The truth about lying

Tonight night Guido and I were tucked up in bed like a right couple of old crocks. The lights were out and the sheet was pulled up to our necks. The faint whiff of French mustard betrayed what we’d been up to only moments earlier. It’s amazing the fun two grown adults can have with some pretzels and a spatula.

“When was the last time you told a lie?” I asked Guido.

There was a long and suspicious pause.

“I’m sensing this is a trap to trip me up?” he said from the darkness. “What do you know, that I don’t?”

I was prompted to ask him as earlier in the day I’d been reading a fascinating article about something called – The Honesty Experiment. Three astute British subjects, who were hooked up to state-of-the-art electronic lie detectors, were then challenged to get through a whole week without telling a single fib. The premise was to see if we could ever create a world in which we could not lie.

“Think about that question very carefully before you reply,” I said, “because statistically we all do it at least nine times a day.”

Nine times? That didn’t sound so much to me. I fluffed up my pillow and mentally rewound the previous 24 hours. Hmmm. It didn’t take long for my trustworthy persona to descend into a Machiavellian plot.

“I can’t remember,” said Guido with an air of smugness, “I like to be totally honest.”

Well obviously he was lying.

I chewed my nail. Even before lunch I reckon I’d racked up a whole pack of lies. Astonishingly my entire daily quota was gone in less than three hours. I can be very generous you know, even when I’m lying. And at least two of them were absolute whoppers. I wondered if there were any rules about borrowing some of tomorrow’s lies if I could trade some on a particularly slack day. The scientists would’ve had an absolute field day with me. A world without lies? I was trying to rationalise their supply and demand.

“What about you, Pinocchio?” asked Guido.

I tutted, but of course Guido was quite right. My nose was bigger than the Lizard Peninsula. In fact, the more I thought about it, I realised I was some sort of pathological liar. Only in a good way.

“At least I consider myself a polite liar,” I said.

Guido rolled over, “What exactly does that mean?”

“I tell nice lies.” You know I can be as smug as the best of them. “I like to practise the kindest form of dishonesty.”

He groaned and rolled over again.

“When Donna came into the cafe this afternoon she wanted to know if I could see her black hair roots – and I said no – but what I really meant was – hell yes. When that guy who wears the suit – with the limp – got to the bus stop I told him to get on the bus first – even though I suggested I was second in line when actually I was first. And this morning – when you asked me how my porridge tasted and I said it was fine – well what I really wanted to say was – it needed more salt.”

And I apologise to readers for my high hyphen count in the preceding paragraph but that’s what happens when I lie. Apparently I add dashes.

Guido flicked the lamp on.

“That porridge was perfect,” he snapped.

You know – some people just can’t handle the truth.

45 thoughts on “The truth about lying

  1. I hate to admit this … wait, that’s a lie … but I am a fabulous lair … that’s the truth …though I don’t do it often … another lie … and I just do it to rib people …and that, my friends, was a half-truth, from a liar!

    And dashes are the new semi-colon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You ever heard the Stephen Sondheim song Im Still Here? Well never before has that applied!
      I miss posting on your blog – I’m still reading you.
      And, yeah. You have to have a great memory to be a good liar!
      JP x


  2. The truth is that we have to lie and be nice with people, or shout our mouth, just to be polite … if we said what we really think we would appear mean and cruel … that’s why i like to be with people I love because I don’t have to lie or behave and wear clothes I’d rather not wear or be nice etc …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is also a natural way of balancing the “polite lying”: Freudian slips. I find, if I exceed my quota of an acceptable number of daily lies, then without noticing I slip the truth.
    Once I was in a two-week training session, closed in a hotel with a group of young Europeans. One Hungarian guy was trying to get me go swimming with him in a nearby river. Desperately.
    I wasn’t at the time still able to admit to myself my love for men but wasn’t stupid so I perfectly undestood plopping into the water was not the only thing he was after: I politely kept declining his constant requests.
    Then the last morning someone came to the breakfast table saying he’d been in the river for a morning swim and it was ice cold. I turned to the guy who (of course) had parked next to me and said: “You see, it is good I didn’t go and sleep with you”. I was as astonished as the others to hear myself say “sleep” instead of “swim”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You had me at “Kilt”

    I hate lying but have come to accept that Lying is essential to a civil society, and to a functioning work force. I tried not lying for one year, although I tried to be honest with tact and diplomacy. I lost 3 friendships because of it. Lesson learned. Nobody wants to hear the truth, they just want you to reinforce what they already believe (or hope is true.)

    So I can overlook your creative deception; what I can’t abide is your love of sugar free, dairy free porridge/oatmeal. I mean, the whole point of boiling oats is to have something to put milk and sugar in (Also see coffee and cereal.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it is acceptable to lie if it avoids hurting other people’s feelings, especially if they specifically ask you something and you can’t just abstain from answering. Funny that Guido only focused on the porridge lie 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I continually marvel at your marvelous writing:
    “Tonight night Guido and I were tucked up in bed like a right couple of old crocks. The lights were out and the sheet was pulled up to our necks. The faint whiff of French mustard betrayed what we’d been up to only moments earlier. It’s amazing the fun two grown adults can have with some pretzels and a spatula.”
    This is awesome prose! I felt no need to read further. (but I did!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We all do, polite lies (you look nice today), small talk lies (I’m fine, I’m having a good day), relationship lies (it’s nothing, don’t worry about it…I’m not mad), acquaintance lies (I’m doing well, life is good)…yes before noon, even before breakfast is over, there are some lies told.


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