Transparency, My Ass

My ass is, of course, one reason I don’t buy into the whole trendy Transparency thing.  A sheer thing on a lovely young thing can be a lovely thing.  On me?  Let’s add some layers.  Opaque layers.  Flowing, flattering, non-form-fitting ones.

If one more blog expert or self-help success guru assures me that he is Totally Transparent, I fear that I will bed him in his lair and shout, “Yes, you are indeed totally transparent.  I see right through you – your motives, your manipulations, and your mealy-mouthed tricks to lure the sucker into the sale.”

Nota Bene:   “to bed in his lair” does not mean “to take to bed.”  I must learn to be more (or should that be less?) transparent in my word choices.

And since when does “transparent” mean “honest?”

Old-school snake oil salesmen are, at least, honest in their way.  They know they’re conning you, you know they’re conning you, and for many obscure reasons the whole trick is slick and smooth and satisfying.  When the beautiful woman behind the cosmetics counter talks me into buying a $60 jar of face cream guaranteed to make me look ten years younger, we both know that it’s a crock of shit.  Or, rather, a crock of overpriced moisturizer that gives me $60 worth of optimism and confidence and luxurious hope.  I could accomplish the same thing with a jug of Vaseline and a positive affirmation or two, but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

New-school snake oil leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Since when does breakfast cereal need to advertise its Authenticity?  Does my beer need to tell me it’s Authentic Beer?  I will know in one sip if it’s one of those carb-and-calorie-conscious beer-flavored seltzers (I live in a micro-brew town; we’re allowed to get uppity about such things).

So while I’m advised to offer you, my reader, Total Transparency and Total Authenticity, I choose to toss those both into the Total Honesty trash.

If I practiced Total Honesty, I’d have no job, no husband, no friends, and no family.  If I began at dinner tonight, for instance, I’d have to tell my husband that I will divorce him one day because he pushes his food around on his plate like his father did.  What good could that possibly do?  It would ruin the beautiful manicotti that’s baking in the oven and spoil the nice Chianti that’s waiting to be opened.  And then he’d be compelled to tell me that I shovel food in like a peasant and that I ought to pause occasionally and chew.  The evening would not end well.

Artful Deception is what civilizes and saves us.

My authentic, transparent self is what stares at me in the bathroom mirror every morning under lights that are much too bright.  It ain’t that pretty at all (yes, I’m an eternal Warren Zevon fan).  It has red puffy eyes and rumpled spiky hair and fuzzy teeth and deep pillow wrinkles that don’t disappear until noon and dark circles and zits and the occasional whisker.   It needs a hot shower and hot coffee.  It needs some artful deception.  It needs to artfully deceive itself into mustering the courage to face another day.

If I were totally honest with myself about myself, I’d never get out of bed.  I’d be bedded in my own lair.