Men are good at giving excuses. This is because men are also good at lying. Men know that the best way to tell a lie is to make it swift. They disguise their lies with well-rehearsed excuses.
Most of these excuses are common. Some of the excuses were so bad they were actually given without even an attempt to console my feelings. All of these excuses, however, were received at the last-minute. Timing is everything. Timing is especially important when you are going to lie.
The best lies have to be presented as truth so as to make the liar feel as though their excuse was unavoidable, plausible and, therefore, not their fault. A good excuse is something like a partial lie – with some truth, maybe someone will believe it. Seldom did these men apologize for the inconvenience or disappointment a last-minute change of plans may have caused me. They failed to apologize because, of course, the event was so disastrous that any kind soul would understand and, of course, realize that it wasn’t their fault. They couldn’t help it.
Below is a list of the top six excuses I have received throughout the years whenever a man telephones or now sends an email to cancel plans with me. Catastrophes, I have learned, always occur just before the dinner hour.
Excuse #6: “My mother called. She’s sick. I won’t be able to see you tonight because I have to go over to her house to take care of her. I’ll call you later.”
This excuse came from a man who rarely sees his mother, seldom talks to her and the last I knew, she lived in another state. He never called later either. I have to assume the mother died; otherwise, I am sure he would have called to reschedule.
Excuse #5: “Hi, it’s me. I won’t be able to see you tonight as planned. I have to work.”
This excuse is an all-time favorite. Men use it all the time. It is especially useful for men who work in the computer industry and have to rush back to the office to logon their computer to fix a computer problem. Most wives or girlfriends don’t know that these same men can now walk into the next room and logon from the home computer to fix the computer problem at the office that will keep them out all night. Almost every man I have known has this excuse stashed in his back pocket. Bosses are always the reason these men have to work late or on the weekends. All men have important jobs that require them to work late or go to the office late at night. They prepare their dates, girlfriends and wives with this excuse early during a relationship – just so they can use it when they need it.
Excuse #4: “Hi, I’m sick. I think I’m coming down with something. I don’t want to give you whatever it is that I’ve got, so I will just stay home tonight and go to bed early.”
This is excuse is too common to list, but it is still worth mentioning. I hear it often. The suggestion that he is going to go to bed early is said so that the dinner date, girlfriend, wife or whomever he is speaking with won’t bother to telephone later to see how he is feeling and, thus, won’t offer to bring any home-cooked soup over to help improve his health. His health is fine. The “sick” feeling is always disastrous, contagious and potentially fatal. The men who use this excuse are accustomed to dating “care-givers” and, therefore, have learned how to preempt any offers of comforting.
Excuse #3: “Hello, I’m just calling to tell you that I won’t be able to take you out dancing tonight. I need to stay home to mop my kitchen floor.”
This excuse was so bad that instead of feeling hurt or rejected, I started to laugh before he finished his story about how dirty his kitchen floor was. Mopping his floor on a Saturday night was urgent and could no longer be postponed. He was just going to have to give-up going to the bar to drink and dance. It was critical that he cancel his previously scheduled date with me so that he could give his kitchen floor his undivided attention. As I listened to what he was saying, I started to laugh. I couldn’t believe he could deliver this excuse with a straight face. Didn’t he know the importance of giving a good lie? I had known this man for about four dates and one camping trip before the cleanliness of his kitchen floor became more important to him than me.
On this particular Saturday night, we were scheduled to go dancing at a country bar in his town. The telephone rang as I was about to leave the apartment on my way to his place. I was already dressed. I was wearing my best blue jeans and cowboy boots. He always wore a black cowboy hat. He did offer somewhat of an apology, however, as he was careful to explain that he wanted to call before I left the house so that I wouldn’t waste a trip. Wasn’t that thoughtful of him? After our conversation ended, I laughed about it all night; thankful that I didn’t drive to meet him. I decided to take myself to the country bar in my city instead. Besides, I was already dressed for a night out. I was tempted, however, to drive to the bar we had intended to go to just so I could see him there, but didn’t want to waste a trip or a Saturday night.
Excuse #2: “Hey sweetie! I am going to need to get a rain check on our meeting this evening. I have issues with my furnace and I need to get it fixed. They are coming between 3-5 p.m. this afternoon and I am not sure what they are going to have to do to fix it. I am sorry and I would like to try a later date and time if you wish. Hugs.”
This excuse arrived by email four hours before our scheduled meeting. It is always easier to cancel something by email. The email can be short and sweet and to the point without any pretense of sincerity. It is also important to remember when telling a lie that you provide details to make it sound truthful. Notice the time the furnace people will be arriving. The important people who are making someone cancel previously scheduled events are typically mentioned also. Who can argue with furnace people? Furnace people are as important as bosses and, therefore, must be respected. I also am suspicious of this cancellation because I have never known a man who had a problem with his furnace, his house or his car that he didn’t know exactly what the problem was, how long it would take the expert to fix it and precisely how much the repair would cost. This man never sent another email to follow-up on his rain-check either. Doesn’t he know that rain-checks expire? I cannot blame this man too much, however, it was to be our first date and he would have had to drive an hour to meet me and pay for dinner. It is a matter of time and money. The fact that he was advertising on a single’s website to meet the love of his life does not out-rank issues with a furnace. One must be practical.
Excuse #1: “Hey. I’m going to have to cancel our shopping trip this afternoon and dinner tonight. My mom’s dog is sick. I have to go to my mom’s house to watch the dog so my parent’s can go out to dinner. Yes, I’ll be there all afternoon and all night. The dog is really sick.”
