15 June 2010

Could Your Marriage Pass the Test? (The Sequel)

Just in time for my parents' 50th anniversary, The New York Times "City Room" blog published a list of questions typical of those asked of couples petitioning for a green card in the U.S. Federal officers ask for relatively simple information ("How many floors are in the house/apartment building where you live?"), as well as more intimate stuff ("Where does your spouse keep clean underwear?"). Couples whose answers don't match up are given a chance to explain themselves, according to the Times, and those who can't do so to the satisfaction of the Immigration and Naturalization Service face the deportation of whichever spouse isn't a citizen.

Married friends, such as those with whom I've been staying this month in the States, found the questionnaire provocative, and more challenging than expected. "Who first spoke to whom?" is the kind of question that invokes not merely The Dating Game but also Rashomon. Things could be even tougher, though -- and often, they are. According to my extensive research, the questions published by the Times were provided by lawyers who sit in on green-card interviews. What typically lazy reporting! I went straight to the real source, contacting a federal officer directly. My more complete and representative questionnaire follows.

She is green, my card, is it not that it is?
Depardieu & McDowell

Family, Friends and More

What is the maiden name of your spouse's father's youngest cousin, twice removed, on his mother's side?

What color is that cousin's toothbrush?

What are the names of that cousin's goats? If that cousin is lying in bed, which side does your cousin's favorite goat sleep on?

How many floors are in the house/apartment building where your spouse's uncle's mistress' brother's son-in-law lives?

How You Met

Who arranged your marriage?

How much did he or she charge for this service? (Note: Please convert foreign currency and/or livestock to U.S. currency, based on today's exchange rates.)

If your marriage broker is standing and facing his or her kitchen sink, where is the microwave oven?


Which of your top 10 movies has your spouse never seen? Explain why exactly these shocking omissions were not a deal-breaker for you.

Aren't you proud to be a heterosexual? Isn't it cool that, if you were homosexual, the I.N.S. would have deported you already? Kinda makes you feel like having heterosexual relations right now, doesn't it?

Weights and Measures

Does this dress make your spouse look fat?

What is the weight of your spouse's cousin's toothbrush?

Is it fair to say that you know your spouse like the back of your hand?

Please describe the back of your spouse's hand, omitting no freckle, wrinkle, or birthmark. (Please use United States customary units when calculating distances between identifying marks.)

Recreational Activities

Your wife, is she a goer? Does she like sport? Likes games, does she?

Is she interested in photographs?

Are you a man of the world? Have you slept with a lady?

What's it like?

A typical I.N.S. interrogation


Joy said...

Yep, your version is MUCH funnier than NYT's. I still can't remember which one of us spoke to the other first.

Girl From Texas said...

My husband of 16 years and friend of 30+ did not know where I keep my lingerie...I'll leave one to draw one's own conclusions.