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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

How Much of a Soviet Person Are You? A Quiz

1. A friend comes by your house unexpectedly. What will you put on the table?

A. What does the table have to do with this? – 0 pts

B. A 3 – course dinner complete with a selection of desserts. – 10 pts

C. My friends don’t come by unexpectedly. – 0 pts

D. A cup of coffee. – 3 pt.

E. Coffee and some cookies. – 4 pts.

2. What do you think about putting a carpet on a wall?

image

A. I don’t see a carpet in this photo. – 0 pts.

B. This can be good in cold climates as a way of insulating the apartment. – 5 pts.

C. Well, it’s better than wearing the carpet out by stepping on it! – 10 pts.

D. This just looks weird. – 0 pts.

3. When you visit other people’s houses, the first thing you do is remove your shoes.

A. Of course! It’s rude to trample around other people’s living quarters! – 10 pts.

B. Of course not! It’s rude to run around strangers barefoot or, even worse, in socks. – 0 pts.

C. It depends on the weather. – 0 pts.

4. Do you have something like this in your house?

image

A. Yes. – 10 pts.
B. No. – 0 pts.
C. No, but I’d love to have one. – 5 pts.

5. When was the last time you talked to your parents / siblings / adult children / adult grandchildren?

A. Today. – 10 pts.
B. Yesterday. – 7 pts.
C. Last month. – 0 pts.
D. I don’t remember. – 0 pts.

6. If you see people queuing up for something at a store, are you…

A. More likely to become interested on whatever it is they are lining up for? – 10 pts.

B. Less likely? – 0 pts.

C. Neither more nor less likely? – 0 pts.

7. Do you iron your bedding, underwear and/or towels?

A. Yes. – 10 pts.
B. No. – 0 pts.

8. If you lose your job, how many people will lend you some cash to tide you over?

A. I prefer to use my credit card. – 0 pts.
B. One. – 3 pts.
C. A few. – 6 pts.
D. All of my friends will be happy to do it no questions asked. – 10 pts.

9. How many of your friends are cheating or have recently cheated on their spouses?

A. None. – 0 pts.
B. One. – 2 pts.
C. A couple. – 7 pts.
D. All of them. – 10 pts.

10. Do you throw away orange and lemon rind?

A. Of course. Why would I want to keep it? – 0 pts.
B. I always feel bad about throwing it away when I can make such great things out of it. What a waste! – 10 pts.

Answers are under the fold!

The number of points you got is the percentage of Sovietness in you. 90 points mean you are 90% Soviet. 5 points mean you are only 5% Soviet.

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28 thoughts on “How Much of a Soviet Person Are You? A Quiz

  1. A friend comes by your house unexpectedly. What will you put on the table?

    E. Coffee and some cookies. – 4 pts.

    (local folklore is that you should do B (and you’re about to eat you invite anyone who’s stopped by). but mostly it’s E.

    What do you think about putting a carpet on a wall?

    B. This can be good in cold climates as a way of insulating the apartment. – 5 pts.

    (I surprisingly carpet resistant but a close friend also hangs them over the doors (which have glass in them) and puts them on tables (a Dutch thing picked up while on an exchange program)

    When you visit other people’s houses, the first thing you do is remove your shoes.

    A. Of course! It’s rude to trample around other people’s living quarters! – 10 pts.

    It helps that I come from place where shoes aren’t necessary all the time, but I’m assimilated enough now that seeing people walk around houses (or lying down on the couch!) in their shoes looks shocking.

    Do you have something like this in your house?

    A. Yes. – 10 pts.

    When was the last time you talked to your parents / siblings / adult children / adult grandchildren?

    D. I don’t remember. – 0 pts.

    I proudly maintain the NAmerican attitude (common when I was growing up less common now in the age of curling parents) of limiting contact with family members.

    If you see people queuing up for something at a store, are you…

    A. More likely to become interested on whatever it is they are lining up for? – 10 pts.

    Do you iron your bedding, underwear and/or towels?

    B. No. – 0 pts.

    No, not since fitted sheets arrived (halleluja!)

    If you lose your job, how many people will lend you some cash to tide you over?

    C. A few. – 6 pts.

    Hopefully I won’t have to test this.

    How many of your friends are cheating or have recently cheated on their spouses?

