My Name Is Domingo and I’m a Compulsive Liar

An honest look at a life of lies

Domingo Cullen
Human Parts


Photo: Louis Kümmet/EyeEm/Getty Images

The first conversation I ever had with my girlfriend began with a lie.

It was the most electric conversation I’d had all year. I stood in the bathroom of a strange flat one night in late December with my phone nuzzling my right ear as a brief pause allowed in the muffled chatter from the main room. “Thirty-two,” I said. “Is that too old?” “No,” she replied. “What about you?” “Twenty-two,” came the voice down the phone. “Is that too young?” she asked. “No,” I said.

Much later, when I told my friends the story of how we met, and how at the end of our fourth date I came clean and she almost called the whole thing off, they showed no mercy. “Why would you lie by two years!” one of them cried. “At least go big,” said another. It had been a stupid little lie. But now that I think of it, my life has been devoured by stupid little lies. I’ve spent the last week wondering why. And my answer always comes back to the same thing.

I never lie because I don’t fear anyone. You only lie when you’re afraid. —John Gotti

Like everyone else, I was about three when I told my first lie. I don’t remember what it was; I wonder if it was any good. I’ve always been quite bad at lying…