A Little Exaggeration

We all know lying is wrong, but we still sneak in mistruths every day.

I share white lies with telemarketers: the owner of the home is out, salespeople: I’ll be back to try on that expensive gown after nap time, my children: No sweetheart, the candy lining the shelves at the drugstore that you can grab easily is just for display, even my husband” I have a headache.

At 31 I don’t feel the need to stretch the truth about my age but I can understand why others might. People have told me that they assumed I was older because of my maturity, something I accept as a compliment. My favorite is when store owners mistake me for my children’s nanny, but they may just be trying to drum up extra business.

Laura Bennett wrote in her book Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday that she tells people she is older than she really is. Bennett may look good at 45, but if you thought she was 50, then she’s really smoking.

I recently hired an organizer, I know totally indulgent but she was having a half price sale and that pile of papers on top of my desk needed to be tamed. As we spoke and organized and gossiped, I assumed we were around the same age. After discussing boyfriends, parents and where to file a receipt, I asked her age. 39. I was surprised and began searching for crow’s feet or those little vertical wrinkles above the lip line. She either had great genetics or took amazing care of her skin because she could easily pass for 29.

Talking to her about dating, on and off line she did not emit a desperate neurotic need to marry and have children immediately, although I am sure she would have liked it. And even though she owned her own organizing company, she was not a totally driven Type A career-aholic. In other words, an I hope I do not offend, not a typical single 39 year old woman.

“I bet most men expect you to be bitter,” I said.

She nodded and told me of horror stories her dates had experienced. One woman said that she intended to be engaged in six months and pregnant in twelve. All revealed before the waiter served the bread basket.

Given that everything about my organizer contradicted her actual age I began to think that she should downplay her age. In less euphemistic terms, lie. Her match.com dates admitted to shaving a few years off their age and I think she could easily pass for 37. After a second or third date or when he admits to his mis-number she could reveal her actual age.

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