Trusty is one of those words that seems lonely without the “my” as in “I have my trusty…” whatever. Wrench. Horse. Sidekick. Duct tape if you’re Red Green. That thing that never lets us down.

I have never heard anyone say the phrase “My trusty truth-teller” but that is the seed a wise friend planted in my head recently. There are levels of trust, and levels of truth (if we get down to the nitty gritty), but one constant seems to be my impulse to dismiss the truthy-ness of those I trust when they care about me. A school of thought known as “But you have to say I’m beautiful because you’re my mother!!!!”

Their love (or like) makes their opinion suspect.

I think love goggles, unlike beer goggles, only distort the truth slightly. When you love someone their good traits can be magnified – by the same token on a bad day that same magnification can cause you to use words like “throttle” and “thrash” – but neither thing is untrue. And I think that is where the caution lives, for me at least. How much is love, how much is truth and how high are the stakes.

That’s where trusty comes in.

I have a friend I clothes shop with and we have a stringent no-lies-in-the-dressing-room policy combined with a rule about only buying it if its perfect on you and goes with one thing you already own, which means we have had many a “trusty truth-teller” moment at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. But when she tells me how she admires my skills in another area I dismiss a good 70% of it cuz that’s just the luv talking.

The bigger the luv, the less trusty the truth-telling. Its twisted. Should be the other way around. Maybe for other people it is.  My poor long-suffering, trusty husband. He should have read the marriage contract more closely. Speaking Truth to Power is a breeze compared with Speaking Truth to Love.

I am working on changing the formula for the acceptance of praise (P) so that truth-telling (TG) by someone normally trusty (Ty) does not get deflated (-) depending on the ratio of love (%L) the truth-teller has for me. My goal is inverse ratio. So my husband (H), with 95% (the highest possible love ratio available to humans), would normally have a formula like this: [(HTy) + (TG)] – (95%L) = P5% is objectively true, 90% love goggles

The new and improved husband formula would be simply: [(HTy) + (TG)] + 95%L = P95% objectively true, 5% love goggles.

It could work. I may have some some trouble applying the formula depending on the truth, but I am hopeful. I realized that I almost never fudge praise just to “be nice” so I’m not sure why I assume others do. I have several people, in addition to my husband and my girlfriend, that I trust and admire who deserve to be in the “trusty truth-teller” category, so I’ll give it a go. And now of course I have my objective, trusty formula.

It occurs to me that if love goggles were real they would have to be steampunk.