Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Brenda and I have been married closing in on 41 years.  I feel very comfortable in saying that telling each other the truth without exception wouldn’t enhance a lasting relationship.  Am I saying lie to the woman you love?  Am I saying lie to the woman who trusts you?  Yep.  That’s what I’m saying.  On occasion!!  Depending on the issue!!

I’ve said this many times.  Truth is NOT all it’s cracked up to be.  Let me put this in perspective.  Several years ago, I was getting ready for work, “minding my own business,” when my wife, also getting ready for work, said, “do I look fat in these slacks?”  At that time, she may have ballooned up to a size 6 from a size 4.  I didn’t hesitate.  “No honey, you don’t.”  Were the pants even a smidge tight?  May have been, I don’t recall. I wouldn’t have known then.   Was I going to tell her that?  Uh, no.

Do I tell her the truth about everything else in my life?  Of course I do.  Trust is what our marriage is based upon.  Our marriage is also based on the fact that I’m alive, and telling my wife that she looks fat doesn’t impress me as a very good way to keep that momentum going.

Here’s when I first discovered that truth isn’t always a good thing.  In the summer of 1970, Brenda was 150 months pregnant with our first child.  Prior to that, she might have been a size two.  Let’s keep this “fat” issue in perspective.  One night, again at a time when I was “minding my own business,” she came out of the bathroom, clearly “down.”  “I look fat and ugly,” she said.  She was beautiful.  I put my arm around her and said, “Honey, I still think you’re sexy.”  She burst into tears.  Why wouldn’t my mouth lock up?  I didn’t think she looked fat, but that word “still” was in the sentence and indicated I thought that – to her. From that point on, honesty in dealing with my wife’s appearance borders more on self-preservation that honesty.

A lady l know was bemoaning the fact that she’s getting – and looking – older.  She, too, is a small lady, and I suspect always has been.  She said she wishes her husband would level with her when she asks him if she looks fat in a particular outfit.  Here’s where I think she’s wrong.  “I know he’s trying to spare my feelings,” she said, “but he could say that he likes another outfit better.”  I laughed out loud.  “Friend, he’s not trying to spare your feelings.  He’s protecting himself.”

Over the years, I’ve argued with my wife about virtually everything – money, raising kids, work, food, cars, houses, people we like, people who are tacky.  However, there’s one arena that’s taboo for arguing.  This is a woman who has closets of clothes and so many shoes I can’t count them.  My theory is that someone that particular about the way she looks is not wanting someone to tell her she doesn’t look good in an outfit.  She’ll figure it out as the day goes on.

Back to my first story, the one where I had told her she looked fine.  Later that morning, she called and said, “You lied to me.  I look fat in these slacks.”  For some reason, I had a moment of lucidness and responded, “Honey, I love you.”

“You’re good,” she laughed and hung up.  That night I saw the slacks in the “give away” pile.  But, I was able to stay in the house.

I told my friend, if you want to believe your husband is thinking about your feelings when he avoids the truth about how you look, you go right ahead.  By the way, I have some swamp property for sell.  Would you be interested?

Date of Blog Story: 
February 25, 2009

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