Tell me what I want to hear |

Tell me what I want to hear

Alison Berkley

The other day I was at the dentist’s office getting my teeth cleaned and this dental hygienist chick was going to town on me.”The way you drool, you’re going to need to come back in three months instead of six,” she said while both her fists were jammed down my throat so I wasn’t able to defend myself. “You salivate like crazy, in case you haven’t noticed. And your tongue is huge.”Now that’s a different way of looking at myself, I thought. Silly me, all this time I’ve been worried about my weight and about taking good care of my hair and skin. It didn’t even occur to me that I’m like a monster, shuffling down the street sideways with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, dripping a trail of saliva behind me.That got me thinking about unbridled honesty. They say the truth hurts, but I’m starting to think there’s a fine line between honesty and just being plain rude. First there are the people who you actually pay to be honest: the hair stylist who says, “What the f—ing hell have you done to you hair? Why are the ends so fried and mangled?” The aesthetician who tells you, “In order to control your breakouts we’re going to have to burn your skin off with battery acid. But there is nothing we can do about those crow’s feet without Botox.” And your trainer, who wants to know, “Have you gained weight, or is that just an unflattering outfit you’re wearing?”Then there are always those people who just seem too damn stupid to know any better. Like the skinny chick in my yoga class who asked me how it is doing hot yoga while I’m pregnant. (No, I’m not pregnant, and yes, that has happened to me before, but still.)Then there are your friends and family, the ones who rearranged the letters so the word “truth” is hurt spelled backward, minus that one extra “t”.Of course honesty is a quality I both appreciate and seek in all my relationships. But honey, there is a time and there is a place. The simple fact of the matter is sometimes it’s better to lie.Men who have any clue about how to survive in their relationships should know this about women. Yes, you like her mother. No, she doesn’t look fat in that. Yes, you definitely like her hair that way. Of course she’s prettier, sexier and smarter than your last girlfriend. Don’t be ridiculous!Where it gets really sticky is between women friends. A word to the wise: Do not tell her what you really think about her boyfriend. I get it that you’re looking out for her and da-da-da, but spare yourself because you’re wasting your breath. She’s not going to listen, even if she does hear you. Most girls need to learn things the hard way, and she’s going to want to hang out with him instead of you even more. You’re better off waiting until after they break up so you can hate him together.Naturally, I’ve chosen to surround myself with friends who are all outspoken and feisty, one more honest than the next. Sometimes that turns something as simple as a little shopping spree into an afternoon soap opera.Like the other day, I went shopping with my friend Tina, who is from France. I keep telling her that if she wants to make nice in America, she better learn how to lie better. I tried on these snowboard pants that were red and pale pink with this somewhat hideous pattern that’s halfway between argyle and plaid. Unlike most snowboarding pants, they’re far from baggy, tapered through the thigh and leg so you can actually see my body in them. I’ll admit that they’re ugly, tight and not very functional. But that’s why I like them.”If you buy those, I will not go skiing with you ever again,” Tina said, her lips pursed in that ever-so-French way. Then she stuck her finger down her throat and pretended to vomit, as if she hadn’t already made her point. So I changed back into my street clothes and bought them on the spot.I went snowboarding that very afternoon and will admit the pants were a tad restrictive, especially getting in and out of the gondola. So maybe one of the buttons popped open while I was going down Ruthie’s. I’m not sure what material they’re made of exactly, but it sure as hell isn’t Gore-Tex, because the wind seemed to go right through those things as if I was wearing nothing at all. Hello, they made my butt look good, and that’s all that really matters.God knows my mother never held back when it came to sharing her opinion. When we’d go shopping, she’d say things like, “Take that off, it looks like a napkin.” Then we’d go out to lunch, where the meal would arrive and she would say something subtle to the waiter like, “This is inedible. Take it back.” The good thing about people who are honest is, at least when they do say something nice, you know they’re telling the truth.I’ve also noticed that the more true something is, the more mad you’re likely to get when you hear it, and the more defensive you’ll become to protect your own denial. Like, “Just because he said he doesn’t like women doesn’t mean he’s gay!” or “I know he didn’t buy me anything for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or my birthday, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about me. He just doesn’t express himself with gifts.”So maybe I am a drooling fool with bad clothes who makes the same mistakes over and over again. The truth is, I don’t really care. Just tell me what I want to hear.If big tongues ever come into style like big lips, the Princess could be the next Angelina Jolie. E-mail your love to