Natural born liar
5 November 2001
'Tell me the truth', she said. 'Just for once, stop hiding behind the lies, the jokes and the excuses. Tell me everything that's on your mind, everything you're afraid of, and everything you want to do about it.'
I couldn't, of course. Or rather, I didn't. I made up some shit, and she bought it. That's the problem with people. They're just too trusting.
I can't remember the last time I told the truth, entirely and honestly. Sometimes, I guess, when I dress it up in sarcasm and with a wide grin like I'm playing about, something almost truthful slips out, but no one ever takes it at face value. That's what a reputation for being a bit of a bullshitter can do for you. You can insult people to their faces, let slip about all the mingers you've slept with and all the laws you've broken. You're just the cheeky prankster with a silly grin and a nice line in a tall story. No harm done.
You don't want to be too outrageous, of course. No point telling a lie without a bit of truth in there as well, or you'll blow your cover. There's always got to be something to fall back on, a persona you're familiar with that you can slip into without thinking, so you can keep your cover while you come up with somewhere new to take the story; it can be hard work, so you've got to have a comfort zone you can go back to when you start to struggle.
The only time you're ever really going to give yourself away when you lie is when you let guilt get in the way of a good story. A conscience is a terrible burden for a liar; it slows you down and makes you look back. The people who get caught are the people who see lying as a destructive thing, that don't like themselves when they're not telling the truth. If you look on the plus side, realise that it's always for your own good, you'll be fine.
It's the main reason why men tend to be better liars than women. Ok, I'm speaking for myself here, but being unfaithful is much easier to disguise if you don't feel bad about it; or even more so if you actually feel pretty good about it. There's a mindset for getting away with it: she doesn't know, so she's not upset, so you don't have to make up for it by being extra nice or over-attentive. And when, a year down the line, she asks if you've ever been unfaithful, you just look her in the eye and tell her no. She'll believe you if you've never given her occasion to think anything but the best of you.
I only wish I had the looks or the talent to take lying to the next logical level; my one regret when I die will be that I've never made a living out of it. If you're attractive and a good liar, everything goes your way and you never have to do a single thing for it; everything just falls into your lap, people will do anything for you and let you get away with murder. Literally, sometimes.
Apart from crime, which I'd choose above any other profession, the job that best suits a good-looking liar is acting. Face it, anyone who can convince millions of people he's never met that he's a secret agent or an alien or a homosexual has got to be pretty damn good at playing with folks' minds. Writers are the same; when you're used to speaking in ten different voices over the course of a day, writing some of them down when you've got a blank sheet and several hours in front of you must be a piece of cake.
But back to me. What I was saying is, it gets pretty easy not to tell the truth. And gets correspondingly harder to be honest. Ever. Telling random lies is a challenge I used to set myself: get through an entire evening, a party, a job interview, without telling a single significant truth. Then put people you've met on different occasions in a room together and see how long it takes them to work out a single fact about you that they have in common. Or rather, that there isn't one. Confuses the fuck out of them, amuses me no end.
I'm still looking for a downside in this. Some people point out that you can't form a significant relationship based on lies; personally, I'm of the opinion it's quite difficult to have one without them. And despite the fact that I've been almost exclusively mendacious since my late teens, it's not rained on me once. Funny, that.