Another Question for the Group
This one will be easier. Really.

Metafilter has recently posted a discussion about an Esquire writer practicing Radical Honesty. And OK I'll be honest, I read the first paragraph of the article and skipped to the comments. I'm not done with all the comments, but it occurred to me that some thought I had recently on the Truth and Lying would dovetail nicely while you all wait for the Paris Diaries.

I used to work with a guy who seemed to practice Radical Honesty. I know more about his intestinal gas issues, where he had sex with his girlfriend (her desk at the housing office), as well as his propensity to buy women vibrators than any person should know. He was proud of the fact that he "had no boundaries" and thought he was supremely helping everyone towards a better understanding of the Truth with every one of these revelations. But here's the thing, his "honesty" never extended to major issues. There was no serious discussion brought about by his radical honesty about say racial relations or even how our ability to process sensory information has changed because of the internet and digital cameras. Or even why he thought owning a vibrator was so necessary to the Women of the World.

I, on the other hand, am an admitted liar. Not only am I liar, but I believe in lying. I shall explain.

For those of you unfamiliar with Henrik Ibsen's the Wild Duck let me give you a little lesson. Ibsen was a wildly popular playwright. So much so that clubs grew up where people just sat around and argued about the philosphy his plays espoused. One of the beliefs some Ibsenites developed was that he one should always tell the Truth. Well, you can imagine how a playwright who wrote fantasical works like Peer Gynt might re-act to such a claim. He wrote the Wild Duck in which a naive young Ibsenite ruins the lives of all around him by exposing the Truth. One of the central ideas presented in the play is the idea of the Life Lie or essentially that there is an illusion which is as necessary to your existence as air or food or water. Each of us has a different belief, but shatter that illusion and the person is literally crushed by the weight of unmitigated reality. Now I think most of us have more than one necessary Life Illusion, but I agree with the idea of it. Illusion is necessary and if you don't agree, I suggest you examine how much money and time you spend trying to escape reality through books, movies, television shows, video games or even drugs and liquor. Illusion is perhaps the largest growing American Industry.

But I'll go one step and further. Playwrights and fiction writers are in the odd position of telling lies that reveal a basic Truth and more importantly a Truth, rather than say the factual truth of intestinal gas or sexual disclosure. To me, it seems that the focus on "factual truth" was really just laziness. The follower of RH didn't want to think about those around him or censor himself, it was simply the easiest path for him and it gratified his ego in the process to think that some of us actually cared about these non issues. On the other hand, if he bothered to spend the energy censoring himself, he might have then been able to direct the conversation to more important but buried Truths. Or he might have spared me years of Post Traumatic Shock.

And there's one other thing, most people beg you to lie to them. I discovered this years ago. I refuse to fake orgasm, but I'll lie about it. I was in bed with a guy and hadn't bothered to fake. Afterwards he said, "Did you come?" Well, when I come, it's hard to miss. And he knew it. He wanted me to lie to him, so I did.

People often point out that I don't tell the Truth here as a criticism. Well of course not. I don't even write under my real name, but also it's because I'm a storyteller. I re-organize events to make more sense, add details from other events, erase others to keep the narrative focused and of course let's not forget add the artificial construct of the narrative arc. Even if I did tell my Truth, most people would see some lies as my perspective is skewed.

Strangely, despite my beliefs, OE once commented that I was the most brutally honest person he knew. He couldn't quite reconcile my beliefs with my behavior. "Well, sure," I told him, "I believe in the value of lying. I just don't believe that most people are worth the effort."

Any thoughts?

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Resistance is Futile
You all shall to forgive for a minor digression from the Paris diaries. It takes time to craft such entries, but do not worry I shall be back to work tomorrow bringing you more International Excitement.

But I need a moment to discuss with you something. Something happened to me a few days ago, and I've been angry ever since. As the Littlest ball of Hate in the World (TM), it isn't particularly surprising that I am angry, but I thought since this incident is part of a clearly defined trend I would share it with you.

In the movie When Harry Met Sally, Harry Burns (played by Billy Crystal) claims men and women can't be friends. The film actually agrees with that very premise with Harry and Sally eventually marrying. Now I have a personal objection to finding lifelessons in a film with Billy Crystal, City Slickers included, but considering past experience I might do well to reconsider the issue.

And here is the issue. I've had a lot of male friends in my life mainly because even as a child I got along better with men. Most of them I am not attracted to or if I was initially that attraction fades as the friendship deepens. Yet again and again long into the friendship I get hit on by these same male friends. One of the worst examples I can think of was an old friend from grad school. I went to his wedding. I was friends with his wife, yet two years into his marriage he admitted that he had wanted to initiate an affair with me. I was shocked and luckily saved from ever having to respond to his statement by the fact that he admitted this to me right before he moved to California. He was smart enough to know I wasn't going to have a one night stand with him or I would have had to confess to him that I never ever found him attractive. (In fact, even if he was single I would not have had an affair with him.)

