- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Men Lie: They Just Do--So Why Do Women Believe Them?
He lied about everything -- his age, his race, his education, his family, his girlfriend. He thought I'd like him better if he were Hispanic. He said his father was Cuban, that he lived in Miami, that everyone in his family had a college degree, that he had attended American University. He said he was twenty-two when he was only seventeen, and that the girl at his place who was slamming everything around was his cousin -- when she was really his girlfriend.--Twenty-six-year-old single female medical records technician
To cover my absence over the weekend I can make up just about anything and make it believable. That my father is in Austria and I have to meet him there 'cause my mom is ill. Or sometimes I just leave it mysterious -- and say, "It's my family."--Twenty-eight-year-old single male entrepreneur
I told a woman I needed her, knowing that the way I needed her was different from the way she interpreted it. To me she was a research subject, not a significant person in my life.--Thirty-nine-year-old divorced male aeronautical designer
If I'm confident and I believe what I say, if someone else judges what I say as a lie, it doesn't really matter, I have the freedom to stray from my statements. I say I'm going to a friend's house, but I go to a bookstore. "I'll be up to bed in ten minutes" then not show up for two hours.--Forty-seven-year-old married male management consultant
"Men lie, they just do." So says Madonna during police questioning in her1993 movie, Body of Evidence. The New York Times movie reviewer noted that this one crack generated more laughter and agreement than any other line in the movie. On the strength of this comment alone, I saw the movie and heard the line spark a rousing chorus of agreement from the otherwise subdued women in the audience.
Why? Because men lie -- they just do.
Is this too harsh a judgment? Is it just another instance of male bashing? I think not. The fact that men lie hardly condemns all men as dangerous liars. Men's proclivity to lie varies remarkably. Some men are bizarre and outrageous liars who lie for sport and profit. Others are occasional liars who dissemble on demand in response to a specific situation. Some indulge mainly in the garden-variety lie -- the little whites, the fibs, the embellishments. And some don't lie at all. They are the pathological truth-tellers -- the devotees of scrupulous honesty. Most men fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Although women are willing to acknowledge a full range of lies and liars, when it comes to their own personal lives, they seem to confine their awareness to the lowest end of the liar's spectrum. Unfortunately, too many women aren't prepared to recognize either the lie or the liar until both have become history. Why have a blind spot for men's lies, especially in an intimate relation? After all, a blind spot for anything spells trouble. But when you trust someone you shouldn't just because you feel that skepticism and romance are an odd couple, you set yourself up for deep disappointment. Trust has to be earned. And when you give your trust away too easily and too fast, you become a perfect mark for anyone who chooses to act unscrupulously.
We don't have to look too hard for evidence of the lie. Newspapers give us a daily readout on the astounding, near epic proportion of dishonesty we tolerate. "Panel Censures Brooklyn Judge for Lying" proclaims a New York Times headline as I write this. The honesty of our president and Congress is called into question time after time. The nervous jokes on late-night TV about whether President Clinton inhaled the now infamous joint or about how many steaks and potatoes Dan Rostenkowski actually downed at taxpayers' expense linger in our minds as disconcerting markers that even those in our highest offices lie.
Reluctantly, we adjust our expectations downward. Not even our cultural idols escape. Now it's the lovely Princess Di who is allegedly lying in some new scandal. Tomorrow it's a clergyman or a community leader. Or perhaps a neighbor. We grow weary.
Even as we watch television, well beyond "Oprah" and "Donahue" and the talk show circuit, the lie reigns supreme. A Supreme Court justice's veracity is under attack by a highly credible accuser -- fellow legal scholar Anita Hill. One or the other is a liar. There's no way out. The polls show the public believes him. A year later the pendulum shifts and we believe her. The truth is, we're not sure what to believe anymore.
