Metatalktail Hour: Lying to Mom September 23, 2017 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! It was 95 in Chicago today and I am hella grumpy about it! This week's topic comes from Johnny Wallflower and Bondcliff, who want to know the Things You've Done That You Would Never Tell Your Mother. Or father. Or guardian. Or boss. Or thesis supervisor. Or android caregiver. Or miscellaneous authority figure. Whatev. You get the idea!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:13 PM (112 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

With help, I stole the pig from the nearby farm 32 years ago (mentioned it a few years back). There were complicated reasons, because rural village and town life is complicated to a degree you will not believe until you live in such a place a while. No-one liked the pig "owner" for more reasons, and because there was some dispute over how he acquired the pig. The rumpus over the pig carried on for years, and a few people moved away because of it, and other people were wrongly accused (though often with reason).

Zero regrets. Rural karma. The ham and bacon were tasty.

+ + + + +

The Autumnal equinox passed this Friday gone, which meant a trip to an isolated wood on the side of a hill, overlooking the distant lights of north Midlands towns, more distantly towards the Peak District. The occasional shower passed through, but they were light and we were under a canopy of tall trees, providing more than sufficient shelter.

And everyone had remembered to dress up accordingly. For we may be Druids, but this is still English September weather.

This location is for a more intimate, closed Druid ritual, not the larger anyone-can-drop-in one that happens on the following Sunday during the daytime. There's a few pictures of the pre- and after-, such as the fire being lit and the embers and some of the dozens of lanterns scattered around the wood, but not of the ritual itself. Which was intense, and fulfilling (also literally as the ritual involves a lot of drinking of mead and eating of freshly baked bread) and left me with an acute awareness of the shifting towards darker days and longer nights.

Friends who are becoming older friends; newer friends; friendly strangers who may become friends. Together, in a wood, standing on the Earth, while at the same time similar rituals and ceremonies for this equinox are marked by other groups of people, gathering and standing elsewhere on other places around the surface of our home planet.

There was one last memory. As we left, carrying our lanterns across the field to the narrow and quiet country lane that would (eventually) take us back to our respective parts of (human) civilization, I heard what sounded like a group of birds close by, overhead. Perhaps six in number; a strange and low collective yearning call, as though they were searching for a lost one of their flock...
posted by Wordshore at 6:29 PM on September 23, 2017 [31 favorites]

All the worst shit, I did with my parents, except the drug dealing part. I really was raised by wolves. So I guess there’s two things - in about 84, when I was 22 or 23, my step-dad called me to ask if I knew where to get a 1/4 gram of coke to celebrate their anniversary. I told him I wasn’t sure, but I’d check around. I waited 45 minutes, called him back & told him I’d found some. The whole time, I had an 8-ball sitting in the desk, but didn’t want him to know I was dealing, so.

He is also a real gun nut - I grew up in a house with upwards of 10 guns in it, & he taught me to shoot all of them - he & my grandfather laughed their asses off when the 12-gauge knocked 12 year old me on my ass. Anyway, one of his gifts to me in the mid 80’s was a very nice Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum with a 5” barrel. It was actually a very nice gun. I thought “okay, safety, you know - we do keep a lot of musical gear & drugs around here...” but a couple of years later, I had to wrestle it out of the hands of my blackout-drunk girlfriend, who had been shouting & randomly pointing it back & forth between me & the side of her head for a minute or two. It was a somewhat tense moment. I emptied it of bullets, locked it in the trunk right then, & drove it to the pawn shop the next morning. I never told him about that.

Sorry if this comes across as a bummer after Wordshore’s lovely equinox comment, but the good news is: the ex-girlfriend is 26 years sober, and I am almost 20 years sober & gun-free. Melt the guns.

Happy autumn, ya’ll.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:55 PM on September 23, 2017 [50 favorites]

oh geez, this is like OKCupid's "Most private thing I'm willing to admit"... I'll have to ponder this one....
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:58 PM on September 23, 2017

I don't know if I should tell this story because my mom reads MetaFilter sometimes now, but when I was in high school I was in jazz band and having a profound love-affair with jazz. Now, as background, I wasn't allowed to go to a Tori Amos concert at Northwestern University because my mom thought it would be too dangerous and rowdy ... she was convinced concerts were full of gangs, and drugs, and violence, and pickpockets. But she was also convinced that jazz was boring old-people music (literally, "that boring crap my mom listens to," she called it), and that the venues I'd go to listen to it would be quite similar to when I went to Orchestra Hall or Ravinia to hear the CSO, because it was boring, dead, culturally enriching music.

ANYWAY. When I went with my jazz band friends to go hear jazz bands in Chicago at 16, I'm well aware she thought we were going to tourist spots in the Loop, and would have absolutely forbidden it had she known we were actually going to over-21 jazz clubs south of Congress. I was definitely not allowed south of Congress.

We went dressed in our church or synagogue best (as the situation warranted), looking (I now realize) painfully preppy. But everyone was super-nice to us. We never lied about our age -- generally they waved us in with no cover and handed us right to a waitress who took us down to the table right in front of the band and brought us nothing-but-sodas all night. Sometimes we'd run into another painfully white-and-Asian suburban high school jazz band also seated way down front (Hello Mundelein!). The clubs knew exactly what we were (suburban kids who loved jazz) and as long as we didn't try to buy liquor, stayed where we'd been sat, and left after the second set, everyone was super-nice to us, and the waitresses would usually invite us to come talk to the band during the first break, and the bands were always really welcoming and I got to shake hands with some awesome jazz artists. Cops sometimes came in but as long as we had sodas and were down in the well-lit front spots, didn't mind we were there.

I don't know if this would be a good idea today, between the ID-checking escalation after 9/11 and the terrifying situation with Chicago cops these days, but back then it was a little secret thing that was wonderful for student musicians and all the responsible adults overlooked as long as we didn't try to drink. All the clubs we went to back then have mostly been gentrified out of existence as the Loop as extended its tentacles southwards. I wouldn't even know where the great spots to go are these days.

My mom might retroactively faint if she found out about this, though. DON'T WORRY, I NEVER DROVE MY OWN CAR, MOM!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2017 [62 favorites]

When my grandmother was a child in rural Ontario in the early 30's, her Sunday school teacher went on a trip to China and brought back a small ceramic jar with a lid, which she gave to my grandmother.
When my grandparents downsized into a condo a few years ago my grandmother took that opportunity to give to her extended family those heirlooms that she had been caring for: my sister got the signed letter from TS Elliot written to my great grandfather about his graduate thesis work; I got the little jar.

One week. ONE WEEK after having received this jar I was in my room doing my hair and the cord from the blow dryer swept it right off the dresser and onto the floor where it shattered.

My grandmother died in 2015 and I still have not told a single family member what happened. I glued as much as I could but the bottom isn't flat anymore so it lives in a box in my closet.
posted by janepanic at 7:02 PM on September 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

This would be a fantastic time to switch on the everyone is anonymous button...
posted by not_the_water at 7:36 PM on September 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Actually, I'm not sure that ended well.
posted by not_the_water at 7:36 PM on September 23, 2017

I made up a fictitious illness, requiring a doctors' excuse to skip gym classes, at the last high school I attended. As it turned out I skipped half of my senior year, while being on the debate team, in the school play, winning first place in state in foreign language competition, and Klepping out of 60 college credit hours. So when the school secretary brought this up on the last day of school, I read down my list of accomplishments, and I asked her, "Just what else do I have to do for you people, to get a high school diploma?" She said, "No one has ever spoken to me this way." I replied, "Well, there is a first time for everything." So, I graduated.
posted by Oyéah at 7:42 PM on September 23, 2017 [23 favorites]

Things You've Done That You Would Never Tell Your Mother.


Or father. Or guardian. Or boss. Or thesis supervisor. Or android caregiver. Or miscellaneous authority figure

posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:50 PM on September 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

This one time, at band camp...
posted by carmicha at 8:00 PM on September 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

My mom mostly heard about everything from me othe than sex. I was mostly a good kid. In high school we had a deal...if I wanted to road trip up to Chicago (3+ hours away) to see a concert she would let me if I went to school the next day. (I hated school and skipped whenever I could so I understand how this deal made warped sense to her.) The late 80s were a different time.

She never found out that I went to Costa Rica during one of my spring breaks in college. (She died last year.) BUT I didn't share that because I went with a man.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:01 PM on September 23, 2017

I lived in a small town where if people didn't know my name they sure as hell knew exactly who my grandfather was. One time I had 6 friends squeezed in my car to drive 3 blocks, 20 miles away from my house, and by the time I got home my mom had already heard about it from 4 different people. If I'd been a boy I would have been "nice but rowdy" or "full of piss and vinegar" or "a firecracker" but since I was a girl I was "Trouble" and "Need to Keep an Eye On That One" and "A Warning for Other Parents/Kids" and "[My Name]. . . *shakes head*". Ahhh, memories.

Anyway. There's a lot my folks found out about, but I still have some secrets. My brother and I fought like cats and dogs yet somehow my parents don't suspect that I'm the one who used pieces of baloney to spell out "FARTFACE" on his truck hood. I don't know what the hell's in baloney but I will never eat it because it absolutely ruined his paint job so his hood said FARTFACE for most of his junior year. They blamed it on his friends. I traveled all over Yellowstone and the Tetons for years by offering to drive small RVS for people who were scared to death to drive in the mountains, which would scare the hell out of my mother.

