This notion of principled sincerity has me terrified, more terrified than I might be afraid of death.
This is the Riddle of the Sphinx on steroids, or too many fried shrimp, whatever the case may be. When wife asks hubby this question, the wise man knoweth to not answer the question. A wise man quickly delivers a soliloquy on a beauty that invites paramours uncounted, a smile whose radiance pales the moon, and a marital love that shames that of Penelope in the arms of Odysseus, as they tuck themselves into an extended night within the caress of the Tree of Life blessed by the gaze of the gods themselves.
To paraphrase Pink Floyd: I’m not frightened of sincerity. Anytime will do. Why should I be frightened of sincerity? There’s no reason for it. You’ve got to go some time.
Well, until the time comes.
If the Mrs. keeps packing away the fried shrimp, the time for sincerity may present itself, and the kayfabe must end. The delivery of sincerity is, of course, crucial. But let’s say that our hero has mastered his rhetoric, is overcome by love and concern for his wife’s health, and he says something like, “My love, thou art and ever shalt be the most beautiful creature in my sight, unworthy as I may be…” and, since I do not have such mastery over my own rhetoric, I wouldn’t know how to tell my wife, in all sincerity driven by love, that she has grown too fat for her own good. Because she’s not. And never will be. At least she’ll never hear such from me. Because she won’t ever be too fat. And I mean that.
Sincerity needs a relationship, a healthy relationship, a relationship of trust, which relies on trustworthiness. Trustworthiness rests on a primal understanding that sincerity brings something that is a lot like dying, and an understanding that a little dying is absolutely necessary for personal growth and societal growth, beginning with the family unit. Emotionally speaking, little boys and girls must die in order for men and women to emerge. One who is trustworthy may raise the blade, perhaps one who has had the blade jammed into his own psyche and knows how to wield it prudently. Little girls and boys love kayfabe; women and men love sincerity. And so we dance, men with girls, women with boys, back and forth, up and down, taking turns with the blade.
Otherwise, the little girl dressed in a woman’s clothing may stuff fried shrimp into her gaping piehole until she literally dies. Does her husband trust her enough to let him be man enough to tell her to stop eating? Has he done the labor of establishing himself as trustworthy, trustworthy enough to answer the question which must not be answered?
Likewise friends, neighbors, countrymen.