The Quiz

“Let’s take a compatibility quiz!” I said to my husband as I plopped down on the couch and tucked my legs under me, comfy, girly and all that.

I’m not 22 and pie-eyed in love thinking the secret to relationship success can be found in the pages of Cosmo. I’m 43 and know nothing stops communication with a man quite like a love quiz, especially since what most men over the age of 30 hear isn’t “Let’s take a quiz and have sex after” but “Let’s have a fight about where you’re lacking.” I seriously didn’t suggest a quiz as a circuitous way to point out my husband’s flaws. I just thought after 10 years it would be interesting to see if we had what it takes to stay together. Well, at least together according to a guy named Dan Carlinsky, writer of the quiz booklet in my lap. I bought it at Barnes & Noble last week while shopping with my daughter – the chip off the old block, the nut fallen not far from the tree – who is as much a pop psychologist as her mother.

“Do we have to?” dear husband answered, looking at me like he’d prefer to be tied naked to a red ant hill.

“It’ll be fun!” I replied and opened the booklet.

Hmmm. Fun is one word to use, I guess. One hundred questions later, we found out we’re as compatible as peanut butter and anchovies. We scored just inside the “If you’re young or especially flexible, you might make it together” zone, barely higher than the “Sorry, you two just don’t seem to be compatible” range.

A lot of the answers we already knew about each other: we both hate liver, put the cap back on the toothpaste, and we hang toilet paper so the paper rolls off the top. He’s a meat-eater; I dabble in chicken once in awhile but prefer veggies. Neither of us wants to spend a day in a nudist colony, but clearly we differ on the ballet, how fast or slow to drive, and what to say to someone who sneezes. I’m telling you, this booklet covered A LOT of ground.

My husband drops his clothes on the floor after undressing for the night. I hang mine in the closet and put them back in their proper drawers, which would seem in direct contrast to my pension for leaving drawers and cupboards open, something that’s always made my husband nuts.

I learned he believes in love at first sight. That one still surprises me. I’m more cynical since I chose the “sweet, but silly” option B. Lust at first sight, maybe. Love? I don’t think so. But his answer gave me hope for a moment, that perhaps this science guy actually had a bit of the romantic in him. Then we got to this one: (A) Love letters are a wonderful way to express affection; or (B) It’s safer not to put it in writing. Yep, Mr. Romance chose option B. Oh well. He brings me flowers once in awhile and he actually made reservations for dinner on Valentine’s Day this year. He’s 0 for 3 the last three years.

The quiz also revealed that I’m a better tipper but that rather than go myself, I’ll send someone else (him) to the store for the Sunday paper or bread. We agree that we have friends we like more than family members, and that psychics are phony.

He turns out lights when he leaves a room while I’m an energy hog. He hates debt. I’m  in up to my neck. I was surprised he liked house plants, then I found out his only foray into green-thumbdom was a spider plant he had in grad school.

If we had a dishwasher, he’d put the silverware handles down for better cleaning. I’d put handles up for safety. I dog ear pages. He uses a bookmark. In my defense, I use a Post-It as a bookmark when I  think of it.

We both vote in every election and wear seatbelts. He’d rather bowl than dance and he’s not a procrastinator. I love to dance and put things off as long as I can.

On the back of the booklet is an advertisement for Carlinsky’s follow up quizzes: “Do You Know Your Wife” and “Do You Know Your Husband?” I think we’ll skip those. If we want to stay together for another 10 years, the less we know about each other the better.

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