The Big Questions

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Part One: You've Just Met

You're at a party, on a blind date, or just hanging out with friends. So far you like what you see. He's attractive, well groomed, and doesn't appear to have any major substance addictions. Get to know him a little better by asking:

1. What did you do today? When asked on a weeknight, this is a subtle way of finding out if your potential beau is gainfully employed. On a weekend, this will tell you if your interests are compatible -- "Got up at 7 to run" or "Slept until noon" will hold various levels of appeal or disgust, depending on your own point of view.

2. What do you love about your job? We've all experienced that horrible awkward pause after you ask a man what he does and he informs you that he sells packaging materials. But what he does is far less important than why he does it. So give him a chance to tell you why being an insurance actuary is actually fascinating work, or that he loves nothing but the money he makes. Either way, the answer will be revealing.


3. What CDs are in your stereo right now? If you ask him what kind of music he likes, you'll probably learn more about what kind of music he thinks sounds impressive at cocktail parties than what he sings in the shower. So put him on the spot and let him confess that he listened to his old Flock of Seagulls album this morning. You may find that you have the same guilty pleasures.

4. What brought you to New York/Seattle/Boise? The reasons that people pick up and move to new places -- "I fell in love," "I wanted to pursue my dream of being a landscape architect," "My college pal needed a roommate" -- reveal a lot about a person's spirit. And if they've lived the same place their entire life? Well, that tells you a lot too.

5. So did you see that story about the guy who was in a coma for 19 years? By asking about a compelling news story, you'll get a good sense of whether your interests meld. You'll also keep your first encounter from sounding too much like a job interview.

Continued on page 3:  Part Two: Going to the Next Level


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