My dad suspected this one, I think, but nobody else did. There was a giant tank they used for the 4th of July town picnic as an above ground pool, which the firemen would fill right before they had their water hose fight. One year I had a huge crush on one of the firemen (I was in high school though). So in an attempt to fluster the captain, who was on the opposite team of my crush, I dumped an entire industrial sized box of soap flakes in the tank while everybody was busy watching the duck race. I realized that maybe I had made a mistake when that first human sized clot of bubbles came jetting out of tank and landed on the park grass like a finger of god.
posted by barchan at 8:07 PM on September 23, 2017 [27 favorites]

Gosh I was (Am) such a good kid, there's virtually nothing I never told my mother. She certainly had no idea of the quantity of pot and alcohol I consumed for a while there i high school - but she knew, I think, there was definitely some; it was a kind of unspoken agreement.

She and Dad never knew, though, quite how many subjects I was failing at university in my first 18 months. Good lord. I think in one year I failed (by not showing up, basically) half the subjects I was studying (whilst posting distinctions and above in the others, sigh). They occasionally, gingerly, asked, and I would no doubt have replied evasively, drawing attention to the good results. I think in the end that I failed enough subjects my degree took a year longer than it should have.

I blame myself, and them. I should have called out the difficulties I was having (in this more enlightened age, words like depression and anxiety would undoubtedly have applied). I felt so lonely and adrift. I blame them for giving me the impression I was 'on my own' (When I wasn't, I never was), for not checking in in meaningful ways, even when they visited and could see the bad sitch I was living in.

I turned the ship around decisively, thank goodness. But I'm not sure those failures really helped me in any meaningful way, long term. Actually I suspect they reinforced some bad patterns, and I could have learnt those lessons in a better, healthier way.

So, I guess the takeout is if you want to keep it secret from your parents; it's probably not a great idea.

There is one other thing: I know something about my parents - all of us kids do - that they don't think we know. And I will never demonstrate this knowledge. I hope my father went to his grave believing it was secret, and when it's mum's time, I hope she does, too.
posted by smoke at 8:25 PM on September 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

I ditched about half of my sophomore year of high school. I would get dropped off at school, attend first period, then just walk out the front gate and go home. What nefarious teenage shenanigans was I getting up to every day? Drugs? Sex? Stealing cars? Ha no. Playing Final Fantasy VII or reading books or listening to music or otherwise screwing around. I just thought school was super boring. HOW DID I NEVER GET CAUGHT? It is a mystery to this day. How did the school not notice I was absent for literally 50% of the year? How did I just walk out the front gate? No idea. I never got in any trouble. I never got approached by a teacher. It was like I was invisible. I think bright underachieving slacker girls were unusual enough that my teachers just didn't really know what to do with me and left me alone. I never made any trouble, I just didn't show up or do any work. I thought school sucked (which, to be fair, it did) and at the end of the year I took the high school proficiency exam and left school legally. My parents had no idea about the ditching, and still don't to the best of my knowledge.
posted by supercrayon at 8:57 PM on September 23, 2017 [10 favorites]

I did the same, supercrayon, and I kind of forgot about it. I was in 8th grade but the school I was at didn't have math advanced enough for me, so I was supposed to walk down a few blocks to the nearby high school for math class (geometry -- I also kept the textbook for 10-15 years, because I was a ne'er-do-well). I went for the first few months, I think, but at some point I just.. stopped going. I'd sit in the library at one school or the other. I can't have skipped EVERY day, but I'll be damned if I can remember anything about that class.

There are Many Other Things but those shall remain secret.
posted by curious nu at 9:08 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

My mother had similar views about rock concert as Eyebrows McGee's (gangs/drugs/violence/pickpockets/etc.), and after a multiyear campaign, I was finally allowed to go to one with my friends on a couple of conditions.
(1) I had to pay for it myself. This was perfectly fair, but there was a minor crisis when the guy at the Tower Video's TicketMaster window would only accept checks and not cash -- my mom just barely agreed to write a check in exchange for my cash.

(2) I was allowed to drive to my friend's house to meet up with the group that was going, but I was NOT, under any circumstance to drive the group to the concert.
The day arrived, and I drove over to my friend's house, and... they'd all been drinking all afternoon. Which left me with three options:
(1) Let one of my drunk friends drive us. Nope, not an option.

(2) Turn around and go home, thus proving to my mother that rock concerts were Terrible Things, with a bonus that I'd never be allowed near my friends again. Also not an option.

(3) Drive everyone and figure it out later.
So I drove them to the show, and everything was fine, and no one was recruited by gangs, offered drugs, victimized by violence, or pickpocketed. However, it didn't occur to me that my friends would track leaves and detritus into the car. My parents figured out that I had driven based on the mess, and I was slightly in trouble, but they never dug into exactly why I had done so, thank god.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:11 PM on September 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I bought a motorcycle in college, but the official story I fed my mom was that I had borrowed it from my sister's ex-boyfriend, who had more motorcycles than he needed.

I "borrowed" that motorcycle for 15 years. She must have come to realize I owned it, but I'm not sure if she thought I eventually bought it from the guy, or if she knew it was mine all along.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:14 PM on September 23, 2017 [4 favorites] step-dad called me to ask if I knew where to get a 1/4 gram of coke to celebrate their anniversary.

Well, for starters, I wouldn't admit to my mom that I know for a fact that a quarter gram of coke isn't nearly enough for 2 people celebrating an anniversary.
posted by she's not there at 9:26 PM on September 23, 2017 [18 favorites]

Kissing boys, giving up religion for lent. You know, the usual.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 9:30 PM on September 23, 2017

In high school my mom and I were talking about how hairy her family was and I said something about how hairy men's bodies were. Like so much hair all over. And she agreed and then asked casually how I knew that men were hairy. And my heart stopped briefly and then I took a breath and said explained about how my high school biology textbook included nude pictures of a man and a woman. And I saw her face and was all, "You didn't think that I ... ?" and she shook her head no, but I could see the relief in her face.

I was so relieved myself that I'd come up with a plausible lie in a millisecond. It didn't occur to me until later that maybe she was also relieved that I'd come up with a plausible lie. She never asked to see my textbook. I wasn't entirely lying; I'm pretty sure my biology textbook did include a nude photo of a man and a woman. But that's not how I knew that men (which is to say, in this case, one particular high school guy) was hairy like everywhere. Naturally, this was pre-manscaping.

As for the OK Cupid question about the most private thing I'm willing to share (which will horrify a fair number of people): I eat sweet potato chips. While reading library books. In the bathtub. In my defense, no library books have yet been harmed in the making of my bath time adventures.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:32 PM on September 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

When I was probably around 12 or 13, we lived out in the country across the road from a small lake. It was early winter, so the lake was frozen over, but the ice wasn't very thick yet. My mom told me not to go out on the ice. I was playing by the side of the lake where it was very shallow and the ice was thicker. It was relatively new, and perfectly smooth, and very slippery, so of course I was sliding around on it, having a great time. After a while, I noticed that the ice, in addition to being perfectly smooth, was also perfectly clear. I could see fish swimming around under it. It was really cool! I got farther away from the shore, sliding on the ice and peering down at the fish, and it seemed fine. Clearly, my mom had no idea what she was talking about! After I got tired of sliding around, I was laying prone, just watching the fish swim around underneath me, about 20 or 30 yards from the shore, when I heard what sounded like a gunshot. I didn't think anything of it at first, because in rural Wisconsin, gun shots aren't really all that rare. Seconds later, a large crack spread through the ice right in front of my face. I think it had spread across the whole lake. I slipped and skidded and scampered off that ice so fast! Guess it was actually too thin.... I never told my mom.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:34 PM on September 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

I can't think of anything I wouldn't tell my parents offhand but I DO have something I wouldn't tell Metafilter so here goes.

Last weekend my partner and I went camping. We made really amazing-- I mean really amazing-- chicken breasts over veggies and potatoes by wrapping foil packets and grilling them over the campfire. We also, in finest Widget camping style, made way too much food. I mean, waaaay too much. We ate, like, maybe half of it and we both wanted to die.

So we wrapped the leftovers in foil and put them in a cooler-- and then realized we'd forgotten the ice. So the chicken and veggies sat in a cooler in the trunk of a car overnight (40F ?) and then the next day (60 -65F ?). And well... we weren't going to waste them, right?

24 hrs later we ate the leftovers for dinner after reheating. We were both fine, but I did distinctly mumble around a mouthful of tasty chicken, "I am never telling AskMefi about this."
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:00 PM on September 23, 2017 [46 favorites]

Well, my parents are long dead so technically I could tell y'all all of it, but I don't know you that well. I could tell about the Hawai'ians in Libyan (I mean, mom knew these guys but she didn't know about me and these guys), or I could tell about the rumble between two Army high schools in Italy with brass knuckles and saps and chains in the trunks ("rumble" is a dead giveaway of my age), or the Purple Jesus drunken parties down on the beach in NC, or the drag race through town at 3am while drunk on half&half Mtn. Dew and bourbon, or . . . oh never mind. We'd be here all night. I think mom didn't want to know; she was just exhausted being a widow with two kids. We kids both actually turned out reasonably okay and she was fine with that. Many years later, I'd mention something and get the "you never told me that!" response. That's right, mom, I didn't.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:03 PM on September 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

I did think about it though and we are both robust adults with good health insurance and we were going to be home again the next morning, while the incubation period for Campylobacteriosis (most common with chicken) is usually 48 hrs and Salmonella doesn't generally hit for 12 - 72 hrs. Which the sort of thing you contemplate when your advisor is a public health epidemiologist but also you grew up pretty poor.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:06 PM on September 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

I don't think I have ever hid anything from my parents or my wife or anyone, really. I made the conscious decision to quit believing in God when I was a teen though. There were a solid fifteen years of my life where I was a total shit, and about halfway through I realized that what I was doing was not ok in the eyes of our Lord. At that time I had to either give up on being a piece of shit or accept that I was going to burn in hell. Instead I chose option 3, and just gave up on the idea of an afterlife entirely. I know that sounds weird, and fortunately I recovered from being a cocksucker (mostly anyway), but I never once looked back at religion.

