Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Importance Of Lying

In one of my early columns (no, not blog posts, columns - info on subscribing is over there on the right) I wrote about the importance of lying to our kids. It fosters a sense of security when you tell them you love them even though they just shoved your last blue M&M up their nose. And informing them of the monster under their bed that eats toes keeps them safely under the blankies for the whole night. As a bonus, it nurtures their imagination.

Caring and nurturing. That’s what lying is all about.

Few people realize it’s equally important to lie to our Significant Others if we want to maintain harmonious (not to mention reasonably frequent) relations. Fie upon those relationship “experts” who blather on about truth being the foundation of solid...blah-blah-blah.

It goes beyond “Of course not, Honey” in response to the classic fat-in-these-pants question. It means occasionally saying things like: “I don’t get all this fuss about Catherine Zeta Jones.”*

If you’re uncomfy with flat-out lying, and many of us are, having been raised and educated by Truth Nazis, start off with stretching the truth a smidge. Let’s say your SO has spent two hours showering, putting on makeup and getting dressed. You’re pretty sure a compliment is in order once the process is complete. At least, one wouldn’t go amiss. Here are a couple of sample responses when she’s done.

1 - “You look nice Sweetie.”

Pleasant and reasonably safe, despite the fact it may border on the truth. As a result, she may find it somewhat lacking.

2 - “Wow! If Marilyn Monroe was alive she’d be spinning in her grave!”

Much better. We’ve (probably) lowered the truth quotient, compared her to an icon of beauty and added a bonus element of confusion.

Every person, even the most insecure, has something about themselves of which they’re proud. It might be hair, overall physique, eye colour - something. Once you’ve identified what it is, compliment the heck out of it.

“Baby, it beats me how ankles as delicate and fine as yours can bear that weight!”

“Your smile is so shiny, like the grill of a showroom car, only somewhat smaller!”

It’s like poetry really, without the fancy-shmancy words.

Complimentary lying is not restricted to guy-type persons of the male persuasion. Although not as dependent upon flattery as the average woman, guys are not immune to its charms. We like being told we make Brad Pitt look homely and that single abs are hot. Or maybe that Shakespeare could have taken writing lessons from us. Or Darwin in theorizing.

It confirms our own secretly-held opinion.

After all, if you can’t lie to yourself, how can you expect others to believe you?

* Insert name of whomever you’re ogling in that particular movie.


Crabby McSlacker said...

I think it's easier to do the complimentary lying to guys than it is to women. 'Cause guys tend to take the compliment at face value and assume it's true.

Women, who are more adept at fake (or at least exaggerated) compliments themselves are also wise to them. They often discount any compliment by half, knowing you don't necessarily mean it but are just being nice. So if you really do mean it or at least really want her to think you do, you have to get very specific, and say it more than once in a slightly different way each time.

The cool thing is, do that for awhile and you start to believe it yourself, and the whole "lying" part of it disappears entirely.

q said...

Great blog post.. and written by one of the most handsome, intelligent, athletic, honest, talented, creative, dynamic, witty and wise studs on the planet.

Lowering the truth quotient is easy!

Frank Baron said...

Shhh Crabby. You're blowing my cover....


Frank Baron said...

q, you are perceptive, wise, and stunningly comely. :)

Aidan said...

Frank I need your help

As the Oracle of all things manly, When asked "does my butt look big in this?" what is the appropriate answer applying the Frank B program?

I know for sure the answer is neither..
No its the 7 donuts a day that makes your butt big, and leave the pants alone...

Nor is it
No bigger than usuall....

help would be appreciated


Frank Baron said...

Aidan, that question has confounded men since pants replaced skirts (sad, sad day).

Along with your inadequate responses you can add "Compared to what?" and "No fatter than any of your others."

There are only two acceptable replies:

1- An emphatic and immediate, and I mean within 0.045 nanaseconds, "No way honey!"


2- Clasp your chest and die of a heart attack.

Glad to be of service. :)

Dawno said...

I'm gonna be suspicious of every compliment you ever gave me now. I bet you really think my sparkles make my ears look fat.


See, you just can't win. We'll always have the upper hand. ;-)

Frank Baron said...

You are correct Dawno. And gorgeous. :)

Bernita said...

Oh, Frank!
You're so big and strong and clever!

Frank Baron said...

Bernita, your judgement, as always, is acute and unparalleled in its accuracy. Plus you're a hottie.

Spider said...

Good advice. Reminder to self: make up confusing complimentary lie to wife. That really is a neat idea.

Hildegarde said...

