Liar, Liar

We all do it.  I do it, too.  Pretty good at it when I need to be.  I can spin a story so close to the truth it’s near impossible to take apart.  Keep it simple, believe in it, and you’ll sell it.  I’ve worked in Hollywood for ten years, a couple of those in studio publicity; it’s a marketable skill here.

But I fucking hate being lied to.  It’s a slap in the face, an insult to my intelligence, and it always ends up hurting more than the truth would have.  About the only good thing to come from the my wasted years with Slugboy, the lying, cheating bastard, was an ability to pull together seemingly meaningless details to catch a lie.  To quote from that neglected classic, Pump Up The Volume, I can smell a lie like a fart in a car.  Of course, the lying and cheating of those years left me with a tendency to distrust, so my ears are always pricked up for inconsistencies.  I don’t expect people to lie, rather, I’m disappointed that they do.  Especially to simple questions, when an honest answer may cause minutes of pain but a lie will cause the hurt of knowing the truth and the self-torment of having been taken for a fool and believing.

My time with Slugboy was a circus of lies.  He’d broken up with his other girlfriend, he just still saw her because they were friends, they never slept together, he was spending the weekend with his mother.  All lies.  I should have turned and run the second he admitted to having a girlfriend, I was an idiot to be strung along by his flirting and obvious interest.  I was young and naive and clearly had some deep seated issues making me think it was OK for someone to treat me that way.  I did try to end it, more than once, but he’d beg and plead, and at some point our lives became so entwined that cutting him out would have meant cutting out most of my circle.  Eventually that was the only way out, and a reason I don’t have many friends from college.  Somehow, even though they all knew how he treated me, and the girlfriend after me, he kept the friends.  Ah, bitterness, my warm comfort in the cold of 3 AM.  Not really, because why would I want to be around people who knew someone was a bastard and were still friends with him?

It wasn’t just mistakes in conversation and body language that allowed me to know what a liar he was.  Guys, if you’re dating two girls and you don’t want them to know about each other, don’t keep anything, because a determined woman will find it.  And if she’s found it once, she’ll find it wherever you move it to next.  She may be dumb enough to stay with you, but you’re an idiot to keep the evidence.  I can’t remember if I was being nosy the first time I found the stash of letters from his other girlfriend, or if I stumbled on them when looking for something else in his desk.  But they were damning, and proof he was sleeping with both of us.  I don’t know who was the bigger idiot, me for taking him back or him for continuing to keep evidence in his apartment and leave me there alone.  A box high up in the closet?  Yeah, we’ll find that.

Let me just clear something up here.  In case you’re thinking this guy must have been some kind of Adonis or Casanova to be stringing along two girls, no.  When friends who’d only heard the stories finally caught a glimpse of him years later, their response was, “Did he at least have a good personality?”

But those weren’t the worst lies.  The worst was when a good friend, a friend I trusted deeply and leaned on when I was falling apart, lied straight to my face.  “Jill” was actually the one who gave Slugboy the nickname, and she came running over to my apartment to comfort me when I was sobbing over some terrible thing he’d done.  She was a ridiculous amount of childish fun.  When she got bored shopping, she’d pick various things up and try them as hats.  God, she made me laugh.  She was gay and proud, and would joke that she just needed to get me drunk enough and I’d come around (for the record, no, never gonna happen, though I did kiss her once or twice when the attention of the guy I was with had strayed.  Worked like a charm).  She had a bad habit of getting drunk and making out with anyone nearby, male or female, the kind of habit you worry will end in trouble.

My last semester of college I started dating “Jack,” the one without a bed or car.  He was a road manager for various local bands, and was dating half the women in Austin from what I could tell.  He was honest about it, and when he was with you, you were the only one he was thinking about.  He was smart and funny, and I saw some good shows and met interesting people with him.  He was living near Jill at the time, and I invited him over to hang out with us and her roommate one night.  He came in to their apartment, flopped down on the floor and stated, “Never do pot and coke together.  Hi, I’m Jack.” and held out his hand to shake.  (Smart and funny, OK?  I do have standards, they’re just malleable).  When I graduated, I moved home for the summer, and Jack and I decided to just be friends.  That didn’t work out very well, so by the time I moved back to Austin a few months later we weren’t speaking.

But Jack and Jill had stayed friends.  A mutual friend mentioned to me over the summer that, “Jack and Jill are spending a lot of time together.”  “I know, they’re friends.”  “No, they’re spending a lot of time together.”  I just gave him a weird look.  She was my friend, and gay, why should I think anything was going on?  When I moved back to Austin, another mutual friend made another weird comment, a hypothetical about Jack and Jill getting together.  I laughed it off, but it made me wonder so I asked her if anything had happened.  Jack and I had been far from exclusive, and we weren’t even speaking at the time, so I was just curious.  I would have been hurt if she’d said yes, but given his sluttish ways and her drunken escapades it would have been something I could have written off and gotten past.  But she vehemently denied anything ever happened, and I believed her.  I ended up starting things up again with Jack the first time I ran in to him, the attraction was just ridiculous, and things went on as before.  His friend stopped speaking to me for a time over it, but was still willing to have had sex with me if I’d gone to Jack’s apartment that night, so he wasn’t that mad about it.

And then a friend of ours took me out to dinner and said she couldn’t handle lying anymore.  Jill and Jack had been hooking up all summer.  Everyone knew about it.  I remember trying to eat while crying hysterically.  It isn’t possible.  Our waiter was really nice about it.  I went to Jill’s place that night to confront her, and she continued to lie to me.  I was so angry I slapped her.  Hard.  She stopped lying.  I left her crying.  I was shattered, but Jill had a history of cutting and self harm, and I still cared enough about her to worry.  I called her old roommate to tell her what had happened and ask her to keep an eye on Jill.  And found out that she’d known all along, too, but didn’t say anything to me because she “didn’t want to get involved.”  Everyone knew, but only one person thought I deserved to know.

People ask why I was angry with Jill and yet kept seeing Jack after finding out.  It’s pretty simple, in my mind.  I had no expectation of loyalty from him, he was openly seeing other girls when we were together, and was fine with me seeing other guys.  And it wasn’t what Jill did with him that betrayed our friendship, it was lying about it and continuing to lie.  I could have forgiven her acts, but not lying to me and making a fool out of me for months.

If you need to lie to people who trust you, you need to take a good look at what you’re doing and ask if it’s worth it.  And if you’re thinking of lying to me, know that I will find out, and you will be in a world of hurt.

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March 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Life, the universe, and whatnot.

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