My friend, Aussa Lorens, got a hickey the other day. That’s no surprise, since she is newly married and she and her husband have the sex – probably often, but I’m too polite to ask (although I totally would if we got together and had a few of my prickly pear margaritas). When Aussa noticed her hickey, she wore a scarf to hide it, because she just got a new job and doesn’t want her boss thinking she is…a bit quirky. Unfortunately, her boss did notice – and he was not shy about asking about it. Aussa was unprepared for this interrogation – so she didn’t have an excuse handy. Her readers provided plenty of excuses in the comments – just in case this happens again (because it probably will!) but no one seemed to be thinking through about the ramifications and downsides of attempting to use a hickey excuse.
Allow me to remedy that situation.
I now present “Ten Hickey Excuses and Reasons to Think Twice before Using Them”
1. “It’s a birthmark.” This can only be used if you have never met the person before and will never meet them again. Birthmarks are not temporary – so if you use this excuse with a friend, parent, or boss, eyes will start rolling in their sockets so violently that they may be in danger of popping out. Note: you MAY be able to get away with this excuse – but only if you happen to run into the stranger again after your hickey has faded and tell them you found a brilliant dermatologist who was running human trials for a new wonder drug/treatment that totally eliminated that pesky birthmark. Just beware, they may have a birthmark you didn’t know about and immediately start pestering you for the name of your doctor.
2. “It’s from the curling iron.” This one may work – but only with people who don’t know you well enough to immediately grab your chin and angle it so that they can get a better look to “make sure it’s not a third degree burn – because you may need to go the hospital.” Even with acquaintances like coworkers and fellow church goers, you may need to embellish the story by letting them know that the iron-to-skin contact was limited, leaving you with a “slight burn…not even a blister…it won’t even scab over…a little aloe will fix this up in a couple of days!” Successful deception cannot be guaranteed.
3. “I was bitten by a vampire.” No, no, no – the only places this one works is at a ComicCon convention, while involved in a Role Playing Game with nerds, or when speaking to someone who believes they were abducted by aliens at some point (and even then, you’ll have to modify the excuse to “These aliens were PROBING me in my NECK!”) Other people are just too darn savvy for this excuse.
4. “A spider (or other insect) bit me.” This one only works if you’re willing to commit to the lie and do some prep work before you appear in public. First, you have to draw a circle around the hickey with a pen. Then, when people notice (and they will), you’ll tell them that you were bitten by a huge, brown spider (or another venomous insect of your choice) and that the doctor is trying to determine if the infection is spreading – so you were asked to draw a circle around it to mark the current size and then observe it over the next few days. When the hickey fades, you can publicly celebrate the fact that the infection did not become so serious that a decapitation was needed in order to save your life.
5. “It’s from a jellyfish sting.” If you live in – oh, I don’t know – say the middle of Colorado or something, this excuse should not even be considered – unless your town has a kick-ass aquarium with a jellyfish tank that is open and accessible by the public. Even then, you’d have to weigh the shame of having to admit you were so clumsy that you tripped and fell into the jellyfish tank with the shame of having a hickey. Now, if you live in a seaside town, like San Diego, you might get away with this excuse – but only if you are willing to accept and use helpful gifts of pee or vinegar to help neutralize the pain and redness.
6. “It’s a bruise.” Use this at your own risk – and probably only if you are a guy. Because if you are a dude, other dudes (and most women) would totally buy the idea that you let someone punch you in the neck – especially if you were able to regale them with an epic story of forbidden fight clubs and such. If you are a woman and try to use this excuse, be prepared to have fatherly types and all other women interrogate you about how you got the bruise. If you respond with something like, “I totally walked into the clothesline on accident,” they’ll shake their heads sadly, give each other knowing looks, and later you’ll find a card for the local women’s shelter on your desk.
7. “I had a shaving accident.” Again – this excuse is better left for the guys, unless you are naturally a very hirsute woman and are willing to actually shave your chin and neck so that people notice the difference. In both cases, you’ll have to find a bandage large enough to cover the hickey and then explain how you managed to cheat death after you accidentally slashed your throat in your clumsy attempt at silky smoothness.
8. “I had an allergic reaction to some new perfume.” Best used when your neck is practically covered with hickeys – because who sprays perfume in just one little spot on your neck? We all know that perfume is applied symmetrically – behind both ears, on both pulse points on your neck, on both wrists or inner elbows – you get the picture. So, if you wake up in the morning with a hickey, immediately grab your significant other before they go off to work and demand that they give you another hickey in the same spot on the OTHER side of your neck! You also may want to add some additional small spots with a red ink pen…just to throw any doubters off your trail.
9. “It’s a temporary tattoo.” This one is complicated. First of all, you have to know an artist (or be incredibly skilled yourself) to add some detail to your hickey so that it just looks like the background to your new temporary tattoo. Just putting a pair of round eyes and a smiley face on it won’t do the trick – unless you are 65-years-old and you are willing to wear fringe, ugly sandals, and talk about the wild time you had when you went to Woodstock. In this case, making your hickey into a peace symbol would also work well.
10. “I got it playing the violin.” OK – this one is actually a thing. Violin players even call it a “violin hickey”. Before you get too excited, keep in mind that actual violin hickeys are either up high (just under the jawbone) or down low (near the clavicle). So, if your hickey is in the middle of your neck, don’t go with this one. Also, beware! If you say you have a violin hickey, don’t be surprised if you are asked to get your violin and play Concerto No. 1 in a minor by Shostakovich. You can’t fake that shit, so don’t even try.
I guess Aussa may have had it right – just get a scarf and cover that fucker up – but knot it tight!