A Million Little Lies
You canít. Anyone who claims heís 100 percent honest is a big fat liar, but thereís a difference between fibbing to avoid hurt feelings, making up a story to get out of a jam, and persistent flat-out lying for no apparent reason. Apparently not enough research has been done on the subject for it to merit its own listing in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), but itís commonly known as pathological lying and can be a manifestation of an anti-social personality disorder or sociopathyónot the best things to look for in a mate. Thereís also lying for personal gain and power, so if your guyís got enough going for him to write a memoir, run a energy company, or occupy the White House, his lies could eventually pay off big in the James Frey/Kenneth Lay/George W. Bush tradition. If heís willing to get help, you might stand a chance. That is, if you can believe heís really getting it. Otherwise, unless you want to develop nasty habits like nagging, spying, and challenging everything he says, youíre better off finding someone else with a little less charm and a much better grip on reality.
I have a really good friend whose job transferred her to another city a few hundred miles away. I miss her a lot, but she manages a three- to four-day visit every four or five months, so weíve been able to stay close. The last time she came, though, she (surprise!) brought her cat along. She told me sheíd been taking the cat for short rides to get her used to being in the car and now the cat loves it. Well, thatís great for her and great for the cat, but it sucks for me. Mrs. Fluffy (for real) is a sweet kitty, but sheís got this long white hair that magnetically attaches itself to everything in the house but is remarkably resistant to a vacuum cleaner. Laurel, my friend, tried to keep up with the shedding by following MF around with a lint brush, but her love for the kitty blinded her to a lot of the problem. It also dulled her sense of smell; it took her a long time to notice when the box needed policing. I was still finding fur days after they left, and for a week my eyes were running and my head was stuffed. I didnít complain, because I want Laurel to feel welcome here, but I am a little miffed. Is it cool for me to ask that next time she leave the little furbaby at home?
Foo Fur Fighter
While it wasnít a social faux-fur pas (I know; get over it) on the level of showing up with an uninvited stoner boyfriend in tow, FFF, no matter how proud Laurel was of Mrs. Fluffyís newly acquired travel talents, it wasnít cool for her to bring the kitty along without checking with you first. Unless sheís consistently this thoughtless, though, this is more of a forgivable lapse in judgment than a friendship wrecker; itís easy for some of us to forget that the rest of the world doesnít adore our precious little pussycats the way we do.
Even if you werenít allergic, youíd have every right to ask Laurel to make her next visit a just-you-two event. Even the most doting pet-parent wonít usually insist on making a human friend physically miserable. Leave out the part about the stinky litter box and the carpet-clinging fur and just tell her that itís not your tender heart thatís asking but your even-more-tender eyes and head.
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