My issue here is what it reflects these men think of me. In my mind, if you think I'm suitable material for an affair, then you aren't really my friend. As my friend, you should be thinking about my best interest. And let's be clear here. If the friend isn't entangled and wants a relationship that one thing, but here the friend(s) is clearly involved, isn't going to get divorced/seperated, and wants just sex albeit with someone they feel familiar and comfortable with.

I was at dinner chatting with my friend The Voice last night and brought up this very issue. Although at first he disapproved of these passes and understood why I was both upset and insulted by them, he then went onto to say, "But you have to understand that most women are kind of blank and you advertise this intense sexuality. It's natural then that men respond to it." Further, he explained, that it was a mistake for me to read into in terms of my "value" in the eyes of these transgressive friends. "You underestimate the nature of man. This isn't personal, it's biology."

Or, in a sense, what he is saying is that the fact that men of all kinds, friends and non friends alike, want to take me to bed isn't personal nor should I see it as some sort of reflection upon myself. Also the fact that men want to take me to bed is apparently inevitable and therefore I should just get used to it and stop being upset by it.

Now as flattering as it to think that I am so irresistible, I question this premise. I also question this intense sexuality business. I get that alot. I'm fairly sure it's just because I am, ahem, full figured. The problem is when you have a build like mine there is absolutely no way to de-emphasize it. Trust me on this one. A high necked dressed? Just makes my boobs look even bigger. A low cut one? Nice cleavage even if it minimizes the boobs. Layers? Nope that won't work either.

True, I'll cop to this one, I often tease men without being aware of it. I talk about sex pretty frankly. I often disclose personal details without really thinking about the impact they might have on men. To me, it's just conversation most of the time. OK so maybe I am to blame in that respect. Maybe they think I am oh so subtly hinting that I want a Man to Take Control of the Situation.

Please don't. The men with whom I have been involved will tell you that I have absolutely no problem asserting my desire. If I want you, you know it. It is hard to miss. I will throw myself at you like an insane dog at an electrified fence. It will most likely border on embarassing, but subtle? Absolutely not. And certainly I've never waited for a man to make the first move. Sheesh I started asking boys out on dates when I was in high school.

So what, then, is the solution? Should I be more circumspect with my male friends? Should I keep the Doberman at arm's length at all times? And what about The Voice? It's pretty clear that the Voice finds me attractive, but he hasn't hit on me. So it must be that some men can resist. Or is it only a matter of time before his self control wears down and he too throws himself at the unsympathetic feet (or breasts) of the Bunni? I really hope not because I'll be honest with you. When male friends hit on me, what upsets me is how disappointed I am in them. Am I holding them to too high of a standard? Should I just take the advice of the Voice and just accept that my male friends get confused by the signals I send out?

So I'm curious blogosphere....what do you think? I think at the very least I might have to change my alternative identity from the Littlest Ball of Hate in the World to the Angriest Little Sex Object in the World.

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Paris Diaries: Long Day's Journey Into Night
I barely managed to drag myself back to the hotel. Although I couldn't justify ordering room service as it would be missing a night in the Paris air, I also couldn't walk that far both from exhaustion and from pain. I hobbled to the restaurant next door with the cute waiter. I ordered a glass of wine and sat there, dreamingly contemplating the Belle Epoque windows of the Boulevard. I'm sure the waiter thought I was nuts even though we talked about the Parisians* (according to him, they are snobby and obnoxious) and how he came to speak English so well (He had lived with an English family). We chatted about music, The Ramones and the Cramps (his favorite). I'm sure he was wondering, despite our pleasant chat, why wasn't I on the Boulevard Saint-Michel pondering the Seine or some other lovely place? Why was I on this little nothing side street peppered with motorcycle and camera stores? I should have felt badly, I suppose, about not going to some amazing restaurant or bothering to even go farther than my block, not bothering to even find a new restaurant, not riding up and down the Seine on some party boat even. But I wasn't. I was completely content to be exactly where I was. I sat there and watched the sun slowly set while I drank red wine.

Unfortunately, while I was sitting there, I discovered that despite minimal usage my camera battery was verging on death. I decided I would save what little energy my camera could muster for my grand outing to Versailles otherwise I would have taken a picture of that view of the street, just so I could remember the peace I felt looking at it.

Because of my plan to go to Versailles I told myself it was OK to take it easy, to save my strength for that grand outing, but the truth is it was my vacation and I was completely content to sit and drink red wine. And shouldn't that be what a vacation is all about anyway? Having effectively convinced myself that my minimal evening outing was completely justified, I dragged my ass the five feet back to my hotel to prepare for the next day at Versailles.

I fell sound asleep, but woke in the middle of the night. As I dragged myself to the bathroom, I thought my right ankle seemed a bit swollen. I was concerned, but I was also exhausted and sleepy. I couldn't do much about a swollen foot at 2 am anyway. Might as well just go back to sleep and worry about it later.

* Parisian, in this case, refers to people born and raised in Paris as opposed to a French person born outside of Paris who moved there. In Paris, it's very clear that Parisian does not refer to a resident of Paris but rather a "native" of Paris.


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