In 1997, psychologist Arthur Aron put strangers in a room together and had them ask each other 36 gut-wrenchingly intimate questions. He wanted to see if falling in love was an action, rather than a reaction. Six months later, one of the newly-introduced couples were married. Eighteen years later, in an age of apps and digital dating, I, with the help of some single friends, took these questions to Tinder. Our love-starved souls went into this social experiment expecting a tirade of sexist, dirty responses. What we got instead was strangers opening up and telling us their deepest, darkest secrets, joking with us, and wanting us to reciprocate. Of course we got the odd dirty answer (I mean, c’mon, it’s Tinder), but overall, the results were, well, fascinating.
1. GIVEN THE CHOICE OF ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHOM WOULD YOU WANT AS A DINNER GUEST?
Are you saying of anyone in the world, you would like me to be your dinner guest? Okay, if you insist.
2. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE FAMOUS? IN WHAT WAY?
I can’t think of any famous metal heads off the top of my head… but cool.
3. BEFORE MAKING A PHONE CALL, DO YOU EVER REHEARSE WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY? WHY?
I want to know more about this “of course.” Why? Why?
4. WHAT WOULD CONSTITUTE A PERFECT DAY FOR YOU?
5. WHEN DID YOU LAST SING TO YOURSELF?
I just had a visceral reaction to this.
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 CHOOSE?
7. DO YOU HAVE A SECRET HUNCH ABOUT HOW YOU WILL DIE?
8. NAME THREE THINGS YOU AND YOUR PARTNER APPEAR TO HAVE IN COMMON.
9. FOR WHAT IN YOUR LIFE DO YOU FEEL MOST GRATEFUL?
10. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU WERE RAISED, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
11. TAKE FOUR MINUTES AND TELL YOU PARTNER YOUR LIFE STORY IN AS MUCH DETAIL AS POSSIBLE.
In all seriousness, I kept talking to this guy.
12. IF YOU COULD WAKE UP TOMORROW HAVING GAINED ONE QUALITY OR ABILITY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Does it involve me?
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?
14. IS THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU’VE DREAMT OF DOING FOR A LONG TIME? WHY HAVEN’T YOU DONE IT?
What about dinosaurs with glowing top hats?
15. WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF YOUR LIFE?
16. WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN A FRIENDSHIP?
17. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED MEMORY?
That treasured memory is soon going to turn into your most terrible memory.
18. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TERRIBLE MEMORY?
Bears. Scary. I’m sorry I made you relive that.
19. IF YOU KNEW THAT IN ONE YEAR YOU WOULD DIE SUDDENLY, WOULD YOU CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU ARE NOW LIVING?
Cute ‘lil response there. Awhhhh.
20. WHAT DOES FRIENDSHIP MEAN TO YOU?
Yeah, cool. Let’s be friends.
21. WHAT ROLES DO LOVE AND AFFECTION PLAY IN YOUR LIFE?
I’m burnin’ hot. Hot and heavy. It’s what I want. Hot and heavy.
22. ALTERNATE SHARING SOMETHING YOU CONSIDER A POSITIVE CHARACTERISTIC OF YOUR PARTNER.
‘Choz, smiles… everything was so good until you said shocker.
23. HOW CLOSE IS YOUR FAMILY?
24. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MOTHER?
Can I meet her? Please? Please, please please?
25. MAKE THREE TRUE “WE” STATEMENTS EACH. FOR INSTANCE, “WE ARE BOTH IN THIS ROOM FEELING…”
We are both falling in love…
26. COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE “I WISH I HAD SOMEONE WITH WHOM I COULD SHARE…”
*Swoon* Am I right?
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.
Are you gonna invite me to a Pants Party now?
28. TELL YOUR PARTNER WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THEM: BE HONEST THIS TIME, SAYING THINGS THAT YOU MIGHT NOT SAY TO SOMEONE YOU’VE JUST MET.
I do interest you, do I?
29. SHARE WITH YOUR PARTNER AN EMBARRASSING MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE.
I don’t understand. That’s embarrassing?
30. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY IN FRONT OF ANOTHER PERSON? BY YOURSELF?
Well, that’s enough to make a member of the Hell’s Angels cry, so no judgement here.
31. TELL YOUR PARTNER SOMETHING THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THEM ALREADY.
32. WHAT, IF ANYTHING, IS TOO SERIOUS TO BE JOKED ABOUT?
Abortion. It really brings out the child in you.
33. IF YOU WERE TO DIE THIS EVENING WITH NO OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH ANYONE, WHAT WOULD YOU MOST REGRET NOT HAVING TOLD SOMEONE?
What about me? Do I mean anything to you? TELL ME. YOU’LL REGRET IT IF YOU DON’T.
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?
God damn it. He found us out.
35. OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN YOUR FAMILY, WHOSE DEATH WOULD YOU FIND MOST DISTURBING? WHY?
Oh man. This is real sad. Too far.
36. SHARE A PERSONAL PROBLEM AND ASK YOUR PARTNER’S ADVICE ON HOW HE OR SHE MIGHT HANDLE IT.
A man after my own heart.