Good news for the deceitful — if you’re a big fat liar it’s not all your fault! Let’s face it, we’re a culture based on doubletalk and it started as far back as the Bible, so the next time you find yourself fudging on the truth, remember it’s a calorie-free indulgence and almost a semi-sanctioned sin.
Sort of. Sometimes.
When it comes to theft and murder the Good Book is clear: “steal” and “kill” are specified in so many words as “shalt nots,” but regarding the subject of lying, the message gets mysteriously murky.
How many kids can decipher the phrase “bear false witness against thy neighbor” (and how many adults for that matter)? Let’s just say there’s room for interpretation. Divine wisdom was fully aware that no mortal could make it safely through life without at least a few white lies thrown in for good measure so the ninth commandment was padded for your protection.
The next time a woman asks if that thong makes her look fat or a man wants to know if he made the earth move, just remember before answering truthfully, the Almighty has cut you some slack (of course if you’re answering the aforementioned questions to anyone other than your spouse then you’re probably breaking the seventh commandment and that’s another subject entirely.)
In addition to the ambiguity of the ninth commandment, there’s also the issue of imagery. Somehow it seems ill advised to have positioned the words “witness” bear” “neighbor” so closely together.
It probably started the communication problems between the sexes that plague us to this day.
For example, when a man says “it’s nice to meet you” to his female “neighbor” what he usually means is “I’d like to ‘witness’ you ‘bare.’” The Biblical influence is apparent. But such double-entendre doesn’t stop there.
When a man comments “you have beautiful eyes” what he really means is “in addition to your naked eyeballs I’d like to see the rest of you bare.”
“Would you like to have dinner with me?” of course translates into “if I give you some food can I see you bare?” And to think the confusion all started with the ninth commandment.
The scriptural euphemisms get even trickier when the “bare witnesses” finally get “to know” each other. What sounds innocent enough, in Biblical terms, is really an X-rated activity. No wonder men and women are so confused!
But doubletalk isn’t a problem just in the religion and romance departments. It permeates every aspect of society from business to advertising and even the underwear industry.
Remember when a beat up jalopy was correctly identified as a “used car”? Well now it’s a “pre-owned vehicle.” Can you imagine if such shameless doubletalk was applied to other situations?
For example, “I’d like you to meet my pre-dated girlfriend,” or “this is my pre-intoxicated boyfriend.” It may sound classier than calling them a floozy or a drunk but it’s about as subtle as a pre-exploded whoopee cushion. Buyer Beware!
The real estate industry thrives on pseudo-speak. When a property is described as a “doll house” it usually means anyone larger than Barbie & Ken would have trouble fitting inside. “Unique” means ugly, “fixer upper” means “shanty” and “cute” means small. Maybe that’s why most men would rather be described as psychotic than cute.
The fashion world is guilty too. “Queen Size” means your backside is royally huge. For men, “Big & Tall” means Flab & Lengthy Flab. “Wonder Bra” means he’ll wonder what happened to your chest when you remove the bra.
But don’t worry, after the initial surprise he’ll be happy simply to witness you bare. If that fails, when it’s your turn to bear witness to his assets just use the word “cute.” He’ll get the message.
No translation needed.
But remember, if you never break the ninth commandment you’ll probably never get the chance to break the seventh commandment – for clarification see your clergyman but be prepared to lie about why you’re asking.