quirks

In ALL, MY LISTS, WRITING EXERCISES by Stephanie Klein41 Comments

A list of peccadilloes, of character quirks.

Each Thanksgiving he goes with his family to the racetrack.
She laughs, points, and makes others watch as her dog humps a stuffed animal.
He’s creative cheap: he collected coupons from Wendy’s by dumpster-diving with his girlfriend, for free airfare.
When she’s about to fart, she announces it, even when she’s alone.
He eats boxes of toothpicks.
Her favoirte foods are jerky and cotton candy.
He brings his glove to every baseball game.
She feels old now that she can no longer do splits all three ways.
He cannot sleep with his feet covered.
She has an abnormal obsession with drinking enough water.
He cannot leave his apartment without telling a lie. "Wow did you see last night’s game or what?"  He never responds with "or what." 
She always wears a seat belt, even in the backseat of cabs.
He falls asleep each night listening to talk radio.
She’s terrified of open bleachers, frightful that she’ll slip and fall through.
He smells his dental floss when he’s done.
She must have two large cups of coffee each morning and then won’t do anything until she goes to the bathroom.   She’ll even be late to work. 
You cannot enter his apartment unless you’ve removed your shoes.  He’s obsessed with his Persian carpet.
She hates anything canned.
He cannot sleep on airplanes, even on a twelve-hour flight, with Ambien.
She scoops the pumpkin filling out of pies and never eats crusts.
He prefers going to the bathroom, in their house, with the door open.  He doesn’t like to be alone.
She is obsessed with her ear wax and wants to see a doctor who will vacuum her ears. 
He sometimes puts his hands in the air and waits for her to quickly yank down his pants.  Then he laughs like a girl.
She obsesses over moisturizer and Chapstick and all they touch, unable to concentrate after moisturizing her hands if her fingers leave marks on her keyboard, or she sees her own lip-print on a glass.
If he’s driving and sees roadkill, he pulls his own hair. 
She will not hand over the remote without having the other person repeat, "I will not violate the covenant of the remote," because she believes if you pick something horrible to watch on television, it ruins the quality of the television.
He can have fruit, but never in or with his dessert, not even a garnish.
She washes her hair last when she showers.
Each time he hands her a knife or scissors, he won’t let go unless she says "got it."
Every time she goes through a toll-booth, she races all the other cars to the first road sign while singing the theme song to Raiders of The Lost Ark.
He covers his ears and pinches his eyes closed whenever anyone mentions anything medical. 
She prefers white asparagus and cherries.
He thinks it’s vile when people remove their shoes on airplanes.
She rarely washes her hands after going to the bathroom.  She only does it when she’s with people she knows.
He must, no matter where he is, run the water when he goes to the bathroom, even if it’s just to pee.
She prefers a scalp massage to any other.
When his grandmother had Alzheimer’s, she’d sometimes wake up and say, in an Indian accent, "Well, hello there,"  and she wasn’t Indian.  It was like a restart button.
She insists on sitting on a rubber ball, instead of a chair, at work to strengthen her core.
When he’s trying to save money, he eats sweetened condensed milk, even though he won’t drink regular milk or have any dairy because he’s obsessed with the fact that humans are the only animals who still consume dairy when they’re no longer in their infancy.
When she’s nervous, she opens her mouth and uses two fingers to check and wipe any mouth goops from her corners.  Even when there aren’t any there.
When a new popular song comes out, he spends an evening learning all the lyrics so when he’s around people he’ll seem cooler.
When she puts on her deodorant, he shouts the name of his fourth grade teacher with his eyes pinched closed.  He refuses to watch her reenact exactly what Mrs. Lerman did in front of her students.
She likes the idea of peanut butter sandwiches, but she eats cream cheese and jelly sandwiches instead.  She’s embarrassed that she doesn’t like peanut butter.
He eats cheese doodles and ice cream sandwiches mostly to eat their remnants on his fingers.
She thinks pig-tails and overalls are adorable on other women, but she’d rather take a shit in a public bathroom than be seen in either.
He brings his own salad dressing to restaurants, a bottle of it, wrapped in a crinkled plastic shopping baggie. 
She lies to waitstaff, insisting she’s allergic to butter. "So the chef cannot use even a drop."
He drinks five cans of diet coke before noon each day.
She pronounces beautiful as if Beauty is actually full.  "Oh, that’s so Beauty.  Full."
He thinks books should never be used decoratively and once they’ve been read, they should be given away.
She collects miniature elephants, only if their trunks are up.  "Otherwise," she insists, "it’s bad luck."
In his freshman face book, under "Thing that most disturbs you," he wrote, "getting splashed when you take a poop."
In her freshman face book, under "Thing that most disturbs you," she wrote, "men in leopard print, velvet, or Speedos.  And ceiling fans."