Ok, nothing to do with the topic, but I have to brag! I have been talking about my 10k race for weeks now, and it was today. Well, I finished 3rd place overall, so got to stand on the podium, where they gave me a trophy, a certificate in a frame and 100 bucks! I am a professional athlete now, I don't care what anyone says.

Ok, real talk though: the first and second place finishers ran 10km in about 33 minutes. My time was like 38:50, so it wasn't so much that I did great but that the field was weak. And that is the last time I am going to admit that!
posted by Literaryhero at 10:20 PM on September 23, 2017 [19 favorites]

The girls, and boys, and men, and women, and drugs. The alcohol she knows about.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:27 PM on September 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

For a long time the quippy answer to this was "girls", but it has been so enormously freeing that the answer is now "literally everything". I still envy people who have good relationships with their parents, but I am finally reaching the point where I feel really comfortable with the advantages of having cut her off, because I don't think I ever did anything she disapproved of. This was a woman who managed to disapprove of my getting a full scholarship to law school, mind.

The answer to this with people who I actually deal with regularly, like my coworkers, is 100% fandom-related. I would rather someone at work somehow find out the details of literally every sexual encounter I've ever had than somehow find out my AO3 account.
posted by Sequence at 10:36 PM on September 23, 2017 [16 favorites]

I wrote a movie in my early 20s, but I can't show it to anyone because I had to fill in for an actor who backed out. The role required me to get fully naked and perform simulated sex acts. I don't know what's more embarrassing, that I had naked fake-sex in a movie, or that I wrote a movie with people having naked fake-sex. Either way, it's probably my biggest accomplishment, and I can't show it to anyone.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:09 PM on September 23, 2017 [13 favorites]

Congrats Literaryhero! Tell me, what help you get your time down to that; I'm currently sitting around 46-47 minutes for a ten km and would love to lower it a bit more.
posted by smoke at 11:42 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I tried for so long not to tell my mother about my miscarriage, but when I ended up in the hospital a year ago in excruciating pain from another burst ovarian cyst, it tumbled out. I started bawling and apologizing and just freaking out and she said she had been there and she understood and she knew more than she wanted to let on. We’ve never spoken about it since.

My father knows nothing about that, and he will probably never know about my mental illnesses, the assaults, or the other stuff I have been through. There will never be a right time to tell him, and that’s that.

They’re all interrelated issues, too. Funny how that goes I guess.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:52 PM on September 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

Congrats Literaryhero! Tell me, what help you get your time down to that; I'm currently sitting around 46-47 minutes for a ten km and would love to lower it a bit more.

I just typed up a long memail to you but was on mobile and closed the browser which caused the page to reload and ahhhh!

Here is the short version. Every spring I am out of shape, and I get fast by doing 1km intervals. On a 5k or 10k run I go fast-slow-fast-slow in 1000 meter intervals, allowing my slow time to be whatever and my fast time to be my ideal time. I am basically aiming for 4:00 here, but in March I am in bad shape so can't even come close. (And my slow kilometers are above 5 minutes at this point)

The key here is to not get disheartened. Keep at it and the times will fall. After a month or two the results will be pretty obvious (by the time summer starts I am nailing sub 4 fast kms and my slow kilometers are down to like 4:30).

As for this particular race, I used's 10km (advanced) training program. I started two weeks early and did the first week 3x in a row because I didn't think I was in good enough shape otherwise. I cut out the rest days and ran 7 days a week (aside from 3 rest days before races) for 10 weeks.

It worked, but I honestly don't know if it was the best program for me. I think I am going to try out the training programs because my weak point is my leg speed and I think that time-to-run focuses more on speed whereas halhigdon focuses more on general fitness.

Anyway, the tldr is run a lot and run FAST at least a couple km a couple times a week. It is the old tautology, if you want to run fast, you gotta run fast.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:03 AM on September 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I am scrupulously avoiding telling my parents that I haven't read a novel in at least two years, and I don't really miss them.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:12 AM on September 24, 2017

(Novels, that is. Not my parents. There's just too many tiny complicated bits of the real world I want to read about these days.)
posted by deludingmyself at 1:15 AM on September 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

My parents are conservative catholic so I told them literally nothing. Well, I might have told them a few innocuous things like political views and after a couple times being immediately and forcefully condemned, I learned to keep virtually *all* of my personal life private while maintaining a cordial relationship with them. Now that I'm my own man, they are confused and frustrated by things I believe in and what I do. So sorry, guys, this is what happens when you priortize your catholic dogma higher than you prioritize knowledge of your own children. Thanks for not being there, I had lots of turmoil and trouble in my youth and could have used a loving parent. I got through most of it ok by myself anyway.

So yeah, lots of sex and drugs and doing dangerous things with cars and unauthorized travel. All they knew about was graduating at the top of my class from a school named after an obscure catholic saint. There was quite a bit more going on.

I hope they live long enough to hear their grandkids talk openly about the weed they're smoking, when they realized they were gay, the difficult time they had taking their girlfriend to get an abortion. Because that's what kids who feel loved and trusted do.

Finding a good therapist has been priceless in my life.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:48 AM on September 24, 2017 [16 favorites]

Earthquakes. It's not that my mom doesn't know I live in a place where a large earthquake might happen any time now, knock wood, but there's no reason to make her think about it any more than necessary, especially since it's not like we can do anything about it. (Tell me some place I could live where I wouldn't be at risk from any natural or artificial disasters, go on, do...).
I don't seem to have had a lot of past shameful secrets, I was too timid and my parents were pretty accepting. On the other hand, there was the time I did tell them something. Home from my first term of college for winter break, "Um, I should tell you, I think I'm bisexual? Also, I've been going to Shabbat dinners on Friday nights?" To which my (humanist/atheist Jewish) parents responded basically "That's nice, dear, I'm glad you told us. --You've been doing what on Friday nights?"
posted by huimangm at 2:59 AM on September 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

Oh, also, Eyebrows McGee, your jazz club story is wonderful. Someone needs to write a (YA? or not?) novel that begins with that scene.
posted by huimangm at 3:34 AM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Our friend Larry in high school didn't really exist. Larry was our code name for weed. "Who's picking up Larry before the movies?" "We had an awesome time with Larry last night." "Don't forget to invite Larry." And that kind of thing.
posted by kinsey at 5:23 AM on September 24, 2017 [16 favorites]

I remember sitting in a restaurant with my sister and she was telling me some long involved story, and, merely as an aside, mentioned that her teenaged son had told her after the first time he had sex. She kept trying to go on with the story, but I kept stopping her -- wait, what??? He TOLD you???? HE TOLD YOU??? How the hell did you raise a child to do that?? You're like, MOM OF THE CENTURY. She didn't seem to think it was a big deal, but I couldn't wrap my head around the concept at all. At the time, I was in my mid-30s and married, and I STILL didn't want my parents to know I was having sex.
posted by JanetLand at 6:47 AM on September 24, 2017 [11 favorites]

I'm 17 years old and I'm driving my sister to her dance class. I'm on the highway and for some reason I'm driving slow in the fast lane and I see a car speeding up behind me and honk the horn and I guess I'm blind or just not paying attention or whatever, so I finally pull over to the slow lane and as I do so, I give the finger.

If I had been paying attention, I'd have noticed that this particular car had some red lights on the top and was blue and white. And again, I dont' know what was going on, I was just zoning out on the highway.

I get pulled over and have to explain what happened and the cop can see I'm frightened and my sister is just laughing her ass off in the backseat. I got a warning and was told to be polite and to be attentive and to not be a jerk on the road. Cop was super chill when he could have easily not been super chill about it.

I made my sister promise to never tell this story to my folks. It was especially important at that time, as I had just received my license and freedom was something I did not want to be taken away from me. I have a feeling this story will be told at my wedding. I just have a feeling. We'll see, maybe my sister has forgotten about it, but thus far we've not told mom or dad about this incident.
posted by Fizz at 6:51 AM on September 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

I was a good kid. Never cut school (don't regret it), never drank before 21 (don't regret it), waited until marriage (huge regrets), so I give to you the secret I kept for over 20 years.

My mother taught me to never sit on a public toilet in a ladies' room. Some foul, awful disease would come to pass and destroy my bits and bobs if I were even to brush against it. I'm talking, "flush the toilet with your foot" mentality. When I was small, Mom would hold me above the toilet, later she showed me how to squat, then I was left to my own devices. I hated it but dared not deviate.

Until I graduated college and got my own health insurance. And then I realized: if some disease came to pass and destroyed my bits and bobs, it's all on MY dime now and under MY name and ... dammit ... I'm 21 years old and immortal ... I'm going to have sex with everyone sit on a ladies' room toilet!!!!

And I did. And nothing happened, except I no longer am a seat sprinkler which I think goes toward my points for The Good Place.

I did tell Mom this a few years ago though. We were on a beach vacation and a little tipsy from the wine . She's still horrified.
posted by kimberussell at 6:58 AM on September 24, 2017 [14 favorites]

I read my mom's diary when I was about 12, just after she'd started dating my stepdad. I don't know why I did it, but there were some things I couldn't unsee. I learned a valuable lesson that day, but never told her.
posted by AFABulous at 7:06 AM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

There isn't a whole lot I haven't told her, I guess because I never did too many stupid / terrible things when I was younger.

I mean, I'm almost 48 and I still haven't admitted that I smoked a shit-ton of pot and did some other drugs between the ages of 17 and 24. My mom had that very silly 1980s attitude that pot was a "gateway drug" that would inevitably lead to heroin addiction and satan worshiping. She did come out and flat out ask me once when I was about 18 and I said "no, I think some of my friends do though." which, well, all of my friends did.

