The Paradox of Honesty

It all starts with a simple question - cliché, superficial, banal, but real.

“Do these jeans make me look fat?”

The paradox of honesty makes a truthful man’s existence nearly unbearable.  The truthful man must achieve such a high level of arrogance and self-conceit as to ignore and repudiate all negative emotional reactions others might express to the truthful man’s honest statements.  To wit:

“Do you want me to be honest?”

“Of course!”

“No, it’s not the jeans, it’s your ass that makes you look fat.”

“You’re an ass.”


Should the truthful man fail to reach an extreme level of arrogance and conceit, he will wander down one of two paths.  Either, he will suffer immeasurable grief and discomfort from causing pain and agony to others, the consequence of his continuously honest words, or he will change his course, and begin to lie in an attempt to gain favor with his questioners and listeners.

“Do these jeans make me look fat?”

She wants an honest man, but honesty only when she wants him to be honest, which is an unknown variable for him, a variable which causes incredible angst and ultimately the destruction of the relationship - for when she states a desire to hear the truth, and the truthful man seeks to meet said desire, then if the desire is wrong, the partners will find themselves eminently less desirous of each other.  Compounding the problem, he, the truthful man, if lacking the arrogance and haughtiness necessary to overcome the obvious contradiction of the desire for honesty and the latent, but overwhelmingly more powerful desire to be lied to, begins to tear down his principles of honesty, and in a gesture of compromise, one which he hopes will appeal to his partner’s emotional and untenable desire for true love, he begins to tell little “white lies.”  To wit:

“Do these jeans make me look fat?”

“No, not at all.”

The partner, knowing the truth, that certainly the jeans make her look fat, as is evident by the rather large protuberance now sticking out the back of her denim and nearly blocking all semblance of light from the mirror as though an eclipse has emerged from her ass and entered the room with a vendetta against honesty, now begins to view the truthful man with disdain, for a truthful man who lies due to insecurity about a relationship displays an obvious lack of self-worth and a complete lack of self-confidence, traits which make the partner lose respect for the truthful man.  So she loses respect for him.  Only, he is unaware of this occurrence, as the partner keeps these thoughts to herself, mostly because they are subconscious, but also because a small part of her truly needed to hear his answer, even though she knew it was a lie.

Worse yet, the truthful man, in his attempt to appeal to the utilitarian aspect of the relationship, now sees his homage to untruthfulness as the tragic death of his own honesty.  His minute and brief detour from the truthful path leaves him doubting his honesty, and like a new addict, he begins to imagine a life of fabrication, a life where the superficiality of dishonesty will open up many paths of possibility.   Within these moments, he creates a life of falsities, and, believing them to be a better option than his previous truthful life, becomes anxious at what he believes he has been missing.  The resultant internal angst drives him further away from his realist tendencies, ultimately leading him into a depression, partly from his recent break from truth-telling, but mostly from his newfound awareness that his previous truth-telling caused him to miss the imagined and joyous wonders of the fabricated life.  In fact, the more he considers the situation, the more he realizes the superficiality of his partner - who he still loves beyond all degree - and commits to creating more lies in order to increase the level of her love and affection.  This punitive path to perjury eventually leads him to a purely untruthful existence.  Unexpectedly, at least to him, his repeated lies have the deleterious effect of driving his depression, an interesting side effect, for nothing is more unattractive to a superficial person than the appearance that one is unhappy, a conundrum for the untruthful man, for now, his partner sees him in a different light.

To this end, the partner begins to withdraw from the previously truthful man, an action which only furthers his desire to convey the untruths, for, to his depressed and deceiving mind, lying now means the survival of the relationship. At this instant, the partner suddenly becomes aware of the now untruthful man’s lies, creating a repulsion which pushes her further and more rapidly away from the previously truthful man.  Now, completely off the path of honesty, the previously truthful man is becoming lost in his lies, forgetting past comments and succumbing to the bogus and sham claims which attract superficial people, when he suddenly begins to realize he doesn’t like his new friends, the superficial ones who love his lies.  Meanwhile, the partner is now considering moving out of the apartment she keeps with the previously truthful man, now the untruthful man, and has begun to engage in frequent chats with a soothsayer of handsome features and harboring a powerful penchant for domination. 

In time, the now untruthful man becomes aware of his distaste for the superficial life, realizes the waning of the relationship, and suggests a claim for a return to a life of truth, a life which previously caused him incredible angst but since now the consequences of the truthful and untruthful lives were equally horrible, he determines that a life of truth is more noble than a life of untruth, all things equal and considered.

At some point, the now untruthful man, acknowledging the strange diversion of the past few months, seeks redemption from his lies in a church confessional, and once liberated from his phoniness, returns to his partner with the promise of candor.  She, the partner, still interacting with the soothsayer who already warned her of the previously truthful man’s likely return to frankness, explaining that it would merely be a precursor to another episode of lies and deceit, viewed the “now-returned-to-truthful” man’s return as an act of disingenuousness, and told him she was leaving him.  Presently the “now-returned-to-truthful” man launched into a tirade of epic proportion, spouting aggressive insults and assailing the partner’s superficiality, all the while being certain to maintain his returned sense of candidness and honesty, for foregoing his reclaimed passion for truth would severely jeopardize any reclamation of the relationship, a fact which taunted him with irony.  The partner, in one last attempt to find the “now-returned-to-truthful” man’s true nature, threw on her clothes and screamed that she was going out to see her new boyfriend, the soothsayer, but needed one last favor from him before leaving him forever, and if he would just indulge her, she would be forever grateful and not discuss his faltering sense of truth or his debilitating fondness for wavering, but could he just, and this was a small request, answer her question ,“Do I look fat in these jeans?”








The End

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