Don’t you get sick of those single-format Q&A columns featuring minor “celebrities” that appear regularly in the pages of weekend newspaper supplements? The trite, unimaginative questions are bad enough, but the yawn-inducingly politically correct answers are worse. I hereby propose a short list of alternate answers that would really brighten up our Sunday mornings (and give us even more to look forward to in terms of responses from the conservative brigade).
Question: What quality puts you off in other people?
Stock answer: Hypocrisy. I can’t stand people who are hypocrites.
(Note: there’s something very vivid about this sentence; it immediately conjures up the image of the speaker sitting up straight, hands clasped on knee, eyebrows raised in distaste, shuddering slightly in revulsion as he thinks of all the people in the world who aren't as straight-talking and honest as he is.)
Answer I’d like to see: I get put off by people who say they can’t stand hypocrisy. Self-deluding fools! Hypocrisy is the very fount of our social existence – unless you’re a hermit spending his life alone on a mountain-top, it’s something you practice on a daily basis. I can’t stand people who deny that they and everyone they love are hypocrites.
Q: What don’t you like about yourself?
Stock answer: I am too trusting/too kind-hearted for my own good.
(Note: this is a hangover from those Competition Refreshers that advise people to turn tricky questions to their advantage at job interviews, e.g. if the interviewer asks “What are your weak points?” you’re supposed to say something idiotic like “I’m TOO serious about my work”. In a way, this does make sense: if your potential employer is the sort of person who gets impressed by such transparent baloney, you deserve each other and will probably have a good working relationship for life.)
Answer I’d like to see: I befriend trusting people, invite them out, mix poison in their drink, watch as they die convulsing, and then decamp with all their valuables. Then I resurface in another town with a new identity and repeat the process. I know it’s wrong but I can’t help myself. By the way, how about a coffee this evening?
Q: What do you like most about yourself?
Stock answer: I am very modest and humble. (This from the person who’s answered “I am too kind-hearted for my own good” to the previous question.)
Answer I’d like to see: That I am demonstrably superior in every way to the rest of my species, who pale before my brilliance as a glowworm does before the Sun. Stop gaping, kiss my feet.
Q: Who would you want to be alone on a desert island with?
Stock answer: Who else but my lovely wife!
Answer I’d like to see: Who else but Kylie Minogue! But can my wife come along too? We’ll need someone to catch the fish, clean out their innards and cook them over a fire.
Q: What is your ideal of female beauty?
Stock answer: Madhubala’s eyes. I can lose myself in them forever.
Answer I’d like to see: Kylie’s butt.
Q: What is your favourite food?
Stock answer: Nothing to beat maa ke haathon ka rajma-chawal/daal-roti with aam ka achar on the side.
Answer I’d like to see: Liver of a squirrel freshly strangled by maa ke haath. With aam ka achar on the side.
Q: Do you pray? To whom?
Stock answer: I pray to God. He resides in my heart. I believe that God is One and all religions are equal.
Answer I’d like to see: I do pray! I pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose noodly appendages hold the world in place and who fills my plate with meatballs every day. He is the one true God and anyone who claims otherwise will be submerged in hot gooey pasta sauce for eternity. I disrespect all other religions equally.