Imagine what a different world it would be if people gave honest answers when asked simple questions.
“How are you?” is usually answered with either a robotic “OK” or or an overenthusiastic “Great!” But imagine if everyone told the truth: “Actually, I’m terrified of the economy, I’m convinced I’m past my prime, and I just found a weird lump on my taint. I’m wondering how to get a mass of barbiturates from the Internet because I don’t think a noose would work in my apartment. And how are you?”
“Had sex much lately?” always gets the impossibly chaste reply, “Oh, not since, um, at least nine months ago. I’m growing cobwebs down there! They have more sex in a monastery.” Wouldn’t it be more interesting if the truth was told: “An hour ago, actually. In the bathroom. With your boyfriend. I met him on Manhunt a while ago, and when he came over, I said, ‘Aren’t you Roger’s boyfriend?’ and he said ‘Sort of,’ so we proceeded from there.”
And of course “Do you like my new hair/dress/surgery?” always gets a rousing chorus of “But of course! It’s positively gorgeous!” Imagine if you let your real feellings spew? “You already looked a bit like a sack of shit, but now you look like a decayed dog that’s rotted in the desert and been covered with a sack of shit. And your skin! It looks like bubble wrap!”
Maybe it’s better if we lie.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 14, 2009