Content advisory 18+ A guy was explaining to me once how to tell the perfect lie. He said it with a straight face and matter-of-fact expression, almost as if he were expounding on how you can pack the most clothes into a suitcase or the most groceries into one plastic bag at a supermarket.
Inspired by my strict moral upbringing in the Christian Church (hahaha), I felt it my duty to rebuke him and call him out good and proper: “But we shouldn’t tell lies !” I cried from my pulpit, practically choking on righteous indignation. “It is a sin !”
“Bullshit,” he intoned. “Everybody does it. You do it, and I do it.”
I thought about this. “Hmmm.”
And I had to admit that he was right. But, never one to leave an argument without a final rejoinder, I chipped away at his position by explaining that there are good lies and bad lies. Black lies and White lies, so to speak — the former when you are playing Russian Roulette with a girlfriend you want to get rid of and you tell her the gun isn’t loaded; the latter when your NEW girlfriend completely fucks up the lasagna she is trying to prepare, and you eat the charred membrane of goo anyway with a big grin on your face because having her with you in the sack after supper is more important than telling her the truth, which is that a dead skunk with boils would have tasted better than the abortion she has just put in front of you.
Both are lies, but one supports a good cause.
Before my friend could tell me all his information, he had to go because of some pressing matter. So I decided to consult the internet with such questions as “How do you tell the perfect lie?” and “What makes a good liar?” Just for kicks, you know. To my astonishment, there are a thousand or so links on this subject. Obviously, one must conclude, people across the globe have devoted a remarkable amount of time to the question of how best to sell your deceit: the art of lying effectively and convincingly.
Among the advice that spills out across cyberspace, here are some of the ones that struck me particularly:
1. Remember that lying requires a lot more mental effort than telling the truth; therefore…
2. …try to “bend” the truth instead of making up a completely false story. (My friend later confirmed this theory. In his opinion, every lie should be 80-90% truth. The critical 15% should be carefully woven into the fabric of the accurate account. This, my friend, insists, is the “art of the PLAUSIBLE”
3. Misdirection. This is kind of like what a pickpocket might do: entice your eyes to look in a different direction while he is robbing you. So, if you are really late getting home from the party (or the ‘hot-sheet’ rent-by-the-hour hotel room) and your lady starts screaming at you, immediately launch into some exotic tale about how there was a terrible accident along the road and a lot of dead bodies were left lying strewn about. It may SOUND fantastic, but if you are the creative type who can do a spontaneous blow-by-blow of what supposedly happened, it might take her mind completely off the fact that it is now 3 a.m. and your mouth smells like a combination of beer and pussy.
4. Know your partner. What is he/she most likely to believe? How gullible? My own wife (OUCH!) is so suspicious that she doesn’t believe me even when I AM telling the truth, so….
5. …When possible, PLAN your lie and keep your ‘facts’ straight. This is why police interrogation tactics involve asking the same question and over and over. The cops think that sooner or later you will forget what you said earlier and change your story. Then they can pounce on the discrepancies and you will likely cave in.
6. Rehearse what you are going to say and, if possible, DO NOT involve other people. If you need someone to cover for you, tell them ONLY what they need to know and nothing more. (I have noticed that Russian people are excellent natural-born liars in this sense. You can ask a Russian FIVE questions and he/she will answer the TWO that they want to answer and ignore the rest. This does not amount to lying outright, but it can have the same effect: deceit by deliberate omission. Americans and Brits, on the other hand, will answer ALL your questions. FALSELY.
7. Keep it short and simple. Complex elaboration may convince the liar of his own brilliance but will send obvious red flags to the one being deceived. (“Why is he blathering on and on about this?” she will ask herself. “What is he trying to hide?”
8. COVER YOUR TRACKS. Now that is really important. In this day and age of advanced technology, people are always getting caught in their lies because of undeleted messages — emails and other shit left on the phone. Remember that your privacy means NOTHING to your partner: he/she will check EVERYTHING at every opportunity. It is sad — if not pathetic — when the perfect crime unravels simply because you left your damned phone laying around full of incriminating evidence. Colpa tua !!!!
9. Avoiding telling other lies and try especially hard not to build a tapestry or fugue of lies — because again (refer to point # 1) lying is much more difficult than telling the truth. It’s not for nothing that Shakespeare wrote: “O what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.” The downfall of many liars occurs when a second lie must be told to cover the first, a third to cover the second, etc.
10. Turn the tables. Act terribly wounded and offended that your sincerity has been called into question “What????? You don’t BELIEVE me? What kind of wife ARE you?” Many confident and manipulative ego-maniacs employ this strategy, particularly if they know that their partner WANTS to believe them and is looking for any excuse to do so. I am reminded of the story of the woman who comes home and catches her husband red-handed screwing the hell out of some other woman, right there in HER own bed. Of course, she screams bloody murder (wouldn’t you?). So he slams the door shut, tosses his mistress out the window, and returns (nonchalantly) to his wife.
“What’s wrong dear?” he asks her, his eyes full of concern.
“What do you MEAN, what’s wrong?” she wails. “Didn’t I just catch you having sex with another woman?”
“What other woman?” he asks in caressing disbelief.
“The one you have in the bedroom!” she cries accusingly.
He opens the door majestically to an empty room.
“See, there is no one in there.”
“But I saw it all ! She was there, I tell you!”
Running a comb through his hair and lightly kissing her on the forehead, he asks, brimming with confidence and bursting with logic:
“Darling, who are you going me believe: ME? Or YOUR lying eyes?”
So, if you must lie, I hope that some of these tips help. If you say you are someone who NEVER lies, (1), I don’t believe you; and/or (2), you must find a better world.
History is a pack of lies — whatever cavalcade of lies we choose or are convinced by our teachers or masters to believe at any given moment. Furthermore, we only ever know our wives (or husbands) a little bit; the rest of whoever they are is like a hound disappearing into the foggy mist of the forest. Whatever they say to us, especially in praise when times are good — on the beach or in the bedroom — they no doubt said to someone else, and maybe to many others. Sometimes the lies are better than the truth. Live, therefore, in the ripe moment, and do not worry. People are always changing their minds.
My friend, my colleague, my President, my wife, my lover, my hungry dog that just stole the cat’s food when my back was turned: Lie to ME — as you will. But at least try not to lie to yourself.
Because if you LIVE a lie, your life is nothing more than a sad joke. Don’t try to bullshit the face that looks back from the mirror and remember the TRUTH of the adage that “You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.”
Let your mirror, therefore, be the one face you always tell the truth to. And then decide your life of shadow and deception. Go then to the drawing room or the street. Prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet (to take a line from T.S. Eliot.).
===Eric Richard Leroy===