Over the years I've had to lightly bump heads with people who can't discern when it is and isn't appropriate to push for answers.
Often I wind myself up in a tight blanket of guilt and shame and so submit to squirming as I try to either tell the uncomfortable truth, or the lie I need to issue to get by.
A good example of this is when you need to take a long lunch in order to register with a recruitment agency while working for a boss who thinks that the money you earn is merely supplemental, to spend while your parents or partner pay for the really grown-up things like rent, dental appointments, utility bills and bog roll.
In this case you have to lie. No option.
The occasions I find especially awkward are when you don't have to lie, but really a little fib would have been more suitable.
For example, you have a vagina and start bleeding from it during work. On this most special of days the Tampax are at the shop as opposed to your bag and so you need to haul yourself out to arrange a cash for tampons exchange. Needing to drop everything you're doing is sometimes okay, unless of course you work where the accountant, ecommerce director, sales department and editorial team all NEED to know why you've been given as many as five minutes away from your desk.
It's tricky...as are weddings, christenings, birthdays, hen parties, stag nights, couples breaks, girls nights, office parties, Christmas parties, award ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies - any and all of that shit is tricky to get out of if you really can't go. Because it gets personal. People want to know exactly what it is that has outweighed their little darling's passage into God's house. Or whatever.
For the more waspish go-getters, nothing you say will be enough. Nothing. And they'll provide unfair suggestions that are set up so that you are admitting to everyone and yourself that you are, after all, a completely inflexible human stain by not wanting to pay £500 for a hell-holiday with women you don't know while they talk about their ovaries and men or lack of either, only to return home to work four weekends in a row (to make up the time) live off packing peanuts (to make up the cash) and end up subsequently declining to attend something more important because you're strapped for cash, time and sleep. Oh. And something to wear.
Anyway, I got to thinking about a perfect retort. Something that will hopefully detract from the fact that you're just. Not. Showing. Up. and highlight that you'd really love to be there, but unfortunately can't. Because of reality and gravity and all other earthly impositions. Something that will discourage people from asking for details and hopefully make them accept the apology and well-wishes.
And I think I've got it. Try it out and let me know if it works for you. I mean, I bet we can all think of at least three things we could use it on this Summer alone - it's wedding season after all.
"I'm so sorry" you say "but I can't make it. I would love to, but something has come up". When they ask "WHY?" (because they will) you just fire this back:
"I've started to bleed from the anus"
Nobody decent could possibly want an explanation for your indication of internal bleeding. And if they do, you just say "You know, you're a rather probing cunt. It's rude to ask that sort of thing"
If that's not a contingency plan, I don't know what is.