“You look great in that.” (everyday lie) Mar24


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“You look great in that.” (everyday lie)


A living room:

Vain Guy (sweeps into the room with a flourish): I just squeezed into my new waistcoat and tie. Which matches my socks and your dress. Fabulous, yes?

Cautious Girlfriend (glances up from her magazine warily): I can see…it’s very co-ordinated, my darling.

VG: Ah, it’s not supposed to be matchy-matchy though. It’s all very subtle. But is it subtle enough?

VG parades around the living room, so his girlfriend can capture his every angle, then strikes a pose in the doorway. He is obviously under the impression he looks a million dollars. CG’s face is frozen.

CG: Well, it certainly makes a statement.

VG: Ahaa, that’s exactly what I was going for… a statement. But an elegant statement…

VG shifts uncomfortably on the sofa, as if it’s made of rock. CG considers the tie, which isn’t so bad. It’s the combination of the yellow check with the startling waistcoat she’s having trouble digesting.

CG: Do your clothes really match my dress, do you think?

VG: Yes, sweet pea. Don’t be silly, it brings out the tones in the orange. (He pauses) Do you really like the outfit?

CG peruses the new apparel.  His large stomach is trying to burst through the gold buttons of the waistcoat. He looks ridiculous. But how can she break it to him? He is about to meet her entire family for the first time today.

CG: Yes, you…you look…great in that.

VG puffs himself up. He is an exotic, endangered parrot. He beams at his girlfriend and struts around the sofa as if this will help cement her statement.

VG: Do you really think so? You know it’s very important that I look just right today. I don’t want your parents getting the wrong impression. As long as it’s definitely OK…

CG hesitates, opening her mouth to speak. She closes it almost immediately. Can she really let him leave the house like this? Let alone meet her whole family?

VG: Are you going to get ready? We should leave soon.

CG (peers up at him, looking nervous and takes a deep breath): Listen, could you maybe change your shirt? And perhaps lose the waistcoat. Definitely different socks at any rate.

A noisy silence descends. CG can hear her heart beating in her ears. VG’s face is turning a horrible shade of puce.

VG: I thought you said I looked great. Were you lying?

CG: No…not exactly lying. I was just choosing my words carefully. You know, being economical with the truth.

They stare at each other. Stalemate. Neither wanting to speak.


Writer: Claire Young