The Big Personal Poll

A couple years ago I sent out a request to many of my friends to fill out an online poll. This poll, called “Things that Toren’s Friends Think & Do”, is filled with scores of questions ranging from religious beliefs to fidelity to drug use to whether or not you pee in the shower, and was filled out by 50 males and 50 females. The idea behind this pseudo-sociological experiment was kind of for me to find out more about my friends, to find out more about myself, and for my friends to find out more about my other friends: what kind of people we are, in general. It was also a bit of fun. Some of the results are what I expected, other results I found quite surprising.

If you haven’t taken the poll yet, you can do so here:
If you HAVE taken the poll, you can see the final RESULTS here

The results are anonymous. You can pass these URLs along to anyone you want – I’ve printed out the results of the 100 pollsters so I’ll have the current information on hand for posterity. What I hoped to accomplish and what was actually accomplished do not quite line up: some of this information is now almost definitely out of date. For example, some friends who filled out the survey when I originally created it may not be smoking anymore. Additionally, the URL regrettably got passed along to a few people who I did NOT know at all, so the results will not by any means be 100% scientific. However, I think it’s a reasonably good gauge.

If you are my friend and you were NOT asked to fill out the poll – well then you’re not my friend after all. HAHA. Actually – the poll got filled up a lot quicker on the male side than the female side, so once I got to 50 males I stopped asking males to fill it out.

I’d like to thank everyone for taking the poll. Have a look at the results on the site, and if you’d like, continue reading some more specific personal comments below, but I should WARN YOU that some of my personal notes are just that – very personal – so if there are things you’d rather not know about me, just skip them:


(I do not address every question or every answer to every question in this email – for complete results, view the site)

41 of the poll-takers have known me for years and years.
22 people answered “Toren Who?” (I assume at least half of these people were joking)

32 people classify me as a friend.
23 as an ‘internet buddy’
2 people classified me as their only son. This gives you an idea of how lightly some people took this poll (which is fine – I tried to write it lightly!)
7 people said “ex-girlfriend” which I’m positive is inaccurate.

On the weekend, 65 of my friends read books and/or listen to music on the weekend. Bravo! 17 people erect a monument and 29 get stewed and abuse their body

66 people drink, 33 people smoke, 30 smoke pot, 10 do harder drugs.
I do none of the above.

Fargo is the most popular Coen Brothers film amongst my friends, followed closely by Raising Arizona. Only 1 person said Blood Simple. 13 people had not seen ANY Coen Brothers films when they took the poll. Shame on you! My favourite is Miller’s Crossing, followed very closely by The Big Lebowski.

3 people say no to dogs & cats. 42 say the opposite. I generally don’t like dogs (there are exceptions) but I generally like all cats.

44 people have friends who are a different race from them. 13 people say no, not really, or just one. I know some Asians, east Indians and a few mongrels with excellent senses of humour.

45 of my friends say they’re pretty damn smart. I believe them. I think I can be a bit clever at times myself.

55 of my friends can keep a secret all the time. Same here.

50% of my friends don’t complain to a store when they get bad service, they just shop somewhere else. I complain if I feel up to it because I want them to serve me better in the future, or – because if I complain I’ll get something out of it (like I won’t have to pay for a crappy meal).

54 people laugh when they see someone picking their nose, but do it themselves when they think nobody’s looking. Guilty here too.

6 people don’t recycle. Shame shame!

25 of my friends are atheist. The majority are “other”. This didn’t really surprise me.
8 of my friends are Christians, and 13 are polytheistic, the latter of which is a little surprising to me.
I am an atheist.

38 people believe in reincarnation. Even if the actual number is half that, this really surprises me. 18 believe in the healing power of crystals. 36 believe that all life have respective souls.
I do not believe in life after death, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, or Jesus Christ/Heaven/Hell or even the human soul. I believe that when we die, that’s it’s finite biological destiny. I believe that we are essentially a random fluke of the universe–a bunch of chemicals and electricity. A MIRACULOUS random fluke of the universe, yes, but nothing more. I’m quite positive there are billions of other miraculous random flukes peppered throughout the universe. It’s a big fuckin’ universe.

My status when I wrote the poll was probably single. Right now I am on the verge of a relationship.

41 people answered that they were strictly heterosexual. 24 are hetero but open to new things. Nobody answered ‘strictly homosexual’.
I would classify myself as hetero but open to new things, I do after all paint my fingernails sometimes and have a weakness for tomboyish girls.

