Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Minor Lie


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

There's a new show on TV Land called Younger that I've started watching. I'll just give you the blurb from their website:
"Younger" follows 40-year-old Liza (Foster), a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find out it's nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age. When a chance encounter with a 20-something guy at a bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26 -- with the help of a makeover, courtesy of her best friend Maggie (Mazar). Armed with new confidence, she lands a job as an assistant to the temperamental Diana (Shor) and teams up with her new co-worker and fellow 20-something Kelsey (Duff) to make it in the career of her dreams.
It's light and fun. But since the central conceit is a lie, it makes me think...

What if you were telling a minor (in the grand scheme of things) lie to someone who was becoming a new best friend (like your age or ethnic background)? How long would you keep up the lie? If someone was telling you that lie, would it make you angry to find out about it later?

21 comments:

  1. That show sounds cute. That's a good question you pose here. I think I couldn't tell a minor lie like this for very long, especially in a relationship you might want to grow. I think perhaps a minor lie about weight would be okay and maybe age if it was a couple of years, but nothing deeper than that. I think if it was deeper than that and I found I had been lied to, I might be a little hurt and less trusting of the person.
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    etty

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    1. It is a cute show. Something light. We all need a good light show from time to time.

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  2. I could've passed for twenty-six when I was forty.
    I might use tact, but hopefully I wouldn't have lied in the first place.

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  3. When I was much, much younger people always thought I was older. Now that I am older, no one thinks I am as old as I am! I don't get it. I couldn't pull off any kind of minor lie. I am much too honest. Sometimes I am too honest for my own good. The show sounds like a winner!

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    1. I had the same problem. I was tall for my age, so at 9 I passed for 12.

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  4. I'm not sure if I could carry a big lie into a friendship. I'd feel guilty and have to come clean otherwise I'd worry about slipping up and being caught out. It'd be really stressful.

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    1. But how then to admit to the lie?

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  5. Ti find a job-sure because they lie to tell people they won't be hired. To tell a person who could become a great friend a lie-no. If they don't like me for my age, ethnicity or whatever then they wouldn't be a good friend to begin with

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  6. If it was a lie for a small thing like my age, I'm not sure I'd ever bring it up just to admit it, although I might confess if there was a reason to. I probably wouldn't mind if it was something small like that either. Sometimes we have to lie so we don't get knocked out of the game.

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  7. Depends on the reason for the lie. We all lie to each other in some way or another. "No, that dress doesn't make you look fat." That sort of thing! I watched the first couple of episodes of Younger on Hulu and I plan to watch more once they're up. Great show! And it's based on a book.

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    1. The episodes are also On Demand on TV Land. If you have access to On Demand. I think they're up to four episodes now.

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  8. I'd feel horribly guilty for lying. But. If I discovered that someone else had lied to me I don't think I'd be angry if it was for a good reason.

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  9. I like the people who would lie about weight. I stopped caring about telling people my weight a few years back when I realized "They know what I LOOK LIKE, so telling them what I weigh won't matter." I weigh 246. If you look at me, and I say I weigh 200, you'd be like "Nah, you don't."

    Anyway: The Minor Lie, A Novel By Briane Pagel. Thanks to Liz! I could totally see this being a book by Mark Haddon or Nick Hornby. I would like to write it and see if I could write one as good. I'm thinking of a story where a guy tells some little white lie on his first date and it haunts him throughout the whole relationship, until one day he... what? That's where I go blank. Does he try to go back and make the lie true, without telling people that's what he's doing? I think so. So maybe he lies and says that he was a pole vaulter in high school. Nothing big, really, he's 28 already and who's going to care about that? And it never comes up again, but then one day he's at his daughter's wedding reception, and the best man throws in some offhand comment about how wedding is like a pole-vault, and that makes the guy sweat, and he's worried that somehow it has become this huge story behind his back, like everyone THINKS he was a pole-vaulter, and now he thinks maybe he'll lose his job because it's all based on a false premise, and questions whether his wife would've liked him at all, etc., and so he starts sneaking out at night, secretly practicing pole-vaulting in a park nearby.

    Now how to end it?

    Liz, you've really given me a great idea here. Seriously.

    Anyway, I could never do it. I once told Sweetie that I ate crayfish when I was on spring break in Texas in 1992, and later on I thought I was not sure if I HAD or if we had just talked about it, because there was a lot of drinking the night of the crayfish. I haven't gone back and confessed that to her, but it sometimes bothers me. Hopefully that's not why she married me.

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    1. I couldn't lie either. I'm terrible at it. But it sounds like you've got a novel there, if you ever get around to writing it.

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  10. An interesting question. I'm not really sure. I've never lied about my age—not even when I was under 21.

    And my anger at a lie would depend upon the reasons the lie was told.

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  11. Yes. I hate being lied to. It makes me feel like I've been taken for a fool. Mind you I've lied about my age before, even to my husband when we first met. Although... avoiding the truth is a better description of what I did than lying.

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    1. I knew there had to be someone who'd be offended. At some point you don't like being lied to.

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  12. I could be forgiving of the lie in this case, because jobs are hard to come by. I would avoid lying myself, because once you start, you have to remember everything you've said that supports the lie and these days, my memory is shot. It's funny, when I first read that question, I misread it as minor. Why would I ask my kid to lie? Well, I might because she's tiny and eats hardly anything. I can see encouraging her to lie in restaurants that she's still young enough to eat off the kid's menu!

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  13. I looked much younger than my actual age for a very long time. I probably still look younger but there's a big difference between being 24 and looking 15 than being 52 and looking 44. Keeping popp culture references straight would be the hardest part of lying on an extended basis. When I was younger, I wouldn't have been able to forgive someone for lying. Now it would depend on the reason for the lie.

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  14. Hmm -- I don't think I'd be offended if someone lied about something they felt insecure about, and at the time we weren't really close. I would, however, feel upset if someone who was already a close friend felt they couldn't tell me the truth.

    The closest I've come to telling that kind of lie is making up social engagements because I just want to stay at home. At the time I was worried people would think me boring -- now I don't care and just tell people I'm having a night in :)

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    1. I've never done that, although I've wanted to...

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