Monday, March 26, 2007

Honesty the best policy? ...My ass!

by Anneloes, Amsterdam

Honesty is the best policy: it’s an old cliche but like most cliches it holds some ground. I for one believe that in most cases knowing the truth, however awful or unpleasant it may be, is important. If for instance, my boyfriend is sleeping around behind my back (again?!), I’d want to know about it. If my yearly bloodtest shows that I’ve got some serious artery problems that need to be addressed, then by all means tell me. And if some loudmouth politician is part of some corruptive, little scheme to hide the fact that there actually are no massively destructive weapons hiding in some Middle Eastern sandbox, then I would want the truth to come out. But while on the whole I believe that honesty should prevail, I for one could do with a little less.
What I personally object to is the kind of people who find it absolutely necessary to always tell you the honest truth. You know the kind, they are the ones who after a casual “how are you” always seem to feel the need to give you an in-depth up-date of about an hour. For instance, I have this friend who firmly believes in telling it like it is. So when on his last birthday I bought him a rather expensive birthday gift, I did not get the expected “thank you” but an “it’s not my kind of thing.” Now imagine just having spent 50 bucks of your hard-earned cash and you’ve no idea where the hell you left the receipt. What does his truthful account give me? Nothing! Except a sincere feeling of agitation about having misspent a considerable amount of my already limited means.
Let me give another example. One of my passions is shopping. Now, I’m perfectly able to shop by myself. I can find my way to the stores, I can try on the clothes all by myself and I can give the credit card with my own two hands: in short, bringing someone along on a shopping spree is not an absolute necessity. So when I do bring someone along the least they can do is bring something positive to the outing, right? Now I have this friend, who shall remain nameless, and every time we go shopping and I’ve squirmed myself in yet another outfit she offers her honest opinion. Now it sounds decent enough, but after a day of hearing that my cellulite is showing, my legs are awkwardly long and that pair of jeans makes my hips seem about 10 pounds bigger, my self-esteem has pretty much hit rock bottom. You see, I don’t need my friend to tell me the truth, if I want the truth I’ll just have a quick glance in those awful stalls where you see your own reflection staring back at you in about forty mirrors. And believe me there’s no hiding from the truth under that neonlight. Every bump, hump or zit is visible so if anything I need my friend for moral support. Honesty I can do without.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating lying or hiding your true feelings. In fact any information about my cheating boyfriend and that loudmouth politician would really be appreciated. But overall I just believe there’s a right place and a right time to say things and sometimes the truth just is not the right thing to say. And it is not that I can’t handle the truth. I’m a 27-year-old woman of the world, of course I can handle the truth!? … I’m just asking for a little empathy. I’m sensitive, sugar coat it and I’ll be fine. Honestly!