“So, how many boyfriends did you have before?”

I stared at my friend for a moment; then regretted playing truth or dare. I didn’t know why we had to play this game every time we have a party. I decided to be honest.

“I have had three relationships before.”

Is that truth? Yes. Is that the right answer to the question? No. Does it matter? Well, at least I was not lying.

From childhood we are taught not to lie. As we grow up, we try to maintain it; however things do slip out of hands some time. Like the first time you fail in maths and you say to your mom that you passed safely and soundly. Or when the teacher asks you who threw the paper ball, you save your friend’s ass by telling him that you don’t know. Or when you try to live up to the teenage expectations by telling your friends that you have a crush on this guy when you have nothing.

I have always been a good liar. I can easily put in smallest details to make my made-up stories sound real enough. Back in school when every female friend I knew was hooking up or at least trying to get hooked up with a guy, I was spending more time by myself trying to form imaginary male characters for whom I have feelings for. I knew that was not me, but I did not want to come off as a failure in front of my friends. Eventually when the mobile phone craze hit, I was talking to random guys at late nights which I hated because I really wanted to sleep! I was chatting online with random guys because I wanted gossip to tell to my buddies. I was meeting up random guys because well, more gossip. Before I knew it, I was lying to conform to the norms.

After a while, I got tired. I was spending way more time in these shitty stuffs whereas I could have given more time to doing more productive things like watching TV or writing sarcastic poems. When I realized whatever I was doing was in vain and quite stupid, I decided to do even a stupider thing- I came out to my friends and family. Mixed reactions I would say- one of my friends broke all ties with me, one of them gave her full support, and my family did what any other family would do- take me straight to a psychiatrist to get me straight. Anyways, then I learned another thing- you should lie and keep lying unless the timing and audience is right.

Now I don’t lie any more. I find ways out on technicalities, for instance, that very truth or dare game I started writing this piece with. When people ask me when I had a boyfriend; I say I was 19 when I started dating. When they ask me what kind of men I would want to marry, I say I don’t want to get married. When they ask me if I was bi-curious, I say I would really like to be with girls (while rolling on floor laughing inside my head). I want to make sure at the end of the day, when people I know get to know about my sexuality, they can never accuse me of lying. Is it really my fault that they auto-assume that everyone is straight?

Last night my mom came to my room with her serious mode on and asked me what my plans were with wedding and marriage and if there was someone. I stared at her for a moment, strategized my words out like those truth or dare games, and said that there was someone but I was still not sure I want to get married to the person. She then pushed me about details and I said the truth- that the person is working, gets way more salary than I do, and lives in Dhaka. She pushed me harder for more details and I said I would only reveal if I get sure I was marrying that person. Eventually she got tired and left.

People say I have an emotional range of a teaspoon (yes, quoting Harry Potter) and I don’t deny. Even with that, after my mom left the room, I realized my heart was cringing inside, disgusted with myself. No, I did not lie. But how long can I get away on these technicalities? And do I even want to stay dishonest this way forever?

What wouldn’t I give for the chance of bringing the girl I’m in love with and introducing her to my parents? How great will it be for my family to accept her as one of their own with a smile on their faces? Was I asking for a lot?

Truth or dare. May be someday I shall dare to tell the truth and nothing but the truth to the world.

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