In my last blog I mused some of the lies that I have told men over the years. They were general lies; sort of lies that I know women tell men all the time because whenever I bring up the subject with girlfriends they get really excited and start frenziedly confessing to their own lies until everyone is yelling out their favourite porkies with the sort of wild enthusiasm that would have a Catholic priest running from his confession box in abject fear.
Women love to bond over the insane things they do. It reminds us that we are not alone and gives us hope for rehabilitation.
A man commented on my blog the other day that men like women a lot more when they’re honest and open. I of course know that. Anything that’s built on a foundation of untruths is unlikely to work out. And although I don’t fabricate an entirely new personality or history for myself when I meet a man, I can’t deny it: I do tell porkies. It’s a nasty habit over which I find myself strangely powerless.
But this is not a blog for amateur psychology and self-analysis. So I’ve gone back into my archives and dug out five more spectacular untruths for you.
1. I have travelled India.
I was on a date with a very spiritual sort of man. The sort of man who arises at daybreak, quietly rolls out his yoga mat and sits in silent contemplation until 7am when he eats a breakfast of fennel and rose petals. He is permanently tanned because he spends his life travelling spiritual countries and he is robustly healthy, if not a little skinny, and horribly, disconcertingly calm. Anyway, this particular one was banging on about the six months he spent meditating in some mountain station in Tibet before going down into India to travel for nine months. I was bored and beginning to feel a little patronised – he was explaining the experience of travelling as if my own previous travels had consisted solely of a yearly visit to a timeshare in Torremolinos. So my response to this?
Er, my response was to say “actually I have travelled India too.” His eyebrows shot up. What was this? A girl with highlights and fashionable clothing who had ACTUALLY TRAVELLED? Damn him. “Yes,” I replied breezily. “I was there for about 4 months.” He looked like he was about to pass out with shock. “Wow, where did you go?”
And so I pulled a load of total guff out of my backside. Oh my god! Robinson! I discussed my stay with a family in a small town in Tamil Nadu, I made wise mentions of a three-day journey on a train which broke down in Gujarat – I mean, I was only talking for less than a minute but seriously WTF?! These experiences were not mine, they were my friends’! Jesus Christ!
My actual experience of travelling India is as follows:
1. Booked cheap flights to Goa with housemate in an attempt to get over some bloke.
2. Got some foul illness within 24 hours and spent a week on my back, convinced I was going to die. Cried a lot.
3. Went home.
This hardly constitutes ‘travelling India,” as I’m sure you’ll agree. But he loved it. He even tried to snog me at Liverpool Street station. “We have a lot in common,” he whispered hoarsely into my ear. Oh, how I hated myself.
2. I speak French.
I don’t. Well, not much beyond j’aime le pain et le vin. That sort of thing.
So on this occasion, early into a (short-lived) relationship, I used a French phrase in an email which seemed to really turn on my then boyfriend. “More!” he typed. “More Francais!” And from then on I sent at least one message per day in French. How did I do this? Er, I got my three fluent French-speaking friends on the job. I began to wonder if I was going to have to start actually paying them and considered booking myself in for a lobotomy. When he eventually asked me to speak French to him in person, I said I had a terrible accent so couldn’t. Then I drank a bottle of wine and confessed to him that I’d made it up and had been getting my friends to write the messages for me. It was a risk but it paid off: he took me home and made passionate love to me, telling me that I was insane.
3. ”I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m out raving that night.”
I do my best to stick to the basics of The Rules: ie to be interested and into a man, but just not constantly available. This means that if he texts or calls you on Friday and wants to see you tonight, you say no. You don’t need to explain or make something up, you simply explain that although you’d love to see him you aren’t available.
However I take this one step further and concoct all manner of bullshit reasons why I cannot see the man in question. Normally it involves me being out with a large group of people having an AMAZING time. Unfortunately I got caught out a few years back; I’d been on an internet date with a guy I sort of liked and he texted me at 8pm on a Friday night asking what I was doing. “Drinking cocktails with a bunch of colleagues,” I replied. “Sounds fun,” he texted back. “Where?” I took a large forkful of the dirty Chinese takeaway I was eating in front of Eastenders and replied “Bistroteque.”
My phone started ringing. It was him. I ignored it; the sound of Eastenders and my chinese chomping was not comparable to that of a fashionable East London eatery/drinkery. He left a voicemail. “No WAY! I’m at Bistroteque! Where are you? I’m downstairs looking for you in the bar… Are you upstairs eating? CALL ME!”
A few minutes later I sent a lame-arse text saying that we’d left to go and have dinner in Shoreditch House. I’ll be safe there, I thought; it’s members only. He can’t try to find me there. (Not that I was, or indeed am, a member.) I carried on with my Chinese and begged myself never to lie to a man again. His reply: “Ace, I’ll be in Shoreditch House later, see you there. “
I turned my phone off.
4. So, what do you do for a living?
As if I don’t already know! As if I haven’t spent the afternoon googling him! As if I don’t know which building he works in and probably which desk he sits at!
5. I go running three times a week.
At the time of this porkie, I did not go running three times a week. I had never been running three times a week, nor would I ever run three times a week. I have foot pronation and, resultantly, dodgy knees. I simply cannot run. Ok, I’m active and fit and I go to the gym and cycle and stuff but I’m a red-faced sweaty minger when I exercise. I am not one of those lithe, graceful girls who you see running effortlessly round the parks of London. The ones who are members of running clubs and complete the 10k three times a year in twenty minutes looking composed and beautiful. I wanted him to think that I was one of them but, of course, I was not.
I thought it was very nice of him to never bring this up for the duration of our seven week fling. He must have known it was made-up; every Sunday morning he’d say “oh do you need to go for a run?” and by way of response I’d jump him. ”Ah,” I’d whisper, “lots of other ways to improve cardiovascular fitness.” It was like a line from an ITV daytime soap. Needless to say, though, it worked. Every time.
Hmmm. This is odd. Normally when I reveal my insane behaviour to you guys I snigger as I write. But reading this lot back I feel thoroughly ashamed. Interesting that with you – a bunch of complete strangers – I am honest, and yet with men, I find myself unable to avoid telling porkies. In the unlikely event that I ever meet a man again, I think I will return to this blog by way of caution.
Lucy Robinson (who really is in Buenos Aires; I didn’t make that bit up.)