Why Women Lie
Why Women Lie
Apparently, real women lie. Not real women like Harley, who, as she explained yesterday, lives a lie by keeping a meticulous, apple-pie-smelling house. I'm talking about about serious stuff such as extra marital affairs and money and whether or not his bald spot is growing. (It is.)
Now a book by Susan Shapiro Barash called "Little White Lies, Deep Dark Secrets: The Truth About Why Women Lie," claims women lie much more than we know. To prove this, Barash interviewed 500 women who answered her Craigslist (Craigslist??) ad and this is what her questionable research found - that 60% cheated on their husbands, 75% lied about money as in how much they made and how much they spent (well, duh) and a whopping half lied about their feelings of motherhood. For example, getting up three times a night to breast feed or tuck in a crying toddler or soothe a nervous teenager might not be as blissful as they claim to the playgroup.
Okay, I admit women lie and for that I say, thank heavens. I write chick lit, women's lit, whatever, and two of my stories - The Cinderella Pact and The Sleeping Beauty Proposal - are predicated on the protagonists' lies. It's no accident they've done well sales wise, I suppose, since women love to read about themselves. And look at soap operas. Some woman's always lying about the paternity of her darling new baby or whether she bludgeoned David Hamilton to death with a statue of Two Lovers. Women lie like carpet in fiction, hearkening back to Grimm's Fairytales (Rumplestiltskin) and Hansel and Gretel (it's Gretel who convinces Hansel to stick out the chicken bone instead of his arm.)
Which brings me to one reason why women lie - survival. I think this is Barash's premise, too, in part, but since this is my blog, not hers, I'm going with it. As girls, there's so much more pressure on us to be good. Boys can get into minor mischief, break a few windows and, when they reach adolescence, experiment with sex without suffering the condemnation of society. Whereas girls, of course, are still stigmatized for sleeping around. Hey, no one's paying them to lose their virginity by their eighteenth birthday and in some cultures it could spell their execution.
So perhaps that's why women are practiced at lying and why they resort to it when they get older and their problems surmount. As a reporter, I covered a number of cases - a surprising number, actually - of women caught embezzling. Trust me, these were not women zipping around in fancy cars with fabulous wardrobes and diamond tennis bracelets. These were women trying to make ends meet.
The New York Times has reported that between 1993 and 2002, the number of women embezzling increased by 83%. Unreal. Sometimes gambling is to blame. (Porn. Gambling. Why is it that vices are the first edge of new technology?) Sometimes outrageous medical bills - but that's for another blog.
The women I wrote about were secretaries, bookkeepers and town clerks. They embezzled very little on the grand scheme - it was, after all, Vermont - but enough to get them a felony conviction and even time in the slammer. In almost all the cases, they intended to pay the money back and they stole because they needed to pay family bills. That, to me, sums up female lying at its most desperate core.
Women also lie to escape the wrath of their husbands who might hit the roof when they rip open the credit card bills. They lie to paint a more perfect image of themselves to their children. (The evolution, I suppose, of when they lied to paint a more perfect image of themselves to their parents.) And sometimes women lie because, what the hell. It's more convenient than telling the truth.
The bottom line is women lie because they lack power. And, like Brer Rabbit outsmarting the fox, they need to find the upper hand, even if that means sneaking around the back and getting a lift up.
Okay...so what have you lied about? (FYI, email addresses won't be posted and names can be aliases.)