"I was a big wrestling fan as a pre-teen/teen in the '90s. It was the height of WWE's Attitude Era. Sable (every teen boy's dream in the late '90s) had posed for Playboy magazine. My dad bought the magazine for me without me even asking. He just told me to fill up the gas tank for him while he went inside to pay, and came back with it. Handed it to me in a brown paper bag, with a, 'Don't tell mama!' Thanks, pops."
"My mom loves tri-tip steak, and my dad makes it all the time for her. One time we were cooking, just him and I and it was juuuuuuuust about time to put the tri-tip on. It just so happened this day I happened across a bottle of pop's favorite drink, but a version I hadn't seen before, it was some extra aged or specialty kind. He couldn't wait to try it, so we set the meat down and pour a sample each. It's real smooth, really smooth, and we decide we needed another.
After a couple small sips we turned our attention back to the three-pound hunk of perfectly seasoned meat ready to take a three-hour nap in the bbq to find it was no longer there. Instantly my dad yells 'DROP IT!,' I look over just in time to see his giant doofus of a white lab drop the entire steak in his water bowl and run off.
My dad picked it up, dusted it off, seasoned it and gingerly placed it to bed in his bbq. He paused, if only for a split second, and turned to me with a steely look in his eyes, and says, 'If you say one word to your mom...'
We ate the brats and sauerkraut my brother cooked, mom raved about the tri-tip."
"Went on a four-day elk hunting trip with my dad and the guys when I was 16. Started drinking as soon as we were off the county road and basically drank the entire time except for the morning hunt and while we slept. 40% elk hunting, 60% drinking, card games like cribbage, and goofing around with the guys and the other surrounding hunters in the area. It was awesome.
We ended up bringing home an elk, and on the way home I got the talk of 'you know what mom thinks about the drinking,' and I was already pretty aware of the fact that it was a trip to get away from the wives and party with the boys without regulation for a few days, so I wasn't about to nark on the whole thing. Two days go by after getting home, and my mom comes into my room and gives me this look and says something like, 'You know, if there's anything you feel like you can't tell me about your hunting trip it's ok, you won't be in trouble.' 16-year-old me thought it would be a good idea to tell her, 'Yeah, I drank a little bit.'
I told her exactly what she wanted to hear. So my dad finally pulls me aside after a few days of angry wife/mom syndrome and enlightens me on how my mom will use 'Jedi mind tricks' to get us to admit our guilt. It was the best bonding experience I've ever had with my father. We still talk about how mom uses the 'Jedi mind tricks' on him."
"My dad and sister died in a car accident when I was 13. As a kid, my mom was an RN working shift work. My dad could not cook to save his life. We spent quite a few nights at the nearby Pizza Hut, especially on Wednesdays, when they had the buffet open. We knew the staff, we had a regular order, they knew us.
There was never an explicit 'do not tell your mother' moment, but we never mentioned it.
After they died, it was a long time before I set foot in that same Pizza Hut. When I finally did, my mom and I went to eat dinner. We ran into the usual waiter we had who looked confused. 'Where's your dad? Where's your sister?' I had to break the bad news to him.
This interaction did raise one eyebrow though: my mother's. I believe her words were, 'Wait... just how often did you guys get pizza?'
I guess my dad never told her. She eventually saw the funny side of it. It's probably one of my most cherished memories."
"I went to a football game in OKC with my dad as a kid. We brought his friend and his friend's son. We had dinner at Hooters and I got the magazines, pictures, whatever memorabilia I could get my 6-year-old hands on. My dad made it very simple: 'You cannot tell your mom we ate here.'
Literally, the first thing I did when we got back home was tell my mom how we went to Hooters. I thought it was hilarious. It's been 20 years and my dad still brings it up from time to time. Somewhere stuffed away in a drawer at my parent's house is a 1996 Hooters calendar."
"I grew up on a farm and we had these huge walk-in freezers where we would store poultry before selling it to grocery stores. We had a few dogs and cats over the years die, and sometimes they would die during the winter so we would store them in the freezer until the spring thaw so that we could bury them.
One of the buildings was about to be torn down, and I was helping my dad clean out the freezer in that building. I ended up finding a dog and two cats and the dog had died well over 10 years prior. 'Don't tell your mother,' were my dad's exact words."
"My dad took off work one day to take me and my sister to go to Putt-Putt and for pizza since mom had to go to a late meeting downtown and would be home later than normal. I sucked at the mini-golf but the best thing was the batting cages. I wasn't an exact rockstar at it but I was pretty good.
