If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would you choose?
This is probably the most generic “let’s get inside your head” question bandied about in the western, English speaking world. It’s a hypothetical that’s intended to illuminate the personality of the person being asked by highlighting their ultimate choice for companionship in a sophisticated setting (meaning, the question isn’t ‘who would you most like to pummel/fuck/get high with/be trapped on an island with [all of which are vastly more interesting questions requiring much more careful consideration, btw]). It’s just a dinner. That means that the considerations are pretty much limited to conversation and maybe food.
This is the question that your ‘cool’ (creepy) uncle asks your best friend and that every beauty pageant contestant is forced to answer at least once. This question is asked in almost every major media, softball, quasi-in-depth interview with ‘important’ people. It’s the ultimate way to allow people to sculpt their image and freely bullshit without really thinking about it. Watch:
“Oh, Gandhi. I’m fascinated by his ethical stance on revolution. I’d love to get inside his mind and see what can make a man simultaneously break all the rules while creating an extremely prescriptive set of new rules for himself.”
“Genghis Kahn, because he’s simultaneously a brilliant tactician and a barbarian. He’s the first superpower, and a walking id that’s also the father of imperialism. That’s a rare combination of volatile genius that I’d love to experience.”
These are just off the top of my head and I don’t agree with either of these at all, just by the way. Gandhi would probably be a bit out of my league, intellectually and spiritually, and Genghis Kahn would undoubtedly kill me and neither of those situations sound like a good way to spend a dinner (it DOES bear mentioning that these two meals would be entirely opposite, cuisine wise. It’s chickpeas vs. Horse legs). However, it’s all moot because they’re dead. I can SAY that I want to eat with either of these people and, since there’s never a follow up to this question, I can sound like I’m an adherent to nonviolence and fascinated by self discipline or that I’m deeply engrossed in the psyche of highly contradictory, complex individuals; I can seem deep and interested in lots of things (hence interesting) without really being interested OR interesting.
It’s a totally stupid question/exercise. And here’s the thing: it becomes even stupider once you realize that the two answers above are NEVER going to be someone’s answer because EVERYONE answers this question by naming one of four types of people. Those are:
1) someone in their own family who they admire (usually dead)
2) a living celebrity that is extremely famous that they’re obsessed with (like Lady Gaga or Robert Pattinson)
3) Someone that they find to be extremely sexually attractive (Brad Pitt, Lexi Belle)
In fact, almost EVERYONE says Jesus, and that’s because Jesus is a great answer (actually, this is a lot more complicated than this. Jesus IS a great answer because he’s easily the most polarizing figure that’s ever lived. He obviously had a lot of charisma and besides Ronald McDonald, there’s no one that’s ever been more famous. He’s also worshipped as a god and despite your own opinion on his deism, there’s no doubt that dining with someone that people herald as the walking, talking creator would be pretty fucking wild. The thing is that since so many people say Jesus, it’s become the only answer that anyone looking to curry favor with the masses can say. For example, Obama, when asked this question, HAS to say Jesus because otherwise he looks like a Kenyan Muslim Cigarette Smoking Socialist Infidel [this reminds me, very tangentially and quickly, of the guy working at the fireworks stand in Gravois Mills Missouri who I bought roman candles from this weekend. He was skinny with a mustache and a cigarette in his mouth and another behind his ear. He wore a hat that said “I’ll keep my money, guns and freedom. You keep the change.” The implication here clearly being that Barack is a socialist who wants to redistribute wealth and take away guns and freedom. Hey asshole, you work part time at a fucking FIREWORKS STAND in one of the poorest counties in America. If ANYONE could do with a little socialism, it’s you, you fucking hillbilly dipshit] simply because EVERY other president has already said Jesus, and to NOT jump at the chance to have dinner with Jesus, well, you’re pretty much a terrorist that hates America and freedom. Bush said Jesus. So did Reagan. And Clinton. And well, pretty much everyone. How can you not say Jesus? What are you saying? You hate Jesus? So yeah, Jesus is actually a default answer that’s become bad because it’s so predictable, the fact that he really would be fascinating notwithstanding), and I don’t know if, given the opportunity, I could really handle turning down a dinner with Jesus.
However, as the long and interrupted parenthetical note in the last paragraph spelled out, it’s a pretty stock answer at this point, one that should be eliminated from contention if this question is to ever do anything interesting. So who would it be? Who would it be?
Immediately, the other three categories come to mind. It’s either gonna be someone famous you’re thoroughly fascinated with, someone that you’re dying to bone, or someone from your family. My wife picked her paternal grandmother last night while I was conducting (almost no) research for this column, proving my theory correct. The only people who say someone they want to bang are mongoloid dudes and teenaged girls who get boning and love and celebrity fascination all mixed up into one grand and overwhelming emotion (but that’s a lot of people). Everyone else just knee-jerks to the one interesting turd from the one movie/album/show they’re currently obsessed with. Truly however, even with the restriction, almost everyone says Jesus anway, so this whole exercise is somewhat academic.
Also, (and this is an untested theory, but if I know anything at all about human nature I’d be willing to bet it’s almost 100% accurate) once anyone reads any sort of prediction about what EVERYONE will answer when asked a certain hypothetical question, all of those people will end up answering in such a way that works against the theory at hand just to prove to themselves and the cocksure asshole that went ahead and put words in their mouth that they are, in fact, fascinating individuals with unique opinions. So go ahead and tell me that you’d have dinner with Dustin Diamond or Ed O’neil or Ben Franklin or Hubert Selby Jr. or Charlotte Bronte or Mario Andretti or Johnny Cash or Cliff Burton or Ed Gein if it makes you feel better.
I know you were about to say Megan Fox. Jesus.