After funny, smart and kind, ‘honest’ is pretty high up on my laminated list of Prince Charming credentials. Written in capitals for ADDED EFFECT, I’ve slotted it in with ‘must have all his own teeth’, ‘never uses the phrase ‘smash it’’ and ‘doesn’t watch Sky Sports during sexy time’.

But like any good quality in a man, there’s such a thing as ‘too much’.  And total honesty all the time doesn’t make for a picture of eternal rainbow cloud hopping joy.  A prime example: when ditching a date/lover/one night stand, it’s customary to be warm, gentle and just a tad economical with the truth.  “I’m just not looking for a relationship right now”. “It’s not you it’s me”. “I’m so busy I can’t commit”. We all know it’s code for “I don’t like you at all and I’d rather spend the rest of my life having intimate relations with a potato than see you again”. But that carefully constructed pillar of little white lies IS there for a reason. Think how much worse you’d feel if faced with the truth? That s/he thinks you’re more annoying than a go-go juice snorting five year old in an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras? It’d cause more hysterical sobbing than Bambi in HD.

Last year I started dating one of those uber truthful types who was so wholesome he made Mother Teresa look like a gangster rap artist. One day I met him minus make up with slightly frizzy electrical vault disaster hair. “Sorry, I didn’t have time to get ready properly. Hope I don’t look too awful,” I said when greeting him.  “I’ve seen you look a lot better” was the reply. I mean honestly. IT’S NOT A COURT OF LAW! You’re not under oath to say nothing but the truth.  Sometimes I felt like he needed guidance flash cards with suitable comments to engage in normal conversation.

It’s not just inappropriate question answering of course.  Unnecessary ‘sharing’ can be just as unwelcome. Years ago an ex boyfriend and I were counselling a mutual friend on her relationship crises. “He’s just using you for sex,” was my man’s helpful response. “I dated an older woman once and it was the best sex I’ve ever had.” Tell friend a man is using her? Check. Imply friend was old? Check. Tell current girlfriend (in front of witness) that ex girlfriend was ‘the best he ever had’? Check.  I’m still not sure how it’s even possible to inadvertently offend that many times in an eight second window of speech. But somehow, King Bozo of the Dodo tribe managed to pull it off. He’s just lucky we saw the funny side of his foot in mouth situation. (Eventually. After some stomping. And glaring. And promising of presents.)

So the truth is I’m not sure we want our relationships to be completely honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving the green light for men to start consummating like Z listers on a reality show and telling wild porkies about their whereabouts. But there’s definitely a time and a place for brutal honesty. And it never involves telling your current squeeze how great your ex was in bed.