I was on my 156th “first date” last week. Ten minutes after this guy sat down, I knew it wasn’t going to work. He was nice enough, semi-funny and tall – but I wasn’t feeling the sparks. So a drink later we said our goodbyes. He hugged me at the door and said he’d text me. I drove home wondering how I would tell this guy I wasn’t interested. I could say I met someone else, I could say my fish died and I’ll be grieving for a month or two, I could say Joe Mauer finally called and the wedding is BACK ON!… I consulted my faux dating coach, Andy who basically said “be honest”. So, when date number 156 did text me back to ask me out again, I replied “I had a really nice time with you, and I think you’re a nice person, but I just didn’t feel the chemistry that I’m looking for in a relationship.” His response back… “Well, I guess I should have just tried for a one night stand.” REALLY?!
Why do we have a problem with honesty? Are we not raised to tell the truth? My parents washed my mouth out with soap if I was caught in a lie. One taste of that Ivory bar and I had learned my lesson. Granted, we all fib. We tell little white lies here or there. We purposely leave things out of the details to make ourselves look better. But, wouldn’t we all be better off if we were just honest with each other? No one likes to be criticized but at the same time, who likes being lied to? I have not once met someone who after finding out the truth said, “I’m so glad I was lied to, it made things so much easier.” Instead we find out we were lied to (and we always find out…) then we are saying “I wish he/she would have just been honest.”
There are two problems with honesty, someone has to give it and someone has to receive it. The person telling the truth never wants to look like the “bad guy”, so we say “Yeah! Those jeans look great on you” or “I know! The company party IS going to be fun.” The supplier of said fib is simply telling the recipient what they want to hear. In actuality, those jeans were a little too tight and while I enjoy a cocktail or two on someone's dime, I wouldn’t consider spending my off-the-clock hours small talking with co-worker s “fun”. Jack Nicholson was right, we “can’t handle the truth”.
We can’t handle the truth because truth is reality, and I don’t mean Jersey Shore reality, I mean nitty-gritty-honest-to-goodness-realness. Americans have such a warped sense of reality right now. People can find their soul mate on The Bachelor, they can shed 150lbs on The Biggest Loser, and they can become the next pop-star on American Idol. We need to turn off our televisions and open our eyes to what’s really going on. The divorce rate in America is over 50%, we are a nation with a fast-food consumption problem, and for a while people thought William Hung should have been the American Idol. I’m not saying we all need to become pessimists and look for the gloom and doom of the world, but it is time for a reality check. So, perhaps instead of keeping our heads in the clouds we need to take off our fake designer sunglasses and put one foot back on the ground. It’s time to be honest with ourselves.