I’m sure it exists in all cultures, social circles, and most families, but my experience with the art of deception has too often centered on gay males who have telling lies down to a science. I have been duped more than once and not always by a pretty face and tight, young body. Not always. Now I have finally learned to trust my instincts and, if something seems off, to pay close attention to the “red flags” being thrown. If being made to look stupid was isolated it might be different, but it seems to spread to those around you like a bad rash as you repeat what you believe to be the “truth.”
Of course, there are those who believe that telling a “half-truth” is not technically lying. I am not now, nor have I ever been, one of those. And yes, I have been guilty of the indiscretion of lying to save face (and sometimes my ass), but I never felt good about it. The things we hate most in others are the things we hate most in ourselves.
I met Liar One at a bar where he asked me to dance and proceeded to charm me off my feet and into my bed. Soon after he gave the first of many tales of woe, and I allowed him to move in. He claimed to be from a wealthy family in Louisiana and was due a large sum of money any day. He talked a good Raisin in the Sun game, promising to buy us a house. I enlisted a realtor friend of mine who showed us property until we chose a beautiful two-story Victorian in Montrose. He talked as if it were a done deal. It didn’t take long for the charade to fall apart. Time passed. Excuse after excuse followed. There was no money. There would be no house. I was forced to call my friend and tell the sad truth. I then suggested strongly that he pay rent. He came up with cash on the very day his car was supposedly “totaled.” The next week I spotted it in a car lot in our neighborhood sporting a “for sale” sign.
Soon after, I put him out in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain. The last image I had of him was of his shivering lying ass under a mailbox alcove, soaking wet, and waiting for his parents to make the five-hour drive to pick him up. I turned out the lights and went to bed, sleeping peacefully.
Liar Two was the husband of a friend I had known since high school. I was a groomsman at their “holy union,” held in a church with all the trimmings.
Two years in to what seemed idyllic gay old times — vacations, parties, and an excess of material objects and clothes — my friend discovered months of unpaid mortgage and car payments with axes about to fall on it all, even though my friend had been contributing his share. My friend loaded up his car, collected a trust fund account he had squirreled away, and grabbed me on his way to New Orleans where we blew a hefty dollar amount on food, booze, and a travel wardrobe for his journey on to Colorado after putting me on a plane back to Houston.
He left nothing behind but a short “fuck you” note. And the unpaid bills.
The third deceitful bastard kept up his lies for three full years before deciding to come clean. Claiming he was 21 when we met and began to date and party (mostly at the clubs where I worked), he was rarely questioned or asked to produce an I. D., largely because he was usually on my arm. I should have snapped sooner. After all, he was barely five feet tall and wore lifts in his over-sized shoes (stuffing the toes with toilet paper) to make himself appear taller with bigger feet.
He once flashed a driver’s license photo that looked somewhat like him. If I had looked closely I would have realized it was his ex-boyfriend and still-roommate.
On what should have been his 24th birthday, I took him to a nice restaurant for a beautiful meal and lots of wine. He waited until the end of the meal — when the champagne and cake arrived, the waiters had sung and he blew out the candles — to unburden his tormented soul.
It was not his 24th birthday. It was his 21st! For three did years he had led me in a charade, using me as a safety net should he be discovered in the 21-and-up bars and clubs, drinking though underage, jeopardizing the business and my job. After my initial shock and some choice unkind, well-deserved words, I stood up, tucked the unfinished bottle of champagne under my coat, and walked out without glancing back. I left him with the check and no ride home.