8.22.2005

Why Good Men Lie (revisited)

I'm cheating. I'm blogging in advance because God knows when I can blog again.

This is a re-print from my previous deleted blog (dated 1.21.2005), for the benefit of a female-lawyer-friend who knows better and should feel better. I don't know if I still have the same conviction I had when I wrote it. But reading it again, makes me want to believe in it. So Ayan! Read and weep.

After one practical joke, a broken heart and an unexpected discovery, I thought of tackling an age-old question that has been at the back of my mind for the past month. Why do good men tell half-truths? Picking the minds of my male friends, with side-comments from their girlfriends or wives, I came up with this blog.

Half-truths are true facts with details omitted for a purpose. Half-truths are half-lies. And that makes them lies just the same. The lies I mean here are not the grave ones that would seriously affect humanity, or one that would take advantage of the down-trodden. But just “basic” lies like: (1) failing to mention to a girl you’ve just met that you’re married; or (2) withholding information about your educational background or your real name because doing so might end serious possibilities; or (3) telling a girlfriend that you ran into THE ex and oh, forgot to mention that you accompanied said ex to lunch; or (4) promising to be there when you know you couldn’t because you just can't be at two places at the same time. That sort of lies.

And so my guy-friends defend themselves. Researcher friend reasons, it was not a lie. The question just never came up, and the information was not vital enough not be shared. And he didn't want to offend or hurt in any way. Writer friend says it’s because women are so emotional and an all-out truth can sometimes be better told in small installments. So the truth shall eventually be revealed, as if filtered until the whole picture is clearly visible. And it’s the best way to avoid an all out war with the wife, he says. A high school buddy supposed he assumed too much; that the facts were clear and that he was not hiding anything. Another officemate reasoned that the information was not significant at that time, and need not be said. Still another said, women are just too sensitive and the truth can have disastrous consequences. Women, he said, demand to be treated equally, yet when given the truth, they break down and cry, leaving the guy helpless. Finally, a long-time friend said, “I couldn’t tell her because it would break her heart.” – ooooooooh plleeeeeezzzz. I happen to have strong women friends/family and all of them would probably be cursing right about now.

Fair enough. Men do make these judgments from past experiences with other women. And most often, these experiences were not at all pleasant. And men, being men, will just choose to evade the issue and take the 5th. And the truth stays hidden, till it becomes inevitable to tell. If I have to judge things in black and white, a half-truth is, was and always will be a lie. They are not good. But I always try to perceive things without the lack of color. Everything is in different shades of gray ... or red, or blue, or yellow. Good men do have reasons for their half-truths and they were not meant to hurt. These good men have after all, in the end, come clear before any real danger came to pass (except for that one broken-heart – hikbi, hikbi). And have redeemed themselves with their good intentions, reasoning and yes, bribery - hahaha. So, good men do lie. Their reasons, although a bit one-dimensional, were made from honest judgments and more importantly, their inability to understand women. We women fall off our rockers for the same reasons.

Just this. Women, at least women like me, don’t like to be treated as if we’re fragile. This is after-all the 21st century and we’ve manage to outgrow skirts and the need to be married at 34 (sorry – couldn’t resist). I do declare that although I am woman, I am not afraid of the truth. I may be emotional but my tears do not make me weak. In fact, I believe, it is that which makes me stronger. There would be puny moments, - and this I say without fear of being seemingly helpless -- I think, if I am mature enough, I would have ways to let my man know that I need to be delicate. “Come hither and protect me!” I would say. It’s just Venus with its clouds hiding its insides. It's just the way I am. God made me that way.

My male friends and I think differently, but it doesn’t excuse them into hiding information just to protect my sensibilities from a raging war, an out-right debate or to shield me from a pain I know not - because in the first place, I didn't know the full truth. I would rather like to hear reason - the why behind the what. And I do like a good argument - albeit I lose in most of them - GRIN. But it’s in the passionate exchange of reasoning that a lot of the person is revealed and that makes the discovery a lot more fun and meaningful. So I’d rather that they not lie, or tell half-truths. I'd rather that they tell the whole story and not omit details that I might find unpleasant. I’d rather have the honesty up-front than to postpone dealing with a half-truth later. This theory, of course, is not applicable to the faint of heart. Truth will sometimes hurt and hurt bad. So when your Jack Nicholson testifies that “you can’t handle the truth!”, because you drop tears or lose your smile, be sure you’re woman to correct him. And be sensible enough to stop or postpone the conversation to another day when you become close to violent. Let’s not make hell just because we can’t bear the facts. But maybe, we could calm our insides and go fight another day - reasonably. If we don’t want to be lied at, let’s avoid acting frail, because we’ve gone great lengths to prove we are not. We are just different from men. And men are just different from us. And don’t we just love our differences?

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