This excuse still rates as an all-time favorite for me. This excuse arrived by telephone shortly after I had left his house to go home and change clothes with plans to return for an afternoon of window shopping at the nearby mall, browsing through my new books which I had left at his place to read later while he watched some sports event on television followed by a home-grilled steak with baked potato that he was going to prepare for me.
I had known this man since I was fourteen. He was a former friend of my high school sweetheart who later became my first husband. I had accidentally encountered his roommate while out shopping one day several years following my divorce. Both roommates were ex-friends of my ex-husband. The roommate had arranged a reunion with the three of us by inviting me over to see the old gang. My visits led to me spending quite a few afternoons and some late-night weekends at their apartment watching HBO and playing cribbage. Sometimes, I would sleep on the couch and return home the next morning. We were not a couple, we were not dating, and we were not having sex. We were just hanging-out together. It was somewhat of a post-divorce place to be. But, still? We had plans.
However, since I did know him so well, I just couldn’t let this lie go down unnoticed and certainly not without mentioning it. I told him flat-out that he was a lousy liar and that he better come clean real fast. I also reminded him that he did know me well enough to know that I would catch him in the lie without even trying. Fate works that way for me and he knows it. He still wouldn’t confess. So, I asked him to bring me my new books before he went to his mother’s house so that I would have them to read during the evening. He agreed.
Later that day, he arrived at my apartment. He knocked on the door. I opened it. I was waiting for him. Sure enough, there he stood wearing his best blue sweater, his tightest blue jeans and wearing enough cologne to make me faint from the first whiff. The sight of him made me break out laughing. I couldn’t believe he was actually going to stand there, at my front door, wearing his best “dress-up” clothes and still tell me he was going to his mother’s house to watch her sick dog. I know this man’s mother! She and I share the same birth date. We share the same zodiac sign. I have been to his mother’s house many times. Now, suddenly, I’m not welcome to go with him while be babysits his mother’s dog on a Saturday night. Yea, it was a too good to be true. There he stood, still trying to sell his story. He stuck with his story the entire time he stood outside my door anxious to go to this poor mother’s house. He did, however, bring me my books as a consolation prize.
His last-minute cancellation prompted me to call one of my girlfriends to ask if she wanted to go out that night to the local disco where we usually went. After questioning why my plans had changed, she agreed to meet me there later. We set a time.
The gods must have been with me that night. My warning to my friend came true. It was about 10 p.m. when it happened. I was standing near the dance floor, in my usual spot. I was holding a glass of wine trying to look sophisticated and hoping someone would ask me to dance. I was scanning the crowd trying to see if there might be anyone even thinking about asking me to dance when it happened. I will always remember this moment. As I was looking across the room, watching the crowd on the dance floor, trying to forget that he canceled on me and, worse, was still going to stick with his lame story about his mother’s sick dog, I saw him. He was tall, so his head stood above the crowd. He was walking towards me, but hadn’t noticed me. I couldn’t believe it. I almost jumped with joy sensing his reaction when he knew I caught him. He wouldn’t even be able to deny the evidence; he was standing right there.
As I watched him walk through the crowd, I quickly nudged my girlfriend so she could see that my story and suspicions were true. Instead of supporting me, however, she said, “Oh, don’t make a scene.”
Don’t make a scene? How could she suggest such a thing? My only problem was trying to decide how big of a scene I was going to make. Did I want to ruin his life, leave him impotent for weeks or just ruin his date with this gorgeous brunette? It was a matter of how much I was going to make a scene, not whether I was going to. She just didn’t understand. I had history with this man. I had about 10 years of history with this man. He knew me too well not to expect a scene if I should get so lucky as to catch him in a lie when it was only a couple of hours old. I mean, come on, who would pass on a chance like this?
I waited and watched as he maneuvered his way through the crowd. He was following her like a puppy follows his master. He wasn’t leading her through the crowd. It was the other way around. She was leading him from room to room as she checked-out the other men there. It served him right. He was following along like he was on a short leash complete with droll on his chin. She was that pretty; I could see why he was following her. He would have gone anywhere she led. So, I watched and waited.
I estimated him to be ten steps away and, sure enough, he was going to walk right past me and never see me. Oh, this was good. I was mentally preparing for the moment when he saw me standing there. Then, it happened. As he strolled by, I reached my hand out to touch his shoulder just before he passed by me out of reach. He looked back over his shoulder and saw me standing there. His faced dropped; he lost his breath; his knees buckled. He was looking for somewhere to run but knew it was too late to hide. He was caught! That’s all I wanted. I just wanted him to know that. Yes, he was caught. And, even better, he was caught at my bar. I wasn’t at his usual hangout, he was at mine and he knew it. It was just as though he had walked into a trap.
Trapped he was. He was trapped by the new woman who was leading him on and trapped by the old friend who knew his secrets. He was trapped. I loved it. I knew he would call the next day. And, he did. His story changed but, in the end, the truth was told. He couldn’t resist her and, besides, I was a friend.
I was a friend and, as a friend, I forgave him. I did not forgive him, however, until after several hours of interrogation while I forced him to admit that he canceled with me because he had a last-minute opportunity for a date with a gorgeous, long-haired brunette. I made him further admit that he did not spend his Saturday night tending to his mother’s sick dog. It was a lie. I made him confess. The story does have a happy ending, however. Months later, he met the woman who later became his second wife. They have been married for 30 years.