The boundaries between liars and heroes merge and blur. Is Oliver North, introduced by Ted Koppel on "Nightline" as "an accomplished liar," a scoundrel who told lies and got away with it, as some allege, or was he a hero defending his country? The nation splits on whether O.J. Simpson is a lying and brutal murderer or the all-American sports hero and star of TV commercials we have let into our living rooms and our hearts. Will we trust to the end, no matter what, or risk sifting through the evidence looking for truth rather than perception? We divide and bicker among ourselves.
Surrounded by public dramas, we find it hard not to take sides. Fascinated, we watch as the facts unfold and are endlessly reinterpreted for us. We struggle to make sense of how people we expected to trust could disappoint us like this.
There's an epidemic of lies, and like it or not, we're caught in it. Fact is, the lie is as ordinary and American as apple pie. Ordinary and volatile. As we attempt to separate fact from fiction, hope from reality, we're not so unlike the woman who can no longer deny her lover's or husband's or boss's private lies. She struggles to weave the emerging strands of evidence into an acceptable tapestry of truth and falsehood so she can go on living with him, loving him, and trusting him -- even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. Why? She wants to believe the best of him. She's afraid to start all over again with someone new.
But at least the public lie is something that we can keep at arm's length. If Oliver North can lie his way out of anything, as a former CIA official once noted, that's the government's problem, not ours. We're spectators, not participants.
The private lie is far more unsettling. It comes at us on our own turf. You can't wipe it from your mind by putting down the newspaper or clicking the remote. The private lie is in our face, violating the sanctity of our own nest -- the place where we live, where we let our guard down.
Almost every woman who's ever tried her luck at the dating or marriage game has heard one or another version of these top-of-the-chart lies:
After a delightful dinner spent sharing the stories of your lives and your hopes, he tenderly kisses you on the cheek, looks you in the eye, and says, "I'll call you."
Truth: For him it's a well-worn parting volley that merely buys him enough time to retreat into the safety of his own life. Don't bother to check your answering machine on the hour for his message. You won't hear from him again.
It's clear he's attracted to you. He keeps telling you how beautiful you are, and that feels nice. He can't keep his hands off you. You're flattered. But when he confesses, "I love you," you're a little unprepared for his sharing his feelings so soon. The sex is heartfelt.
Truth: For him it was curiosity and conquest. "I love you" is no more than a passkey to your affections. He'll never go out with you again and he may even cross the street to avoid you--should he see you first.
He seems preoccupied and less attentive than ever before. He's been making near monthly trips to Syracuse to visit a supplier. You have your suspicions. But when you confront him, he flat out questions your sanity. He sighs heavily and says, "Trust me. There's no one else. You are the only one."
Truth: He's been having a long-distance affair for over a year with a married woman who works for the supplier. Everyone in his office knows about it. People trade Syracuse jokes as soon as his phone rings. When he says, "You are the only one," could he mean you are the only one who doesn't know about his infidelity?
Maybe all this sounds a bit overstated. After all, how typical were these men's and women's experiences? Read on and decide for yourself. Look back to your relationships and personal history for clues. You probably have already encountered the lie in more than one of its many seductive forms. There may even be a new one awaiting your reluctant attention right now.
But Why Would He Lie to Me?101 Lies Men Tell Women... and Why Women Believe Them. Copyright © by Dory Hollander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted October 2, 2008
Excellent book that helped me understand the hidden reasons '& excuses' that drive the most commonly told 'lies' by men to women, many of which I myself have been told. Intelligently written using serious language but not difficult to understand in layman's terms. Very therapeutic. And quite eye-opening. I especially like the fact that in addition to breaking down the meaning of the lies, the author also helps us to understand WHY WE BELIEVE THEM. We get to examine not only the other person's intentions & motives but also what we need to improve in ourselves to prevent being taken in by those same lies again the next time. Sometimes the way those lies are told are quite believable & we fall for it more than once. This book provides adequate ammunition to educate & brace ourselves against those insidious lies. How terribly sad it is that some wonderful things said by men ARE lies. This book is your defense.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.