The Single Greatest Conversation Starter Ever

The waitress drops off your drinks and you stare after her longingly. Look at how free she is, walking around, talking to whoever she wants, laughing at all the fun-loving things that happen in a day, not a care in the world. But not you. You’re stuck sitting across from the conversation monster. Every topic you raise she chews up and spits out, then waits for you to try again. It’s awful. Your “A” material is long gone, hell, you blew through your “D”, “E” and “F” stuff before the menus even came. Now you’re considering talking about the weather, if only you could remember what the weather was like before you entered this vortex of boring. Was it raining, or were those just your tears? Your date looks at you, wanting to kill herself, and you look back, begging her to take you with her. The evening is not going well.

But then… you think of something. Something you read on a website once. A promise of a topic so fertile, so rich with conversational opportunities that it can save any date. But the author of the website seemed weird. I mean, he was always going out on such terrible dates, could you really trust his advice? Plus, you bet a lot of those stories weren’t even true. But what have you got to lose? This topic can’t be any worse than the twenty other ones that your date batted away since you sat down, right? RIGHT.

So you go for it. You lean in, and immediately your date can tell you’ve got something. There’s a twinkle in your eye, a little spark that says, “I’m about to knock your mothereffing socks off.” She leans in to meet you, then you open your mouth and say…

“Would you have sex with a dead person for five seconds if it meant getting free laundry for the rest of your life?”

And then you sit back and watch while her mind explodes.

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s the single greatest conversation starter ever?! It’s disgusting. And weird. And you’re weird.” Well, all of that is true, but trust me, great bonds have been formed over the epic Dead vs. Laundry debate. I’ve seen many a slow happy hour, a weary cocktail party, or an otherwise respectable wake set on fire by Dead vs. Laundry. I’ve used it to talk to people who hated me, didn’t know me, or didn’t care to, and every single one of them came out a friend. Except for the people at the wake. They were all a little creeped out.

Here are the terms: you must have sex with a dead person for a full five seconds, but no one will know about it. The person is recently dead and can be whatever gender and physical appearance you wish. You walk into a room, do the grossest thing ever for five seconds, and then you leave. No one’s the wiser. And in return you get the laundry. Oh sweet, sweet laundry. No, this is not drop-off service. This is not pay-by-pound, clothes-come-back-dirtier-than-when-they-went-in laundry bullsh-t. This is magical. It’s like the Harry Potter of laundry. Any item you drop in your hamper appears immediately  cleaned, pressed, and folded, waiting for you in your closet. We’re talking sweaters, suits, dresses — whatever you want to be cleaned. Hell, throw some silverware in there and see what happens! It’s magic, for God sakes. And it continues FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Obviously having sex with a dead person is unpleasant. We can all agree to that. But free immediate laundry for the rest of your life?! I mean, come on! OK, look. You see what’s happening? I’m getting caught up in the debate. I’m sitting here by myself and I’m debating with my computer as I type. That’s how gripping the issue is. But that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to urge you to try it out. Bring up Dead vs. Laundry and watch the world unfold in front of you. It works particularly well on dates. How is this possible?

First of all, it’s a provocative question. Your date will feel immediately more personal, more intimate, just because you had the balls to bring it up. And it’s controversial, so you and your date will almost certainly have passionate feelings about it. Passionate agreement: great! You two see eye to eye on even the most trying of issues. You were made for each other! Passionate disagreement: great! You’re the David and Maddie of that bar on that particular evening, sparks are flying, will they or won’t they, what’s gonna happen next?! Of course, there is the third option. Passionate certainty that you’re a total freak. But who’d want to go out with a fuddy duddy who thinks like that, right? RIGHT.

So next time you’re in a conversational quagmire, go for the gold. At the very least, you’ll learn a lot about the person you’re with. If they go for the deal, then you know they’re a risk taker, a controversial thinker, and, perhaps, horrible around the house. If they turn down the deed, then you’ve learned they’re more straight-laced, thoroughly sane, and very possibly horrified to have met you. But they’ll never forget you. In my experience, you never forget the man who asked if you’d do a corpse for laundry. And I’ll take that over a chat about the weather any day. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • H

    Depends who the dead person is.

    • Brian Donovan

      It’s a totally average person of your age. Whatever sex and sexual orientation you prefer.