I stopped going to community college about a month into the first semester and she didn't find out until what should have been my third semester. It's never really come up since and to this day I don't really know how much she knows.

She was surprisingly open minded about teenage drinking and her only real concern was that we didn't drive drunk. So on the rare occasion when she went away I would tell her I was going to have a party. She was ok with that but of course she never found out about the projectile vomiting across the kitchen or that time my lunkhead stoner friend Jeff almost threw another guy, Scott, into her china hutch after Scott started making out with Jeff's ex-girlfriend. Stupid stuff like that that she just didn't need to know about.

I'm not sure what else. I've never told her about doing dumb things like crossing an active railroad bridge and having to run across 1/3rd of it when we heard the train coming.

Never, ever admitted to doing anything sexual with anyone. She did walk into my room once when my girlfriend was, um, kneeling down in front of me, but we heard her coming and zipped up and acted innocent but I knew I wasn't supposed to be alone in my room with a girl.

I stopped telling her about my hiking trips because I'd always come home and there would be five messages on my machine saying "I'm worried, call me!" because maybe she heard someone died in Alaska and even though I was in New Hampshire she'd still be convinced it was me. When I went out West to climb a volcano she was terrified it was going to erupt while I was on it.
posted by bondcliff at 7:34 AM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I go onto this website sometimes and give people advice, and nobody IRL knows or suspects. Sometimes I use intimate (but anomymized, at least slightly) details of other people's personal lives to illustrate my points. They would probably not be happy if they knew.
posted by rpfields at 7:41 AM on September 24, 2017 [10 favorites]

Don't think I ever told parents but certainly bragged this one occasionally (years later) and not that much of a thing but a nice moment. Set off some firecrackers at school, (long long ago). Did not run, the tough gym coach did fly around the corner moments after, me being a goodie nerd waved "saw someone running that way" and the coach took off towards the back field. Pretty sure I was never suspected. Was one of my best life lessons, never run away. Walk.
posted by sammyo at 8:05 AM on September 24, 2017 [11 favorites]

When I was in Côte d'Ivoire this summer, I landed in Abidjan as a mutiny was getting underway. Basically, the president had promised people in his militia-turned-Ivorian-Army a lot of money for supporting him once the economy picked up, but then cocoa and rubber prices fell and he reached an agreement with the higher-ups to only pay a portion of that. So I arrived on Thursday, went shopping and got my permits on Friday. We were told the Army were out and demonstrating in the streets in an area of town, and they basically blockaded the major town. So I was trying to figure out if it would be safe to drive across the country the following day to the forest, given all this, but after discussing with our driver who was speaking to family all over the country, we decided it would be fine.

So we set out at 7:30 the next morning, and roads were *empty.* We got to the capital, Yamoussoukro, around 11 and things still seemed pretty calm on the road ahead, so we pushed on to Daloa where we usually stop for lunch and to fill up the car and jerry cans with petrol and get some supplies. We got there, and there were a *lot* of people milling around the market, including a man with a megaphone who was yelling "close down your shops, we'll march to the military camp and tell them what we think of all this!"

Hearing this, we moved on from Daloa very quickly. It turned out that a few people were shot confronting the army there, and at least one person was killed. Anyways, I got to the forest without too much trouble, all things considered, and so on the following Monday I went into town with the intention of giving the parks service my research permits. I stopped at a friend's kiosk for breakfast, and was texting my parents, and all of a sudden the local army garrison that had apparently surrounded the town started shooting off their AKs and larger artillery, mostly up in the air but also at bus tires and things. My friend pulled me from the bar stool I'd been sitting on, into the kiosk's kitchen and had me sit under the stove top where I couldn't be seen. My friend wouldn't let me out of the kitchen because I was so conspicuous and potentially French-looking, he didn't want it to attract anyone's attention. I just kept carrying on a normal text conversation with my parents about how nice it was to be back in Côte d'Ivoire, yes of course everything here is fine, while also shaking from fear and hiding under the stove.

Finally, after about a half hour, the shooting stopped. Our driver was able to get the car from the garage where we were repairing the drive shaft, and he came and got me from the kitchen and we drove back to the forest. I texted my parents to say that we'd heard the mutiny might be picking up again so we were heading back to the forest, but definitely hadn't heard or seen anything that might suggest violence or danger!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:06 AM on September 24, 2017 [39 favorites]

My parents need never know how many of the activities that me & teenage girlfriend discussed in their presence and then ran off to do were in fact code words for sex.
posted by quacks like a duck at 8:56 AM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I mentioned to my parents, thirty or so years after the fact, that my sister and I had played on the roof as children. We knew that we were supposed to only go onto the second story balcony, but liked to occasionally climb over the edge to draw on the shingles. I can't believe they didn't figure it out from the chalk drawings we left.

Similarly, my daughter told me that when she was tiny she didn't understand why we left all shells and rocks on the beach instead taking the prettiest home. So when I got injured at the beach when she was four, she methodically gathered up as many cool shells and rocks as she could find and brought them home while we weren't paying attention. It really makes me wonder what I'm going to hear in six years about what she was up to right now.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:12 AM on September 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

There are three categories of things I kept from my mother--crimes, disappointments and achievements--and all for the same reason: vis-a-vis my mother, I was never good enough. So crimes, even when they came out years later in sanitized, heroic or funny renditions, merely proved my degenerate ways. Disappointments were not an occasion to offer comfort or other support; they were fodder for long discussions about how I could have done better and avoided $failure or how my premise of success was always unrealistic. Achievements were ruined by her speculation about better versions of $triumph that I could have accomplished or "helpful" criticism.

From my youth I knew to hide the crimes, which were just general mischief and the usual sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. But I hoped to meet her standards and so continued to share my ambitions. Inevitably, that lead to revealing disappointments when things didn't pan out, as in when I auditioned for various music ensembles. By my mid-30s, I had worked out that I shouldn't share ambitions, only achievements, especially because I chose a career where i had to compete for work in my field on the regular. I learned never to mention that I was pursuing a particular project or client because I "only" won about 30 percent of the jobs (that's actually a really high success rate in my field) and to discuss opportunities was to invite a lot of self-esteem eroding BS later.

I finally learned not to share achievements in my mid-50s. Until then, I would share successes and there would be initial backlash over how I hadn't mentioned that I was pursuing $whatever. Then came questions that masked criticism of $whatever followed by "helpful" advice about how to secure a better version of $whatever next time. The turning point for me was being asked to deliver a commencement address at a small technical college in my state. I was thrilled and excited. But my mother was an education snob; in her eyes, only the top ~25 elite schools were worthy. I realized that telling her would bring me only pain. So I didn't. It was liberating.

For people who read this far, here's one of my better true crime stories... One day in high school a bunch of us were talking about why our population 24,000 town had such an enormous post office. And that's how I learned that a major ultra right wing anti-everything-and everybody-not-like-them organization (which today is characterized as a hate group by the SPLC) was headquartered in our town*, the childhood home of its founder. It chummed for new members and fluffed its followers by mailing out great steaming piles of utter horseshit; hence our huge USPO branch.

This lead to a discussion of racism in our town, including incidents we had all witnessed. We agreed that while many residents were lefty liberals like us, other people hid their racism beneath genial facades. As we discussed various clues suggesting covert racism, the conversation turned to the presence of lawn jockeys, which stood in front of a not insignificant number of houses. We deemed all of them--those with white faces, those with black faces, and those with black faces painted white--unacceptable.

I should mention that this all took place during the 1970s, when numerous underground and guerrilla organizations around the world called themselves the [Something] Liberation Army. And so we formed the Jockey Liberation Army. Late one fine fall night the JLA rode around the town and liberated jockeys from a wide array of houses. Those suckers are heavy! Anyway, the JLA had a pick-up, a lookout and a few beefy guys; we probably grabbed about a dozen. We left them in a pile on a little grass island near the train station with a sign that read "Courtesy of the Jockey Liberation Army." Most people either failed to notice that their jockeys were gone or decided against becoming part of the spectacle, but the local newspaper published a photo of someone picking through the pile, to our amusement. After about a week, the public works department took the rest to the dump. Mission accomplished!

*It's since moved 1200 miles away... to a town about 75 miles from where I live now, unfortunately.
posted by carmicha at 9:28 AM on September 24, 2017 [12 favorites]

Two things fit here, I guess; one I've never told anyone IRL and one I've begun to admit to in the last decade or so, after my parents both died.

Umpty-thousand years ago, when I was young and the world was a far more innocent place, my first job was working at an Army PX. One lovely spring Sunday, my coworkers and I were sitting around shortly before we opened for the day, bemoaning our fate at having to waste such a beautiful day at work. With the exception of the manager on duty (aged about mid-thirties), who wasn't in the room with all of us young idiots, we were all somewhere from age 18-21 or so: our prime stupid years, in other words. One of us (not me!) came up with the hilarious idea of calling in a bomb threat on our building, in the belief that doing so would mean we'd get sent home and have the rest of the day free to enjoy. Yikes. I'm the one who had to actually make that fake bomb threat report, because out of all of us, I was the one who actually answered all incoming calls. Which I did, about an hour after we opened for business; thankfully I was never caught, and everyone kept their mouths shut tight, because the combo of bomb threat + it being on a military base (govmt. property) = felony. My parents never knew about it; I only admit to it now because its been over forty years and the statute of limitations has long since run out.

