It’s 6:45 PM on a Thursday and my wife and I are meeting friends downtown for dinner. I’m sitting in the living room drinking a beer and scrolling through Twitter when I get the all too familiar question from the bedroom: “How does this look?”
Mind you, we need to be walking into a restaurant that’s 20 minutes away in 15 minutes. Gazing upon the third ensemble I have judged this evening, trying my damnedest to differentiate it from the others with no time for a do-over, I enthusiastically proclaim, “Wow! Sweetheart, you look fantastic!”
There was only one answer in this situation. Regardless of how my bride’s outfit looks, we should already be 10 minutes down the road. I’m in no way going to give a response that could prompt another revision. They say all great marriages stand on a foundation of honesty. I can tell you that is complete bullshit. Half-truths and strategic lies actually forge successful marriages.
I can’t stand to be late. It is my biggest pet peeve. To me, there is almost nothing more embarrassing than not showing up on time and I find it to be one of the rudest things someone can do. It may be because my family always arrived everywhere 15 minutes early or spending the last eight years in the military, but either way, it’s ingrained in me.
My wife, on the other hand, does not share my anal retentiveness with punctuality. It’s not that she is inconsiderate about other people; it’s that she is an eternal optimist. It’s a beautiful quality about her that I love, except when she is overly optimistic about how little time it will take to get ready and get to where we are going for the evening.
The following is a guide to the strategic lying I use to arrive on time. These are the half-truths I peddle when the love of my life solicits my total lack of fashion knowledge.
The Day Before (Or More)
I’m a big believer that piss-poor planning leads to poor performance. Roped into a shopping trip with my wife is when my true honesty comes out. It’s probably a combination of general anger at myself for getting hoodwinked into the journey mixed with a desire to deter any frivolous purchases.
However, you can salvage this soup sandwich of an afternoon, turning it into a self-interested opportunity to avoid a “shit in, shit out” scenario in the weeks to come.
If she genuinely doesn’t have anything she likes in her closet, then it will take her that much longer to get ready. With that nugget of truth eating at the back of my mind, I will tear down any outfit that I know will be a runner-up for months to come. I’d advise you to always attack the quality of the material or stitching and never say that it makes her look anything less than ravishing.
If she is hemming and hawing in the store, then you know whatever she is looking at is always doomed to be a bridesmaid, never a bride. This article will forever be a staple of “I’m just not sure about this for this restaurant.” So, do the humane thing and shoot that overpriced, single-stitched, misshapen piece of shit in the head before it’s doomed to suffer in the back of her closet forever.
The Day Of
The day of the event is where my sliding scale kicks in. I will be somewhat honest that morning when we can still act on not having an option. Through the late afternoon, I’ll help eliminate some possibilities but I’m already starting to look for a soft commitment to something.
I’m never honest enough to make her upset. At this point, should I dislike an outfit, I am peddling in half-truths (“alternative facts”) about the weather or the dress code of whatever we’re attending. These are the building blocks of my justification to eliminate an outfit. “I think you may be cold if you wear that. It’s supposed to be chilly tonight.”
Note: Wives are terrified of being cold; 60% of the time, it works every time.
45 Minute Out
I have showered and am buttoning up a button down and picking out which sweater will cover it (my aesthetic is “I’m a white guy from the suburbs and my wife buys my clothes”).
The wife has finished showering and is doing her hair. I ask if I can help lay out what she will be wearing when her previous commitment starts to waiver. “Well, I’m just not sure I like this outfit anymore for this event.”
When faced with this setback, you need to stay calm as you try to soothe her wavering commitment to the ensemble selected pre-shower. Complement the outfit using your same alternative facts from before. “Well, I think it’s the perfect outfit for [insert bougie/douchey restaurant]. It’s definitely ‘dressy’ but not overkill. Plus, it will keep you warm. Remember how drafty it was last time?”
20 Minutes Before
You should be calling an Uber by now. At this point, it’s time to lie your ass off
Here it is; this is the type of red zone action I have been preparing for all week. I immediately switch into my wildcat offense as any morality concerning honesty and trust is out the window.
With 20 minutes to go, I am lobbying hard for “my favorite outfit of all time” which, coincidentally, is the outfit my betrothed is currently wearing. With 10 minutes to go, we are over half-lying and every outfit “will be the dress everyone talks about.”
“Good Lord! That looks amazing. You could start wars with your beauty!”
We should have been in an Uber five minutes ago.
My response to each option has become a lobbying operation that would make a tobacco company envious. As I stand holding her jacket, purse, and shoes, I try to assist in any way possible and struggle to avoid making a face that conveys my frustration.
10 Minutes Late
As I message our friends that there is an accident and we are stuck in traffic, my lovely bride walks out of our room. “Well, if you’re going to rush me then I guess I’m ready. How do I look?”
Me: “Honestly, honey you look more beautiful than the day I met you.”
The Wife: “I know you are just saying that crap to get me out the door so let’s go. I just need to do my makeup in the car.”
Me: “That’s no problem honey. I was wrong,. We aren’t meeting them for another 20 minutes.”
The Wife: “Ok. Good. You know, you always think that we are meeting people a half hour before we are. You need to start putting these things in your calendar app.”
Now it’s time to pull out the Master Level Lie with three magic words.
Me: “You are right.”
At least we are never “late”—at least in her mind.