Yes, there is truth in your thesis that in order to maintain harmonious relations with Significant Others it is important to lie, that I would like to redefine as : swallowing what you really think of certain characteristics of the other or as covering those aspects up with the coat of love (free translation of the Flemish expression, the dictionary says : cover with the cloak of charity).

Dawn said...

The ankle quote was a laugh out loud moment.

My, but you're a handsome clever man!

Aidan said...

heart attack, it seems so obvious when you put it like that...

Frank Baron said...

Spider, it's a very intelligent man who recognizes wisdom in the posts of fishermen. I salute you, sir.

Hildegarde, I love that expression! Even though you stole it from a dictionary. ;)

Dawn, your beauty is outshone solely by your perspicacity. Godblessya.

Aidan, most of Life's Great Truths are self-evident...once someone has smucked us between the eyes with one. ;)
(Thanks for the laugh!)

q said...

You'd think a heart attack is obvious but SOME people have spent several days trying to convince everyone that it's ony a hernia...

Kappa no He said...

Oh ladies, he's not only handsome and clever but I truly believe Shakespear could have taken writing lessons from him!

Editor said...

I'm working on it, but with women who can tell how they are really feeling?

Stace said...

The downside of compliments is the necessity to accept it. Upon receiving a compliment, it is downright rude to say, "Very funny", or "As if". There is just as much lying involved in the process of accepting a compliment as there is in giving one!

Frank Baron said...

q, I've s'plained over and over how similar, in a way, kinda, except for degree, those pains are. Besides, now I KNOW the diff. :)

kappa...what can I say - you wanna get married? ;)

editor, I can give you a couple of tips. If they hit you with a rolled up newspaper or you find yourself sleeping on the couch, or God forbid, both, you said the wrong thing.

Stace dear, you could go to school on how I have graciously accepted all the plaudits that have come my way with this post. Just try to fake the humility thing as sincerely as possible and say thanks. :)

Travis Erwin said...

I have to share a funny story here.

A male friend of mine's wife decided to sell har wedding dress so she put an ad in a local classified flyer. Then weh she informed her husband that a woman was on ehr way to looka t eh dress he replied, "Oh, is she a big woman too."

Not smooth.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Great post, very entertaining.
By the way Fank I'm tagging you for a meme. Check it out at Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer

-Othmar Vohringer-

Bibi said...

Well now Oh Great One ... I'll never look at a compliment the same.

Frank Baron said...

Travis, it's a wonder your friend lived to tell the tale. Thanks for dropping by.

Thanks Othmar. I'll check it out tomorrow. It's bedtime for this bonzo.

Bibi, we're not ALWAYS lying. You pretty thing, you. :)

Unique Material said...

Frank -

I'm shocked!

Shocked, I say, and dismayed. Next thing you know, you'll be telling me there is no Santa Claus.

You have rocked my world, sir. The bill for my therapy will arrive in your mailbox shortly.

Frank Baron said...

Unique, you're entirely too intelligent to really believe you can fib a fibber. Plus you're cute as a bug. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a Truth Teller. It did take me, however, one wife to figure out that streching the truth, half-truths, and insincere truthes were marital skills that I needed to work on. My present wife is actually happy with me for my honesty. Go figure.
imomomo, friend of Kappa

Frank Baron said...

Hi imomomo. A fan of the truth eh?

Well, I guess Mom was right. The internet IS full of whackos!


Crabby McSlacker said...

The bad news: I just tagged you for a meme.

The good news: It's the easiest meme in the world.

But let me know if you can't stand doing memes and I'll swap you out for someone else. It's pretty much just a link to five blogs. It's called the Slacker meme, can't imagine why.

Dawno said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Fra-aaaaaaaaaaaa-nk,
Happy Birthday to you!

Crabby McSlacker said...

Dawno spilled the beans over at her blog, so:

Happy Birthday!

Honestly, you don't look a day over 22.

(cough cough)

Okay, no lie. 24.

q said...

No lie here.

Just a sincere expression of happiness that not only are you celebrating your (mffrrgghhth)'th birthday, but that this is also the first anniversary of the day you quit smoking. You were quite a bit crankier on that date than you are today. ;)

Happy Birthday :)

Frank Baron said...

Crabby, sorry, didn't see that meme post/tag thing. For some reason, I'm not always getting email alerts when someone comments.

Dawno, you're a keeper. Thanks. :)

Crabby, ditto. :)

You too qball. :)

AstonWest said...

Don't have to lie if you just don't tell everything that you're saying in your head...

"Do these pants make me look fat?

("You looked fat without the pants, too...")

bethjura said...

well Frank, truth be told, i enjoy your musings - shakespeare or no shakespeare !

regards !


Frank Baron said...

Aston, thanks for the tip. :)

Thanks Lissa. :)