Archive of an old blogpost on that explains a useful pattern.

bluffing + playing dumb = krepichy


This document is a sort of Emergency Survival Kit for those threatened by krepichy. It would be nice to start with a definition of krepichy, but it (krepichy) is so effective and dangerous precisely because it’s so hard to define. Since it’s hard to define, it’s hard to know when someone is using it against you, let alone defend yourself. But, by the same token, I hope that by giving it a name (and not a very dignified name at that) and providing a definition, I will be giving people the first, primitive tool to fight back against this insidious menace.


How about this: You ask a guy out, and he says sure, let’s meet Friday on the docks. You spend four hours waiting and he never shows. The next week you see him at a party with some blonde girl with huge boobs. And he’s. . . SMILING AT YOU? And WAVING FRIENDLY-LY, just as if he was someone who had not utterly fucked you over? And now he’s BECKONING YOU OVER to him and his girlfriend, just as if nothing bad had even happened? You begin to doubt your own memory. Surely if he’d really stood you up just days ago, and is blatantly with some other chick, he’d be totally trying to hide from you. Or embarrassed. Or angry. Or SOMETHING. There’s just no way he could be so happy to see you if he’d done anything wrong, could there? You stumble across the room, feeling vertigo. He says, “Hey, how are you?” exactly the way you’d talk to a regular pal.

By this time you’re pretty sure you imagined the entire standing-on-a-dock-for-four-hours incident, but you’re determined to make a feeble stab at uncovering the truth. You say, “Uh, fine, where were you Friday?” You already feel petty and selfish for bringing up such an insignificant event. He blithely says, “Oh, I was busy. Have you met Charlene?” The blonde is reaching out to shake your hand!!! What can you do? You’ve just experienced krepichy.


Your girlfriend of 3 years is in the kitchen fixing dinner. She announces that she’s going to Madagascar for 2 years as part of a Peace Corps project to build a dam for some starving villagers. You had no idea she’d even joined the peace corps. She breezes past the part about her leaving for 2 years and then talks enthusiastically about the logistics of dam building and how much it will improve the lives of these peasants, for around 10 minutes, while you’re trying to reassemble the pieces of your skull. She asks you, isn’t it great that she’s able to think about others, instead of being a typical selfish American? With no hint of irony. As if you’re supposed to applaud. You stammer something incoherent about how it’s good to care; after all, outright discouraging her from going, why, that would be tantamount to just putting a gun to the head of all the hapless villagers! But you also croak, “Can you, uh, go back to the part about leaving me for 2 years?” Obviously you’re one of these typical selfish Americans, not her. But she magnanimously overlooks your failing and reassures you that she loves you and you’ll still be ‘going out’ while she’s in Madagascar. For 2 years. She looks deep in your eyes and sighs, “I’ll miss you.”

Clearly she’s not mad at you. Nor is she at all guilty. The only possible explanation is that it’s utterly normal for loving couples to move to the opposite corners of the world for great lengths of time, with no warning. And you were just too socially maladjusted to notice this rule. To get mad at this point would be not only challenging your girlfriend, killing the innocent villagers, it would also amount to declaring war on the entire social order of western civilization. You grimly grab her hand and say, “I’ll miss you too.” You’ve been krepichy like a MOTHERFUCKER!!


Bluffs (along with whoppers, weasel words and telemarketing) are members of the Lie phylum, like someone with a pair of twos pretending they have a full house (whatever that is), or a puffer fish making itself biiiig, or Dirty Harold pretending that his gun really has a bullet in it, punk. These traditional bluffs operate by making the users seem more threatening than they are. So the victim (for instance, the punk of the latter scenario) can say, “Dirty Harold, I don’t believe you have a bullet. I dare you to shoot.” And thus expose the bluff. Technically, krepichy is a member of the bluff family, but by interbreeding the Bluff family with the most audacious features of the Playing-Dumb genus, Krepichy becomes much more dangerous. Because most bluffs EXAGGERATE the bluffer’s threat, and Krepichy HIDES the threat behind a false smile. . .The skilled krepichy user never has to outright lie; they operate by insinuation and subtlety, thus their lie can never be exposed. Successful krepichy makes the victim even wonder if there is a conflict at all, thus undermining their will to win.


Like Orwell’s 1984, where Big Brother takes away words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ so that would-be revolutionaries have no way to express their discontent, modern society has been at the mercy of this insidious tactic because we’ve had no name for it. The krepichy victim had only two choices: the first was to accept the fucking with a smile on his or her face. The only alternative was to get mad, but feel utterly petty and guilty about making a big deal out of something that’s apparently normal, or something that didn’t even happen!! With the moral high ground swiftly eroding from beneath his or her feet, even the angriest victim was at a tactical disadvantage! But no more!!

The day will come when we can simply look the would-be devious, evil motherfucker in the eye, and say, “You’re trying to krepichy!” Instead of getting mad, we can speak this simple sentence with the same glibness as our attacker, in a tone of voice that insinuates their duplicity and immaturity and our disappointment . We will be able to match them blithe for blithe, glib for glib. We will, simply by naming their shystey tactics, put THEM on the defensive! But surely, being experienced bluffers, they will try to say, “Krepichy? What’s that?”

So therefore, we must get this word so entrenched in the common tongue that such weaseling is futile. If we tell our friends, spam random people, hire skywriters and stick post-it notes on the doors of prominent linguists, we will prevail!!