  • Bark Muckerzerg

    I’ve tried this before.. I’m still waiting on my free laundry pickup.


      That’s because I was pretending to be dead!

  • Haley

    ^ creepiest comment ever

  • ZL

    Um…I’m pretty certain that everyone who’s reading this is bound to try that line now.

    • Brian Donovan

      You totally should. It totally works. Last night I tried it on Billy Baldwin. He pretended not to hear me, but still.

  • Evan K (@killakow)

    This conversation is forever ruined because now the response will be “oh you read Thought Catalog too?” which is an awful conversation starter

    • interneter


  • guest

    actually, I think a conversation about mutually reading thought catalog would be great! its full of funny and interesting articles you can bring up and be like “oh i loved that one about the 5 foods that are literally the devil” or wtv, haha thats just the one i just read. but my question is would this conversation starter work equally well if a girl used it?

    • Brian Donovan

      Yes, it works if anyone uses it. Just pose it as a crazy thing you just read. The article says it could ice break any situation and you wanted to see if it was true. However, depending on your audience, you may want to say you would never do it, because some people, in my experience, don’t find necrophilia hilarious. For some reason.

  • Scottie

    I’d do it

  • Chelsea

    I don’t know anyone else who reads Thought Catalog so helloooo new ice breaker.

  • mskatykins

    I think you should set your readers the challenge of posing this question on real life dates or whatever and then set up a new post which invites them to share the responses! :)

    • Brian Donovan

      That, MSKATYKINS, is a fantastic idea. (And yes, I just felt kinda weird typing your name.) Anyone who’s like to email me their dead vs. laundry experiences, please do so at!

      • mskatykins

        Glad to be of service! I shall need to go and find some people to ask! (My man said no right off. Killjoy! ;) )

  • cy

    so whats her reaction?

  • lol

    Hm. I do need some laundry done.

  • Frightened to say the least

    So, I asked my date this question, and well… She said “if the dead body was you” and then just stared at me for 20 seconds. Then as if God was trying to tell me something the waitress brought over a steak knife that was to accompany her upcoming meal. Nope, that is not the end. She then, staring at me the entire time, reached in her purse and pulled out a rock, and began to sharpen the knife on the rock. I excused myself to the bathroom, but didn’t really go to the bathroom. What a night.

    • Brian Donovan

      That’s why I never date women with rocks in their purses. You just never know…

  • Jean K Jean

    Based off the picture, I thought this was going to be a lesson on how to leverage your cervical spine post-op x-rays to get a date.

    • Nicole

      this would have been useful!

  • Sarah

    My friends and I are hotly debating this at dinner. People are staring. Its fine.

    • Brian Donovan

      Good work, Sarah, spreading the gospel.

  • Bri

    how drunk am I allowed to be to have sex with the dead guy?

    • Brian Donovan

      Hmm. Interesting corollary, Bri, that’s never come up before. I would say two drinks, max. Not so drunk that you can’t drive home after.

  • Carson

    I’d have to say no just because my clean laundry would always remind me of that one time I had sex with a dead person. Forever.

  • Vicky Nguyen (@vickstahs)

    definitely going to have to try this!! i’m kind of excited, actually.

  • stacie adams (@mutterhals)

    Shit, I’d do it.

  • MiquelitoLoveless

    This is one of the cleverest things I have EVER read! I will make it a regular part of my social golf bag.

  • Mick

    Another great conversation starter that people get passionate about:

    Who’d win in a fight – a lion, or 40 midgets?

    It’s an arena-style fight to the death. The lion is hungry, angry, and ready to fight. The midgets are unarmed but willing to fight and die for the cause. If one midget survives, midgets win. If all die, lion wins.


  • Renee

    Well that was random.

  • danmckean

    Can I wear a nose plug? Do I have to have my eyes open? Can I heat them up? And lastly… lube?

    • Brian Donovan

      No to all, Dan. Also, how would you heat up them up exactly?

  • hi patty « corpsevscleanclothes

    […] hi patty […]

  • Ash

    Well, I’m going to start asking my dates this. Who WOULDN’T sleep with a dead person for free laundry?

  • Jessica Graham (@jessgrahamcrckr)

    I’m already thinking of my argument for this debate, I would love to get this question or one like it on a date.

blog comments powered by Disqus