40 people said they had never cheated on their s/o and never would. 6 people said they hadn’t but probably could. 14 people cheated and never told them, and 7 more said they cheated and the spouse found out before they could tell them. That’s a shame.
I have never cheated on my s/o and never would.

59 people said they’d definitely been cheated on. 13 people said “they don’t know” and add me to that category. I would even say that there’s maybe a 50-75% chance I’ve been cheated on “all the way”.

60 people try to stay friends or at least in touch with ex-spouses. 8 never want to see them again. I’m in the former group.

42 people have truly been in love more than once. 39 say only once. 10 say never and 9 don’t know. I would say I’ve been in love a few times.

30 people say that marriage is fun. 7 say it’s a necessary evil. 15 people say it’s a stupid religious ritual that they want no part of.
Personally, I believe that marriage is overrated. I wouldn’t say that I won’t do it, but it would have to be for the right reasons. I would not have any sort of religion interfering with my wedding. I don’t think you need to get married to live happily ever after with someone, and I don’t think you need a ring to remind you that you love someone. I suppose it would make a good conversation piece though.

24 people say that having children is okay for themselves, because they’re smart, but others shouldn’t.
24 others say it’s socially irresponsible and they won’t do it. That surprised me. I lean towards this category, but there are no absolutes for me here.

31 people said they do not have children, and hopefully never will. 43 said don’t have any, maybe will some day. 5 people have one or more by accident and 10 said they had them on purpose.
I of course do not have any children. I really don’t know if I want any or not but I should probably decide sooner rather than later, or the decision may be made for me! I have issues with overpopulation and being a burden on the environment (yes, even in Canada), so if I did have a kid I’d almost definitely keep it to 1. Plus I’m an artist so who could afford to raise more than 1?

42 people said that their childhood was good. 8 people said it was poor and 13 didn’t want to talk about
My childhood was fair overall I would say.

3 people don’t eat anything that comes from an animal.
I think they’re dead now.
I personally eat all meat but try to stick to poultry for health and environmental reasons.

13 people don’t eat meat because it’s bad for their health and 10 people don’t eat meat because animals have feelings, but plants don’t.

When they’re out with their spouse, 7 people try to sneak a peek if they see a hot chick/stud walk by.

Only 2 people think porn is irredeemable smut and hate it.
I think it’s fine, and I enjoy reading about it in Robin Bougie’s zine, “Cinema Sewer” – look for it around town.

Only 2 people say that feminism is their life. 21 people think it’s important, that men have always had what they need but not so for women. 17 people think that women have just as much as men and should quit complaining. 8 people think that feminism is tantamount to sexism.
Generally I don’t think that women have just as much as men (although some women sure have more), but I am sort of anti-‘ism’ and I do lean towards thinking that SOME types of feminism is tantamount to sexism. It depends on your definition of feminism is.

21 people tried to commit suicide. Wow.
I have never tried it but when I was a teen I had passing thoughts.

64 people hate bigots. I find this incredibly amusing because by hating bigots, you sort of become a bigot. 28 people hate Americans (if anything I would say this number would be higher these days), 19 people hate the French. 3 people hate “fags”, 5 people hate themselves, 6 people hate East Indians. 54 people hate nazis.
I’ve always liked the phrase “I’m not a bigot – I hate everyone equally” and I used to say that a lot. I’m actually really surprised and a little shocked by the results on this question. I never ever try to judge by group/category (and I’ll be the first to admit that this is a loaded question). There are many americans, frenchies, and people of varying sexual orientation that I know and like.

The question of capital punishment is extremely tough. I feel that if a person is convicted of murder, he should spend the rest of his life working, and the money that does not go to his bare necessities should go as a restitution for the victim’s family.

21 people are totally satisfied with their looks. 46 say looks aren’t important, but they can’t help worrying about it. 50 people say their stomach bothers them and I fit in that group.

9 of my friends drink every day or almost every day. That strikes me as sad. However 13 people, like myself, don’t drink at all.

29 people have a “never have, never will” attitude towards smoking pot. I smoked pot only once, and boy it was enough for me.

11 of my friends have done cocaine or heroine more than twice. That’s kind of scary. I wouldn’t touch the stuff personally.

33 people say a fetus is not a person. 21 say a fetus IS a person, but abortion is technically not murder. 3 people say abortion should be illegal. 19 people say abortion is murder but it’s not their place to make a choice for someone. 8 people prefer not to say.
Personally, I have nothing against abortion and I really believe that it is sometimes necessary and definitely the better choice in most cases. My brother has a bumper sticker that reads “Can’t feed ’em? Don’t breed ’em.” Crass, but I’m forced to agree, and likewise with the food that is love.