Comments

  1. i love learning the little bits and pieces that make each person different from the next. (my favorite might be the Raiders of the Lost Ark one).

  2. There are three ways of doing splits?

    Oh, and really not to be critical, but just something I noticed – you don't alternate between your female pronoun and male pronoun in items 3 and 4. I only noticed because you did so everywhere else and I was wondering if maybe you had deleted something.

  3. Ok, how 'bout blowing his nose in the shower? That one grossed me out but my mum used to tell me my dad used to do that, and my grand dad. I still hate it! Or peeing sitting down (men, that is). I know several that do so they don't splash!

  4. Oh the lists I could write!
    Isn't it amazing how quickly you can compile a list like this? Whether it be with friends or suitors.. .the quirks are quickly at the forefront of our vision!

    *He never says 'square feet' when discussing a home, office or other area, instead he say 'feet', which makes her crazy.
    *She cannot poop with anyone in the house … even when it is an *emergency*.
    *He will eat leftovers from weeks gone by.
    *She can not have her feet touched in bed.

    We are all quirky, in our own ways …

  5. You could write an experimental novel in this format. No question. Very kinetic and deliciously idosycratic with a built in, ever increasing sense of narrative. I love it.

  6. I thought about stealing this. Doing my own list. For a minute. Then thought better of it. It would be too scary. All the quirky people I know are freaks. I mean…I love them…but…..I mean…well…they're….well yeah, they're freaks.

  7. "You cannot enter his apartment unless you've removed your shoes. He's obsessed with his Persian carpet."

    I loathe nothing more than being directed to take off my shoes unexpectedly and will, in fact, decline, even if it means not entering. Tell me I may kick off my shoes if I like? That's very kind and hospitable. Order me to do so to protect your carpet? Ick, the crappy host line has just been crossed.

  8. He has been wearing the same pjs for close to 10 years. Swears it helps him to sleep better.
    He won't eat sitting down, thinks he won't gain weight if he's standing.
    She must wipe the faucet clean after every use.
    She cannot go to bed at night until she pops every blackhead or obvious zit on her face.
    He must take his pillow everywhere when he travels.
    She will wear underware twice in row without washing…what's the big deal?

  9. That was absolutely wonderful. I really, really enjoyed that.

    It is wonderful being human with all the little funny things we do that make us who we are.

  10. dang that was funny! it made me think of all my little quirks.. they are too embarassing to list.

  11. Please … Tell me that you're not serious about not washing your hands after use of the restroom?! Come on!!

    The thought of you going [directly] into the kitchen to prepare food or anywhere else for that matter, absolutely disgusts me! Also, why do you keep using the word "fart"?

    Where are your manners?

  12. Oh yes – the quirks of life. One of the strangest/most wonderful things is watching the 3 teens come up with their own – and realizing how many of them are *my* quirks that they've picked up on and morphed into even more. Noisy candy wrappers. Talking during movies. My son pointed out yesterday that it is my fault that he gets crazy when someone chews gum with their mouth open. Ah well. Loved your list.

  13. She (Me) is particular about her ice and must eat one cup of ice everyday between 1 and 2PM. She must watch a movie twice in a row or else will spend forever wondering if she 'got it'.

    Nice list Ms. Stephanie

  14. You vs. the Suitor, right? Very cool list.

    Questions/Comments I hope you can answer:

    How does one eat a box of toothpicks?

    What lie(s) does he tell when leaving the apartment?

    What happened on the bleachers (or under them, perhaps)?

    After the two cups of coffee, you're talking poop, right? Not pee?

    Your doctor can scoop the wax out with a hook thingy that looks like a teeny crochet needle. My kids get it done. Or, you can get your eardrum jabbed with a needle like I did once when I was clogged up. It felt almost as good as an orgasm.

    I don't wash my hands if nobody's in there either. I don't pee on my hands, so why bother?

    What are some of the songs he's memorized recently?

    I poop in public bathrooms all the time. What's the big deal? But then again, my hair's not long enough for pigtails, so maybe that's why I don't have a problem with it. (I usually do wash my hands after that though.)

    How come we couldn't comment on your last post?

