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Sex, Lies and Email

By Mink Stole | Posted 2/21/2001

When I started dating this guy a few months ago, I kind of exaggerated a few minor details of my life. I was just having fun and didn't think it would matter. Then, when I started to really like him, I was too embarrassed to tell the truth. Well, he found out on his own and now the you-know-what has hit the fan. Is there anything I can do?

Busted but Good

Dear Busted:
Most of us indulge in a little self-enhancing exaggeration now and then. The invisible line between acceptable invention and dangerous deceit lies somewhere between padding your bra and impersonating a brain surgeon. The problem is that eventually, whether it's in the bedroom or the operating room, you're going to be found out.

All you can do now is level with the guy. Tell him you were just playing around, meaning no harm but not really paying any attention to his feelings. You were totally surprised to realize how much it actually did matter to you what he thought and felt, but by then you'd dug yourself into this pit and you couldn't find your way out. Tell him how sorry you are for not being honest from the beginning. Don't grovel, because even if it worked you'd hate him for letting you, and don't promise saintliness, because no one can live up to that, but ask for a chance to make it up to him. Then it's his call. Whatever his decision, you've learned one of those horrible lessons only experience can teach, and if you're smart and lucky you'll never have to learn it again.


Last week I sent a funny but catty e-mail about several people in my office to a co-worker. Unfortunately I hit the send key too soon and mistakenly sent it to my supervisor. She hasn't said anything, and I'm wondering if I should say something to her, maybe make a joke out of it. Or should I just keep my mouth shut and hope she isn't holding my indiscretion against me?

Chatty Cathy

Dear Chatty:
Unless you falsely accused one or more of your associates of embezzling from the company pension fund or some other dishonest or disloyal behavior that could get them into trouble, I'd go with the keeping-my-mouth-shut option. If your supervisor is on the ball at all she already knows most of the who-gets-along-with-whom-and-why in the office anyway, and the stuff in your e-mail shouldn't come as any big surprise to her. Just lie low for a while, be your best office self (show up on time, confine your gossip to the discrete spoken word, yadda yadda), and you shouldn't have anything to worry about. If she does say something to you, blame the bitchy mood on those old devil female hormones--either PMS or hot flashes--and tell her that next time you'll take a Midol.

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