Remember that episode of “Friends” where Joey can’t lie? Every lie he told inexplicably contained a far-fetched story involving a raccoon, immediately discrediting said lie. Phoebe gave him a couple tricks and tips, but ultimately we learn that Joey is a bad liar. This got me thinking… is there such a thing as a good liar? Like, I know there are people who are good at lying, but is it a good thing to be considered a good liar?
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a rather fetching gentleman at the gym; cute, intelligent, employed… all the boxes checked (I have very low box standards). We had a lovely conversation; I was charming – he was engaging – he complimented my eyes (duh)… we laughed and talked of memories past. All in all, it was a good day. (Though I’m blanking on whether I actually worked out…)
Anyway, the conversation came to a close, and – as a parting shot – he told me how nice it was to meet a ‘nice, honest guy’ and that he was sick of ‘all of the games’ that gay guys play. He then asked for my number, and I was only too happy to comply (at the very least, the guy had good taste, right?) But, as I have learned many lessons the hard way, before I gave him my number, I asked if he was single. He smiled, grabbed my hand, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I took that as a ‘Yes – I am single.’
YES I KNOW NOW THAT WAS A HUGE MISTAKE. STOP YELLING AT ME.
Lo and behold, a few hours later, we started texting. Small talk small talk small talk, and then CUT TO:
Him: “Nothing – just waiting on my ex. We’re going to the grocery store.”
Me: “Oh – it’s cool you guys are friends.”
Him: “Yeah – we still live together. And I’m dating someone else now, but there’s no chemistry, so as soon as I end things with him we can go to a movie.”
We never did get to go to that movie, but I have a feeling had we gone, it would have been “Liar Liar” or “What Lies Beneath” or “Cabaret”. (Cuz that one stars LIE-ZA Minelli. Get it? Or maybe “Clueless” starring A-LIE-cia Silverstone? Ugh – I know – these aren’t my best. Please stop yelling at me.) In retrospect, I guess technically – technically – he didn’t lie. Technically. Although following that line of logic, technically I wasn’t lying a few years ago when I said “I haven’t met anyone special yet” to my grandmother when she asked me why I didn’t have a girlfriend…
Anyway. All of this got me to thinking about the invention of lying. I’ve been lied to many times:
“I’m single.” (He wasn’t.)
“We’re in an open relationship.” (They weren’t.)
“I just started back to school.” (Bartending school.)
“I don’t do drugs anymore.” (He did.)
“I’ll pay you back.” (He didn’t.)
“I’m totally STD free.” (This one was on me. I should have realized that he meant the STDs were free – it’s my fault for not getting clarification on that one. Context changes everything, folks.)
That said, I think it’s only fair to say that, I, too, have lied to a potential suitor… or, in some cases, to make someone not a potential suitor. (Though full disclosure, it’s much more the latter than the former.) Look, sometimes you meet someone and they are spitting game so hard (is that still something people say?) but you’re just not interested. Maybe they’re not your type, or maybe they have bad breath, or maybe they have a Deee-Lite tattoo covering their calf (all 3 of these have happened, and I could indeed have “asked for another” as his groove was not in my heart. Yes – that Deee-Lite).
When this happens, I always make up a fake boyfriend. Usually his name is something tough, like ‘Luke’ or ‘Brant’, and he’s an actor and always out of town and I’m just out tonight with my friends. Yes – we’re serious, and yes I love him. Now, armed with that information – if you still want to buy me a drink, who am I to stop you? I do this not to be deceitful, but to be kind. The problem with this, is that I have to keep up the lie for the rest of the night. No big deal, right? Um – not right. See, if later on in the evening, I meet a broad-shouldered, socially awkward gentleman who finds me hilarious – I feel bad giving him my number, as I wouldn’t give it to the first suitor. What if number one sees me giving it to number two nope that analogy sounds gross let’s try what if Suitor 1 sees me give my number to Suitor 2? Or what if they’re roommates? Or really good friends? Then I’m ‘that guy’ and I’ll never get to see Suitor 2 do the horizontal mambo with me. Maybe you think I’m projecting, or perhaps you think my overactive imagination is getting the best of me, but believe me – all of these have happened to me.
