Answering the Proust Questionnaire under the Influence of Female Hormones

proustMarcel Proust by Standard Designs

My brain is neither predominantly male nor female. I know this because I took a test to determine the sexuality of that particular member of the club known as me… on the internet and internet tests and their results are known to be accurate.

My body is predominantly female. I haven’t taken any tests to confirm this, however my birth certificate claims that I am and I will assume that whoever filled it out had some understanding of such matters as I was born in a hospital. There are other signs which point to this being true.

Every month I am questionably blessed with a gift from mother nature. I always know when the gift giving ceremony is about to begin as during the hormonal fanfare which precedes it I invariably turn into an existentialistic nihilistic absurdist.

“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” ― Albert Camus

So, since I am in this state of psyche, I thought it would be the perfect time to answer the Proust Questionnaire. The version of it which I have chosen is from Vanity Fair Magazine.

Without further ado, let the psych-games commence:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I don’t have one because life experience has taught me that that which causes me to feel a surge of happiness often is a complete surprise, and that which I thought would make me happy often does not.

I would however say that this question is my idea of how to make yourself perfectly unhappy by having an idea of perfect happiness. Idealism can become a perfectionistic extremist dictator who is never happy with anything because nothing is ever quite right or good enough.

2. What is your greatest fear?

I worry a lot, spend quite a bit of energy preparing myself for worst case scenarios, and have many fears, mostly imaginary ones, which often jostle for the accolade of being my greatest fear. When an imagined fear becomes real and forces you to face it, it is often not as great as it once seemed, and at times it can be disappointing considering how much anxiety it caused when it was in its unreal state.

I hate being stuck. But it is a particular kind of stuckness. So my greatest fear is being bored to death.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

This is tricky to answer as my self-hatred has been a source of inspiration in my life. The traits which I deplore are also the ones which have helped me to accept myself as I am. They give depth and contrast. And they challenge me, they are the unstoppable force which kicks the immovable object out of stuckness.

My aversion to being stuck and thus bored to death causes me the most grief and frustration.


Bored to Death


4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

People have the right to be who they are. I respect that and remind myself to respect it when I find myself getting irritated by others, which really only happens when who they are being tries to impose itself on who I am being and it feels as though I have been entered into an ego death match without being invited to do so.

As long as they respect my right to be who I am all is copacetic.

If they don’t…

But, hey, we’re all human and humans are absurd.

5. Which living person do you most admire?

This poses a problem because I don’t keep tabs on whether people are dead or alive. I have been heard to utter ‘Are they still alive, I’d killed them off ages ago!’. I know… my mouth says some very stupid things and my mind often disowns it until it needs to use its services again.

I try to avoid admiring people, dead or alive, in a ‘most admired’ manner as it puts a lot of pressure on them to live up to my ideal of them and not disappoint. I really do not like it when people feel that they have disappointed my expectations of them, even if they don’t know me and have no idea that I admire them, as it puts me in the awkward position of having to explain just how low my expectations were as in non-existent which means the disappointment was all a construct of their own mind using me to berate them.

Admiring someone too much also means you examine them a little too closely and often find things which are at times best left unknown.

And some people never die because they live on within us, the inspiration we have found in them courses through our veins as long as our own heart beats.

So… Hunter S. Thompson.


6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Hmmm. Blogging.

7. What is your current state of mind?

Trying to decide whether I’m actually going to post this or file it where my unposted posts end up.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?



9. On what occasion do you lie?

When faced with a question on an internet test or quiz which does not have as an option for an answer one which I would actually choose to give to that question and there is no possibility of opting out of answering that question, of clicking ‘other’ or ‘none of the above’, yet still continue with the test or quiz, then I pick an answer just to progress to the end result.

Is that considered lying? Well… what is a lie? And who is the judge and jury of whether something is a truth or a lie?

Yet the act of choosing an answer which is not mine as a means to an end is a truth of sorts, a truth of life and all its complexity and paradoxes.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I don’t know, I can’t actually see how I appear, so any answer would be based on how I perceive myself to appear which will be a distorted view.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

I don’t. There are a few I find irritating, but I also find myself equally irritating at times. There is one name which came immediately to mind, but I don’t despise them as I can avoid them.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?

Are beards considered a quality?

I get along more easily with men because the interaction is more direct, and they are generously forgiving and forgetful of my social faux-pas and strange shenanigans.


13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

I have always had problematics relationships with women, mostly because I don’t know how to be one in the conventional socially acceptable way. Sex and the City is completely foreign to me and my idea of a female induced nightmare.

The women with whom I get along are the ones who’ve embraced their wildness. Feral felines. Who are free from gender roles and rules and are unafraid of alienating others of their gender just by being themselves.

wild women

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Hmmm. I don’t know. Let me think… … … Sorry, I zoned out for a second… where am I… what was I doing… what were we talking about?

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?


16. When and where were you happiest?

A second ago when I wrote the word – privacy – and let my thoughts rest in a private place.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?

I enjoy admiring the talents of others. A part of admiration comes from accepting that you are in the presence of a talent which you do not possess and it is a pleasure to be a witness to it flowing through someone else.

I love to experiment, to experience a talent even if I don’t have it, and I don’t mind if I don’t have it because trying things out is fun.


I’d like to be a polymath, but I’m too vague, easily distracted and scattered for that.

polymath t-shirt

Polymath T-shirt

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to write shorter blog posts. I’ve tried… it’s not happening. Mainly because the best bits of my posts as far as I’m concerned come from when I ramble and take tangential thought journeys while writing off the cuff. Things come out of hiding and reveal themselves when I do that. If I try to make them shorter I end up pruning them to a nub and then deciding not to post anything.

I guess I don’t really want to change that, and I’m not sure if I would if I could, but I might.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Surviving my self-destructive tendencies.

Once when I was about 8 yrs old I decided the simplest way to get to the pool of the hotel in which I was staying was by tightrope-walking along the balconies of the adjacent rooms. This was one of the many brilliant ideas and solutions to a problem which have populated my life. I still do this kind of thing.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A grain of sand or a great white shark. Both of which have mysterious journeys and adventures which I’d like to explore.

Or nothing at all.

Surprise me!

great white

21. Where would you most like to live?

The house on the beach on the island in this film – Le Sauvage (1975)

22. What is your most treasured possession?

My mind, but I think I may belong to it and I don’t think it considers me a treasured possession, more like an impossible situation which must be accepted and requires much adaptation.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

For me personally or for other people? Is this where I prove how self-centred I am?


24. What is your favorite occupation?


25. What is your most marked characteristic?

Physical or otherwise?

I should really ask someone else what they consider it to be as I have no idea if I would recognise myself in a crowd. I have occasionally caught sight of my own reflection without realising it was my reflection and have wondered why that person was staring at me, then figured they were looking at something or someone else over my shoulder or just staring into space and I happened to be in that space at that time.

26. What do you most value in your friends?

Their friendship, because it is a deeply touching experience… and I’m always amazed when people like me.

proof of love

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Those who provoke the profound to rise up.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

Edmund Dantes

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

The ones who don’t make it into the chronicles of history.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?

Those who are unashamedly themselves, yet know what it is like to feel ashamed of being themselves.

sense of the ridiculous

31. What are your favorite names?

The ones I have yet to discover.

32. What is it that you most dislike?

I’ve answered this already.

33. What is your greatest regret?

My greatest regret is wasting time trying to figure out which regret is the greatest.

34. How would you like to die?

In a way which is not traumatic for those who find me dead.

life support

35. What is your motto?

At the moment it is – Pain is not an enemy, it is an ally.