This article is just for men. See the picture? It’s full of blood, gore, and testosterone-fueled rage, so women should just pass it by. Honest!
Okay. Now that we know that the women — having read the disclaimer above and bored half to death by that image of Ultimate Manliness — are all ignoring this article, pull up a chair, and pop open a cold one. If you want, there’s some hot coffee over there if you want, Navy style. I made it last week so it’s still fresh, and with a pinch of salt to take out the bitterness. Don’t even ask for creamer or sugar. Do that and I’ll take your Man Card away from you.
Now let’s get down to business. No, I’m not going to say “we need to talk” because that’s what a woman would say, and that phrase makes most of us break out in hives. Instead, let’s just shoot the breeze. As you all know, the two phrases are very different, just like dolls and action figures are as different as night and day.
So…how many of of us here have lied to our wives? Wait, don’t answer that.
Instead, raise your hand if you have never lied to your wife. Okay, as we can all tell by the complete lack of raised hands, we’ve all done it at least once. Don’t feel bad, because I’m pretty sure that Mary Todd Lincoln wouldn’t allow Honest Abe to raise his hand, and while ol’ George Washington might have said “I cannot tell a lie” when asked about that cherry tree, I think we can all agree he wouldn’t have raised his hand, either. Right? Right.
Now, how many of us have never been caught lying to our wives? Wait, what’s that? We’ve got one guy here who says he’s never been caught lying to his wife? Hey…I know you! You’re that politician who cheated on all three of his wives! Go on, get out of here — this is just for us who have a clue that being a husband is more than just popping a blue pill before thirty seconds of sweat and alimony payments for life. Don’t let the door hit you where your mama slapped you on the way out!
Now that he’s gone, anybody else here never been caught lying to your wives? Right. We’ve all been caught and convicted in the court of marriage. No jury, no appeal. We’ve all had to serve our time in the doghouse. Now, why did we lie? Was it because we didn’t care about what our wives thought? Nah. We lied because we DO care about what our wives thought.
We all remember when we got caught, don’t we? Yeah, we do. Like the time when my wife and I were at the mall and I happened to glance over her shoulder and saw two good-looking girls walking by, and she saw my eyes and asked me what I was looking at. I mumbled something stupid and she called me on it. I finally fessed up and admitted that I’d lied to her, and the rest of the afternoon was no fun. Yeah, we all know it’s hard for any red-blooded hetero man to not look at attractive girls walking by, but it can be done. It takes practice. And I can see by how the older husbands here are nodding their heads that I’m not the only one who’s figured that out. The rest of you who don’t get that yet should just bear this in mind: your wife is always watching your eyes, even if she’s not looking at you. Think I’m kidding? Didn’t your mother ever tell you she has eyes in the back of her head? You gonna call your mom a liar? Didn’t think so. If you happen to look at another girl in her presence, she’s going to know it. And yes, your eyes are married to her, too.
But the point is, I didn’t lie because I didn’t care about her feelings. I lied because I do care very much about how she feels. Problem is, if we do something that we have to lie about to keep from hurting their feelings, it’s almost a damned-if-we-do, damned-if-we-don’t kind of situation, isn’t it? Yeah. But here’s what I learned: if we just don’t do anything we’d have to lie about, then we wouldn’t have to lie in the first place. You younger husbands take note at the older ones here — see the smiles they have on their faces? That’s called a “rueful smile”, the kind of smile you wear when you hear somebody talk about learning a lesson the hard way, when you’ve already learned that same lesson in that same hard way.
Again, just don’t do things you’d have to lie about. Ain’t easy, takes practice, but you can do it. I mean, don’t do it. C’mon, stop looking at me like that— you know what I mean.
Okay, there’s another more lesson I learned along the way, but this one doesn’t correlate so much with age. Have any of you ever known a truth-teller? I mean, somebody who never seems to tell a lie unless it’s one of those little white lies like we tell to kids? Well, my wife’s one of those. If she says something, it’s because that’s what she really believes to be true. If she says it’s raining frogs outside, she’s not kidding. She might be badly wrong, but she’s not lying. Anybody know somebody like this? I just saw some of you raise your hands, but I bet every one of you knows somebody like this, and you just don’t realize it.
Hey! I see that look on your faces. I know this all sounds like BS to you, but hear me out first. Remember how I told you about when she caught me in a lie? So as time went on, I did my level best to stop lying. It wasn’t easy, because a career in the Navy taught me that lies were sometimes necessary to cover my butt so I wouldn’t lose that career. But I did stop lying. Mostly.
And I discovered something along the way, something I didn’t expect at all: the more one tells the truth, the more one can hear the ring of truth. Y’all know what I’m talking about? You — the goth wannabe there in back. Yeah, you. I can see that deer-in-the-headlights look, so here’s what I mean. The phrase “ring of truth” refers to someone saying something in such a way that you just know it’s true. How many here think that’s BS? See? Most people here think the ring of truth is nonsense. Know what? So did I for most of my life.
But as I tried to always tell the truth as best I could, I began to realize that I could usually tell when the other person’s being completely truthful. No, I’m not a human lie-detector test. I can’t tell when someone is lying, but I can normally tell when someone is saying what he or she truly believes. It’s just a combination of what’s said, and the way it’s said. I can’t explain it, but it’s there. That’s what becoming a truth-teller taught me.
Look at it another way: think on your own career. You over there with the high-and-tight haircut — are you a Marine? Yeah? Can someone else who’s never been a Marine make you believe he knows what it’s like to be a Marine, hoofing it for miles in the mud and hoping for anything but blood? Not so much, huh? And you, the one with the ‘stache and the coffee cup big enough to swim in — you said you’re a firefighter, right? You know what it’s like to search for bodies in a house on fire and filled with smoke, and how you’re praying they’re not dead yet like the mom and kids you found in a burned-out trailer a couple months before. Can some civilian who’s never done that convince you that he’s the same as you? Didn’t think so.
So it goes with truth-tellers. If you’re a truth-teller, you’ve probably got years of experience being a truth-teller, and so you pretty much know when someone else is a truth-teller, too. See what I mean? Ain’t easy, but it can be done. Back in the day, I’d lie like a dog trottin’ because I thought everyone else did, too. Now I know better.
What? You never heard “lie like a dog trottin’ before?” It’s an old saying Down South. Just means somebody lies as fast as a dog can trot. Now don’t you go and get me distracted — I’m almost done here!
One last thing. There’s a saying I once heard. I was told it was a French saying, but who knows? Anyway, it goes like this: “The man who refuses to lie, does not love his wife.” This saying is as true as it gets. Want proof? When your wife asks you “Does this dress make me look fat?”, what are you going to say? I rest my case. There is a time to lie. The great thing about being a truth-teller is that when you absolutely must lie, you’re a lot more likely to be believed. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but that’s my experience.
Okay, so I’ve said my piece. ‘Sides, she’s gonna be expecting me at home soon. We’ll have supper and I’ll give her a foot rub while we watch Grey’s Anatomy, and while we do that I’ll remind myself that I really am the luckiest stiff on the planet. ’Cause I really am.