Friday, June 19, 2009

Laughing at Lies

"Lie to me, I'll believe. But please, don't leave..." - Sheryl Crowe

I married a wonderful liar. Todd lies so effortlessly and smoothly, it's like he was born to do it. I overhear him on the phone talking his double speak, lies rolling around on his tongue like colorful balls on a pool table. His lies are full of descriptive details that make it unlikely anybody listening will question the veracity of what they are hearing.

"We just got done sailing...yeah, it was great. The wind was just perfect." He said excitedly, without breaking, to his mother over the phone after we had just spent an hour pushing the rusty pedals of a paddle boat in a shallow lake the approximate size of a swimming hole. He continued, adding detail after detail to this fiction. After he hung up he looked over at me with this wacky grin.

"Why do you lie?" I asked him laughing.

"Because it's fun." He shrugged nonchalantly.

He lies so often and unnecessarily that I'm beginning to believe I'm dealing with some sort of pathology. Which is fine. He's entitled to a few neuroses. I wouldn't expect any man that falls in love with me to be normal. What's odd is that he is constantly (and jokingly) accusing me of lying. He has this idea that if I look up and to the left when processing an answer to a question, then I am attempting to access the creative centers of my brain and create a deceptive response. I'm sure he saw this on the Discovery channel once and now he's this total expert. I'm like, "Why don't you just shine a bright light in my eyes and interrogate me properly?" I wouldn't mind a little bad cop/resistant suspect role play here and there.

What happens when you realize your lover is a such a good liar, liar pants on fire? Well, for one you begin to doubt every word that's ever come out of his mouth. "You're pretty." "I'm playing golf." "We just played some black jack and went out for a few beers." "I love you." Really? Could that even be true?

I consider - "Well, he married me, didn't he?" Yes, yes he did. Bought an elegant one-carat solitaire diamond embedded in a platinum band a few days after I told him I was pregnant, got down on bended knee, and said, well, I don't even remember what words he spoke because I was stunned. And suffering from early pregnancy nausea. And, really, a lot stunned. There's a problem with getting knocked up before you're married. You just never know if he would have vowed lifelong commitment if it weren't for your delicate condition. When he asks, "Will you marry me?" he is also saying "I became a man pretty much the second you told me about a little pink plus sign on a stick you pissed on. This is me, manning up, taking responsibility for you and that there little life blooming in your belly." And that's a beautiful thing, it really is. But you just never know because you don't get to look down that other road. So that issue hovers over your relationship like a storm cloud that won't break, not after rain, or in the face of rainbows and rays of sunshine, or in the wake of migrating flocks of birds. I think that deep down underneath the vows and the civility and obligatory fucking he actually hates me. Now, that is something I can sink my teeth into. Hating me is something I can understand.

We're having lunch at Cosi one day last week and here's what goes down (not me, dirty minded people!).

"That girl is totally cute," Todd says, nodding towards the register.

"That one?" I pointed to a girl in her mid-twenties, frizzy hair and definitely not like the stick figures he normally ogles with hungry eyes.

"No, the one in front of her." And he nods towards a thinner, cuter girl.

"Oh. Ok. Is she about my size, would you say?" I knew I was turning down a dangerous road, but I went anyway. Emotional suicide.

"Nah, she's not your size. You're a lot bigger than she is." He says it so coolly with such conviction. He waited a beat for it to sink in and sting. And then he started laughing.

"Asshole." But I was laughing too, so it's OK.

"I know! I am an asshole to you a lot. I say so many mean things to you and I don't know why. You're just such an easy target."

"Well, I like when you're actually being honest..."

"But I'm not. I just said that to be mean, because I knew it would rile you up. You're way smaller than her, actually. I promise."

"I think maybe you hate me," I surmised, quietly over sandwiches.

"I think maybe you're right." He says this likes he's joking but I don't know. I don't fucking know. He leaned over and kissed me on the mouth. On the way home in the car, he said, "You look real pretty with your hair like that, baby."

"You're such a liar. You just feel bad. The compliment is pretty much lost on me at this point." Still laughing.

"Hey! I'm trying. I love you, you know that I do."

