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Occasions When I Lie

Updated: Jun 30, 2019

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. Its name and form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust (supposedly) and more recently, popularized by Vanity Fair.


My favorite question is #9 – On what occasion do you lie? Here forth, the exasperated modern woman’s responses…. in no particular order.



· Are you kidding? Whenever I get the chance. Oh, you don’t mean “lie down.” Hang on.


· At the gas pump when the screen asks aggressively, “Is this a debit card?” and I hit “no.” I’m totally lying. It is my debit card, but I don’t feel like punching in my PIN, because that wastes useful energy. Plus, I can’t remember my PIN.


· Typing in my bathing suit size on the Athleta website, and I hit S. It keeps correcting me to M/L. It knows. It knows I’m telling what my Grandpa called “a stretcher.” To myself. Does that count?


· When the suited young man knocks on my door around dinner time, and he’s either a Jehovah’s Witness or with MASSPIRG, I hide. Technically, yes, I’m lying about being home.


· When my kids ask who I love more, and I say I love you both the same – sometimes more than I can emotionally withstand and sometimes not at all! This is not so much a bald-faced falsity as “hugging the truth.”


· When the woman at Petco asks if I’m a rewards member, I nod excitedly. Total BS.


· When that ad for “miracle eyelift cream” appears (again) on my social feed and I exclaim with a nervous laugh to anyone within a twenty-yard radius, “OMG, soooo weird! - I have no idea who they think I am.” “They” know exactly who I am and are targeting me in a frighteningly precise and effective manner.


· When someone living in my house asks “What’s for dinner?” and I say Roasted pheasant under glass with a smoked roulade of huckleberry – I think they know I’m not being honest.


· When my mother reads something personal and horrifying in one of my essays and inquires if “it ever really happened” and I tell her I’m taking creative liberties. Not exactly totally not a lie.


· When my sister asks, Can I borrow that red angora sweater next Thursday? and I agree. I’m never going to give it to her. I’m going to be at Petco. Is that a lie? I don’t think so. It’s my sweater.


· On the Summer camp form where I “pretend” to know my kids’ heights, weights, doctor’s number and the last time they were vaccinated against scurvy. Totally in the dark on all of the above.


· When that weird guy at work compliments my shoes and says, Who are they? and I hiss, Prada. Guess what? Pinocchio city.


· When I block off noon-1 on my calendar, and a colleague tries to schedule a meeting and emails, it looks like you’re unavailable…? And I just as passive aggressively propose a time after 2:30, that’s – well, sort of an untruth. I don’t want to have a meeting at 12:30, I want to stand in line at sweetgreen for a twelve-dollar salad like the rest of the world. So sue me.


· When my gynecologist asks when my last PAP smear was and I yelp, Why, it was a few weeks ago – you weren’t here. Slight fib.


· When my child’s dentist asks how often he’s flossing and I respond, quite convincingly, every day. If I don’t make eye contact, it’s not a lie.


· When the hairdresser asks about my “hair care routine.” Anything that comes out of my mouth is a falsehood of epic proportions.


· When the dog boarding facility form wants to know if my dog is a “flight risk,” and I write, “No, but I am!” I’m lying. My dog is totally a flight risk, but only if there is a Fedex truck within earshot.

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