    C. A couple. – 7 pts.

    (I’m just counting the cases that are impossible to ignore it might be more)

    Do you throw away orange and lemon rind?

    B. I always feel bad about throwing it away when I can make such great things out of it. What a waste! – 10 pts.

    (just don’t ask me what great things can be made out of it, but I feel guilty throwing anything connected with food away).

    62 %

    Like

  2. 1: Coffee and some cookies. – 4.
    2: Carpet – 0. And thanks to you I discovered that not putting a carpet on the wall is a defining part of my anti-soviet self-identification. 🙂 🙂 This is the last thing from your list that I would consider doing, way after ironing and cheating. 🙂
    3: Shoes… My first impulse would be to take the shoes off. So I guess 10. But I can imagine the contexts in which that would be inappropriate, like upscale party during the summer. Do I get some anti-Soviet northerner’s discount? 🙂
    4: exhibition of dishes… Nope, 0.
    5: communicating with relatives … if messaging counts – 7
    6: queues – not automatic, so I guess 0.
    7: ironing – hell no-> 0.
    8: borrowing money in the case of emergency. I would very strongly prefer to use credit cards or credit line… But if I ask, there are surely more than one person who would help me out. So zero for the spirit of the question, 6 for the letter? How do you average that? Ok, lets interpret doubts in favor of sovietness – 6.
    9: cheating… How recent is recent? Interpreting doubts in favor of sovietness – 7.
    10: I do not care, but my wife’s answer would certainly qualify as 10. 🙂
    So 44 or less.

    Like

  3. Here’s another quiz for you. The website for Foreign Policy magazine plotted the most common Chinese language Baidu( a Chinese web services company headquartered at the Baidu Campus in Beijing’s Haidian District.) query for each European nation on a map of Europe. Write a list of countries that interest you i.e. Ukraine, Russia and your best guess at the most prevalent search terms.

    10 pts. for an exact match

    5 pts. for an approximate correlation.

    3 pts. for in the same general area

    0 pts. for anything else.

    Check your answers at:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-01/mapping-chinas-hilarious-european-stereotypes

    Like

  4. Shakti on said:

    1. A friend comes by your house unexpectedly. What will you put on the table?

    What time of day? How unexpectedly? Full scale panic depending on how clean my living area is and how much extra food is in the pantry. Here, have some coffee. And some tea. And some cookies (I knew they would come in handy!). Would you like some chips/ mandaki/whatever crunchy thing I have in the pantry? Sorry, this place is such a mess. Then it’s either a)chill out while I make dinner (everything on the table at one time, no dessert) or b)head out to a restaurant where we both eat and I treat. I’d never drop by unexpectedly without so much as a phone call for that exact reason. This is a hostess nightmare.

    -0 points?

    2. What do you think about putting a carpet on a wall?

    Why have a carpet on the wall? Doesn’t the floor need a carpet? Caulk the walls and the space around the windows.
    D. This just looks weird. – 0 pts.

    3. When you visit other people’s houses, the first thing you do is remove your shoes.

    A. Of course! It’s rude to trample around other people’s living quarters! – 10 pts.
    I just follow the host’s lead, though.

    4. Do you have something like this in your house?
    My parents do. I don’t have much use for a china cabinet though. Superfluous dusting bugs me. So actual china to eat off of, I’d like the cabinet. Otherwise, no.
    B. No. – 0 pts.

    5. When was the last time you talked to your parents / siblings / adult children / adult grandchildren?
    Yesterday to my dad and brother. Talking =uttering a complete sentence. I haven’t talked to my mother in about a week. We aren’t talkers, for some reason. My mother would talk to her parents every two weeks when they were alive. Left to my own devices I might not talk to them for a month.

    ? points.

    6. If you see people queuing up for something at a store, are you…
    I’m only interested enough to figure out what they’re standing in line for. Otherwise, meh.

    C. Neither more nor less likely? – 0 pts.

    7. Do you iron your bedding, underwear and/or towels?
    No. Irons are for the birds. Steamers are even more of a joke. And I Kondo fold my clothing and line dry it indoors.

    B. No. – 0 pts.

    8. If you lose your job, how many people will lend you some cash to tide you over?
    C. A few. – 6 pts, if you include my parents.B. One. – 3 pts. I’m not even going to ask though. Nobody talks about losing their job. It’s a source of intense embarrassment to even say you’re looking. I don’t lend money, I just only offer the amount of money I’m comfortable never seeing again.

