Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Anal Retention Test

I was clearing out some old files on my computer and came across this. I wrote it in about 1999 (back when people still wrote cheques) predominantly to take the p*** out of a teaching colleague that was the opposite end of this particular spectrum to me! He took it as the silly, light-hearted bit of fun it was meant to be, but he did actually score nearly full marks. We are still friends and he's a headteacher now. Just shows you how far a bit of anal retention can take one.
A popular term for “anal retentive personality,” a personality marked by excessive orderliness, extreme meticulousness, and often suspicion and reserve. According to psychoanalysis, an anal personality is formed in early childhood as a result of efforts to control bowel movements.

Now tell me, does anal retention
*increase with age?
*really make life easier?
*have very strong links to the need to be in control?
*get worse the more stressed a person is?
*and do you think it's an inherent part of a personality or, indeed, actually formed early in childhood?


1) When you get home, do you have a set place that you put your shoes?
No ......... 0 Yes ......... 2

2) Is your fridge organised by shelf?
No ......... 0 Yes ......... 3

3) Do you wash up soon after a meal?
never ......... 0 sometimes ........ 1 Mostly ..........2 Always ......... 3

4) Do your C.D.s have some kind of filing system?
No ....... 0 a vague one .......... 1 a precise one ......... 2

5) If you are travelling long distance by train or coach, do you.....
Just turn up at the station and go? .........0 Ring up for the times of departure then go? ...... 1 Ring up and book a ticket? ......... 2

6) If you use a computer to write a letter or and e-mail to a close friend do you....
never use the spell check/leave spelling mistakes? ....... 0 always use a spell check/correct all spellings? ......... 1

7) Is your desk always tidy and ordered?
No ........ 0 Yes ....... 2

8) When you are leaving your house, how often do you have to frantically search for your keys/shoes/money/things that you need?
Nearly always ....... 0 often ........ 1 sometimes ........ 2 Never ...... 3

9) Do you arrive at appointments...
sometimes early mostly late? ...... 0 usually on time but sometimes late if there's a good reason? ........ 1 Very, very, rarely late? ....... 2

10) Does your fruit bowl ever have rotten fruit in it?
Often ......... 0 occasionally ........ 1 Never .......... 2

11) When you shop do you......
never have a shopping list .......... 0 Just have a list for things you really don't want to forget ............. 1
Have a list but don't follow it strictly ........ 3 Have a list and pretty much stick to it .......... 4

12) Would you ever start a new bottle of sauce before the old one is finished?
Yes ......... 0 No ......... 2

13) If a picture in your house is on the wonk....
you can leave it ........ 0 you have to straighten it .......... 3

14) If a favourite piece of clothing gets a hole in it do you.........
carry on wearing it ......... 0 throw it out eventually even if, aside from the hole, it's O.K. ....... 1 throw it out straight away ......... 2

15) Do you hoover....
Less than once a week ........ 0 Once a week ....... 1 twice a week ............ 2
3 or 4 times a week ........ 2 Almost daily .......... 3 Daily ........... 4

16) Do you have a kitchen drawer with chaos in it?
Yes ........... 0 No ........ 4

17) When you cook do you...
Create a terrible mess and tidy it up later ........ 0 somewhere between the two........ 1 tidy up as you go along ........... 2

18) Do you always write your cheque stubs?
No ........ 0 Yes ........ 2

19) Is your handwriting neat?...
never .......... 0 sometimes.......... 1 always ....... 2

20) What is your relationship with ironing?
There isn't one ......... 0
I do it when I need to be really smart for something ....... 1
I do it for most things but not every last thing........ 2
I feel ironing is very important and needs to happen if one is to look ones best .......... 3

I look forward to your scores!!!???!!!


  1. Your quiz makes me come out extremely chaotic and extremely un anally retentive which is not the true picture (I have rotten fruit, never iron, rarely hoover (never upstairs), chaotic fridge (also with rotten fruit - and veg!), and have dirty dishes piled up overnight most nights, no CD filing system at all (and not in their boxes), etc etc - but I know that I AM extremely anally retentive in lots of areas - more how I do/approach things (like I am always on time for appointments and I do check train times) rather than in my house. It's because your quiz is a house/cleanliness/tidiness focussed which is not my areas of anal retentiveness. My "systems" are almost all operational rather than physical!!