  15. this is one of my favorites. I love hearing about everyone's little quirks. And to play the his and hers back and forth like that creates some sort of intimacy…I love it :)

  16. I love you Manic Mom .. you always ask all the right questions … Sk … I hope you answer … curious minds (ok, sick & twisted minds) want to know!
    mamak

  17. I enjoyed this list, but I have to say, I find myself a little wary of someone who won't eat pie crust. That's the best part!! The filling of pie is merely a vehicle for the crust, especially if it's graham cracker crust, or best of all, oreo crust. Although, it just occurred to me that I could really get along with a non-crust eater because then she could eat the filling and I could eat the crust and then each of us would get double the amount of the parts we prefer. I need to find a non-crust eating friend immediately.

  18. OK what is up with wearing underwear two days in a row,that is just plain old GROSS!???

    loved the list, tres cute. Not sure about that lying bit before leaving the apartment though.

  19. Interesting list, but there are some physiological reasons for some of them. Not everyone digests fruit the same way, and different foods digest at different rates, so some people advocate not eating protein and carbs in the same meal. Your feet swell when you fly so it makes sense to take off you shoes and wear some sort of slippers. Some guys have shy dick and have trouble urinating unless the water is on or they are humming. You should always wear your seatbelt, particularly in a cab.

  20. Just have to say it. Unless you are pretty sick, urine is steril. It's the fecal matter that you should worry about.

  21. "You cannot enter his apartment unless you've removed your shoes. He's obsessed with his Persian carpet."

    "He thinks it's vile when people remove their shoes on airplanes."

    "He cannot sleep on airplanes, even on a twelve-hour flight, with Ambien."

    Perhaps if he stopped fixating on shoes?

  22. Just a quick comment about hand washing… think of all the things you touch when in a public bathroom that have many vile things growing on them that you can't see or even maybe imagine… that is why you should wash your hands! Its not about peeing on your hands or not, its about the person who did pee on their hands touching everything you've just touched! EW!

  23. These quirks are quirks of people I know. Some of them are The Suitors, some mine, a lot of our friends. I decided to do a s/he list because I'm thinking of turning this writing exercise into a long piece. Something that ends up telling a story about the two people. I think these details are what makes people, in writing, come alive. It's not about what you're like as much as what it is you like. I think it says a lot about who we are.

  24. She hates to exercise, but does it for her health.
    He works out at the gym every day but Saturday.
    She needs to have the kitchen sink and counters clean at all times.
    He puts a piece of masking tape on his cup so she doesn't put it in the dishwasher before he's done with it.
    She drinks four 24 oz. bottles of distilled water every day.
    He shaves his chest hair.
    She never plucks her eyebrows, but enjoys plucking stray hairs from her chin while watching TV. She can do it without looking. Then she proudly holds it up, shows everyone, and announces, "I got it!"
    He locks the bathroom door, even when he's alone.
    She walks around the house naked, when no one else is home.
    He gets migraine headaches if he changes his routine.
    She likes to believe she's low maintenance and doesn't need to be pampered.
    He refers to her as high maintenance, because she craves so much of his attention. He spends a good deal of his day talking to her, touching her, reassuring her that he loves her.
    She likes to have a smorgasbord of shampoo, with different scents, in the shower to choose from every morning. One kind is too boring. The same with laundry soap and perfume.
    He uses the same shampoo, the same soap, and mixes whites with colors in the laundry.
    She loves to garden with her bare hands, and get her nails good and dirty.
    He hates the outdoors, and is happiest in a house that is a constant 67 degrees.
    She loves trees, grass, flowers, and water.
    He wants to move to Arizona where it's hot and sunny every day and there are no lawns to mow.
    She wants to sell her house, buy an RV and travel for the rest of her life.
    He is learning to play the violin.
    She wants to take drum lessons.
    He licks his plate clean in restaurants.
    She sticks her tongue into the little bags of sugar in restaurants until it's gone. Then she chews on the bag.
    He will drive 20 minutes, one way, to get his favorite cup of coffee, several times a week.
    She licks the icing from the inside of double stuft oreos and throws the cookies away.
    He wears tank tops in winter.
    She needs to have something creamy and something crunchy in each and every meal.
    He can't clean his desk. He has to keep everything within sight, or he can't find anything.
    She is proud that she only takes a 4 minute shower.
    He can add up figures in his head faster than a calculator.
    She keeps every book she's ever read. Just in case she wants to read them a second or third or fourth time.
    He drives 10-15 miles over the speed limit.
    She has precious letters, yearbooks, and pictures from the past on her bookshelves. And current phone numbers and emails of nearly everyone she's ever met.
    He loves opera and classical music.
    She only listens to rock and roll.
    He only watches Biography and the History Channel.
    She loves The 70's Show, Project Runway, House, and The Dead Zone.
    He knows she's not perfect, but he says she's perfect for him.
    She is still in disbelief that he loves her as much as she loves him. Even after 11 years of marriage.

