I have always planned to one day throw a big party and give everyone a survey at the door. Here is what it would say:
Hi! My name is: _______________________
☐ The Host
☐ The Hostess
☐ I came with a friend
☐ I’m crashing
I am from: ________________________________
Now I live: ________________________________
I have lived there for: _________________________
What I like about it: ___________________________
What I don’t like about it: _______________________
My rent is*: _________________________________ *For New York Use Only
I went to school in: ________________________________
I graduated in: ________
(I am ____ years old.)
I work at: ________________________________________
My partner is here: YES / NO.
He/she is the one wearing ___________.
A few of my primary hobbies and interests are: ___________________________
I am drinking: ____________________________________________________
That’s the basic survey. Obviously, it can be customized and edited. If it were for sale in a gift shop selling pricey, urban nonessentials and Anne Taintor rip-offs, for instance, the survey (called something like Ice-Breakers or Social Cues) would surely contain many arch, cheeky references to one’s mental state, romantic history, and possibly embarrassing personal details. But that’s not how I envisioned it; I actually thought a document like this would allow people to skip a lot of the superficials and jump right into slightly smaller talk.
I have never actually done this to my guests. That would require me to have a party, get things printed, and very possibly buy a lot of clipboards and scoring pencils, and then what would I do with all of them? It also involves the sort of forcible guest manipulation that I, as a guest, particularly fear. (I have an aversion to name tags, for instance.) I suppose it would involve some quiet reading time; maybe the vibe wouldn’t exactly be raucous. But time spent reading is never time wasted. Nor, for that matter, is time spent sitting by oneself, writing about a party you will never have.