and loved.
What is your present state of mind.
Boredom from having thought about myself to answer all these questions.
For what fault have you most toleration?
various weaknesses deriving people's childhoods
Those that I understand.
Your favorite motto.
What is allowed us is disagreeable, what is denied us causes us intense desire. (Read: Ovid, Metamorphoses)
I should be too afraid that it bring me misfortune.