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Here’s to the little lies I tell in my sleep

April 29, 2010
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Growing up, most of us got the whole “honesty is the best policy” spiel while being forced to watch Pinocchio by our parents, who hoped the values of a Disney movie would stay with us years later. I get it, Dad, you wanted to trust that I wouldn’t lie about sneaking out of the house at midnight when I turned 16. I’m sure that same kind of trust was and still is important to you, too, Mom. It’s also safe to say my friends and coworkers somewhat value the six-year-old in me who still fears my nose will get bigger if a lie comes out of my mouth.

But does that mean they want me to be honest with them– truly, brutally honesty with them– all the time?

I don’t think so. In fact, I’m willing to bet the rest of my Diet Coke on it. Yup, all three ounces. Just call me high stakes McGee.

Disclaimer: I don’t advocate lying. Really, I don’t. Okay, I kind of do. Just a little. Once in a while.

You see, I don’t think that lying and trust have to be mutually exclusive. Sure, if you have a track record of making up stories then no one is going to believe your father is actually President Obama’s half-brother or that your dog went to the moon in the last shuttle mission. But, I’ll be real here, if those are the types of lies you’re telling, maybe you’re on the wrong type of blog. Why not head over to this one, and we’ll catch up next post, k?

For those still with us, I have provided a short list of situations and explanations on why I feel it’s best to lie (or not lie) when in them.

SCENARIO 1: Your friend comes out of the dressing room at Macy’s wearing a too short, too tight skirt and asks if it’d be perfect to wear to Trousdale later. Do you tell her she looks hot or a hot mess?
MY TAKE:
BE HONEST. Don’t feel the need to tell her that she’s sausaged in. Just cock your head to the side and say, “It’s not showing off the best parts of your body, lets keep looking.”

SCENARIO 2: Your group is rushing to finish getting ready in Vegas before the line for XS gets too insane. Your friend steps out of the bathroom in a halter dress that shows off her man shoulders and lack of bosom. You’re well aware she has no back up outfits. What do  you do?
MY TAKE:
LIE. If she has no other options, you pointing out her ill choice in club wear is not going to make getting in XS any easier. It will only make her self-conscious and possibly ruin her night. Tell her she looks great, and then make sure to send your hottest-dressed girls to the doormen and flirt your way in.

SCENARIO 3: Your ex-boyfriend e-mails you asking to get dinner with him sometime this week. You either ignore or decline the message. Do you tell your current partner about the invite?
MY TAKE: LIE. By lie, I mean don’t say anything. Your boyfriend doesn’t need to know every time an ex talks to you or tries to worm their way back into your life. However, if you choose to go out to dinner, a heads up to the boyfriend beforehand would be nice. I’m not saying you need permission, but if the tables were turned I’m sure you’d like to be informed if your significant other was spending time with someone from their past.

SCENARIO 4: You’re at a party and your boyfriend’s friend hits on you. Do you inform the boyfriend of his so-called friend’s advances?
MY TAKE: BE HONEST. Unless the friend was so drunk he didn’t realize it was you he was hitting on, you should inform the boyfriend. How would you feel if your bff was macking on your man and he didn’t feel the need to tell you? Just like you, he has a right to know who his true friends are. Plus, if you don’t end up telling him and his guilt-ridden friend does, be prepared for an argument later.

SCENARIO 5: In the same vein as scenario 4, your friend’s boyfriend hits on you. Should you tell her he’s a creep and risk breaking her heart?
MY TAKE: BE HONEST. Be fucking honest. Your loyalty is to your friend, and no matter how much you’re worried about her feelings, if you really care, you’ll want what’s best for her. This is also true if you witness him hitting on someone else, whether it’s another one of her friends or a complete stranger. Tell her. Don’t think “it’s none of my business.” She is your friend and this is her happiness/time/dignity at stake and thus it is your damn business.