The one I've still never told anyone IRL, even though it's been near half a century.... from about age 12 to 14 or thereabouts, I was repeatedly groped by an adult male relative. I'm still conflicted about it; on the one hand, it was definitely unwelcome sexual touching, on the other hand I have a hard time thinking it might qualify as actual "sexual assault", considering there was no contact with his genitals, just his hands all over me, and other people have had it far, far worse. I learned to avoid him and the possibility of his doing it again, and privately gloated when he smashed at high speed into a bridge abutment while driving drunk.
posted by easily confused at 9:44 AM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

There's a few things in the space between "what I won't tell my parents" and "what I won't tell anyone":
I'm sure my parents didn't believe I was completely innocent about that whole sex-drugs-rock-n-roll thing. But it's unlikely they realized just how often we were stoned and/or drunk right under their nose at Methodist youth group activities, which they were leaders of my junior/senior year of HS.
I was 17 years old and a rising HS senior the first time my parents trusted me to stay home by myself while they went out of town for a week. There actually were no wild parties and no more than the usual amount of drunken and/or stonedness, but me and my BFF did decide we needed to take a weekend road trip to Spring Green, WI, to go to the Shakespeare Festival. Wild Thing!
Finally, I got diagnosed with ADHD in grad school and was on medication and everything for it for several years but I never felt it would be useful to share that info with them.
posted by drlith at 10:10 AM on September 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

When I was in high school, the thing was that I was absolutely *nuts* about airplanes. Mom knew this, probably from all the airplane models hanging from the ceiling and Flying and Air Progress magazines laying around. So it probably didn't come as a great surprise to her that I took to hanging out at the local small airport on the weekends and during the summer. It was called Skyway Airport back then, and was run by a man named, I kid you not, Orville Horton.

I didn't have a car or a driver's license, so my mom figured I wasn't going to get in any great trouble on my bike. What she didn't know was, that from all my reading, I had learned that you could take flying lessons at any age, and could solo a plane at the age of 16! I developed enough relationships among the pilots that hung out there, washed planes and cadged rides to build flight time. On of the pilots was a doctor, and he provided me with the legal paperwork (medical certificate/student pilot's license), and on September 9th, 1970 I finally soloed!

Oh yeah, I hadn't told my Mom anything about this, she just thought I had a part time job gassing up the planes.

In between flying and soaking up the ambience, I would often get invited to go along on cross-country flights as either a companion, or sometimes, chart-wrangler. I developed a habit of buying souvenir items from various airport gift shops, like t-shirts or hats with a city name, etc on them. I don't think my mother would have ever *dreamed* I was going to Denver or Atlanta or Kitty Hawk NC on my weekends, even though I remember having souvenir items from all of those places in my bedroom.

Now to be fair, my mom was a single parent and there were 5 of us, so if she lost tabs on me from time to time (I was the oldest), it was understandable.

Well, all freedoms eventually end. My denouement came when there was some sort of family emergency that required my presence at home, and Mom drove down to the airport to pick me up, only to be told I wasn't there at the moment, but was expected back shortly. "His bike is here!" she protested.

"Well, yes, but he's on his way back from Bloomington in an airplane right now" Orville told her.

My mother had never so much as touched or ridden in an airplane in her entire life, so Orville might as well have told her I had gone off with some little green men in a flying saucer. When I taxied up in a Cessna 172 a few minutes later, alone, a picture of her face at that moment would have earned a place in every dictionary from now until the end of time under "dumbstruck".

47 years later, and I can remember every detail of her face in razor-sharp focus, from her mouth hanging open to the sheer astonishment in her eyes. Oh, and then came the anger, as I shut down the engine and climbed out.


"Flying it?" It came out as a kind of meek question, because if you knew my mom, you knew what was likely to come next.


"I know how to fly an airplane, Ma..." "NO YOU DON'T! I WON'T ALLOW IT! "It's too late, ma, I already have a license" (Not entirely true, I was stretching the point a bit, it was, in fact, a student license.) "YOU CAN'T HAVE A LICENSE, I DIDN'T GIVE YOU PERMISSION"

Well, you can see how things went for the next couple of hours. The next day, she had calmed down, and said,as I left for the airport, "I know you're growing up and spreading your wings, but I didn't think you would take me so literally." Good old mom, once she got past the shock, it was all OK, she adapted. A couple of years later I took her on her first ride in an airplane ever.
posted by pjern at 10:15 AM on September 24, 2017 [98 favorites]

Our friend Larry in high school didn't really exist. Larry was our code name for weed. "Who's picking up Larry before the movies?" "We had an awesome time with Larry last night." "Don't forget to invite Larry." And that kind of thing.

Math homework, although it was more for use in public.

"Hey, do you have any math homework?" "You want to do our math homework after class?" "Did I leave my math homework in your bag?"

Anyway, my mom did find out about my best juvenile delinquent story when my college advisor, of all people, narced, but I personally would have never told her, so it qualifies.

When I was fourteen, my parents committed some horrible injustice I can't recall. So I waited until I was pretty sure they were asleep, called my best friend and told her to go wait outside her house for me.* Then, I very very quietly snuck out, manually opened the garage door, took the parking brake on the Chevette off, rolled it down the driveway, started it on the street so it wouldn't wake my parents, and got my friend.

We didn't really do much of anything except drive around, and I cannot imagine how. It was a manual transmission, and the only thing I'd ever driven before was my grandparents' tractor when I was about 8. I managed somehow, though, and we drove around for hours. There was a point when we were kind of lost on this winding little dirt road, I saw a cop up ahead heading toward us, and realized I had the brights on but didn't know how to toggle them back to normal, so my brilliant idea was to turn the lights off completely and whiz right past him. Somehow, I guess that was cool with him, or maybe we were super stealthy and he didn't see us. I dunno, but he just kept going.

Eventually, I dropped her off, went back home, put the car away, closed the door, and snuck back into bed. My parents were none the wiser until Dr. S. spilled the beans. My mom did try to ground me when he told her, but by that time, I was 22, divorced, with a baby, and it's not like I was ever groundable anyway.

* Her parents worked evenings and would be up really late every night so I could and regularly did call their house into the wee hours. Also they were immigrants and didn't speak English, and I was pretty much the first American born person they'd had over to their house and spent much time around, so my friend had them convinced that all the things like this we did were totally normal things that teenaged girls did in America. That was naughty, too, but that's mostly on her.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

I don't really tell my parents anything. We've just never been that kind of family. It's not like we have wildly different politics or anything, I just never really trusted them to be supportive and I hate bringing things up because if I bail on a new hobby or something they'll keep bringing it up for years and I don't want to be reminded of it.

I joined a community chorus in the spring and I still haven't mentioned it to them. It's gotten to the point where I don't even know how to bring it up without it being weird. I only found out my mother had some joint problems when she casually told me, "So my surgery is on Thursday..." the other week. That's just how we communicate I guess.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:23 AM on September 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I once hopped a freight train and rode it about twenty miles. Definitely kept that one to myself.
posted by 4ster at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2017

easilyconfused, my assailant died a long, slow, very painful death. It was great.
posted by AFABulous at 10:32 AM on September 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

I can't tell you.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:45 AM on September 24, 2017

I used to cheat at cards when I was a kid. If my mom went to the bathroom, I'd resort the cards so I'd get the ones I need.

I still do that, but now only if she's been on a long losing streak and I can resort the cards so she'd get the ones she needs.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:55 AM on September 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

When I was a young teen, my parents, who only drink wine and Sam Adams Boston Lager, purchased a bottle of bourbon for a fancy cupcake recipe. The recipe called for like two tablespoons, so there the bottle sat, barely touched.

Until I hit my hoodlum phase a few years later and figured that nobody would notice if it was way watered down, so I ended up drinking most of it, undetected.

I visited home sometime in my mid twenties, and someone mentioned those fancy cupcakes, and my mother said "yeah, we could even use the bourbon that's still left...OR WHATEVER THAT IS" while looking me right in the eyes.

So I guess she knew.
posted by Grandysaur at 11:12 AM on September 24, 2017 [10 favorites]

My parents and I have an unspoken arrangement: even though I have been on this earth for 46 years, as far as I'm concerned, they have never had sex, and even though I've been married for 20 years and have a 15-year-old son, as far as they're concerned, I have never had sex. This will remain unspoken until all of us are gone. (Strangely enough I'm much more able to be honest with the 15-year-old.)
posted by Daily Alice at 11:19 AM on September 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Things I Actually Really Did Not Tell My Parents: pretty much everything important that ever happened to me, because I figured out right quick that they used it as ammunition. We're talking things like sabotaging friendships when I was six years old. Which was when I figured out that sort of thing. They never sabotaged another friendship, because I never again told them who was actually my friend.

I even spoke to the cat, a big floof I had named Morris, in French specifically so they wouldn't overhear and understand what I was saying to him.

I had wonderful paternal grandparents and really good teachers as "authority" figures, but my grandparents and most of our teachers were so good that they wanted us to question them. So I never saw them as people to keep secrets from? But nor did I see them as people I'd tell everything to.

One of the reasons I've gotten so far in my career, in a foreign country to boot, is that I don't see anyone as an authority figure. It has a lot to do with that dual childhood realization that my parents were never to be trusted, but upright, open-minded people were peers with a wide variety of wisdom, and the truly wise wouldn't be shocked at another person's life choices. (Lots of caveats to that of course, but based on good faith and everyone makes mistakes and it's how you handle your mistakes that counts et cetera and so forth.)
posted by fraula at 11:19 AM on September 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was sick for an AP physics exam in high school that nobody felt prepared for. *Everybody* failed. I knew this and it was at the time when everyone is waiting for college acceptance letters and everybody thinks that thing X is going to determine whether they go to their top choice or not. Anyways... I'm sitting in the classroom for a makeup exam and the teacher walked out. And this was stuff that was weird, we'd rushed through, I already knew everybody failed, and all I needed was an equation and my textbook was right in my book bag.

