Dubious would be the best way to describe my reaction upon coming across this list of “6 Times It’s Okay to Lie to Her” by Men’s Health blogger Cassie Shortsleeve. For hers is the opinion of only one woman, out of a reported 3.2 billion, and I know for a fact that at least five of those spoken for (my mother, my sister, and at least three ex-girlfriends who regard me in a less than favorable light) have never really appreciated my lies under any circumstances.
Related: The Top 10 Lies Men Tell Women
Admittedly, the six lies that I am about to review are rather trivial, harmless ones. But you know how they call marijuana a gateway drug? I believe there are gateway lies: the more someone realizes he/she can get away with minor acts of dishonesty, the more likely he/she is to test the waters with more substantive ones. One day you’re sneaking a few beers with the guys when you’re supposed to be screening potential wedding deejays, next thing you know — BAM! — you’re anonymous finance guy, holed up in a Manhattan hotel room with a paid escort in your lap while you explain to your wife over the phone that you’re going to be home late for the fifth night this week.
So do these six fibs qualify as gateway lies or truly harmless ones? Let’s have a look:
Related: The Top 10 Likes Women Tell Men
1. Lying About How Much You Spent (On Something For Her)
You Say: “Oh, that old thing? It was on sale. I practically stole it.”
The Truth: “I fasted and lived in total darkness for three weeks saving up for it.”
My Advice: If you share finances, or are jointly saving up for something (say an expensive trip or a wedding), I can’t really condone lying about money. If you get in the habit of spending lavishly on her but fibbing about the price-tags, who’s to say you won’t soon be self-gifting with the same philosophy as your excuse?
2. Lying About Checking Out that Girl You Just Checked Out
You Say: “Checking who out? No way, babe! I’ve only got eyes for you.”
The Truth: “Damn. How could I not check that girl out?”
My Advice: If the girls you check out return your looks, such that you routinely engage in bouts of eye-f**king or pantomime at strange girls for their numbers right in front of your girlfriend, then yes, there’s probably an underlying problem. Otherwise, she should accept your wandering eyes as part of human nature — chances are she not-so-accidentally sizes someone up from time to time as well.
3. Lying When She Asks You if She “Looks Fat”
You Say: “Of course not! Are you crazy? You look incredible.”
The Truth: “Well … umm … you don’t exactly look like Calista Flockhart in it. Not that that’s a bad thing.”
My Advice: If it’s getting to the point that her expansion project is decreasing your attraction to her, then you might consider saying something. Chances are she’s acutely aware of any changes in her body, though, so you telling her as much is only going exacerbate her anxiety over it as well as any tension between the two of you. As long as you still love her just the same (and you should, @$$hole), telling her she looks great even though you’ve seen her look better is about the most harmless lie in existence.
4. Lying About Whether You Were “Listening” to Her or Not
You Say: “Yup. Got it. Every word. Can you move from in front of the TV now? It’s the fourth quarter.”
The Truth: “I literally did not perceive a single word you just said. It’s the fourth quarter.”
My Advice: So I am to believe that nodding my head and feigning attention while completely tuning her out is more acceptable than admitting that I wasn’t paying attention? Sorry, not buying it. To me, the best option here is admitting guilt (“Sorry babe: I was distracted. Would you mind running that by me again?”) and then paying extra-special attention when she repeats herself. This may not qualify as a gateway lie, but it’s definitely one that will get you in trouble later, when she inevitably revisits the topic she was previously ranting about and realizes you didn’t transmit a word of it.
Related: 7 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Lying
5. Lying About a Prior Engagement to Get Out of Helping Her with Something When She’s Stressed
You Say: “Pick up your laundry? Oh, I’d love to babe, but I just can’t. I have a … err … uh … thing. With the guys. Softball game. Or maybe it was Habitat for Humanity. Can’t remember.”
The Truth: “I totally could help you out. Then again, I’m pretty comfortable here in front of my 52-inch plasma sipping on this tall, cool Budweiser.”
My Advice: If she’s in a bad mood, shouldn’t my primary concern regard how best I can help alleviate her stress/anger/frustration? And mightn’t a good way to do that be to sacrifice an hour or two of my otherwise couch-bound day by a) leaving her alone and b) reducing her stress by running an errand on her behalf? Surely this is a better option than pretending as if I have something more important to attend to while she tears her hair out and zings dinner plates past my head.
Successful relationships depend on accepting that both parties can — and should — play an active role in maintaining the other’s well-being. If you can’t help her with some menial task in the middle of an especially stressful day, how can she be expected to depend on you in more trying circumstances?
6. Lying About The Fast Food You Ate for Lunch
You Say: “Burger and fries? Yeahhh, right. Try fruit parfait and grilled chicken wrap.”
The Truth: “I wonder how long before she notices this giant dollop of mayonnaise on my shirt?”
My Advice: The real question is what about your relationship demands that you lie to her about eating a burger in the first place? Does your pre-nup involve dietary conditions? Is she under the false impression that you are a vegan? All in all, yes, this strikes me as a fairly harmless bit of dishonesty. That being said, you’re a grown-ass man, and I hope that qualifies you as capable of deciding what you can or cannot eat for lunch.
A lie this trivial almost seems like a good indicator of pathological lying tendencies, insofar as I can’t imagine why it would be necessary to fabricate such a thing. In my experience, someone who lies about seemingly innocuous bits of information should definitely be regarded with caution when it comes to more serious matters.