  25. He could exist in chaos despite the fact that he constantly "loses" things.
    She requires neatness & order.
    He's great with his hands & can figure out the things that challenge her sense of spatial relations.
    She's a creative thinker & formulates the plans he carries out with his hands.
    He's rather be deaf than blind.
    She'd rather be blind than deaf……she thinks.
    He enjoys classical music but has more far-ranging tastes & can only take so much.
    She needs classical music like she needs air to breathe.
    She says, "I've got an idea…."
    He thinks, "Oh, oh, what now?"
    She's impulsive.
    He needs convincing but they end up acting on the idea & having a serendipitous time.
    She likes acidic.
    He likes sweets.
    She loves animals, large & small.
    He loves animals & could have a houseful.
    She needs stress-free t.v.
    He watches horror movies, war pictures, & disaster films.
    She puts the pedal to the metal.
    He's law-abiding.
    She's an extrovert.
    He gives it a try but is more insular.
    She worries inwardly.
    He worries outwardly.
    They're family-oriented & love each other after 40 years of marriage.

  26. I, too, thought about stealing this idea and doing one of my own, about the four people in my house. It would be fairly interesting, and I still may do it.

    I loved this list.
    Also, I've always wanted to get my ears candled. I've heard it's phenomenal.
    Washing my hands in the bathroom is a fickle thing. Sometimes I must, sometimes not.

  27. Very funny. So I guess she doesn't eat pumpkin pie at all! Scoops out the filling and won't eat crust. That leaves nothing. Smelling dental floss. Eeww.

  28. Sallie, that's pretty selfish of you! I hate shoes inside my home, not because I'm protecting the carpet from stains but rather b/c streets are full of nasty shit and it's on your shoes! I don't want those shoes all over my floor– then I could never walk barefoot in my own house unless I wantede remnants of dog shit on my soles. get it? regarding the washing after peeing, i would say, people who don't like shoes in the house are also rather particular about fecal matter in public bathrooms.

  29. Oh, Poop, it's not selfish. It would be selfish if I just walked inside without saying anything after being asked to remove my shoes, but as it is, I travel with a very formal crowd, so it just almost never happens. The few times it has (always with a transplant from elsewhere), I've simply said, "Oh, I'm sorry that isn't possible right now. I'll come back another time."

    I think it must be a regional thing, but here women of a certain age and set wear hose quite a bit, and certainly nobody's going to ask guests to remove hose. It just isn't done. Another regional thing: our streets aren't full of doody. Do you live in Paris?

    You can certainly walk barefoot on your floors, but to ask others to put themselves out so you won't be put out yourself is indeed poor hosting.

    Don't want shoes inside your home? Don't ask people over. Easy peasy.

    Want people inside your home? Vaccuum and mop when they leave if you are so concerned.

  30. I enjoyed this post. Btw, you never allowed any comments to Food Jealousy post. I love the passion you have for food. Not the part of it that tortures you and makes you worry about your weight but the utter passion with which you enjoy every part of a meal and the experience of eating in restaurants or cooking at home. The passion is visceral.

  31. Stephanie… I've so enjoyed reading through your blog- I love your honesty and transparency and how I feel like you say the things most people are afraid to say. I thought this list was all about you and the Suitor and I was going to suggest you need to visit China (I am an American working in Shanghai). 3 reasons why you'd like it:
    1. Everyone takes their shoes off when you enter homes. Some have persian rugs, some don't but it is a fine way to keep the house clean.
    2. They have this amazing ear wax removal thing with a tube and they light a match. It sucks it all out, which kind of gives me the creeps. So, you could see it if you wanted to. I've never had it done because I'm not that obsessed with ear wax myself. This "procedure" would only cost you $12 tops!
    3. You could get a hair wash with an hour long scalp, head, neck and shoulder massage for only $8! It's a great country.

    But if the Suitor can't sleep on any flights, he'll have a hell of a time getting over the jetlag.

    Thanks for sharing your life.

  32. Love the book. Love the blog. Thank you for providing me with endless hours of procrastination. Your honesty is refreshing, your life in words entertaining.

    I've noticed your interest in ear wax in a few of your posts. If you haven't already, you should check out "ear candling". Wait 'til you see the amount of wax that comes out…disgusting and amazing all at once.

    Have fun…

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