Lie: “Are you having fun,” some dude on the bathroom line asked. “Yes,” we replied enthusiastically, and then we continued as instructed. “Actually, it’s funny I made it here. I was supposed to be going to a cutting-edge art show in Queens. You know, that one where that guy catches rainbows in jars?”
Result: Dude on the bathroom line was impressed. He told us about an exhibit he’d recently seen on the Upper West Side (fleeting thought: Was he faking it back?) and then bemoaned the sorry state of the New York art scene. Then he gave us his card and let us cut him on line. Success!
Lie: The party was at Hotel QT, which has a swimming pool in its lobby. A guy invited us to join him in it. We declined, and he wondered if we were afraid to swim. “Not at all,” we replied, marveling at how we’d been offered such a perfect opening for another gambit. “I’m actually an experienced lifeguard. I saved at least one life — maybe a few — when I was younger.”
Result: “I always ran on the pool deck as a kid,” he told us. He also said he didn’t know CPR. Verdict: Meh.
Lie: “I’m a video producer,” one girl told us. “Oh, that’s great. I’m working on a piece about video producers for The New Yorker,” we replied. We’d been assured the New Yorker move always worked. “Do you have any advice for us?”
Result: No advice. But she gave us a slice of pizza.
Lie: We were talking to Neel Shah, one of the book’s authors (and a Daily Intel contributor), and someone asked how we knew him. We’d only just met him, we explained as instructed, because we’d been living in Cambodia for a year building houses. “I got food poisoning on an excursion to Mongolia involving a 55-hour train ride,” we added.
Result: Travel stories are, it turns, the faking-it killer app. This turned into a match of one-upmanship: Venice, Capri, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Montenegro. After 35 minutes of spirited conversations, we’d scored restaurant recommendations around the world — “it’s just around the corner from the Duomo ” — which we’ll have to remember if we ever get to leave New York. —Jocelyn Guest