We all know that it’s bad to lie and that we shouldn’t do it, and yet in some form or other, we all do lie and usually on a daily basis. Now, some of you will be reading this, thinking that’s not true, I’m a very honest person; I never lie, but trust me you do. I’m not talking big lies like “no officer I have no idea what that dead body is doing in my trunk” I’m talking about all the little lies and omissions that make up everyday life. Like saying, “your hair looks nice” when your colleague comes back from the salon, looking like a five year old has been let loose with a set of pinking shears. Or saying “Sorry, I’ve made plans with a friend from out of town” when your boss rings on your day off asking you to cover a shift, when your plans really only consist of staying in your pyjamas all day, eating Ben and Jerry’s and watching soppy movies back to back. Or “no honey, of course your bum doesn’t look big in that” to the girlfriend who has somehow managed to squeeze herself into a dress two sizes too small and looks like a tied up bouncy castle.
Sometimes we lie or omit the truth for our own gain, like not mentioning your colleague did most of the work on that joint project. Sometimes we do it because it’s easier or to avoid earache from the other half, like saying you got stuck at work rather than admitting you stopped off for a pint with your mates. And sometimes we do it in a supposedly noble attempt to save someone’s feelings. They’re only little white lies, so they don’t matter right?
But what if you’re the bouncy castle girlfriend and you go out thinking you look great, only to spend the night being confronted with weird looks and hushed giggles as you’re not so discreetly ridiculed by the strangers around you? I’m sure that girl would have preferred that her boyfriend had taken a diplomatic approach and told her he preferred the black dress.
When I was at the pub once, there was a girl wearing a beautiful prom style strapless burgundy dress; very attention grabbing in a pub filled with people rocking jeans and t-shirts. What was even more eye catching was the black bra straps gracing her shoulders, and more so the back of her bra that was slowly creeping further and further up her back throughout the night.
I went out for a smoke half way through the night, to find prom girl chatting to another girl, who pointed out that she should have worn a strapless bra or bolero jacket, as the visible bra straps were ruining the look. Despite the comment being made in a friendly and well meaning manner, prom girl took great offence and was so upset by the comment that she spent half the night crying in a drunken stupor and wailing “my boyfriend and my friends all said it looked great” The well meaning truth teller tried to point out that she did look absolutely beautiful and that she was a really pretty girl, that she didn’t mean to upset her she was just trying to help her for next time. But it was too late, the damage was done, she may as well have spat in her face and called her an ugly troll.
Whereas usually this kind of debacle would have been over within a matter of minutes, due to the level of intoxication and the constant wave of people, it went on for almost 2 hours, the story being told and re-told, the tears stopping and starting and the apologies becoming more strained. Whilst watching someone have a drunken breakdown isn’t my usual form of entertainment on a Thursday night, I couldn’t help being intrigued by some of the very public conversations surrounding the incident. Every time I went out for a smoke I was updated on the apparent drama by a random onlooker and saw prom girls friends and pub patrons join the show and have their say. Prom girls boyfriend stating that sorry girl should have kept her mouth shut before returning to play pool, her friends taking turns to reassure her that she looked great and one friend stating, “I did think when you tried it on that you should wear a strapless bra, but I didn’t want to say anything”.
By the end of the night the votes were in. Despite everyone agreeing that they had noticed prom girl’s bra and that she should in fact wear a strapless one next time, they also unanimously agreed that sorry girl should have kept her mouth shut. And so, sorry girl was vilified for saying what everyone else was thinking. The outcome of which, I find very unfair. If her boyfriend or friends had been honest with prom girl in the first place, the situation would never have arisen and a good night could have been had by all.
Maybe sorry girl was wrong and I’m just being biased, because I’m the type of person who would say, “That dress looks shit, you should burn it” or “I’m late because I went to the pub, now let’s have a nice little argument about it” or “You’re right, I don’t like you” I have often been accused of being brutally honest and sometimes I’ll say something then instantly realise I should have kept my mouth shut, but for the most part I get away with it. My friends always say, if you don’t really want to know, then don’t ask me, and yet I’m the one they all come to for advice.
When I ask someone for their opinion, I actually want to know what they think, not what they think I want to hear. Honesty is the best policy and the truth hurts, but maybe if we spent less time lying to each other, and actually said what we thought, it wouldn’t be such a shock when someone actually tells us the truth.