Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Proust Questionnaire (and a dash of Clooney)

The February issue of Vanity Fair features my pretend boyfriend George Clooney on the cover. There are a couple of other guys on the cover, too. A few thoughts:

I do not understand the appeal of Daniel Craig.

Matt Damon seems like a fabulous person, like he really loves his wife, enjoys his children, and has just the right amount of fame. Good for him. Good for his wife who was a bartender when he met her. Do you remember this segment from Jimmy Kimmel from a few years ago? It's worth watching again.

George is starting to look a little old, isn't he? Don't get me wrong. He's still handsome as can be. I'd still let him take me out to dinner and get me drunk on vodka and cranberry juice. George and I would have a really excellent time. But I've been thinking a lot lately about aging. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at Panera Bread writing and drinking a latte and I noticed a really handsome man sitting at the table across from mine. I even emailed Erin and Stephanie about him. Why? Because really handsome men are few and far between in Birmingham. The man was clearly in his mid- to late-50s. I realized that the men I find attractive are getting older. I'm getting older. Maybe it's time for me to have a midlife crisis. posted the magazine cover and asked the question Kill/Fuck/Marry? It's kind of a distasteful game (and especially weird for a site with a feminist slant to pose this question; I'm quite sure the commenters would go bat-shit crazy over the same question being asked about women). But I guess I'd kill Daniel Craig and marry Matt Damon. Except that I actually wouldn't kill anyone and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't marry anyone either.

So that just leaves me and George.

For this issue, each actor answered the Proust Questionnaire that usually runs on the back page of the magazine. I find Vanity Fair a bit tiresome. I stopped getting Vanity Fair years ago because of the endless stories on Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy family and murder mysteries involving wealthy people. Seriously, how much more text can this magazine squeeze out of the Kennedy family saga?

I also cannot stand the George Wayne Questionnaire.

The only issue I've bought in the past couple of years is this one with Angelina Jolie on the cover. I wanted to read the article about Ernest Hemingway's lost love letters. I've developed a weird Hemingway fixation over the past couple of years and it's probably best if I don't get into exactly why. I'll save that for my memoir.

And, OK, yes, I'll admit it: I'm a fan of Angelina Jolie. I do not give a damn if Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for her. Marriages are complicated. Life is complicated. I suspect the parties involved are over it. It'd be lovely if the American public got the hell over it, too.

Generally, I don't pick up Vanity Fair, though. There's just something about the magazine that makes you know that if Vanity Fair was a person, it would be a really snooty man in a bow tie and a seersucker suit gossiping about who's fat and who's ugly and, as soon as you walked away, he'd be talking about you, too. And you know he'd be looking down on those shoes you bought at DSW and judging you for mispronouncing Hermes and for not having a house in the Hamptons (even though he doesn't have a fucking house in the Hamptons either, he just stays with wealthy friends). Yes, sure, he's charming and funny but in that mean way that makes you afraid to leave the room.

As much of a George Clooney fan as I am, I probably won't buy the February issue. I mean, a questionnaire in which George says if he died, he'd come back as his dog and he doesn't like his posture? Meh. I think I'll save the $5. Yes, I am that cheap.

Plus, one of my resolutions for 2012 is to avoid buying magazines in the grocery store checkout line. (For a good GC interview, find the November 24 issue of Rolling Stone.)

Just for fun, I thought I'd answer the Proust Questionnaire. Here goes:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Laughing with my friends or my family. Luckily, I get to do this all the time.

2. What is your greatest fear?
One of my children developing a drug or alcohol addiction. It was hard for me to type that sentence because even giving it words scares me.

3. What historical figure do you most identify with?
I honestly can't think of anyone. I'd say some famous writer but they all just seem so miserable in the end and I refuse to be miserable in the end.

4. Which living person do you most admire?
My mother. You can read this blog post for just one of the reasons why.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My tendency toward laziness. If I work all day, exercise, clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, it is only because I'm trying to earn my spot on the sofa, so I can sit on my ass and read without guilt.

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

7. What is your greatest extravagance?
Hardcover books.

8. On what occasion do you lie?
I lie in bed. That's the most comfortable position for sleeping.

9. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My nose.
Apologies to my dad whose nose I clearly inherited.

10. When and where were you happiest?
I was happiest when I found this photo online.
This one is difficult. Is there one answer to a question like this? I was happiest when I held my newborn baby girl right after she was born and everyone left the hospital room. I was happiest looking into her sweet face. I have been happiest when I shared a breakfast at McDonald's with my son after his dentist appointment and we made jokes about the old men who meet there for coffee being secret ninjas. I have been happiest singing loudly and jumping up and down at a Poison concert with Erin and Laurey. I have been happiest wearing my pajamas, curled up on the sofa, reading The Hunger Games and realizing there were still two books in the series to read.

Happiest moments happen every day. I refuse to live life any other way.

11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd let down my guard a little bit. It probably speaks volumes that, even in a questionnaire, I'm unwilling to consider letting my guard down a lot.

12. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
We'd be ridiculously wealthy.

13.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Through the grace of God and the support of my friends and family, my greatest achievement is getting my children and myself through 2009, 2010 and 2011. We have managed to mourn the loss of Charles without losing ourselves. Every day I am grateful for the strength, resilience, empathy, love and understanding that I see in my amazing children.

14. If you died and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A librarian.

15. What is your most treasured possession?
My nearly-finished memoir. If my house was on fire, I'd grab my laptop and my journals.

16. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Short answer: Looking for ways to change the past.
Long answer: Read my memoir.

17.Who are your heroes in real life?
Oprah Winfrey. I think she's incredible.

18. What is it that you most dislike?

For example, Donald Trump, king of the narcissists.
Note: I'm watching Today and he's on. Of course he is. Today can't get enough of this pompous, orange windbag. I am disturbed that there are people in this country who actually give a damn who Trump supports for the Republican presidential nomination.

19. How would you like to die?
As a very old woman in my sleep with an old-man version of Ryan Gosling wrapped around me like in The Notebook.

20. What is your motto?
"If I ever stop laughing, I'm dead." - Tom Knapp


  1. Honestly, I would pick Daniel Craig over George Clooney. Both are yummy but Damiel is yummy with an accent!


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