The compulsive liar who’s also a romantic

The compulsive liar who's also a romanticIn bars, the writer lied and said his name was Gardner Barnes. (This is not the author.)

He and the girl make up a romantic story and lie to strangers. Problem is, he can’t tell her he really loves her.

The act of lying has been one of the few constants of my love life. More so than clumsy first kisses. More so than awkward first dates. Telling elaborate lies is something I’ve done more often than getting my heart broken. Throughout college and into early adulthood, my go-to name when hitting on women in bars was "Gardner Barnes," a character played by Kevin Costner in Fandango whom I’d idolized as a teenager. During my twenties and up until recently, my standard persona with girlfriends made me out to be a talented artist undaunted by my prospects, though I secretly agonized I’d never succeed as a writer. I have acted like a handsome man while believing I am ugly, and I have acted like a kind person while believing I am cruel. Honestly, I have considered myself a complete fraud.

True Stories: Lying My Way to Love, Everything about me was made up, except the one truth I couldn’t tell her, Nerve>>

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