    For me, my anal retentiveness (in the areas I am) has definitely increased with age which sometimes borders on madness (which I worry about!), definitely make my life easier, definitely about having control, definitely get worse when stressed and definitely are just in my personality.

    I am not on the spectrum. Just a mixture of extremely anally retentive and extremely chaotic. I guess it's about what I think is important to have order and control in and what I don't.

    Very interesting Claire. Could you expand a little further...!!!

  2. I came out at 10...and that was only cause I had to add 3 for the sticks to shopping list (I can't go shopping without a list....I have a memory like a sieve!!)

    So what does that mean then?

    C x

    Ps. There is an award over at mine for you :-)

  3. Damn it!
    My score was 3 but I had to add 2 points for a bottle of sauce which brings it to 5!
    Now I am hoping that you will share with us your score :)

  4. Oh no, I got 30.

    I know I know - but I'm not - honest, I am a bit silly and soppy and messy,

    Still got 30 though

  5. (there is no way I can ignore a wonky picture - anywhere)

  6. (but I often have rotting lettuce at the bottom of the salad thing in the fridge and rotting tangerines under the pile of uneaten fruit)

  7. ...and I'm not even organised enough to put all my comments in one box

  8. I get 4
    *Mostly wash up after a meal (it's my job)
    *Had a vague filing system for CDs - did it when I swapped houses for a few days with my sister so she could 'access' it - although it is now shot to pieces
    *I have been known to take a list to the shops - for the things I must not forget but I can forget to take the list.
    *My handwriting is sometimes neat (sustained for a sentence or so)

    I am not very anal. I think I used to be more of a control freak - when I was a stressed teacher. I would like to be able to notice my surroundings so that I might exert more control over them - just to try something different.

  9. I got 5, but that's largely because I'm not organised enough to put fruit in a bowl, let alone let it rot.

  10. We need our individual responses teacher! Otherwise, we will start to be sloppy with our work.

  11. I've got 14! This is mainly due to always being skint and not affording to pay top price for train tickets or waste food any more! In my younger days the score would have been much lower.

  12. I got 12, which is a nice even number and can be divided neatly in half or quarters or sixths and still have whole integers, it also has a neat order in that it is written as a one followed by two... am I anal enough yet!

    Off to polish my banjo...

  13. I did it again and decided it could be 29. Maybe tomorrow it will become 28 and then by the end of February I might have got it down to nothing.

  14. (yes, I'm back again - never let it be said I miss the opportunity for a chat with these here comment boxes)

    In our bit of France most people use chequebooks still. Cards are paid for (we pay €10 a month for our two debit cards) and a lot of old Bretons will not give a penny to the banks if they don't have to. Fairy nuff I say - but to be stood behind a few people counting out centimes is a bit hard sometimes. Not to mention the search for the cheque book.

  15. Hi I came over from FF - somehow I managed to score 11 which surprised me - I know I am haphazard but also like to be in control so....? Are you telling me there are people who don't have a chaotic kitchen drawer, where do they put all that "stuff". Wonky pictures....don't get me started, as a real estate agent I spend a good part of my life straightening other people's pictures ..how sad is that LOL ! Interested to hear how I rank. It was fun - thanks

  16. I couldn't do it, I've lost my pen.

  17. 16....I am seriously worried about this.
    I'm going to try it on my sister in law who is the control freak of all time and see how she does.

  18. I got 18. That's somewhere in the middle, isn't it?

    Actually my answers were torn between how I would like to be against how I really am. Or how I would be if I had more time or if the mother-in-law was coming round. It's not easy to be honest in things like this, it's like when the doctor asks you how many alcolhol units you REALLY have in a week - come on............!!

  19. 32...because I'm under the thumb.

