Love has no respect for questionnaires

Love has no respect for questionnaires March 19, 2015


I’ve never been in love but I’m pretty sure finding my perfect match will not be as easy as filling in a compatibility questionnaire.

Still, I went ahead and filled in my answers to Don Tillman’s questions at the end of  the novel The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. You know, just for fun. It consisted of 24 questions and, according to Don, should have taken me no longer than 7 minutes and 9 seconds. Unless I didn’t understand a question, in which case I should consider myself ‘unsuitable‘ and not bother at all.

Let’s see…

Question 1: I undertake the ironing task

  • a) Concurrently with intellectual activities … 2 points
  • b) While watching television … 0 points
  • c) Without disturbances that might reduce the quality of the result … 1 point
  • d) I outsource/delegate my ironing … 3 points
  • e) I would expect my partner to do/share the ironing … minus 5 points
  • f) My clothes do not require ironing … 5 points


I scored 67/120 which “looks like a middling score” but I am “in danger of falling between two stools“. Apparently I’m not the right person for Don, but am “enough like him” that I’ll need to choose a partner using “a certain amount of science“.  Don suggests I try  “speed dating with a questionnaire.” I don’t think that would work well for my socially awkward self. I would have scored higher if I didn’t play so much on my phone (level 560 on Candy Crush – I don’t know if I should be ashamed or elated), didn’t exercise only when I felt like it, and my clothes never needed ironing.

It’s just as well that Don’s not real.

I thought the book was hilarious, endearing, and well written. Here’s the Cliff notes version to give you some context: geneticist Don is on a quest to find his perfect match, which he dubs “The Wife Project.” He is a very particular person, with only two friends and a life ruled by a very strict schedule. There is evidence to suggest he may have Asperger’s, although he’s never been diagnosed. To aid his search he devises a questionnaire with the intention of dating the best-matched candidates.

Enter Rosie. She is a loud and unpredictable psychologist who moonlights as a bartender, is always late and drinks too much. She’s on a search of her own to find her biological father, for which she enlists Don’s help. Their search for her father lands them in some strange and sticky situations, and suddenly Don finds himself falling head over heels for someone who, according to his questionnaire, is totally incompatible. It defies his logic, and yet he falls helplessly in love with her, and “The Wife Project” soon transforms itself into “The Rosie Project.”

I don’t make a habit of reading love stories, but the quirky, honest, and awkward vibe resonated well with me. And also with Bill Gates, apparently.

If I was to take a leaf out of Don’s book and devise my own questionnaire to find a suitable partner, I would ask the more important questions. The stuff that really matters. Such as:

Question 1: Pirates or ninjas?

  • a) Pirates … minus 1 point
  • b) Ninjas … 5 points
  • c) Both …  minus 2 points
  • d) Neither … 0 points

Question 2: Do you like Chinese food?

  • a) Yes … 5 points
  • b) No … minus 5 points
  • c) Sometimes … minus 1.5 points
  • d) I’ve never tried it … 0 points

Question 3: If you could have any super power, which would you choose?

  • a) Invisibility … 0 points
  • b) Time travel … minus 5 points
  • c) Flying … 1 point
  • d) Telekinesis … 2 points
  • e) The ability to turn everything I touch to cheese … 3 points

Question 4: Which house do you prefer?

  • a) Hufflepuff … 1 point
  • b) Ravenclaw … 0 point
  • c) Griffindor … 5 points
  • d) Slytherin … minus 1 point

But, one thing you learn from the book is that “love has no respect for questionnaires.” Which obviously means I’m going to end up with a pirate from Slytherin house who hates Chinese food and can travel back in time.

I know Don is fictional, but his belief that the only person he can accept (and the only person who will accept him) is someone like himself, is very real. Everyone wants to be understood or be able to relate to others and their experiences, and it’s natural to desire someone who just gets it.

But as I have come to realise over the years, there are these other very human, and very real, emotions and feelings like empathy, compassion, vulnerability, honesty, and acceptance which can make even the most unlikeliest relationship (romantic, or otherwise) possible.

So, how much of myself do I want in my future partner? Well, as long as he is honest and kind, the rest I can work with.But, if you are male, between the ages of 23-30, and managed to score 17.5 or higher, then please get in touch.


Sticky toffee pudding is one of my favourite desserts and I made this during Ramadan, when we had plenty of coffee and enough dates to feed 8 people for 30 days (so, a lot). I know pretty much anything tastes really good when you’ve been fasting for 18 and a half hours, but I taste-tested this again afterwards and still gave it two thumbs up. It is deliciously sweet and sticky, and please do not forget the sauce – I could drink that stuff on its own. Top it off with a scoop, or two, of ice cream and that hot-cold contrast is an amazing sensation.

Serves: 12
    • 200g dates, pitted
    • 260ml coffee
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 90g unsalted butter
    • 100g golden caster sugar
    • 80g soft light brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence
    • 180g self raising flour
    • 1 tsp mixed spice
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the sauce:

  • 100g muscovado sugar
  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
  2. Place dates and coffee in a pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the baking soda and leave aside to cool.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat together eggs with the vanilla essence and then add this to the butter and sugar mixture. Sift in the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon, and fold the mixture together. Add the date mixture and combine everything together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 2 litre baking dish. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  5. To make the sauce: place the sugar, butter, cream and vanilla on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Best served warm and topped with ice cream or custard.

Reposted with permission from author’s food blog, Your Sunny Side Up.

Nazia was born, raised, and still resides in London. Her favourite food in the whole wide world is toasted buttered bread, which she sometimes eats at every meal of the day. Her second favourite food is cheese. Besides spending a lot of time in the kitchen, she also really likes reading, writing, taking photographs, quirky socks, Chinese food, stealing rocks from places she visits (it’s not really stealing), wedges (not to be confused with wedgies), mornings, nail polish, washing dishes, pyjama bottoms, the colour yellow, making lists, rainstorms, handwritten letters, coffee, autumn, chewing gum, action movies and comedies, storytelling, and more.

Connect with Nazia on her social networks – the facebook pagetwitter,instagram and pinterest.

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