Friday, November 03, 2006

Honesty

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Okay, can I have a whinge now? Like I ever stopped! That is the function of this blog, after all. Venting. Pissing and moaning. Giving me an outlet so that I can go on doing what I do without complaining so much in "real life".

Now, Cat's blog sometimes hints at a yearning for honesty. This seems to be a very common theme in blogs. But honesty is kind of a sore point around here.

Sometimes I wonder if the modern Western world has shot itself in the foot, with its modern companionate marriage where everyone shares their feelings. It seems like, once upon a time, being a good partner was mostly about fulfilling responsibilities, focusing on children and sexual fidelity. As long as you were sexually faithful, as long as you held up your end of the work, you were a good husband or wife (I'm not sure that people could be a good de facto). People may not have liked it, but they knew what they were supposed to do.

Now its about emotional intimacy, which requires honesty. A good partner pretty much does all the former things, but they also share their feelings. A good partner is honest. They don't keep their thoughts to themselves. I agree with this change, in many ways. But sometimes the honesty part is just plain overrated.

I get all the honesty I want around here, and usually way more than I want.

The tactlessness of the Big Dude about "marital duties" the other night was not a one-off. The fact is that the man is incorrigibly honest. This is mostly a good thing. I like the fact that I always know where he stands. I like that there are no lies or evasions or other mind-games. But he routinely takes it way too far.

For instance, if you ask virtually any other man that immortal question, "Does my bum look big in this?", regardless of the actual size of the bottom, he will give the correct reply:

No, your bum does not look big in that. It never looks big in anything. I am stunned by the smallness of your bottom. It is so small that I often wonder how you manage to sit on it without falling over.

Because these other men are smart and they are willing to fudge the truth. They know the consequences of the wrong answer. They know that, if you want days of womanly wrath and the opportunity to hear some home truths about yourself, just go right ahead and tell your partner her bum looks big.

If you ask the Big Dude that question, he will give you a big grin and say, "I love every acre."

Yes, I know. Its funny. Unless he is talking about your bottom. The bottom that is a part of your body, which is routinely rejected in the most confidence-crushing and soul-destroying way. I laughed for about five seconds - until the pain hit, and I had to cry.

I get a lot of these barbed remarks that are supposed to be funny, and sometimes are, but which also sound like criticisms. A lot of the time, I do laugh. But sometimes it gets me down. Just at the moment, I am working really long hours and trying to prepare to move house, too. I am tired, I am overstretched, I really need encouragement and I am getting jokes at my expense.

Maybe I would have more of a sense of humour if I wasn't so sexually frustrated and downright pissed off.

We have plenty of honesty around here. We're all stocked up on honesty of the most brutal kind. What we could do with is a little more sensitivity and smarts. A little more kindness and tact on certain subjects. A little more of the brain and the mouth being engaged at the same time.

12 Comments:

Blogger Desmond Jones said...

You know, I tease Molly a fair bit, and she mainly takes it with good humor. But it never ceases to amaze me that, whenever I leave just a bit of a bite in my tease, she unfailingly picks it up. (sigh)

12:51 PM  
Blogger LBP said...

Come on Emily, If you don't like the answer, then don't ask the question.

1:34 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

This seems more an issue of tact and common sense than "honesty." I mean, he's not really being honest in some cases, because I highly doubt your bottom is acres wide. And he wouldn't be LYING to say "Your bottom looks fantastic." At least, I would hope that wouldn't be lying (I'm sure you have a fantastic bottom).

Now on the other hand, why do women even ask questions like that? I know the stereotypical question is "Does my bottom look big in this?" but that's a loaded question. How about just asking "How do I look?"

If my wife asks me about a new shirt or pair of pants she bought, she's generally asking for my honest opinion. I usually won't lie if it's not my favorite thing in the world. Sure, I'll tell her SHE still looks great, but the jacket or pants she has on perhaps just aren't the type of thing I like. I think she'd rather hear that then to just have me say everything looks great.

Sorry, I know this was just a small part of the bigger issue... I think I got off on a tangent.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I see what you are getting at, gentlemen. But I am just wondering how you would feel if your wives made jokes that implied that you have a small penis.

What if, in a moment of insecurity, you asked if she was satisfied with the size of your penis, and she said "That depends on what you were planning to do with it, honey. You can't spread butter with a toothpick, huh?"

You might laugh, but it might be kind of... ouch, right? You might find yourself wondering if that's what she really thinks. Especially if she is routinely uninterested in having sex with you.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Well, Emily, I can offer you this:

I've worn a beard since I was in college - 30 years or more. I don't think Molly has ever seen me clean-shaven. Once, after we'd been married for several years, she came across my high-school yearbook, and looked up my picture, in which I was, of course, clean-shaven. Her hand flew to her mouth, and she gasped, "Don't you ever shave!" Implying that, without cover of facial hair, I was one homely fella. I sort of pouted, and said, "You know. . . that's still me." So, I get your point.

And, I don't know. . . I know I'm not the world's most well-endowed guy, but with eight kids, I know it's enough.

And I agree with FTN - I'm sure yer bum is wonderful.

2:41 PM  
Blogger LBP said...

Emily,

Ask the question that gets you the answer you want. It's not that hard. ASK LEADING QUESTIONS.

"You love my ass, don't you?"
"This makes my ass look good, right?"
Don't ask a question seeking an honest answer and then complain about what you get. Ask the question which gets you the answer you want. It's fair to both of you.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Cat said...

I like honesty but there is a fine line between honesty and being unkind. My hubby is the king of backhanded comments but they wouldn't sting if he was also the king of compliments. And I think when we are talking about marriage and relationships that is the bottom line.

If he was telling you how much he appreciates what you do around the house, if he was telling you how much he likes the pants that DO make your bum look hot, and if he was doing his duty without letting you know it was a duty ;) Then you probably wouldn't be as sensitive to the cracks. And you probably wouldn't even ask those questions because you would already know his opinion of you and your bum.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Cat said...

oh and Emily I am loving the question you put to the guys. I will be curious to see their responses. I have found that the "good humor" changes when the woman is the one making the comments...

5:33 PM  
Blogger C-Marie said...

I do believe in the fairness of being positive when all else fails. How can it be wrong to want an uplifting from someone you love? I know the feeling all too well.
I don't ever ask any questions like that anymore.. I got tired of the loooong, slient pause before the answer I wanted to hear was delivered. *sigh*
Oh yeah... love that take on the penis! Now there's an interesting turn of events!! Been there, done that!!! HAHAHAHA

4:05 AM  
Blogger Edtime Stories said...

Honesty is important but one must always take into account the feelings evoked by the honesty. Words have the power of daggers and even in the Bible, God lies to protect the feelings of Abraham.

5:42 AM  
Blogger F2 said...

Emily,

I like the idea of asking those leading questions (lbp, thanks), but then, I tend to be pretty sassy. So asking stuff like that isn't a stretch, as long as it's with a wink and smile.

But, yeah... enough with the sticks and stones. Words *do* hurt.

And... I can't help but ask Edtime Stories where God lied to Abraham? News to me! :)

1:06 PM  
Blogger O272 said...

There are times when I want to know if my ass really looks like a Mack truck in a particular pair of jeans.

There other times when I want to be told I'm just as hot and appealing as the day we met.

My hubby is usually pretty good at telling which mood I'm in and responding accordingly. When he's not...he sleeps on the couch! ;)

7:41 AM  

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