SCENARIO 6: Your friend asks you to look over their thesis/screenplay/poem/etc. It needs work. And by work, I don’t mean spell check. What do say when it’s time to spit out your opinion?
MY TAKE: BE HONEST. And tactful, please, as us writers have terribly fragile egos. If we put hours into something and get the nerve to show it to you, we don’t want an “oh, it’s good” or a “you know, I really like this,” especially if you, you know, really don’t like it. By all means, say what you think worked–we love to hear it!– but be specific and don’t skimp on the critiques. If we solely wanted a pat on the back, we would have shown our mothers instead.

SCENARIO 7: You run into an acquaintance you haven’t seen since college, or better yet, high school. They ask what you’ve been up to lately. The truth is the equivalent to eating Bon Bons and watching the the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.
MY TAKE: LIE. Sure, I would be impressed with your dedication to television, but chances are I’m not going to be the one asking you such a mundane question. So if you’re not happy with where you’re presently at, embellish. Just don’t go overboard. “I got engaged to the most wonderful man the same week I was promoted to vice president of Warner Music Group!” is going to be hard for you to keep up. But if you’re single, say you’re dating but aren’t tied down. If you’re one of the million people in LA trying to land their first acting gig while working at  P.F. Changs, say you’re spending time reading scripts while making cash on the side. My friend is an unemployed painter living off of the remainder of his student loans. When asked what he does, he puts a satisfied smile on his face and says lately he’s been working on some great projects using oils. People usually couldn’t care less what you actually do, they either want to make small talk or see if they’re doing better than you at the moment. And you don’t owe them the satisfaction.

SCENARIOS 8+: Congrats! You and your man have made it official! But with the title of boyfriend and girlfriend come a multitude of questions.

In these cases, HONESTY is the best policy:
*Do you have feelings for someone else? This can be tricky, as feelings can be fleeting. However, in my experience, it’s usually best to be honest with your partner. I’m not saying you need to blab about every other guy who gives you butterflies, but if you begin to get emotionally attached to someone else, come clean.
*Did you cheat on me last weekend while I was away? Well, did you? If so, it’s time to take that small amount of dignity you have left and be completely honest. It’s his choice as to whether or not he wants to stay with you, and it’s not fair to keep it from him. You’re not “protecting” anyone by denying what you did. In the words of Brooke Davis, don’t be a slutty lying liar who lies.
*Do you have an STD? If you’re intimate with someone and you lie about this, you’re a careless asshole.

But feel free to LIE in these instances:
*How many people have you slept with? My basic rule is your number of sexual partners +/-5 is acceptable. And refusing to answer is always an option.
*Is that your real hair color? Of course, it is! There are lots of red-headed, olive-skinned Persians. Duh.
*Are you the jealous type? Me? Jealous? Never! (Be careful with this one if you are, as the green monster will come out eventually. Trust me.)
*Do you really spend multiple hours a day on Facebook stalking people you don’t know? Haha, no, silly. My brief time online is spent watching documentaries and reading political blogs.
*Were other guys better in bed? I don’t care what you say, just don’t answer yes.

Little white lies have the ability to make life easier, so why not tell a few? Assure your boss you felt motivated by her speech at the meeting. Tell your mom the batch of cookies she sent were the best you’ve had in a years. Need to save face at a party? Fib a bit. As long as you’re not hurting or maliciously deceiving someone, a lie can come in handy. But be careful– the more lies you tell, the more you have to be mindful of what you say and be prepared for the truth to come out.

Let’s ignore the horrendous last three years of Grey’s Anatomy and take a little wisdom from season 2 Meredith, who says it best:

No matter how hard we try to ignore it or try to deny it, eventually the lies fall away, whether we like it or not. But here’s the truth about the truth— it hurts. So, we lie.

The Arctic Monkeys, “Dance Little Liars”
Bright Eyes, “Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh”
Charles and Eddie, “Would I Lie to You?”
The Liars, “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 22, 2010 9:03 pm

    “MY TAKE: LIE. If she has no other options, you pointing out her ill choice in club wear is not going to make getting in XS any easier. It will only make her self-conscious and possibly ruin her night. Tell her she looks great, and then make sure to send your hottest-dressed girls to the doormen and flirt your way in.”

    This is why I love you.

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