Xanthe does Proust’s Questionnaire

Your favourite virtue.

The ability to admit to one’s own mistakes.

Your favourite qualities in a man.

The embracement of his feminine side.

Your favourite qualities in a woman.

The embracement of her masculine side.

Your favourite occupation.

A good walk.

Your chief characteristic.

I couldn’t possibly comment.

Your idea of happiness.

A nice sit down by the fireplace in a musty old room full of books, music albums, and worn paintings, with a view overlooking a pool in the countryside. That’s the life right there.

Your idea of misery.

Receiving complaints by one’s own relatives for all eternity.

Your favourite colour and flower.


If not yourself, who would you be?

Who is to say that i am myself?

Where would you like to live?

A large, secluded home, out in the countryside, but not so far out that it becomes a pain to visit the big city. Probably England, rather than the Netherlands, if only for the sheer diversity of scenery. (We’ve got rainforests, yi kna!)

Your favourite prose authors.

Terry Pratchett. Robert Macfarlane.

Your favourite poets.

William Blake. Maybe. It’s 2022, and poetry doesn’t particularly rank in the list of art forms enjoyed by the average person.

Your favourite painters and composers.

Maxfield Parrish. Norman Rockwell. Thomas Cole. C418. Daniel Pemberton.

Your favourite heroes in real life.

Julian, the last pagan emperor of Rome. Olaudah Equiano, the abolitionist and author who escaped from slavery. Lawrence Oates, the English explorer who sacrificed himself for the good of the rest of his company by walking out into the blistering Antarctic cold. Willem Arondeus, the gay Dutch resistance fighter whose last words were “tell the people that homosexuals are not by definition weak”. Norman Borlaug, the agronomist whose introduction of high-yield, disease-resistant wheats saved billions from starvation.

Your favourite heroines in real life.

Mary Wollstonecraft, the writer and philosopher considered one of the first feminists. Marie Curie, the scientist who discovered and would perish at the hands of radioactivity.

Your favourite heroes in fiction.

The Dude. Waymond Wang. The Doctor. Juror #8.

Your favourite heroines in fiction.

Juliet. Amélie. Trinity.

Your favourite food and drink.

I could demolish a naan bread stuffed with döner kebab any day of the week. For a drink, sickly-sweet milk bubble tea.

Your favourite names.

Other than my own: Aurora. Dionis. Floriaan. Geoffrey. IJsbrand. Dick van Dyke. As a surname, Urquhart.

Your pet aversion.

Those who plug their ears at the sound of another's thought. Also, small, loud dogs.

What characters in history do you most dislike?

Lavrentiy Beria, the genocidal head of Stalin’s secret police. Le Corbusier, who ruined architecture forever in his crusade against ornament.

What is your present state of mind?

Wouldn’t you like to know?

For what fault have you most toleration?


Your favourite motto.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

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