Long story short, a classmate walked in while I was furiously fumbling through the pages, knowing he had failed, and he just looked disappointed... and I immediately felt guilty and closed it up and put it away. Here's the thing... I hadn't even made it to the correct chapter. I hadn't looked it up, but - in my heart of hearts I had cheated or at least tried to. And I scored the high grade in the class with a 59 - which was called out by the professor... and just made me feel like more shit because - that other kid didn't say a thing, just accepted his low score and moved on.

It is the one and only moment of academic dishonesty I have ever participated in, and what... 24/25 years later it still is in my mind almost every day. And this is the first time I've ever told that story to anyone.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:25 AM on September 24, 2017 [14 favorites]

The funny thing is that my parents were convinced that I was loose-living kee-razy teen and young adult. Part of this was a general suspicion of youth culture - my mother believed that the name of the punk band Husker Du, named for a board game of the 1950s, was really seekrit teenage code for "who screwed you", because everyone knows that rock music is all about sex and drugs, and that she was really showing me that she knew what I was up to by telling me this. Part of it was just a really strange inability to perceive what was normal and average - so, as I've mentioned here before, I was not allowed to wear cut off shorts or dark colors (this was in the nineties) because only lowlifes did things like that.

I have always lived a very safe and risk-avoidant life, fundamentally - never been very interested in drinking or drugs, don't have any tattoos, never really liked staying out super late, anxious about falling off of things, etc. (About the only even sorta dangerous things I've ever done are a little reckless bike-riding when I lived in China and going to protests.) But my parents have always, always believed that I am out there doing all this wild, reckless stuff. Sometimes it's that they believe that the things I actually do are really dangerous, sometimes it's that they think I'm doing stuff that I'm not.

My plan actually is to dye my hair pink when I go home next. They got so upset when I dyed my hair in college and absolutely insisted that I dye it back whenever I came home, and I am sure that they have not noticed that dying your hair funny colors is, like, super mainstream now. But I'm a grown-up and they can't stop me!
posted by Frowner at 11:27 AM on September 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

Count me as another boring goody-goody kid who never really did anything worth lying to my parents about. Except maybe reading all that smutty fanfiction on the internet - I know my brother was "keeping tabs" on me (read: snooping around my browser history; to this day I don't know whether my parents asked him to do it or if that was a cover for his own busybodyness) but I cannot imagine that he would have been comfortable bringing it up with my parents any more than I would have been. Eventually this led to him blocking on our home network, but by then I had discovered livejournal, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by btfreek at 1:05 PM on September 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I rarely directly lie, but I don't tell my mom a lot of stuff now because she will bug me endlessly about it. I have a sore throat? I should go to the doctor because Great-Aunt Millicent had throat cancer. I'm looking for a job? I should talk to her coworker's third cousin who works in [different industry] in [town I don't want to live in]. I know she cares, but it's exhausting (I'm 42 ffs), so I mainly tell her everything's fine.
posted by AFABulous at 1:10 PM on September 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

When I was a teenager, my mom told me a secret that deeply shames her to this day and that she has shared with only a few people who are close to her. I've never told her that I have shared that secret with about everyone I've known for more than a long weekend, including you all now. (Probably excessive background provided for context.)

I was only 9 years old when my maternal grandmother (1901-1963) passed, so I didn't know her well. The woman I remember was a short redhead (a detail that must have been added later, given that her hair had greyed by the time I came into the picture), who smoked cigarettes—which, in my limited experience, was unusual for grandmas, drank alcohol (also unusual to me and not to excess), and talked and laughed a lot with her sisters and my mom.

Years later I learned she had been married 3 times. First, in her mid-twenties to a man about her age. They divorced when my mother was a toddler and mom has no memory of him.

Grandma's 2nd husband was 10 years her junior. They married when my mom was 5 years old and you can tell by the look on her face in the wedding pictures that she wasn't thrilled with the idea. Mom says they fought constantly and "slapped each other around". Although #2 was a foot taller than Grandma, Mom claimed that she held her own in these altercations. They divorced when Mom was a teenager and he moved to Chicago. Despite Mom's frosty relationship with #2, he kept in touch with her for the rest of his life, visiting a couple of times/year. These visits were "events" when my brother and I were kids. #2 was the tallest person (6'4") we knew IRL. He always arrived in Thunderbird, bringing expensive gifts. Grandma had been gone for several years before I learned that this tall, flashy man had once been married to Grandma.

She was in her early 40s when she married #3, who was also 10 years her junior. They had been happily married for nearly 20 years when he died. Mom says he was the closest thing she ever had to a father.

Here's the secret: Mom's biological father was actually husband #2. She learned this from an aunt when she was a teenager and never discussed the subject with her mother. (No need for confirmation—the resemblance is striking.) According to my mother, this makes her a "bastard" and therein lies the shame she still carries (alive and well at 83). She cannot be reasoned out of this notion. (Note: I haven't told people she knows/who know her directly, i.e., didn't meet her through me.)

This story doesn't raise an eyebrow these days, but it was still scandalous when I started broadcasting it 40 years ago. However, I didn't tell people for the titillating entertainment value—I told it because every family has similar stories, because sometimes we do things we come to regret, because life is messy. I considered it part of my contribution in the war against the idea that things were better back in the good old days when rules were clear and strict and consequences were harsh.

Regardless of my motives, I know Mom would consider this an act of betrayal.
posted by she's not there at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

I don't lie: I don't disclose stuff.

When I was 17, I cut school for a few hours one afternoon. I had a bunch of other girls in the car with me for a rare trip out to a fast food lunch. (Arbys across town). We were understandably going to be late back to school so I called the school iffice and said there was car trouble. Nobody questioned it. I drove an old 1959 Edsel. *bada bing* You could fit a BUNCH of teenage girls into that boat. I think about half the senior class girls were with me and nobody questioned....

Nowadays, people just make assumptions about me and I don't say anything. At the part time retail job, hardly anyone knows that I'm not going home to a husband (been widowed since 2005) and I say nothing because it's awkward. Heck, y'all know more about me than anyone else because my whole life has been awkwardly out of synch with the norm and y'all don't have a problem with that; unlike IRL folks.
posted by mightshould at 3:24 PM on September 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

“Dear Metafilter Forum: I never thought this would happen to me, but...”
posted by ardgedee at 6:18 PM on September 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

When my mom died this summer one of the things my sister and I talked about in our slightly punchy "Man this is all so ridiculous isn't it?" way was that mom never found out that the time I said my friend's car had broken down and all four of us (male and female) all needed to sleep over at my house was because my friend was actually arrested for whatever it was called when you were underage and had alcohol in your car because we had gone on a packy run to NH (drinking age was three years lower there) and got caught when we were coming back. We all said our parents weren't home and the annoyed cops dropped us at our town on the side of the interstate and we walked a few miles to the high school where there was a 24 hour dance marathon going on (!) and my one friend called her brother who drove us to my house where we could all stay because I had a permissive (and honestly sort of checked-out at the time) mom. We made up some story that I thought was painfully transparent to my mom but if she found out what really happened, she never let on.

My mom and I used to fight about a lot of normal teenager/parent stuff, she was absurdly fixated on me being at home alone with boys, convinced they would "force themselves" on me, terrible sex-negative stuff. I told her there was nothing I would do in the house without here there that I hadn't already done in the house with her home (true!). By the time my sister was in late high school my mom would buy alcohol for her.

That said, the time I ODed and passed out at the wheel of a moving vehicle (I was, bizarrely, fine. no one else was involved) and needed someone to get the rest of the drugs out of my truck in an Indiana impound, just in case I was charged with something, she did that. She also enjoyed that story too much and told a whole bunch of neighbors and randos about it. So we didn't talk too much about stuff I wanted to keep private.

I have all sorts of gross habits that I never tell anyone about, that seems somehow different.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:21 PM on September 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

Oh yeah, and of course I never told my mom this story.
posted by bondcliff at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I lied to my Mom, too. I'm not young at all, but we had sex and booze and swing music and cars when I was young, too. I lie to you, cause Dad's gone and I get lonely and there's still sex and booze and swing music and we have houses so we don't need to do it in cars. What you really didn't know until you had kids was how terrifying it can be, how much I wanted for you, how frustrating it can be, how much I love you, and how hard it is to get it right.
posted by Mom at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2017 [29 favorites]

o shit she's on to us
posted by notquitemaryann at 7:13 PM on September 24, 2017 [11 favorites]

Aw, I'm sorry about all the stuff I hid from you Mom.

While we're at it, I'm also sorry you found the "Beacon Keepers of Gondor" fanfiction I wrote. Wish more than a little that gem had stayed hidden.
posted by barchan at 7:51 PM on September 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I was a very depressed adolescent. I tried to kill myself at 12 and failed and my life was oppressive as hell. I went to Catholic school for 8 years and was extremely naïve. When I was 14, I chanced onto a hit of acid. It was a revelation. Life had beauty, all things were interconnected. Light on leaves was full of rainbows. I started doing acid as often as I could. I stopped eating lunch and saved up my lunchmoney for acid.

I was buying from a man I will call Stony, who was in a motorcycle gang and was a cousin of a guy I knew at school. Stony wasn’t in town very often so I asked him if I could make a larger quantity buy. Stony agreed if would I ride with him to the town out in the swamps in East Texas where the gang’s house was located. I was scared but I really wanted the acid and I was excited by the idea of riding on his chopper. Stony was much older than me, like 27, and I felt flattered that he wanted to spend time with me. I lied to my mother and told her I was spending the night with a friend.

