Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Lies Beneath?

This appeared in She on April 1.
 
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I met a friend last month and amidst giggles and girly chat, she revealed that she had got in touch with an old crush from college. They chatted on the Net and even planned to meet when her ex-flame would come down from the US in the Christmas break.
The naughtiness was good for her. She radiated fun and happiness and her eyes sparkled. However, her happiness dimmed a bit when I asked if her hubby knew about this reunion.
“No... I haven’t told him as yet. Frankly speaking, there’s nothing to tell... it’s on a platonic level. My husband won’t mind, but I don’t want to talk about it now. It’s my harmless little secret,” she insisted.
 
How many of you would say that you’ve never told a lie? We are not talking about serious lies, but harmless lies or half truths that you may ocassionally indulge in. Women, like men, do lie and sometimes the smart, pretty girl does get away with a ‘big’ lie just by doing the sad puppy face or batting her eyelids. Says Anuja Kulkarni. “Of course, women lie. But, men are better liars because there are no emotions involved when they fib.”
Does that mean we aren’t as proficient as the men in the art of lying? Shares senior IB teacher, Satyajit Salgarkar, “It’s easier to catch a girl student when she is lying. But, boys on the other hand, come up with such convincing stories and they also ensure that their lie blends into the story. On the other hand, girls are spontaneous and instinctive.”
Techie Abhijit Kadle says that both men and women lie, but women are strategic liars. “Men lie to extricate themselves out of certain situations or just to cover up, while women are very intelligent and strategic liars. It’s very difficult to find out what she is thinking and what she wants unless the woman makes it clear. They tell the truth, they lie, they withhold information to achieve something in the end. For the female gender, everything is ‘means to an end’,” quips Abhijit.
 

All done in good faith 

 
Although what Abhijit says sounds clinical and critical, the womenfolk agree that there is a strategy involved and most of the times fibbing is done in good faith. “Sometimes we lie to maintain peace at home, or to protect a dear one from getting hurt. Of course there are women who indulge in backstabbing, but by and large, we lie to achieve harmony and peace in our lives,” says content writer Sonia Joshi. Affirms 30-year-old Shefali Vohra, “I indulge in white lies frequently. I lie to my mom  and mother-in-law — no discrimination here!” (she laughs) and continues, “When I was single I lied about my bank balance to my mom. She wouldn’t understand why I needed to shop so much. I would also fib about having extra work if I wanted to wriggle out of some family engagement. I lie to my in-laws about the prices of vegetables I buy. My mother-in-law insists on me buying from her trusted vegetable vendor while I prefer to buy from a different place. If I tell her that I pay almost double the price of vegetables, she will hit the roof.”
 
The equation between moms-in-law and daughters-in-law will always be complicated but we aren’t probing that. What we are probing is whether women are better at deceiving. Some feel that women fare better than men when they want to keep their shopping expenses or extra-marital flirting a secret. Shares Sonia, “Women are better liars when they don’t wish to disclose the additional expense they incurred while shopping. Also, they are good at keeping their extra-marital flirting under wraps. And there is hardly any female who hasn’t faked an orgasm to her  partner, saying that it was the best she’d ever had! And the men love to believe it because it pumps up their ego!”
 

When lies backfire

 
What happens when you are caught lying? Do you then do a U-turn or do you continue lying with a straight face? “If it’s a minor issue, I will come clean,” says Anuja. And what happens when your man discovers that you are faking an orgasm? “Every female knows how to judge her man’s reaction. So play it by the ear,” winks Sonia. 
When it comes to relationships, Shefali believes that it’s better to be upfront and clear about issues with your partner. By doing so, you’ll minimise the hurdles. “I was open about my past relationship with my husband. And since he’s heard it from me, he will not believe in any rumours or loose talk. However, I do tend to gloss over the finances like my bank balance or shopping expenses,” she quips.
 
So as far as fibbing goes, there’s no winner. Says Dr Madhav Ghate, Professor and Head of Psychiatry Department, Navale College, “This isn’t a gender specific issue, nor can it be compartmentalised. I would say men are more likely to lie more because as compared to women, they are more outgoing and involved socially. This is more of a culturally-influenced pattern, which will change because women are now seeking a life beyond the hearth.” But we wouldn’t mind taking a backseat here! What say ladies?

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