    9. How many of your friends are cheating or have recently cheated on their spouses?
    A. None. – 0 pts.
    Do not involve me in your cheating drama, pals.

    10. Do you throw away orange and lemon rind?
    A. Of course. Why would I want to keep it? – 0 pts.
    I see no point of zesting. I’ve tried it.

    Like

  5. 51% Soviet, and for about 30% more my reaction was “well yes, this is the normal thing to do/have, but I don’t want it”

    Like

  6. Evelina Anville on said:

    I am 50% Soviet apparently. This may coming from having a Russian and Ukrainian father. I thought the carpet hanging on the wall was simply lovely. But there wasn’t an option for that answer so I just gave myself 10 points. 😉

    Like

    • Evelina Anville on said:

      And how Soviet are you Clarissa? 🙂

      Like

      • I’m 44. And proud of it. 🙂

        Like

        • Evelina Anville on said:

          Well some of these things make the Soviets sound quite nice. I love generous hosts, wall hanging, and China cabinets. 🙂 But how did I score higher than you??? Perhaps my answer to number 8 might be the difference. I would prefer to use my credit card but I know a few people who would lend the money without question. So I took six points there. 🙂

          Like

          • I don’t iron and I hate the very Soviet habit of obligatory shoe removal. So maybe that’s it. Plus, I don’t know any cheaters. Maybe people conceal the truth for fear I will preach.

            Like

            • Evelina Anville on said:

              I don’t iron either (nor do I know cheaters.) And I despise show removal too! I feel ridiculous running around in my socks! My shoes make my outfit!

              Like

            • Shakti on said:

              Why is removing your shoes inside a house a very Soviet habit?

              There are many cultures in which you remove your shoes before stepping inside your house or someone’s house.
              Of course this necessitates having a very clean floor in a well temperature regulated home as your socks or bare feet are in contact with the floor. Also sometimes people’s feet are in poor condition.

              Like

              • Soviet people were literally obsessed with their ugly little apartments. Woe be onto anybody who accidentally brushed against a wall or stepped on the lacquered floor in a shoe. People would go nuts. It never occurred to them that prancing around barefoot or in socks in front of strangers is a very vulgar thing to do.

                It’s especially funny given that we are a culture of very meticulously dressed people. A combination of beautiful clothes, carefully done hair and makeup plus socks or tights just looks freaky. People would also keep huge collections of battered old slippers for guests. I’d feel like a total idiot in my evening gown and huge, fluffy male slippers.

                Childhood traumas never go away.

                Like

              • Shakti on said:

                Childhood traumas never go away.
                Posting here because the nesting won’t go any further.

                My maternal grandfather would always insist strongly that we wear our sandals whenever we stepped out into the yard. Nobody else did.
                I remember being in the habit of running around my grandfather’s house, running in the yard and running back inside the house with other children. Naturally this meant that shucking sandals on and off during a game of tag was a pain.

                I asked my aunt why nobody else cared so much and my aunt told me this story:
                Once when he was small, my great-grandfather got my grandfather a pair of sandals. Apparently in those days, sandals for small children were an affectation even for well off people. Now, my grandfather managed to promptly lose his sandals. He was about five, I think. His father told him that he would not replace the sandals for six months (I’m not sure of the reason why: because it took a laborer six months to afford sandals? Because it was just something he decided? It wasn’t a question of money.) In the interim, my grandfather managed to get a huge cut on one of his feet. The scar was still visible on his foot as an old man.

                Like

          • “Well some of these things make the Soviets sound quite nice. I love generous hosts, wall hanging, and China cabinets. ”

            • And I didn’t even include any questions about the strong, powerful, outspoken women.

            Like

  7. OK

    1E 4
    2D 0
    3A 10 — but this is standard Japanese practice as well and is hygenic
    4B 0 — most American homes have something like this; colonial traditional
    5B 7
    6c 0
    7B 0
    8C 6
    9 A 0
    10A 0 — we compost for our garden; how does that count?

    27%

    Like

  8. Dreidel on said:

    What specifically is a “Soviet person” — anyone who lived in what used to constitute the defunct USSR?

    At any rate, I scored an absolute zero on the test. So whatever a Soviet person is, I apparently am not!

