“In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.” — New York Times
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Really? What a coincidence. I’m working with him on a project right now.
3. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
4. The beach? Seriously? This is crazy, but that project I just mentioned is set at the beach. Swear.
5. If you could change anything about your personality, what would it be? Huh. Oh, nothing, just, I was expecting something more like, “Take more risks, be more brave, less uptight.” Whatever.
6. What role does family play in your life — hey, speaking of roles, let’s set a meeting to talk about this beach project.
7. Hi, it’s me. Looking forward to our meeting this afternoon but my day has gotten crazy and I’m wondering if we can push it to seven. Maybe talk over drinks?
8. You look great. Sorry it’s so loud in here. Usually the Peninsula’s so quiet. Can you hear me okay?
11. Why don’t we just go up to my room? I think I left the script there anyway.
12. Wait, you’re going to leave without looking at the script? They know me here. Don’t embarrass me. Come on.
13. Elevators, right?
14. So, how about a drink? Just one. You’re not going to make me drink alone, are you?
15. Now, where is that script? Ah ha. Now remember, this is really just a jumping off point. Take a look, I’ll be right back.
16. What do you mean, “Why am I wearing a robe?” Because it’s 11 pm and I’m in my hotel room. Jeez. What happened to your resolution to be less uptight?
17. That’s not the right script? Shit. You can throw that one away.
18. My assistant’s on maternity leave — I’m too nice! — and her replacement is a total disaster. As if I don’t have enough to deal with. So tense. Hey, would you give me a massage?
19. Why not?
20. Never mind, I don’t want one anyway.
21. No, the script’s not on my computer. What’s Dropbox? Let’s just have another drink and talk. Come on, if we can’t talk, how are we going to work together?
22. How about we get back to those questions? Those were fun.
23. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, what would you change about the way you’re living? Really? Are you sure about that? It’s just, I mean, no one says, on their deathbed, I wish I’d spent more time with my boyfriend. They say, I wish I’d been more spontaneous. I wish I’d given more massages.
24. Next question: If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or the body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, could I touch your breasts?
25. Teasing. Teasing! Can’t you take a joke?
26. Okay, if a crystal ball could tell you the truth about your future, how many minutes from now will I be touching your breasts?
27. Come on, don’t go. I’ll be serious. This next one is good. Really. Please stay?
28. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? I mean, for example, I named a company after mine. Did you? Didn’t think so.
29. What is this I’m on? Oh, just the moral high ground. Surrounded by Oscars.
30. Now it says to “stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes.” Oh, come on, it’s just eye contact! What are you so scared of?
31. Okay, looking into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Ready? Starting… now.
32. What? I don’t know if my robe fell to the floor or did not fall to the floor because I’m staring into your eyes, per our agreement.
33. Why does it even matter if I’m naked? You’re supposed to be looking into my eyes.
34. Actually, I think I’m the one being harassed here. I was under the impression that you would adhere to the rules we agreed on and look into my eyes for four minutes and here you are looking at my naked body and girthy penis.
35. Would a massage make you feel better?
36. Okay. Don’t forget your purse. You’re not going to tell anyone about this, are you?