“OK – well then, why don’t you just try being honest.” You mean tell someone that I just met that I’m not interested – to their face?! Well, armed with the knowledge I was writing this column, I was looking for an occasion to do just that. And wouldn’t you know – such an occasion presented itself. It didn’t go well (and I promise you that this dialogue is as close to verbatim as I could get):
Him: “Can I get your number?”
Me: “I’m not dating right now.” (Lie, but meant to spare his feelings)
Him: “That’s OK. I still want it.”
Me: “Even though I’m not dating?”
Him: “Yes. I’m like a lesbian – I see what I want and I marry it.” (DANGER.)
So I gave him my work number. Safe, right? NOPE! He texted it and then told me to text him back. Crap.
Me: “I don’t have my phone on me.”
Him: “You just took a picture with it.” (Damn it. He saw that. It was a great pic though – check my IG: @beefinthetrifle)
Me: “Ok – truth is, I gave you my work number. I didn’t give you my cell number.”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “Cuz I’m not dating.”
Him: “I still want it. I’m really drunk by the way.” (Yes, I know.)
Me: “You want my number even though I’m not dating, and there is zero chance of us ever being physical?”
Well fine. So, I gave it to him. And 7 drunken texts over the next 90 minutes later, I blocked said number. SO MUCH FOR YOUR AWESOME ADVICE, DEAR READER. So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that lying makes me paranoid, and telling the truth leads to unintentional heartbreak. (Author’s note: I’m 90% sure he’s not actually heartbroken… but I’m 100% sure that he’s still hungover.)
And before we wrap this all up, there’s one more splorch of wisdom I’d like to share with you. Recently, I was discussing that weird moment when you meet someone and you discuss whether they’re single, or ‘officially’ single, but would possibly consider a date or a dalliance (good word!) with a potential gentleman caller, or ‘officially’ not single. There’s some verbiage that is carefully articulated, and it can be very difficult to discern between the truth and the not-so-much the truth, so I am going to attempt to break this down for you:
1) “I’m not seeing anyone.” = Single. Great. Proceed.
2) “I’m kinda seeing someone…” = They don’t want to feel slutty about sleeping with more than one person. Proceed, but with condoms.
3) “I’m dating someone.” = They are dating someone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect a ‘You up?’ text at an inappropriate hour. Proceed with caution. (My logic: if they had a boyfriend, they’d say “I have a boyfriend.” My friends are a 50/50 split on this. Tweet me your thoughts.)
4) “I have a boyfriend, but…” = It’s possible they have an arrangement. It’s also possible that you don’t care. You’re on your own, pal.
5) “I have a boyfriend.” Period. Walk away and do a shot (unless you’re in AA, in which case get a tattoo) and shake it off.
Look, whether or not I’ve been helpful (I probably have been – I’m very wise), my point in all of this, is this: there are always going to be romantic scenarios in which you consider lying. But I, for one, would not want to be known as someone who is a good liar. I do believe honesty is the best policy, even if the recipient of that policy is kind of a mess. And remember, odds are, you’ve pursued someone who has no interest in you. It’s not the best feeling. But if you do decide to lie, just don’t blame it on a raccoon. Or A-Lie-cia Silverstone.
(I thought maybe that would be funny if I tried again. I won’t lie. It wasn’t.)
Dan has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Master’s degree in Higher Education. He worked as an Assistant Dean at Emory University for 5 years before moving to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue his lifelong dream of writing television. Since then, Dan has written for ‘Make It Or Break It‘ (ABC Family), “Pop-Up Video” (VH1), and currently writes for ABC Family’s hit show ‘The Fosters‘, and he says he’s going to finish writing his first movie any day now. You can find more at beefinthetrfile.blogspot.com, and you can reach him on Twitter and Instagram at @beefinthetrifle.