With social media blowing up with posts about Valentine’s Day and everyone anticipating the fat little cupid and the romantic gifts he’ll leave behind, I got curious about some lesser-known holidays that we don’t celebrate with quite the same group enthusiasm. A quick Google search came up with Laughing Day, Pork Rind Appreciation Day, International Sex Bomb Day, 50 Llamas Day, and OMG, Honesty Day.
I’m always entertained by couple who brag that they’re “totally honest” with each other. These marital puppies have usually been married less than a year and have yet to learn that total honesty is to a marriage what a souped-up Mustang is to a new teenage driver…a crash just waiting to happen.
For the record, I’m not recommending you lie about life-altering issues. “Of course I want lots of children,” when the truth is you can’t stand any humans under the age of 20, or “No, I most emphatically did not sleep with your best friend that weekend you went into rehab,” when, in fact, you did, making you a complete douche who will eventually get caught by your wife or by karma, are what researchers call “hard lies,” noted for being self-serving and existing primarily to protect the liar.
“White lies” are told to protect the other person. When there’s nothing to be gained by telling the “totally honest truth,” a little white lie is often kinder. Bad haircuts, winter weight gain, a less-than-flattering, but beloved pair of jeans, are all fleeting. But she’ll remember your “honest criticism” forever.
White lies can usually be defined by the alternate title, “Tell Me What I Want to Hear.”
1. “I painted my office fuchsia. Isn’t it fabulous?” Your first thought was that all it’s missing is a giant disco ball, but it’s her office and it’s just paint. If she loves it, you love it.
2. “I have a headache. Otherwise, I’d be so into sex with you right now.” This is the insurmountable, great-barrier-reef excuse (Impossible to dispute. You’ll just have to take our word for it) for not feeling the duo monkey dance at that moment. You can challenge the excuse (“You had a headache last week”) and possibly overcome her sex-resistant ensemble of fleece sweats and your old t-shirt, but don’t bother to ask “Was it good for you?” She may be more honest than you’d like.
3. “Of course I love your friends. Who wouldn’t love Tommy, who’s so proud that he can drink the entire contents of our beer fridge every time he stops by. Or Jack, who never goes anywhere without his 90-pound Pit Bull aptly named Diablo. They’re just hoots.” Tell Tommy to bring his own damn beer and ask Jack to leave Diablo outside, preferably on a leash, and she might stop slamming cupboard doors in the kitchen whenever the boys come over.
4. “Thanks, honey, I just love it,” when referring to your gift of arguably the ugliest sweater anyone ever paid money for. Over the past three decades in retail, I’ve heard dozens of women tell stories about gifts from Hubs that make them question if he’s ever actually noticed what she wears, like ever. “After 15 years of marriage, he thinks I’m jones’ing for a pink Hello Kitty sweater with a rhinestone message across my boobs that says ‘I’m a Kitty Kat.’ HAVE WE MET??” We either quietly return them or tuck them away somewhere. And if you ask, we’ll say “It’s at the drycleaners,” because we hate the sweater, but we love you.
5. “Absolutely not,” when, upon seeing a commercial for Botox, you ask if we’d ever do something that silly. The fact is we’ve been shelling out serious bucks over the past five years to slow the evidence of the passage of time, but it just never seemed the right time to toss out “By the way, Honey Buns, I get botulism injected into my face four times a year. And how was your day?”
6. The uber-classic “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” which can only be answered with “That’s not possible.”
7. “Do you really want to go to my family reunion in Omaha?” Not just no. It’s more of a “Oh hell, no.” But you can rock the answer with “I’ll go anywhere, as long as it’s with you,” significantly reducing episodes of sudden-onset migraines at bedtime (see#2).
8. “Do you think my sister is pretty?” Make no mistake. That question means “prettier than me?” A time-honored response is “She’s okay, but you definitely got the looks in your family.” But “I’ve never noticed” is the Mac Daddy you-got-this answer, especially if you can manage to look slightly confused at the question.
9. “My parents are fighting. Do you mind if my mother stays with us for a while?” Concede defeat at any question concerning her mother. By the time she asks this question, Mom is in the driveway. With a toothbrush.
10. “I told my sister we’d watch her two dogs this weekend so she and Hubs can get away. Is that okay?” Sissy’s two dogs include a thousand-pound Great Dane and a Bull Mastiff currently undergoing pet therapy for anger issues, but she already said yes, so you can either look like a jerk who doesn’t care about her sister’s happiness, or you can throw a blanket into the garage and look like a hero. But no matter how you respond, the dogs are staying.
Hubs and I recently heard the Marital Lie, in its purest form, in the dumbest movie ever, where the dying wife, gasping her last tragic breath, tells her husband she wants him to fall in love again and be happy without her. I don’t think so. I told Kenny that that woman is stupid, and it was just a movie.
If I go first, he’s allowed a brief mourning period (two weeks ought to do it), then he’s to keel over dead from a broken heart and join me in the afterlife so we can be together forever, like he promised.
In the meantime, go warm up the car. We’re going to Great-Aunt Bertha’s for dinner. Yes, she still has 15 cats and a goiter. But you always said you liked her.