First off, I’m sorry. This is another list. I swear I’m not only going to be making lists, it just turns out lists are easier to do than longer posts where you truly tell a story and make an argument and I need to post something lickety-split! So there you go.

One thing I’ve always been reprimanded for by my parents was my inability to make smalltalk. As I explained it to them, this was actually sort of logical: I believe that you shouldn’t try to make smalltalk with people about their jobs or school or whatnot because people generally tell you about what’s important to them. I sort of also based this on the fact that when I first started college I was actually just doing it because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so when people asked me about it my natural response was to growl. Unfortunately, doing things because they are logical don’t make them more socially acceptable. Right-o, Spock?

Logically, Greg is correct.

Given this, I’ve decided to make a list for myself and all those other socially awkward people out there (this is a blogging community, I know there are a good number of you!). Feel free to employ these the next time you go on a blind date, just remember to give me credit:

How many pets do you own? How many pets do you plan on owning? This is great for a few reasons. First off, you show an interest in the personal life of whoever you are talking to. Everyone loves to talk about pets! And some people love their pets a bit TOO much. Asking this is a great way to determine exactly how crazy someone is. Secondly, you ask them a question about their future, as if to say, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” without sounding like you are interviewing them — though really, if you’re on a date you sort of are interviewing them. If whoever you’re on a date with tells you they want 20 cats this also gives you ample opportunity to flee. Finally, if someone doesn’t have any pets it can offer valuable insights: are they a recovering alcoholic? Did they accidentally drop their last cat down a trash chute? You don’t want either of these traits in the parent to your future children, I would hope!

Do you crochet?Yet again, this is a simple question that is layered. Someone who crochets is dedicated. Don’t you want someone dedicated to you? Yes, you do! You deserve it, dagnabbit! Unless you’re Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Also, people who crochet are dexterous, which is helpful if you ever need someone who can escape from a rope binding. Or something. Believe me, though, it’s useful. By seeing what they make when crocheting you also get a sense of their style, and you need to date someone with a similar style. No argyle sweater wearer wants to date someone who’s a fan of ugly Christmas sweaters year round. So basically, you want to marry someone who crochets, but only crochets pretty things.

I wear this year round! Marry me!

How would you like to die? This might seem morbid or forward for a first date, but it’s actually just the ultimate way to cut to the chase. The only thing is you want to make sure to ask this question in a pleasant way. If you grin when you say it you come off as a serial killer. If you say it with a raspy whisper you come off as a serial killer and chain smoker. Because of the necessity to ask this in a way that doesn’t imply you want to kill your date, you should practice how best to say this on your dog, or a friend’s dog if you don’t have one; dogs are very in tune with how you sound and you know you’ve got it down when your dog doesn’t cower but also doesn’t get too excited.

The reason for this question is simple: most people want to die the same way as they lived. If someone says they want to go out in a blaze of glory they probably want to live in a life full of fire and excitement, which might tickle your fancy or be a turn off if your favorite activity is reading about more exciting people in your bathrobe. Similarly, if someone says they want to die of old age they probably are opposed to running with the bulls. Or they’re just a bag of confusing contradictions. Finally, if someone says they aren’t going to die you know they’re probably an escaped mental patient, which is a nice thing to find out before you get engaged.