Saturday, May 26, 2007


A couple of years ago, I was having lunch with a man whom I'd just started dating. We were having a conversation about people and the possibility they may let you see only what they want you to see, and therefore, you will be unable to get to know them.

"Okay, here's an example," I said between bites of my sandwich. "If I'm feeling sick one day and have to go to work, I don't necessarily want people to know I'm not feeling well. Maybe it's for personal reasons or because of a work dynamic, but I don't want people at work to know if I'm sick. So when I get ready for work, I put on my armor."

He looked at me. "Your armor?" he asked uncertainly.

"Yes. I'll fix my hair, put on my makeup, and put on an outfit that makes me feel really good. Then when I get to work, they think I look terrific, and they don't know I'm not feeling well, because I have on my armor."

"So what you do to yourself to get ready for work, or to go out, or whatever, is a way of presenting yourself to the world that isn't necessarily truthful?"

Hm, I thought. He doesn't like this. "Well, I suppose that's one way of saying it," I said. "Don't you do that? Don't you have a suit you like to wear to certain kinds of meetings or doesn't the car you drive say something about you?"

"I guess what I present to the world is truly me," he answered, a bit frostily.

"Oh." I said, feeling abashed that I'd hit a nerve with him. "I mean, I'm being honest with you right now-- I'm not covering anything up from you. Just because I'm wearing this skirt and have my hair this way today doesn't mean that I'm trying to keep anything from you," I explained, smiling, afraid I'd hurt his feelings somehow.

But the damage was done, and he never contacted me again (which is okay).

Well, I still call it my armor, although I'm a bit more choosy with whom I share my theory.

1 comment:

The Scarlet Pervygirl said...

I think your companion was missing the distinction between what information is untrue and what is merely incomplete. While clothing may express that you like the color grey and are professional, it likewise hides the fact that you haven't been to the gym recently and sometimes think sex thoughts at work.

That's the kind version of my interpretation. The unkind version is that boyfriend has an artificially high opinion of his own truthfulness, and judged you based primarily on the smugness created by that hypocrisy. Asshat.

I've had this same conversation with friends of mine in the past, with the same outcome, and I think the same thing about them. Asshats.