Telling lies isn’t gender-specific, but have you ever noticed how some of the nicest guys will tell the women they like the biggest lies?
I recently saw a comedian do a routine about why men lie to women. Like all good comedy, it was truth delivered in jest. Men lie to women because they like them — or rather when they like them — and the more they like them, the more they’re apt to lie. Yep! According to this guy, men don’t concoct tall tales for women they don’t care about. Why bother? But if it’s a woman he wants to please, he’ll tell her whatever he thinks she wants to hear. If that requires a lie, so be it.
I thought that was pretty interesting, given that from a woman’s point of view, a man who lies is one of the worst things ever. It qualifies him for a red suit, horns and pitchfork. That’s despite the fact that a fib delivered as flattery, like telling her she is the most beautiful woman in the world, comes with a “get out of jail free” card.
Bigger fabrications — like telling her, “I have to take my grandma to Costco on Friday night” instead of “I’m going to a strip club for my buddy’s bachelor party” — are a necessary evil because he knows she would never graciously accept the truth. A little lie will allow him to enjoy a harmless night out with his buddies without enduring a ration of wrath from her. If that takes a lie, then one will be manufactured, and peace will reign on all fronts.
It took me a long time to accept this about men. Before that, I was the vigilant truth detector, super sleuth, going-to-bust-you-if-you-lie-to-me kind of gal. And guess what? It made the men in my life want to lie to me even more. My demands for perfection were so ridiculously high that in order to appease me, telling a few lies was the only alternative — or at least for the poor guys who still wanted to date me.
A few real-life examples? My ex-husband tried to hide the fact that he skipped paying the rent one month before we got married. I came home from work to find an eviction notice on the front door. Huh? I’d been sending the rent check in faithfully for months! When I called the landlord to inquire, I was told that Philip didn’t pay rent in July (it was now November).
Yes, Philip was a flake, but he was also terrified to tell me the details of his financial situation because he knew I would freak out. The more I tried to control him and make sure he did things the way I thought they should be done, the more he had to lie in an effort to keep things peaceful at home — not a smart move, but in his mind, better to have peace now and deal with the repercussions later.
More tragic, I remember listening to a woman tell how she discovered early in her marriage that her husband, the father of her two children, had been married and divorced before he married her. She was going through some old papers stored in the attic and found the divorce document. When he was in the Army and stationed overseas, he had married and divorced a German woman. The past marriage was discovered early in their marriage and she hated him for it. Her discovery created an abyss between them that never healed, and she used it to create a wedge between her husband and their children. Liar! Liar! Liar!
Fact is, he didn’t tell her about the previous marriage because he knew she wouldn’t marry him if she knew. That was back in the day when “proper” people didn’t get divorced. The marriage in Germany happened when he was 19 and ended before he was 20. There were no children. He wasn’t the devil incarnate; he was a man who didn’t want to tell the woman he loved something she wouldn’t accept. He knew if he told her, it would result in the breakup of their engagement because she would never marry a divorced man.
Now I don’t want to excuse him for that. Lying, bottom line, is wrong. But what I realize now is that the more men like us, the more they want to please us, even if it requires some creative reality. And when we women lay down the law, the more the men in our lives are put into situations where a lie can look like the best solution. What a mess!
A pathological liar is going to lie to anyone at any time. But your average Joe, if he likes you, will likely spin a few tall tales if he knows it will make you like him more — or even just to see you smile. Accepting that will make both of you a lot happier and create an environment where the bigger lies — the ones that cause the real damage — won’t be such a temptation. When he knows you accept him as he is, that you appreciate him at face value, he won’t need to deceive you… unless you ask him if your new jeans make you look fat.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2017 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful city living.