  20. FWIW, I scored eight. But what does that mean?

  21. Hurrah Rob - at last someone who got more than me. See, I said it was interesting (and a wee bit alarming)

  22. Well that was a nice surprise - to find I have diagnosed some of FF's friends because she had invited them Chez Molly's.

    As I said on her blog...anyone who scores more than 20 is unlikely to let me in their home - mostly because of the trail of chaotic debree that just happens behind me.

  23. O.K. Individual responses to comments have returned....work was getting in the way - how dare it.

    Before I do though. When I did this test on people originally, we discussed the idea of control and decided there were two types...
    1) control of the material world (things)
    2) control of events, times and circumstances (like people popping up unexpectedly or getting lost - some people can cope with that, others can't)

    Some people have 1 and 2, some just 1, some just 2 ans some neither!

  24. Oh and there's perfectionism...another thing (almost) altogether....

  25. Codgi – 12 – an average score, signs of some laid backness but not absolute chaos. Very well balanced.

    Freddie - knowing you personally, what with you being my sister, you were bound not to be straightforward. You are a controller of events and happenings not of things. (see earlier comment). You like ‘closure’, decisions made etc....but not so fussed about your surroundings. Why does that sound like a horoscope?

    Carol – I have made an adjustment therefore and you are really a 7. The test is quite basic and doesn’t accommodate details like forgetfulness and distractibility (which are not in the anal camp)

    Heronster – Adjusting you too as I suspect the bottle thing is an ethics (non wastage) thing rather than an anal one – so 3 for you.

    FF – 30 – that is impressive. You would be the person I would choose to organise a social with.

    Molly – 4!? 2 with adjustment – time to get some order and systems in your life my love, I mean how DO you function?

    Andy C – 5 – very P (Myers Briggs!!!)

    Nikki – needs must. There is absolutely no shame in a high score. The world needs all types!

    Mark – I have adjusted your score to 25.

    FF – I think your score is dwindling – messy commenting is certainly not very anal.

    SITH – I would have to notice a wonky picture to straighten it. Chances of that are pretty slim what with me being the least observant person in the universe. I see you have a right mix going on there....just how chaotic is your drawer? For example, I once tried to remove a roll of sticky tape from mine and practically the entire contents of the drawer came out.

    Mr Junkster – zero then – a low achiever.

    TFINW – You can get therapy. Get a shoe box and fill it with junk (you could even squirt some ketchup at the box so some goes in and some lands on the sides) and put it in the middle of the floor, at an angle and see how long you can leave it there for. If you manage – say 4 minutes, try 8 the next day and so on, until it’s there full time and then you will be cured. I promise.

    Jean – age old problem there - answering dishonestly. I have adjusted your score to 20. Quite nicely scored. Please come and teach me order.

    Ken D – that’s one anal thumb!

    Rob-bear – 8 probably makes you pretty well balanced.

  26. Ken Devine wins and his prize is a tour of all our homes where he will implement systems and order and advice about maintaining them. Lucky Ken.

  27. Debris even.

    I had a character in a book called Detective Debree that solved a murder by looking at the contents of some rubbish bins....he obviously lodged his spelling into my grey matter!

  28. i will not tell you my score--let's just say i'm somewhere between FF and Ken, but put it this way, i love shows about people's dirty houses, the messier the better and i fantasize about organizing and tidying their clutter. i itch to tidy my friend's cupboards because she puts food in with the dishes and vice versa. my cutlery drawer is knife, fork, large spoon, small spoon and make sure the handles are down and business ends UP. though i have a respectable junk drawer. all the odds and sods go in it. i could still tell you what's where tho'.
    i have the urge to clean and tidy others' messes. when my friend leaves me a phone message she'll usually start it with, 'i wanted a chat but you're probably at ikea buying storage boxes....'
    you should see my desk here tho'. it's got a right mess going on. i'm a bit of a contradiction.
    i've corrected the spelling errors in this comment and edited it twice.

  29. what I've done is listed the things I answered - I can't understand why more people do not do these things - but anyway

    muddy 2 pts
    (how come nobody else does?)

    2.milk goes in the door, salad stuff at the bottom, random things in the middle. 3pts
    (how come nobody else does?)

