A few Saturdays ago, some coworkers and I were having a discussion. It was a few men and women of varying ages. The subject turned to “why men lie so much.” Now, I’m not the guy to get into this discussion heavily on most days. This Saturday wasn’t a usual day though. I asked two seemingly simple, but loaded questions in response:
“Why do women say ‘just tell me the truth’ from jump?”
“When a man does tell y’all the truth, why do you get upset?”
I should’ve worn my body armor before the answers started flying. Through it all though, I never really got an answer other than some form of “because men ain’t sh*t” or “men are liars.” Suffice it to say, no meaningful discourse became of the conversation, as stereotypes, cliches, and jokes took over. It bothered me because I really wanted to know. So after most of the group dissipated, I asked the lone remaining lady there the questions again. Once she got past her personal feelings about men, she gave me two generally (chick) logical answers.
To my first question, she said (paraphrased), “We (women) want to know a man’s intentions from the beginning, or at least within the first few conversations.” To the second she answered, “it depends on the circumstances.” I let her slide on her first response, at least initially, because I had to think about that one more. On her second answer, I needed clarification. She informed me that the circumstances depended on question one. And here is where she started losing me.
For us (men) to be forthright with a woman would mean divulging what we want from them at the outset of meeting, exchanging information, etc. I know I am not the only man who has fallen for the setup of “If a guy only wants sex, then he should say so, because hell, that could be all I want too.” In my Dusk (pre-Darrk days), I was honest about it. I was doing what women said they wanted, or so I thought. Well, this level of bluntness usually had the opposite effect on the women I applied it with. Not only did I not G.T.D., but I was called all manner of trifling and dog. Needless to say I was confused. As I got older, I found that that level of honesty was presented the wrong way.
How I approached it was deemed disrespectful. I couldn’t be so blunt and expect to acquire what I was after. Learning nuances was key. So I changed my approach, while still maintaining honesty, and things changed. My muse for that moment told me I had learned a valuable lesson that other men should, and it’s an old one: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” I still had to understand her reasoning for her second answer though.
This was compounded off the first answer, and my understanding of it. There was another part of it though. She told me about the difference between a man telling relative truth versus absolute truth.
Relative truth, for most purposes, is intertwined with telling someone what they want to hear. It could probably be called “little white lies,” but that doesn’t sound nice. The classic example of this is if a woman were to ask a man how something looks on her, or how her cooking tastes. His answer is based on factors such as what he gets out the deal, and how much peace he may or may not lose. It’s relative to HIS perception of the situation. So he’ll give an answer that preserves his peace…for now.
But, we’re men. It’s probable that the question will come up again and our answers change. Or she’ll wear the outfit we don’t particularly care for, or cook a dish we don’t like again. Now that relative truth is consistently present, even if the relativity of it has changed. We’ve given our version of a peacekeeping truth, when deep down we know it’s a load of crap.
Time marches on for a few weeks, or months and a disagreement arises between ol’ boy and his girl. He starts spitting his true feelings about her food or wardrobe. All of a sudden, the issue that caused the initial disagreement is forgotten because the absolute truth has been revealed. So while he wants to focus on the issue at hand, she’s more concerned about the bullshiggity he’s been giving her. If the absolute had been shared in the beginning, there might have been some hurt feelings, but at least he’d have been forthright. Now, she’s wondering if she can trust anything he’s said.
There are two takeaways I got from this discussion: 1) Even if it may cause some hurt feelings initially, men should just be upfront when asked how they feel about something. It’ll save us stress later. 2) Women need the truth from us for self-preservation. There are some savages out here. Plus, if we can be upfront about what we want, it cuts the bs for us and them. We’ll seem confident and assured of ourselves. It’s a win-win for everybody.