I met up with Stony and was disappointed that another guy and his girlfriend were also going and we were riding in their car. So Stony and I were in the backseat and he put his arm around me. After a while he started brushing my breasts with his fingertips. When I didn’t say anything (too scared) he put his hand under my shirt and played with them. He was gentle and it felt pretty good. Then he slipped one of his hands down my pants and started rubbing and I still kept quiet. I knew he was doing something sexual and that good girls didn’t let men touch them like that, but it also felt really good. I knew I should tell him to stop but I couldn’t say anything.

He tried to slip a finger inside me and then he pulled his hand out of my pants fast. He looked at me intensely and asked me if I was a virgin. I nodded my head yes. Then he asked, “Just how old ARE you?” “14”, I said and he took his hands off me. He shook his head then leaned over and kissed the top of my head and said, “way too young kid.” We didn’t talk about it, and just listened to the rock ‘n’ roll on the radio. After another hour or so we got to a crummy little town and pulled up at a crummy old house. A few guys were drinking beer and watching TV inside. The guy that had driven us there decided he and his girl were going to stay the night. So after I made my buy, Stony said he would take me home right away. He told me, “I don’t think this clubhouse is a good place for a little girl like you.“ He never touched me and after he dropped me off I never saw Stony again.

Now that many years have gone by, I fully appreciate my luck that a full-grown motorcycle gangster had enough decency to not sexually prey on a young teenage girl. Of course, he was fine with selling me drugs! I never told anyone.

I did a lot of acid that year and regained a happiness that I hadn’t known since I was small.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:24 PM on September 24, 2017 [32 favorites]

I never told my parents that I left college without actually getting a degree, and about fifteen years later my sister (who had known) sort of un/semi-intentionally dropped that bomb on them in the context of something else and they got suuuuuper quiet for a couple minutes. I don't think she actually meant to tell them right then, just forgot they didn't know, but I also think maybe she more or less intentionally forgot it wasn't something I wanted to deal with them knowing.

So by that point I was well established in my career and I could say it wasn't hurting me, and they spent about a week asking variations of "are you sure you can't work something out to get the remaining credits?" I told them the fact I knew they'd do that was the reason they hadn't been told in the first place, that I had no intention of ever getting involved again with academia, and that I wasn't going to talk about it with them any more.

On the bright side, it finally killed off my mom's dream that I'd go to law school like everybody else in the family. And on the ironic side, the credits I didn't get could possibly be clawed back anyway due to an eventual diagnosis of a sleep phase disorder. I did all the work, I passed all the tests, and I didn't get my degree because I was late for an 8:30 AM class too often (that particular professor counted lateness as absence, and absences were unexcused for any reason). Yeah, I still have no intention of going back for that.
posted by fedward at 8:37 PM on September 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hi Mom,

Here goes a few from high school.

* After John Lennon was killed, my friends and I cut school to stand outside the Dakota to mourn, but more importantly to cut school and get high.

* Debbie and I did not actually spend a weekend checking Clark and other universities in New England that weekend. We hung out in NYC.

* Wite-Out and a typewriter changed all of my D's to B's.

* If you had come to any of my basketball games or school plays, you would have noticed I wasn't on the basketball team or in any school plays. I was hanging out in Washington Square Park during all those "practices."

* It wasn't food poisoning those 10 or so times you heard me throwing up at 2 am.

* Those were my birth control pills, not Debbie's.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:42 AM on September 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

My father on his actual deathbed turned to my sister and said, "That time you told me you did so-and-so, it was really so-and-so, wasn't it ?" She came clean, but what was funny was how low that one ranked on the scale of how bad it was*-- and also how much she had seriously thought he didn't know. So now we wonder about a lot of other stuff we thought was obvious. Sex and drugs in high school? I don't think I ever really tried to hide that, although going to boarding school, I wasn't doing it in the same house, or even the same state, for the most part.

*I mean low to the point of being trivial, the kind of thing my mom would have done and lied about too. We were all big honking liars in that family, often about completely random stuff.
posted by BibiRose at 4:55 AM on September 25, 2017

Jessamyn re: [I] needed someone to get the rest of the drugs out of my truck in an Indiana impound, just in case I was charged with something, [Mom] did that.

A few years ago my daughter called me after she spun off the road outside of Indianapolis in a snowstorm. After she confirmed that she was unhurt and no one else was involved, I told her she needed to make sure her car was clean (I know my daugher) and that she bury anything she needed to dispose of in the snow, taking care not to leave an obvious track of footsteps to the spot. She quickly did so—taking the extra step of burying it somewhere she could find when she came back later.

You don't let people you love get busted for drugs in a throwback state like Indiana.
posted by she's not there at 4:57 AM on September 25, 2017 [19 favorites]

when i was 21 and making out for the first time with my first partner EVER (ever!!!) i was so nervous that i decided to make a comment about her appearance which i thought would be so absurd and funny that it would break the tension but was actually just weird and untrue and a lil mean
posted by your hair smells like cheese! at 5:50 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oddly, I think my parents actually know about my ill-doings, because they learned one way or another. Most of my rebelliousness was in high school, like my petty thefts from major chains (which I self-defined as a lesser crime than stealing from local businesses), which continued through a family road trip, until my brother told me that the security guard noticed me pocketing something, so I put it back and he told my parents. Then they realized my suitcase was full of little things I hadn't had the money to buy. That was probably the worst thing(s) I did.

For comparison, one of my other minor rebellions was driving an hour and a half to buy fireworks, which were illegal where I lived. My dad learned because I held a phone to my chest when I was talking about it to a friend, then he said "oh, so you did get fireworks." While I did buy the fireworks, I did steal some "be safe with fireworks" posters, because it featured some ridiculous comic book hero type.

And my other self-defined "not so bad" illegal act was to pick up "dead" signs, convincing myself that if the road sign was down for a week and no one picked it up, it was fair game. I also found a stop sign half-buried in mud, and using the same logic, plus considering that it was damaged, I took it home. Then a friend took a stop sign from a rural intersection, which was way too much for me. It seemed that my own logic 1) didn't rub off on my friends, but 2) my actions did. Lesson learned.

Otherwise, I was a good kid. Even though I listened to electronic/"rave" music, I never did drugs, even though friends did. When in college, my little sister came back from a mountain rave and said she finally understood why I liked the music I did. "But I don't do drugs," I told her. She didn't believe me - the music was just so repetitive and boring! :)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:04 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

An old friend posted on FaceBook recently that she was going to attend the U2 concert that night with a couple of the same friends she'd gone to the 1987 concert with, for which they had they snuck out of the house in order to camp out overnight for tickets, and Oh Do You Remember Those Good Old Days?

Her mom reacted about two seconds later with "What? I never knew about that!" followed promptly by gales of laughter from the rest of us.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:52 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

The stuff my parents don't know about fall into 2 categories:

* stuff that shouldn't know about
* stuff that I can't tell anyone

So, i visited NYC frequently in the 70's - 80's where the city was a different environment than it is today. It was a rough place, a place where there was always the threat of impending violence that could occur at any moment, and one focus point of that could be considered Times Square (waaaaaaay before the Disney Store.....). So some friends and I decided to go to the movies one evening - in Times Square. Not one of those "seedy" movies, an actual regular movie - still one of the more harowing experiences of my life. It was a raucous crowd, is was also smoky, there was a fight in the aisle, there was, at least, 2 threats of gun violence (1 towards another person and the other towards what was happening on the screen). I cannot even remember which movie was showing, just happy that we all survived.

When I lived in Barcelona and then later back in Copenhagen I used to sail quite a lot, for fun and also competitively (match racing). There were quite a number of nautical adventures (capsizing, lightning storms, sail repairs under rough seas, etc.etc.) that I can only tell my Mom & Dad that "it was kind of rough" because otherwise they would just die.

The last bit is that while still in university I did research at a government lab in the US and that project is classified at a level that I still can't tell *anyone* for at least another couple of decades. So all my parents heard was "it was a good summer".
posted by alchemist at 8:59 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

One weekend night in high school, I came home completely sober, and Mom got really suspicious bcause she thought I was "on something".

I find this story to be much less amusing than I once did.
posted by thelonius at 11:01 AM on September 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that my mom doesn't know my friends and I stole a Keith Haring original painting in high school. (We gave it back under cover of darkness after the ensuing uproar.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:57 AM on September 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Dear Mom: I am an atheist and a liberal, all my friends are gay and I have tattoos.
posted by Occula at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

The first girl I married at the age of 18 was a stripper and burlesque dancer. All the time that I said I was a guard in a museum I was actually doing live sex shows with her in Times Square.
posted by Splunge at 1:23 PM on September 25, 2017 [10 favorites]

Last year I had to tell my atheist father that I was joining a church, which was weirdly nerve-wracking. He mostly just laughed and then he said, "Well, I guess it's good that one of us won't be going to hell."

"It's a UU church," I replied. "We don't believe in hell, either."
posted by lazuli at 2:55 PM on September 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

One weekend night in high school, I came home completely sober, and Mom got really suspicious bcause she thought I was "on something".

This is only tangentially related, but I've never actually signed my own tax return. The first few years I had a tax return to file, she did them because I was out of the country or unavailable or it just made more sense to do all of the family returns together so she could maximize the value of my tuition credits. Because I was never home during tax time, she would sign the forms and send them in. My mom still does my taxes, not because I can't do them (my taxes are pretty simple) but because she's professionally trained to do them, and she likes doing taxes and she misses having that job. I don't think she physically needs to sign them anymore, but she still submits them on my behalf.

