November 16, 2014 12:00 AM | by Mimi Raad - Styling Coach
Lies, Lies, Lies
I just learned about the “Pheme Project,” inspired by Greek mythology, Phema, who was the personification of fame and renown. She would pry into the affairs of mortals and Gods, then repeat what she learned. The project is financed by the EU, and will help detect lies spread on the web by analyzing the source, diffusion circuit, etc. Inspired by the “Pheme Project,” I decided to only say the truth and nothing but, for 24 hours. Armed with honesty and candidness I started my day.
9:00 A friend sends me a WhatsApp message with a picture of her outfit of the day. My reply was straight-forward, negative. I didn’t hear from her for the rest of the day.
9:10 While putting on my makeup, I realized that makeup is sort of like lying... I opted for just mascara (What woman would want to be caught completely makeup free in the fashion environment?) White lie.
9:45 A friend posted a picture of herself on Facebook. In the midst of all the “looking fab” comments, I couldn’t help writing “I’ve seen you under better lights!”
10:00 On my way to office, I bump into a colleague who shows me a picture of two different pairs of shoes she was wondering about buying. I say neither because they will not suit your style. She gives me a suspicious look.
10:30 A renowned TV presenter steps into the office to show me her latest buy: an orange top she can’t wait to wear on air. I discourage her, explaining bluntly that she should ban this color from her closet, as her skin and hair color don’t blend with orange. She secretly puts a spell on me and leaves the office, storming.
11:30 Time for coffee. My assistant offers to order one from a nearby coffee shop. While doing so, I notice that her shoes don’t suit her outfit and tell her so.
12:30 Still no coffee. I suspect my assistant cancelled the order after my remark.
12:37 I prepare a coffee mug and try to relax while checking my email. One of the hairdressers at the Image Department hurries inside the office to show me a hairstyle he did for one of the TV anchors. I glance up from my computer and shake my head. He stands there with a question mark on his face. I tell him, bluntly, that what he did is hideous. He leaves, speechless.
12:45 In the elevator a colleague proudly shows me her recent blepharoplasty. I tell her it changed the shape of her eyes. She couldn’t disagree more and leaves the elevator fuming.
13:00 On my way to the restaurant for lunch, I was thinking I will not survive a full day of truth telling. My honesty is not being appreciated.
13:15 A Dubai police car follows me. I admit I was on the phone while driving. They salute my honesty and let me go after I promise to be more careful. Honesty finally pays off!
14:45 I drop by my hairdresser for a quick blow dry. He asks me if I liked the haircut he did for a friend. I say no. He repays me by doing a horrible job on my hair.
15:30 I start thinking about all the small lies I’ve said in my life and how that made the people around me happy.
15:45 Still working the “truth oath” in my staff meeting, I go around the table, clearly pointing out to each member what I really think about their work, and what are my expectations.
16:45 Everybody is on “alert mode”, avoiding me like the plague. I offer them a round of coffee and switch gears to a lighter, more encouraging tone with more positive feedback. People start to relax, and I can feel a burgeoning cheerfulness in the air.
My day-long experiment in truth telling, failed. It made me and the people around me miserable. Masking the tough truth with kind words and finding a nicer way to say unpleasant things is much easier to say and accept.
I vowed to be more diplomatic in voicing my opinions. That does not mean, that I won't continue to be frank and say out loud what I think, but a little sugarcoating goes a long way.