26 people said they have never regretted having sex with someone, as it’s all part of the learning process.
I regret having sex with someone.

21 people have definitely intentionally hurt someone bad enough to need medical treatment.
I am both a pacifist AND a coward – and I haven’t done so in my adult life.

4 of my friends always have difficulty interacting with the opposite sex. I rarely do.

32 people think persons convicted of rape should be executed.
I think that’s going a bit too far….but not very much too far. I think that the victim should have input on this (after a reasonable amount of time has passed).

79 people know someone who has been raped, or know someone who has raped. WOW.
I know someone who has been raped, but to my knowledge I don’t know anyone who has raped.

49 people think it’s acceptable to be sexually involved with more than one person at a time only if the other people know and take part.
Personally I do not think it’s acceptable with the possible exception of very special circumstances. I know that in any relationship I would have with a girl it would be very difficult, unhealthy, and volatile to bring a 3rd person into the mix under any circumstances. I’m just not wired that way.

Only 13 people think it’s gross to pee in the shower. I do not fall into that group.

36 people hold one or both of their parents in contempt for how they were treated as a child. 49 do not.

51 people say they’re “good” in bed, and 20 say they’re the “greatest”. I would say I’m good, leaning towards great, but I don’t know…ask my ex-girlfriends.

Sex-wise, 65 people have no preference, top or bottom. I think they both have their merits (and WHAT merits they are!).

Only 21 people thought they were too young when they lost their virginity. 9 people still had it when they filled out the survey. Even though I was 19 when I lost mine, I should have held out for a year or so, in hindsight.

38 of my friends have driven while drunk. I have never.

71 people have a sexual fantasy they hope to one day enact. Me too.

56 of my friends masturbate several times a week. Tragically, 7 people don’t masturbate because they really can’t do it.

15 females think that females are more sensitive than males. 26 males think likewise. I’m undecided.

53 people think that most beggars spend our money on drugs/alcohol/cigarettes. I think that too. I heard of this interesting thing going on somewhere in which they put up meters, like parking meters, and you can put your change into them and the money goes to the food bank or some such charity. I think that’s way better than giving it to the guy hanging outside the London Drugs, or the kids from Surrey who beg on Granville Street while they have perfectly good bedrooms and $200 boots. To be honest beggars make me feel uncomfortable, and homeless people with dogs just make me mad. I would happily surrender my spare change to someone if I knew for a fact it was going somewhere worthwhile.

23 people think that training animals to perform for humans should be illegal. I agree with you guys. Come on, humanity – we’re better than this, aren’t we?

78 of my friends think most politicians are crooks. That’s probably true, but I don’t really know. I know Bush is.

29 people feel that what they think doesn’t count for anything anymore. That’s sad.

35 of my friends say that astrology seems to work. Please announce yourselves so I can stop inviting you to parties 😉

29 of my friends believe some UFOs are visitors from outer space. I think it’s highly unlikely but not impossible.

Should people try to encourage others to accept their religious beliefs if they think it will help them? 68 people say NO. I say probably not, unless under the direst of circumstances.

Is honesty the best policy? 58 say not always. I say almost always. I mean, I’m not going to tell a 10 year old child that he’s the cause of his mother’s accidental but horrible death, even if it’s true. That just does nobody any good. But for almost any other situation, honesty is the best policy. The truth hurts but I prefer painful truth to a painless lie.

Thankfully, nobody put down that we can depend on what we are told in the newspaper or on the news. I would say “seldom”

74 people said that if they won a million dollars they would share it with friend
s and family. Did I ever tell you how much I love you lately?

13 people said that if they had a time machine, they’d go back to the middle ages. 16 said they’d go back just a few years (I might do that). 16 said they’d go forward 100 years (I might do that too, or 1000 years). 14 people say that that machine is the work of the devil!

If I had the super-power of my choice, it would be the ability to stop or alter time. I would also strongly consider immunity to death & disease, and flight. 5 people chose Invisibility and that’s also very tempting, but 4 people said that they’d rather have no superpowers.

31 people felt uncomfortable answering some of these questions. So did I, but it’s all in the name of….wasting time and staving off boredom. Those are pretty good causes.

11 people said they lied on maybe 1 or 2 questions.
11 people said they lied if it was funny
66 people said they didn’t lie
12 people said “You kiddin’? I’m lying RIGHT NOW!”