One day, I'm going to have to personally sign something for the tax department, and they are going to think I've stolen my own identity, because the signature is sure as hell not going to match. I don't have the foggiest idea what it would even need to look like to come close.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:15 PM on September 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

My mom's on Metafilter, so if I tried to tell you about something I've never told my mom, it would paradoxically no longer be something I never told my mom!
posted by Secretariat at 6:57 PM on September 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

I tell everybody everything...but I’ve never admitted to my mother that I used to sneak my boyfriend in in the middle of the night. We owned an old farm house that was right next to another building that had been a country store. (So close the basements were connected by a short tunnel.) My parents finished the inside of the old store and my room was in there. My mother outright accused me a few times but I gaslighted her and convinced her she imagined it. It’s been 30-odd years and I still fear she’ll bring it up. It was really stupid to do, but I had an undiagnosed mood disorder and I did a lot of inexplicably stupid things.
posted by Biblio at 7:41 PM on September 25, 2017

One day, I'm going to have to personally sign something for the tax department, and they are going to think I've stolen my own identity, because the signature is sure as hell not going to match. I don't have the foggiest idea what it would even need to look like to come close.

My wife can fake my signature, though I can't fake hers at all. It's been really convenient for all sorts of things, including taxes, bank stuff... If I am traveling or busy, she signs it and no one ever questions it.

I wouldn't have any problem telling my mother this, but I'd be reluctant to admit it to the IRS.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:13 PM on September 25, 2017

My parents know I self-publish to Kindle under a pen name, and they wanted to read my writing. "Erm, my books are not really ones you'd enjoy... I write urban fantasy, that sort of thing," I begged off. "I'll use my real name, when it's something family-friendly."

Urban fantasy. It's shape-shifter erotica. Same-sex shape-shifter erotica, at that.
We'll never be that kind of family.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:25 PM on September 25, 2017 [9 favorites]

I booked a flight to Mali to visit Timbuktu (and elsewhere) two days before the infamous kidnapping/murder happened in November 2011. Already in an agitated state about my regular travels off the beaten path, this trip pushed my poor mom over the edge. She implored with me vehemently not to go at all, but I repeatedly explained that Bamako (where I was landing) was ~700km from Timbuktu as the crow flies, or roughly the distance from L.A. to Tucson.

In fairness, I felt like giving a pass on Timbuktu myself, and she made me promise I wouldn't go ... but then I happened to meet a general in the Malian army whose family was from there, and he wanted to go on a road trip for a visit home, soooo... this happened.

(I did end up telling her after I got back, because (a) I'm a terrible liar and (b) because it was a great story.)
posted by mykescipark at 8:34 PM on September 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

"My wife can fake my signature, though I can't fake hers at all. It's been really convenient for all sorts of things, including taxes, bank stuff... If I am traveling or busy, she signs it and no one ever questions it. "

My dad once went to the bank and had his signature rejected because my mom had been signing his name on things for 20 years and she had long since given up making it look authentic!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:20 PM on September 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

The first girl I married at the age of 18 was a stripper and burlesque dancer. All the time that I said I was a guard in a museum I was actually doing live sex shows with her in Times Square.
posted by Splunge

Wow, it’s like Mr. Yuck has a twin.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:36 PM on September 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I did but I absorbed her before birth. She's always resented that.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:42 AM on September 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

make a comment about her appearance which i thought would be so absurd and funny that it would break the tension but was actually just weird and untrue and a lil mean

posted by your hair smells like cheese! at 13:50 on September 25

Eponysterical for synesthetes.
posted by busted_crayons at 3:25 AM on September 26, 2017

My dad once went to the bank and had his signature rejected because my mom had been signing his name on things for 20 years and she had long since given up making it look authentic!

I've had that happen with my bank and my own signature, not because someone else was signing things, but because it was a bank account I opened when I was five. When I was thirteen, they converted it to a youth account and collected an updated signature card, but come on, what teenage girl doesn't change her signature 92 times? By the time I was 19, and I was trying to do something at the branch near my university, when they had the signature card faxed out from my home branch, my signature just looked nothing at all like it had.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:18 AM on September 26, 2017

I've had that happen with my bank and my own signature, not because someone else was signing things, but because it was a bank account I opened when I was five.

I had it happen one time at a bank not because my signature had changed, but because the person working that day would only accept a signature that looked like John Hancock's -- cursive and loopy, with each letter carefully delineated and legible. Showing them my various IDs, all with my actual signature, as well as pointing out that my signature they had on file was the same, did no good. To get my money, I had to give them a fake signature that looked like a fifth grade handwriting exercise.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:08 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

When i was 17 i joined a Christian fundie church. My parents, both leftist and bohemian where suitably shocked (looking back i suppose joining a such a goup was the only way to shock them, or break the expectation/rebel. Anyway, one of the things i did not tell them was that i also joined their team of bible smugglers, we took christian literat ure but also money and medication to christians behind the iron curtain. It was super secret, code words, etc and pay phones ringing. No mobile phones of course.
This being 1982 it was in fact a huge risk if caught. I could have ended up stuck behind the iron curtain without my parents knowing i had even left the country.
posted by 15L06 at 11:22 AM on September 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

My rule of thumb is to never put anything on a network that I wouldn’t want my mother, daughter, ex-wife, boss, best friend, or worst enemy to see. So of course I won’t be posting anything juicy here.

(Not that I have anything that juicy to post anyway, but still...)
posted by TedW at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2017

The reverse has always been true for me.

I was a sensitive child and my parents had to avoid telling me things in order not to shock or distress me. When I add that my mothers extended family includes Mexican *ahem* gangsters, you might understand why I might not want to hear some of it. My brother is a former gang member as well and so a lot of me growing up included me interrupting a conversation, asking what was going on and being told "Dear R., It is something you really don't want to know.." to which I would nod and agree "Yeah. I don't want to know."
posted by vacapinta at 2:08 PM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Never told the parents about being held for shooting automatic weapons within city limits during a blind date. Made reference to it during my undergrad graduation dinner with them and the out of town relatives while toasting them for their patience and tolerance. Everyone laughed at the joke.
posted by jadepearl at 2:58 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

If there's anything about my life my mother doesn't already know, I'd be happy to tell her. She's the most understanding person I know. I was often upset as a kid because other kids would come to my mother for the love and understanding they didn't get at home.

She always says she doesn't want to hear about anything she thinks is dangerous - like when I told her about walking alone down the highway in LA, she grabbed her chest like Fred Sanford and said, "Don't tell me things like that!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:33 PM on September 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

Signature story: a friend was a good kid with a slightly rebellious older brother. First excursion note, takes it home, her mother signs it. Next day gets a phone call "we're terribly sorry but we think $goodkid has faked your signature." She goes in to school, confused, and discovers that the brother had always signed for her and never brought a form home!!
posted by freethefeet at 7:23 PM on September 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

I hear these kinds of stories from my father pretty much every time I visit, and have nothing so colorful to tell that my father couldn't top it by a mile.
posted by aniola at 7:38 PM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

If there's anything about my life my mother doesn't already know, I'd be happy to tell her. She's the most understanding person I know. I was often upset as a kid because other kids would come to my mother for the love and understanding they didn't get at home.

After my mother died, I discovered she had been the same kind of understanding parental figure to others, a bit. I always found her sympathetic to me, but I think because both she and I were fairly private, I didn't realize how much my other friends and family had sought her out. A couple years ago I heard from my cousin (who lived nowhere near us) that she had, 15 years previously, specifically traveled to the city we were living in at the time to talk to my mother because my cousin was pregnant and unmarried and didn't know what to do. My cousin's daughter is now in her 20s and an awesome (nerdy!) person, and my cousin ended up marrying and just recently divorcing the guy but they had a really truly wonderful relationship, even if it didn't last (I'm not sure if "cousin-in-law" is a thing, but he's been my favorite cousin-in-law since he changed his Facebook profile pic to one where he's wearing a "Smash the Patriarchy" t-shirt), and I vaguely remember my mother mentioning our cousin had stopped by to talk to her at the time and it was rather astonishing to learn later that she had been so influential in so many family members' lives, in absolutely positive ways.
posted by lazuli at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

I took my honeymoon to Madrid during the austerity riots in 2012, and definitely told my mom we were staying "out in the country" at a "peaceful hotel nowhere near the riots" as I was watching the riots from my hotel window.

I tend to tell her about stuff I've done, but only after an appropriate waiting period so she knows that I am still alive, healthy etc. For example, I told her I had previously gone paragliding only after she had seen me in person and could validate I still had all my limbs. She still freaked out, but not as badly as she would have if I had told her ahead of time.
posted by some chick at 11:27 AM on September 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

In 2009, I took a secret trip to San Francisco. Gentleman Caller knew I was going, but I never told my mom. (It was the first week of school for me, Gentleman Caller and I almost broke up over the summer, and my mom was dead set on me not travelling cross-country alone.)
posted by pxe2000 at 8:43 AM on September 28, 2017

Oh yeah, speaking of gentleman callers, I spent a summer home from college and I had a few at my parents' house while they were at work. I would not confess this to my mother on my deathbed - she wouldn't have been horrified that I was having casual sex, she would be horrified that I was inviting essentially complete strangers to her house. (Which was, in retrospect, a very risky thing to do.)
posted by AFABulous at 9:29 AM on September 28, 2017

My parents still don't know about my deployment to Iraq, thanks to a friend who would send me pictures of Uganda to repurpose in my emails.
posted by Etrigan at 9:56 AM on September 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

Mom, I never plagiarized my final research paper for my physics class. You wouldn't believe me when I told you the 'C' I got was justified, and you were literally trying to get my teacher fired. Your behavior was mortifying and I had to resort to desperate measures. It worked, didn't it?
posted by Anonymous at 10:32 PM on September 28, 2017

I've been addicted to heroin, homeless, and basically a mega-degenerate, but to this day, my mother is unaware that one Saturday during my senior year of high school, I told her I was going to my debate tournament, but I actually walked to the library and spent the whole day reading for fun.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:23 PM on October 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

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