A friend just got a strange haircut that makes her look like a young David Cassidy. She asks your opinion. Careful, because you have two options: one is the truth. “Janine, you look like a young David Cassidy.” The other, which I’d recommend, is to tell a white lie. “You look great, Janine. This haircut is the new bob. If I wasn’t so attached to my Rapunzel-like cascading waterfall of a mane, I would totally copy you.” She smiles, you smile, you both go home happy. No harm, no foul, and the end result is a win.
But what about the white lies we tell for no sake other than our own amusement?
Sometimes, if I don’t feel like telling people my real name, I offer the alias Carol instead. Carol — poor, sweet Carol — has been offered up as my pseudonym ever since I was a sophomore in high school. I am Carol any time I don’t want to reveal my true title, any time I don’t like someone that I’m meeting, or any time I’m bored at a bar and feel like messing with an unsuspecting man who, at the end of the day, is just trying to buy me a beer.
My friend Dee does a similar thing to strangers. She works in fashion, but makes up random professions because she’d rather not get into the inevitable conversation that starts with the world’s most annoying question — “how do I look?” — from the uninitiated. So instead of acting as the one woman version of that TLC style show, she tells the men she meets that she’s a professional chef, or a commodities trader. Once she was an ophthalmologist which was rather bold but then again, you don’t meet many ophthalmologists in general at the bars we frequent so mostly, she’s safe.
My friend Jess used to claim she could freestyle rap. We’d be at a party when suddenly she’d let her fake fact slip, and within two seconds a crowd would be surrounding her with a Glee stand-in on beat box. She’d fake a freestyle by repeating the lyrics to “Bad Boys For Life,” and somehow never got caught. (Except for that one time she did, but people were so impressed that she knew all the lyrics by heart so everyone forgave her white rhyming lie.)
I suppose there comes a time in life when one decides to stop telling white lies for the sake of amusement, but until that time comes — Taylor Swift, you’ll let us know right? — let your self indulgent white lies fly, and for the love of all that is Carol, PLEASE tell us yours.