    4..How can you find CDs out of hundreds and hundreds if you don't have some sort of system? 1pt

    5. In France booking train tickets in advance saves a lot of money 2pts

    7. How can you ever do anything if you have a messy desk 2pts

    8. why not put your keys/bag in the same place so you never have to search for them 3pts

    9. I hate being late - it is rude to the other person who is waiting for you

    11. how can you remember what you need if you don't have a list? 4pts

    13. I can't do wonky pictures 3pts

    15. I hoover once a week because I try and keep the dust mites down 1pt

    17. I can't cook in a mess 2pts

    18. How can you balance your finances and bank statement if you don't keep a note of the cheque book stubs 2pts

    19. I like people to read what I write qed I write neatly (I'm not a doctor) 2pts

  30. oops - cut off No. 1 - here it is (took this from my comments section btw - as my universal response to all the people in single figures :)

    1. I put my shoes by the front door because they are usually muddy 2 pts
    (how come nobody else does?)

  31. Clipster - I am paying for your air ticket...please come and do that.

    FF - did you see others' scores on FB? A complete spread. Most people think the way they do things is the best (or only) way....the chap who I originally gave the test to used to tease me for my scatty and messy ways...so I was mocking him...with love!!!!!! That's why it's one sided and the insinuation is less anal is best...which is rubbish! Neither is best.

    I genuinely don't notice my chaos. I had a friend about a year ago, tell me that I should have grown into tidiness and order by now....so I'd be properly free to be creative or something (haven't overly noticed any inhibition)...so he obviously thinks order is better than chaos.

    Point is, it doesn't matter does it! We are all different and thank goodness we are or it would be a boring place.

    Something I read on Myers Briggs implied that if we are outwardly chaotic, we are inwardly ordered and vice versa.... so you're only ordered on the outside.

    Now to find my shoes.....

    P.S. I waste time looking for CDs, money buying late train tickets, I only see the keyboard on my desk, keys etc...tend to be in my bag, but my bag could be anywhere (no set place to put it), I am late but only if it's not actually leaving someone waiting on a street corner for me (I don't like being late....I am not for work appointments), I happily shop without a list - work out what i might need/want when i'm there, really don't notice wonky pictures, Andy hoovers but not that often, I don't notice mess, have never balanced books, I just cannot maintain neat handwriting. How slobby is that?

  32. Fun test! My score was 29, kind of anal, but not overly? Or anal about some things and not others. A little chaos is a good thing, isn't it? BTW...found your blog through The World Examining Works.

  33. I got 22. A little anal retentiveness isn't a bad thing. It actually is necessary in running the world smoothly. Here via lovely Ms. FF!

  34. I came via FF's blog and also scored 22. My score would be different if I did not live with the worlds most untidy man, but how different I am not sure.

  35. 19 - I am surprised, I thought it would be much much higher. Very glad to have found you - French Fancy has raved about you so I had to come and have a peek x

  36. Hey....I daren't do it....in case I do it messily...I think I may be off the scale! (came via FF's blog) :)

  37. 39.....Iam a total control freak!!!!!!!!!!!!Is that why I'm in teaching?Or my previous career as an accountant? WhenI was young I wanted to be a Librarian and straighten books for a living.

  38. Sue wins hands down !!!

    Well done Sue.

  39. I8.
    It was the crooked picture and the ironing that pushed me over.

  40. You made me reaise how AR I am, yet I'm messy. I don't care much about my appearance, which annoys my boss no end, I never vacuum and alone I would wash up when I ran out of things, but I love order and ordering. When I do fill or empty the washing machine, everything has to be in its right place, in its right row, I never lose my keyes and I'm usually at least ten minutes early for work or appointments. I do get annoyed if I can't get the same seat on a streetcar or a train, so I arrive very early or walk back one or two stops from a busy stop. I thought that "The Trial" was about an interesting sort of paradise. I don't think all this has anything to do with early childhood bowel movements. I think it is because of a wish to avoid the emotional chaos of some of my later childhood.


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