By Roberta Hart
Why don’t people ever just say what they mean? We teach our children not to lie, but what we are actually saying is, “just lie when it is a NICE lie.” If we are going to be honest, then just do it already.
I was in an elevator the other day, and a pompous ass backed up like he didn’t see me when he got on the freakin thing in the first place, and stepped on my foot. He didn’t even bother to turn around when he mumbled a half hearted, disingenuous “uh, sorry”. Now sir, if you are reading this, I would have been perfectly fine if you had just said what you thought, which was, “how dare you insignificant cretin be standing in the way of where I need to stand, after all, I am me, Dr. Whatever, and I have more value than you.” You see? Then I could have responded with, “Your cologne is gagging me, please move forward.”
Frankly, this whole thing is an enigma to me. How many times have we all done the same things? You are in the grocery store, or at the bank, or “adult” store, whatever, and you see someone that you haven’t seen for years. I bet there is a reason why you haven’t seen them. Nine times out of ten, it is due to the fact that you no longer had the desire to do so. So why in the hell do we say “oh, hello, it is sooooo good to see you again!” (insert forced excitement at the word “so”) Listen, neither one of you want to say it. You both want to just pretend like you didn’t see the other person. So, if you are just compelled to say something due to the awkward nature of the situation, tell the truth. Try this, “Oh damn. I thought that I would never see you again, and frankly, I was unprepared for seeing you now. I am not going to hug you with the phony pat on the back. I am just going to walk away and spare us both the phone call to our friends later just to say, ‘ugh, guess who I ran into today.’” Now, doesn’t that sound better? Then you can still call your friends and describe the look on the other person’s face. Trust me, that is a much more entertaining call to make.
If you get your hair cut and change the color, and your friend says, “Oh, you cut your hair? I love the color, it compliments your skin tones.” Well, that means you look like crap. When they notice your haircut and state it in the form of a question, that is their way of avoiding the statement that they actually want to make, and that is, “What the hell were you thinking, as if you didn’t look old enough with that wispy, mousy, out dated hair-do that you had before, now you look like my grandmother did when they laid her out for her viewing.” Then when they compliment your “skin tone”, trust me, they wouldn’t know a complimentary skin tone if their lives depended on it. I know this because of the multitude of women running around with the wrong color foundation on their faces. It is just something that they say because they heard someone else say it, and you really can’t question it because YOU don’t know what the hell a complimentary skin tone is either. Try this, “How much did you pay for THAT? You should get your money back, and I really hope that you didn’t tip the stylist. Please don’t ever do that again, on occasion I have to be seen in public with you, and then I look like an ass for not telling my friend that they look awful.” She may cry. But really, you are saving her the embarrassment of hearing it from her mother-in-law.
Now that is a truthful creature right there, the mother-in-law. I have come to the conclusion that is the reason that so many people love to hate their in-laws. There is a profound truth that is carried within the separation of an in-law. By separation, I mean that they can re-direct their short-comings, as a parent by pointing out the failures of yours. The sad thing is that most of the time, they are right. So, the next time your mother-in-law asks you why you don’t visit more, instead of telling her that you are too busy, or the kids are sick, try this, “If you would ever just enjoy our company, and the company of your grandchildren WITHOUT your constant reminders that you did a better job with your kids than I am doing with mine, maybe we would visit more. Oh, and by the way, I talked to grandma *insert her in-laws last name here* and she says the same about you.” It may cause some strain at the next holiday function, but hey, the other in laws will secretly love you more, I promise.
So you are thinking that I am just trying to stir up some crap, huh? Nope. I am telling you that we have convinced ourselves, as a society that to be “polite” is ALWAYS the best policy. It isn’t. It promotes bad behavior. You perpetuate it every time you tell one of those “harmless little lies”. This all feeds into my “some people just suck” theory. If they can’t hear the truth, and feel that they maybe should modify their behavior accordingly, well then, they are just people who suck. We need to know who they are! Since tattooing them with “I SUCK” isn’t a viable option, then we just have to sort it out for ourselves on an individual level. The only way to do that is with the truth. The truth reveals so much about a person, whether it be good or bad. I firmly believe that relationships, friendships and family would be a more appropriately matched if it is based on the truth. Try it. The next time a lady rams into you with her cart in the grocery store, even though she clearly saw you there, and says “excuse me.”, then just say, “no, you ignorant, self absorbed jerk! I bet you park in the fire lane, and handicapped spots because you just have to ‘run in for a minute’, don’t you??? I will NOT excuse you, because you saw me, and ran into me anyway. Go around me, and watch out for someone else who doesn’t care that you are in their way.” At least she will shut up for a minute, and the rest of the day, she will think twice about parking in the handicapped spot.
This article is excerpted from the Winter 2010 Issue of WE Magazine for women. You can read more articles for women here: http://www.staging.wemagazineforwomen.com/WEMagWinterSpring2010.pdf