The New York Times’s New “Thirty Six Questions that Lead to Love”

Are we in love yet?

The New York Times’s New “Thirty Six Questions that Lead to Love”
Photo by visuals / Unsplash

by Katie Baughman

Question One:

Did you know the dawn dish detergent’s

advertisement campaign cleaning ducks

exists as a coverup

obfuscating its primary ingredient’s

contribution to the contamination

of groundwater?

I hate capitalism so much

so I’m doing my part

and being a vegan

starting today.

The waitress comes.

I’m so sorry, ma’am,

we only have the mac and

nutritional yeast substitute

mac and cheese,

will that be okay?

I guess

my veganistic quest to

save the world will

have to wait.

And for you, sir?

He tells the waitress

to tell the chef that

he is on an apology for

formerly being an ROTC kid

hunger strike. Day one of nine.

Just the pitcher, then?

He says make it two.

I guess I know his answer

to Question Number Eight.

but he still asks me:

What are your thoughts on

drinking on an empty stomach on

the first date?

I, personally, am

more offended by the fact

that he sold his soul

to the United States military.

Did you know

that the Pentagon is

the world’s largest fossil fuel consumer?

and a follow-up—

What are your thoughts on going vegan?

The mac and cheese arrives.

What’s your favorite book?

He’s a real high brow

browser of the Kansas City

International Airport’s romance section.

The ones with the most smut are on the

top shelf.

I’m embarrassingly

a little less sophisticated.

A sucker for rest stop novels.

What can I say? I like the cover art.

What about Russian classics?

Another guilty pleasure. As he

watches me dig into the mac

and cheese, we get into a deep,

meaningful discussion about

Dostoevsky’s Crime and

Punishment’s first five pages.

Have you ever thrown up on a plane? What are

your thoughts on Granny Smith apples? Favorite

Jonas Brother?

If you could have any superpower

in the world, why would it be flying?


Did you know that

burying a body is bad for the environment?

When I die, I want to be

cryogenically frozen

and then brought back

as part of an underground

voter drive by a secret society

attempting to instate Bernie Sanders’s

great great great granddaughter

as America’s first female president.

What’s your love language?

He says no, let me guess.

It’s gift giving, no doubt.

He’s right, and I prove it to him

during our scheduled mid-date

quick bathroom break, as he

heads out front to smoke post-ironically and I

take time to root around in the dirt out back in

the designated truffle sniffing pit

to release my inner truffle pig—

a recent addition to the Applebees

following a hot new tiktok trend.

I know, I know, the truffles aren’t

supposed to leave the designated

truffle sniffing pit,

but I didn’t fly this close to the sun

by being a rule follower

so I find a particularly fun one and

bring it back to the table in my purse

next to the fine Applebees china and

present it to him. Gift


The waitress returns

to offer up the desert of the day.

It's a heart-shaped rice krispy. Did

you know that marshmallows

aren’t vegan?

It’s his turn to ask Question Thirty Six:

Are we in love yet?

Katie Baughman is from Missouri. She currently studies English in NYC. Her work is forthcoming in MoonPark Review, The Broadkill Review, & Alt Milk Mag. She has two cats. :)