    Like

  9. I got a 35%. I probably would have gotten higher for question 1, but in my household tables are more for formal dinner things, homework, puzzles, or if you can’t find another place to sit.

    Like

  10. “Soviet people were literally obsessed with their ugly little apartments.”

    Isn’t that a sign of psychological health? The 30 or so square meters of the apartment represented the only area of life that they had any semblance of control over. Being fussy about keeping order inside it seems completely normal.

    “I’d feel like a total idiot in my evening gown and huge, fluffy male slippers.”

    Well (in Poland at least) most people make shoe exceptions for ladies in evening dress.

    Like

    • Yes, it’s understandable that these apartments that one to had to sell one’s soul to get were so treasured. But it was all so pathetic, so puny. So much effort and sacrifice and for what? For this poky little hole?

      Like

  11. Bonus questions (mostly based on early 90s Poland but I’m assuming not too far off for the SSSR:

    You’re visiting a friend, do you ask for permission to smoke before lighting up?

    A. Of course! 0 points
    B. I wouldn’t smoke in someone else’s house. minus 5 points points
    C. They said okay one time before, I think, so I don’t need to ask anymore. 5 points
    D. I don’t understand the meaning of the sequence of words “ask for permission to smoke” that’s like asking for permission to breathe!. 15 pts.

    What do you keep in your car?

    A. I think I have some work stuff in there, I should go get it. 0 points
    B. A first aid kit and nothing else. 10 points
    C. Just some stuff in the glove compartment like the registration. 0 points
    D. Oh lordy, I can’t remember! there’s so much junk in there! minus 5 points

    You’re having trouble at work and you suspect they might want to fire you. What do you do?

    A. I’d quite instead and save myself the humiliation. 0 points
    B. I’d buckle down and start doing a better job so that they wouldn’t want to fire me! minus 10 points
    C. I’d go to my doctor with a nice bottle and get a note saying I’m too sick to work for a year, they can’t fire me if I’m on sick leave! 10 points
    D. I’d start looking around my contacts for another job. 5 points

    You’re on the train and you see a fellow passenger is reading a book you recently read (and didn’t like much), do you:

    A. Use the occasion to try to start a conversation? 5 points
    B. Tell them they shouldn’t waste their time on such nonsense and tell them everything wrong with the book (incluidng spoilers)? 10 points
    C. Ignore it and mind your own business? minus 5 points
    D. Ignore that they’re reading and start talking to them about the weather or the crooks in the government or the way that degenerate youth is spoiling the country? 10 points

    A passenger on the bus has just been caught for not having a valid ticket, do you:

    A. Ignore it, it’s not your business. minus 5 points
    B. Snicker to yourself thinking “serves ’em right!” 5 points
    C. Use the distraction to move to another part of the bus so you can jump off before they realize you don’t have a ticket? 10 points
    D. Involve yourself and fellow passengers by taking the ticket inspector’s side or the passenger’s? 10 points.

    Like

    • cliff, loved that, especially the last two with the book and the ticket. 🙂

      Like

    • I don’t think I knew anybody with a car back in the USSR (and still feel very resentful of any Soviet person who had one) but it’s true that the respect for personal space was and is nil. In great part, that’s owed to the experience of life in communal apartments where personal boundaries had to go down.

      Like

  12. \ I don’t iron and I hate the very Soviet habit of obligatory shoe removal.

    I don’t iron either and still am bothered by people not removing shoes in my flat.

    I like to walk barefoot during summer (most of year in Israel) and do n0t wash floors every day. It is disgusting what people may bring on their shoe soles: dirt, microbes and яйца остриц from street cats & dogs, for instance.

    Like

  13. Shakti on said:

    People would go nuts. It never occurred to them that prancing around barefoot or in socks in front of strangers is a very vulgar thing to do.
    Interestingly enough, the whole “remove your shoes in the airport for screening” bugs me. When I travel I often have to match my shoes to my outfits and for different occasions. I hate that I have to pick shoes that I can easily slide off and that go with socks so I can get out of the line and make my flight. Those shoes never match any of the outfits. I need the socks because being barefoot in the airport or in the plane is too gross for words.
    I’m not sure why this situation bugs me but removing my shoes at someone else’s home does not. Is it a public space-private space thing?

    Like

  14. Pingback: Personality Test | Clarissa's Blog

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