I recently got into a disagreement with two of my guy friends regarding hickeys. Specifically, whether or not putting concealer on a hickey a form of lying. Hickeys are complicated. They can be accidentally given when passionate ‘necking’ gets carried away or intentionally given as undeniable evidence of a sexual encounter. They can symbolize shame or be worn as a badge of sexually honor. These tiny broken capillaries carry a lot of varied meanings.
By our mid-thirties most of us are over the ‘hickey phase.’ We are working professionals, we have children, we’ve learned how to suck on necks and body parts gently enough to not leave a mark, but hard enough to make our point. We are grown ups doing grown up things in grown up ways. And, we don’t time for hickeys. Well, that is, until we end up with a hickey. . .
I had a fun make out session with a new guy and found myself with an undeniable ‘love bite’ on my neck. Normally, I’d giggle, wince, put a cold spoon on it, slather on some cover up and go about my day. BUT, I was heading to the airport a few hours after this encounter for a romantic weekend with another guy. To be clear, there are no monogamy agreements, so all my sexcapades are honorable, but I didn’t want to be flaunting my experiences in front of this guy. Hence the extensive cover-up, select outfit choices, and strategic hair placement.
The weekend went by without mention of the hickey. Either my camouflage skills were epic, he noticed and chose not to mention it, or he’s the least observant man in all the land. Regardless, when I told my two guy friends about this situation they informed me that I am a liar. I defended myself by pointing out that no one considers putting cover-up on a pimple lying. Is it lying to wear a padded bra? Is it lying to dye your hair? When does omitting information become a lie? When is my hickey someone else’s business?
We ended up asking numerous strangers in the bar to weigh in with their opinions and they all agreed that it was technically a lie to cover up the hickey. But, no one seemed satisfied. The conversations often centered around intent: the intent to avoid the discussion, the intent to hide the hickey from another person, even the intent to protect the other person from potential hurt feelings. Clearly, I’m still confused about where ‘concealer on a hickey’ falls on the lie-truth spectrum. But, what I know for sure is that, if covering a hickey is considered a lie, I’m lying every damn time and I don’t think it is anybody’s business but mine.