I don't know that I do. I'm not sure what love is or what lies are. I don't know where the truth begins or ends or if it's like one of those trick pictures where it can be two different things at the same time. What if he loves me and he hates me? What if he loves what I should be, what I could be and hates what I actually am, what I've become? What if the brokenness in me has led me to a barren place where nothing good can grow? Love can't live here anymore. Storm clouds blocking the sun. I can plant and plant rows of seeds and only deadness comes out of the soil for the harvest. That's what I get for only being sad and laughing at lies.


  1. The thing about the eyes moving a certain way when you're lying, totally from the movie 'The Negotiator'.

    As for the love thing, I don't know you very well but here's what I see. From everything I've read, you've been through a lot. A lesser man would have walked away a long ass time ago. If he didn't love you completely, he would've left so he wouldn't have to deal with everything. Having kids can make you stick around for a little while or "man up", but love for your partner will last until death do you part. I honestly believe he loves you with every part of his being.

  2. I am the worst liar ever. I never get away with anything.

    My husband practically becomes like Rainman when we are around pretty women because he doesn't want to hear it from me. It's comical how hard he tries NOT to look at them, and then we make eye contact and bust out laughing because we know exactly what's going on in each other's head.

  3. I'm not sure Brent has ever pointed out an attractive woman to me. I'm usually the one that does that.

    Frankly I think he's full of shit if he thinks I don't know that he notices them. All men look. Just like all women look. Isn't it human nature? I don't know. Maybe not.

  4. are you being extra introspective at the moment? the last couple of posts you're being really hard on yourself. should we be worried?

    and is that a different photo of the two of you on your sidebar?

  5. Foxglove - so THAT's where he got that lie detection shit from. Thank you! What you say makes a lot of sense, about him staying with me despite so many reasons to leave. That's got to count for something.

    YTD - My husband loves to look at women too. I guess all hetero men do, some are just better at hiding it than others. I actually look at women, too, so I get it. I'm a terrible liar also. I'm always telling Todd that he doesn't need to do the "eye test" to know I'm lying.

    Candice - Yeah, I usually point them out too. I love looking at women also. It doesn't bother me in the slightest that he looks. I hope I didn't come off as jealous, because I'm really not jealous. I sometimes will compare myself to other women, whether or not I'm thinner or shorter, etc. It's the comparison and the negative evaluation of myself that gets me in emotional trouble, you know?

    Nurse Myra - Oh please don't be worried! I'm typically introspective, living most of my life inside my head (if that makes any sense). I haven't been diagnosed officially (I'm afraid to ask my therapist for my diagnosis), but I think I might be clinically depressed. That would explain the "woe is me", overly pessimistic content of my posts lately. I'm sorry for that. I don't want to alienate any of my awesome readers because of my illness. And yes, I thought it was time for a new picture. That was taken in happier times, on vacation in Honolulu in 2004. You are very observant!

  6. I'm a liar as well. I don't know why. I lie as a default setting. I have to concentrate in order to tell the truth. I try really hard these days, but sometimes my programming wins. I don't get it, but I hate it.

    I don't know how to feel about this post of yours. Your guy shouldn't revel in it.

  7. I used to joke around with my wife (not about appearances or hating her, but still) until one day she told me it hurt her feelings and I stopped. Sure, once in a great while (we're talking in number of times per year on one hand) I screw up and use an old joke, but mostly I avoid it.

    I don't know if telling your husband would get you the same result or not, but maybe it's worth a try.

  8. If I'm in a social setting, and I'm bored, I start telling stories. Because first, I say to myself, "Only boring people get bored, and you are not boring." And then I introduce myself to someone, and start lying. It just comes out so naturally.

  9. A Free Man - Lies amuse me. The more fantastical the better. I wish I were better at lying and making up shit.

    Sci Fi Dad - Todd knows it bothers me, that WHY he does it. He's got a mean streak :) It's Ok. I'm a big girl, I can take it.

    Rassles - Yes, lies can be super entertaining. I love liars. I married one. You are right about only boring people getting bored. Interesting people make their own fun. I wish you lived near me, I would totally hang out with you. Or probably just end up tagging along with you and all your cool friends. And they'd be like, "Why did you bring her?" And you'd just go, "She asked. What was I supposed to do? I don't want to hurt her feelings."

  10. Ok, so are we all liars here or what?