Elected officials lie to the people they govern in hopes that they’ll blindly follow their oil- and money-fueled leads, tabloids lie about which has-been Hollywood stars are dating each other in order to sell issues and to give the sad celebrities a slight renewal in popularity, women lie about their age, and men lie about how much they can bench press.
It’s a never-ending game of one-upmanship and the winners always seem to be the ones who can tell the best lies and get out of them alive.
Sure, lies are necessary sometimes. After my mom was brought to tears in a Macy’s fitting room when she finally saw the back of her botched layers of chestnut hair, I told her that it looked fine to avoid a public meltdown. When a friend in my dorm last year asked me to edit his first college paper, I made small grammatical corrections and snickered to myself, telling him it was good to go, instead of covering the entire sheet of paper with red pen; I wasn’t about to give up my English major skills for free when I could do the same task at the Writing Center for 12 bucks an hour. Bitchy? Yes. Economical? Even more so.
Even though the horrible daytime talk shows that I love to gorge on over the summer months are fueled by drama beginning with lies, I would rather be resigned to curling up with my laptop to watch and quote the complete series of Arrested Development online than see people’s lives turned into a spectacle by dishonesty.
Probably the biggest reason why lying significant others piss me off is because it’s happened to me. So much of my wasted time and tears could’ve been prevented if those boys had just puffed out their chests, tried to channel men, and owned up to what they really wanted to say instead of cowering behind concocted stories, no matter how intimidating my towering 5-foot-11 stature is or how scary my father’s impossibly deep baritone voice is.
My first boyfriend disappeared into thin air after weeks of making out at shows and sneaking out of youth group to go to our local coffee shop. I freaked out when he didn’t return my frantic voicemails for a week, and ended up bursting into tears when he told me out of the blue that he didn’t have the time to teach me to be in a relationship – it was a very sudden breakup.
Avoiding the truth is, in fact, a lie.
The longest and most complicated relationship I’ve suffered through finally ended when the idiot told me he loved me, only to retract the statement two weeks later when he could no longer bear the sound of my response: “I love you, too.”
Lying because you think it’s what someone wants to hear is still a lie.
Freshman year, I naïvely opened my dorm room and heart to guys who slurred promises of calls in the morning and claims of “I’m not like the rest of them” and eventually realized that if I got a call the next morning it would only be an inquiry of who I was, how they had my number, and where they were going after that keg stand.
Don’t lie to get in bed with someone. You’ll probably get in bed with them anyway, empty promises or none. House parties and the bowels of frat house basements aren’t the place to find your soulmate, anyway.
Obviously, the fairer sex is guilty of this as well. A friend of mine in an open, three-year relationship came to visit from West Chester and told the hot, condom-less guy she was about to hook up with that she was on the pill and ended up in a pregnancy scare three weeks later – it turned out the only pills she was taking were vitamins.
One of my best friends recently had a freshman boy feed her the “I’m not like the rest of them” line, so she just smiled at him until she could get out of his eyesight to laugh at his naivety, never intending to call him back.
What do I propose we do? It’s easy – stop telling unnecessary lies.
Unless you’re one of those people who thrives on drama, who needs it? It’s difficult enough to juggle real life without keeping track of which lie you told whom. So tell that guy in your class you think he’s hot, tell your girlfriend you’re not ready to move in with her, and tell yourself the best thing you can do for your love life is be honest.
The ratings for daytime television may not thank you, but the people you care most about will.
Libby Peck can be reached at elizabeth. firstname.lastname@example.org.