Why We Hate Honesty More Than Dishonesty

A young woman went on social media recently with a video apologizing for all the millennials out there. Her name is Alexis Bloomer and, outside of looking like a millennial, dressing like a millennial, and talking in her car like a millennial, she didn’t come off like a millennial at all. In fact, some people even went so far as to say, “Where does she come off calling herself a millennial?”

I have it on good authority, though, that she is a millennial, having graduated from the Dan Rather School of Journalism at Sam Houston University last year. Despite these qualifications, some people still didn’t take too kindly to her speaking on behalf of all millennials.

“How dare she?” one woman demanded, referring to her own millennial children as the sweetest, most downright honest human beings ever born.

That may be true — and I’m sure Alexis wasn’t trying to step on any toes — but you’ve got to hand it to her for outright honesty. Telling it like it is should get you accolades. Unfortunately, not everybody likes being told what is and what isn’t. Some consider it too honest which comes off sounding dishonest. That’s when the skeptics come out ready to bitch slap anyone who moves.

“She’s reading from a script,” one man commented. “It’s just cheap self- promotion,” another shot back. A third viewer felt it was going over old territory. “Wasn’t it Aristotle who said: ‘Young people today think of nothing but themselves’?” That was over two thousand years ago, back when there wasn’t a lot to be selfish about (I mean, who even had a car?).

It just goes to show, you have to be careful with honesty. You can run afoul very quickly. In Alexis’s case, a lot of people gave her the big thumbs up. Then some guy decided everyone was getting too chummy with their thumbs. “Why is this being posted on LinkedIn?” he asked. “Put it on Facebook where it belongs. LinkedIn is a job site.”

Well, there’s a guy being honest, but it clearly scotched everyone’s mood. “She needs to grow up and realize she doesn’t speak for millions of a generation,” another viewer scoffed. “So pull up your big girl panties, young lady, and join the rest of us grown-ups.”

That raised the hackles of quite a few people. They obviously don’t mind a journalism school graduate laying down some smack, but this guy was clearly being insolent. Smacking a smack-talker can get you in a lot of trouble, especially when you start mentioning “big girl panties.”

That’s the thing about honesty and social media. Give an honest person some lead and that honesty can quickly turn against you. It’s not so bad when you’re young. Mistakes are part of growth. It’s when you’re older — and should know better — that it makes you sound, well, dishonest.

Take Donald Trump, for instance. On one hand, we don’t mind him saying he wasn’t treated fairly by Megyn Kelly. On the other, he went overboard with his “blood” inference. Some honesty shouldn’t be trotted out during the primaries where, quite frankly, everyone (men AND women) could be accused of “that time of the month.”

Then there’s my favourite form of honesty, the “fed up” kind. Take the case of Emily Lyons, CEO of Femme Fatale Media Group Inc., and other organizations, including Lyons Elite Luxury Matchmaking. Emily took to LinkedIn with a savory lambast called: “I Am Not Your Babe.”

“I have a simple question:” she started out, “when did it become acceptable workplace behavior for men to call businesswomen “hun” or “babe” or “darling” or any other such demeaning pet names?”

Well, that’s a good opening. A salvo across the foredeck always works. Especially when it’s followed by Emily recounting an incident where a man called her “hun” on the phone. It’s not often you get referred to as a German nomad responsible for killing Catholics. Who wouldn’t get upset?

I remember a waitress in Florida calling me, “Hon,” like, “Would you like pie today, hon?” Somehow I don’t think she was calling me a German Catholic killer, but maybe I was lucky enough — or smart enough — not to order pie or be a Catholic. Still, you have to watch your back every second these days.

Anyway, Emily got a lot of support from women agreeing that it can be very annoying being a femalepreneur in today’s society. Courtney Rosebush pointed out that everyone, men and women alike, should be recognized for their talents as workers and business people. “Pet names and terms of endearment should not enter in the equation, even if the person means well.”

Now, she didn’t go as far as Emily, who said, “It’s time — actually, it’s far past time — for this kind of lecherous behavior to end for good….Because I’m a CEO. Entrepreneur. Dream builder, Innovator. But I am not your babe.”

And more power to Emily for being so forward with her credentials. As she pointed out, it’s particularly difficult for women in the modeling industry to be taken seriously while making advances in business and entrepreneurship. “Because apparently if you’re a model your hot shots are the only thing you are in the eyes of some people.”

She’s got a point, and a lot of women were quick to agree, until one woman asked: “Does the same go for women to women interaction?” Emily replied that it depends on your relationship and how well you know each other and what capacity you are working in. Fair play. You should be pretty familiar with someone before you start calling them “hun.” Even Germans know that.

One commenter, Bruce Beswick, took slight exception, pointing out that a senior officer at his company — female — called someone “Hon” when she squeezed past them in the hall. He was pretty sure she said “Hon” and not “Hun,” but, as Bruce, pointed out, “It does seem everyone is looking to be offended today.”

Fortunately, nobody took Emily to task on that, figuring, I suspect, she was using the phonetic “Hun” as opposed to the shortened form of “honey.” The general comments, though, praised her honesty, and I’m sure it’ll be a big help in her latest matchmaking service venture (that’s where everyone’s honest).

That’s the thing about honesty. Some people will take you to task, calling you a fraud, a big mouth, a “hun” lover. But, on the whole, responses tend to be favorable — certainly more so than when you stick to political correctness and essentially say nothing. We’re tired of people saying nothing. Even if we don’t agree with Alexis or Emily, we’re proud of them. At least they’re speaking their minds. Isn’t that better than closing them?

What do you think? Should we be honest and suffer the occasional backlash? Or follow political correctness and stay out of the woods entirely? Let me know at: rcormack@rogers.com

Robert Cormack is a freelance copywriter, journalist, blogger and novelist. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for details.

I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.