My sister, however, wasn't so awesome at it, but she wanted to try the fast-pitch just like I was, so my dad was encouraging her to move up a little closer to the base and start taking a couple swings. Well, she gets hit in the hand and it smashes it pretty good against the bat - like turning black and blue real quick and swelling quite badly. We're all freaking out a little bit as we turn in the stuff, get some ice and head to the children's hospital for x-rays.
Now, as a 10-year-old, I'm a terrible liar, and I'm thinking we've broken my little sister and that mom is going to be so angry with all of us (she wasn't the most stable). In the ER, they're putting a bright green cast on my sister's very broken hand (she broke her middle finger, so it looked like she was flipping everyone off). Dad just calmly explained that we'd tell mom that little sis tripped and fell. The lie lasted less than 24 hours.
Luckily, mom thought it was pretty funny. She was less thrilled when my dad pulled stunts that ended up breaking my glasses, mom's truck, and that one time he lost both me and my sister at a soccer game."
"When my dad was in his early 50's, he was diagnosed with diabetes and a heart condition of some sort. My mom, who was a terrible cook to begin with, cut down on salt, sugar and fat for every meal we ate. Dad loved food, and this did not please him.
This was around the time I was learning to drive. A couple of times a week, after dinner dad would offer to take me out to practice driving. We would drive directly to Scooters, a local burger drive-in, where we would have our second dinner of burgers and fries. Dad would always say, 'Don't tell mom!' as we were walking up to order our food."
"My parents divorced when I was fairly young and they moved to different states. As a result of the distance, my mom had custody of me during the school year, and my dad got me for the summers. He had also gotten married again and had additional kids. I was 12 or 13 when this happened.
When I went to visit him, he always had at least one day a week that were just me and him days. He had recently moved to this town and he had a job with a well-known express delivery company. This particular daddy-daughter day, he took me to work with him and let me 'help' by scanning the packages before he took them to the recipient. We got done with the deliveries really early, so he decided to take me to a local quarry he'd heard of to go swimming before we went home.
The quarry was surrounded by trees and bushes, and there was a trail that you took from the parking area to actually get to the quarry. The trail isn't really wide enough for us to walk side by side, so I was a step or two in front of him. There's a bend in the trail, and around the corner comes this guy, completely naked except for tennis shoes, his junk swinging like a pendulum. Apparently, this quarry was a nude beach. My dad freaked out, hustled me back to the car, and took me to a different beach. On the way home, he said, 'Please don't tell your mom.'
I didn't tell her until a few years ago (they were divorced for 35 years, got back together about 10 years ago and remarried each other). I give him crap about now, and we can all laugh about it."
"My dad and I both have trouble sleeping, so occasionally when I was a kid we would watch TV together if we had a bout of sleeplessness at the same ungodly hour. When I was around 7, my family and I were deeply into Miyazaki films but hadn't ventured much into any other form of anime. One night, we were both up around 3 am and decided to watch some TV together until we got tired or the sun rose.
Most of the things on at that time were infomercials, but we stumbled across some anime that had a similar style to Miyazaki so we decided to give it a shot. Thirty seconds in and boom, straight to some hardcore bondage. I've never seen the blood rush from my fathers face so quickly. He quickly changed the channel and shot me a look of pure terror, nothing had to be said, not a word has been spoken about it since."
"When I was around 7 or 8 we were at SeaWorld, and at this time the park had little sharks in like a tide pool area. There were some small sword sharks in there and signs saying 'don't touch' -- but my dad put his hand through the railing and into the water. The sword shark's teeth caught on his watch and cut his hand a bit. Not bad, but enough that it bled. We went to meet my mom who was holding seats at a show and he said, 'Don't tell mom!' so naturally, as soon as we saw mom we shouted, 'Dad got bit by a shark!'
The Sea World people took notice and we missed the show. Next time we visited, they'd put chicken wire stuff around the rails so idiots couldn't put their hands in. I don't doubt that my dad is the reason for a lot of rules."
"Both my parents grew up in lower-income working-class families, but have done incredibly well for themselves as adults. I'm in my mid-20s and self-sufficient yet I did not follow them into tech, so I don't have a lot of extra income to throw around.
My dad is happy as long as I'm comfortably supporting myself and will pay for little extras in life when he feels like it while my mom wants me to live within my means and doesn't tend to offer gifts readily. He used to try to justify it to her, but now that I'm an adult he will just help out in small ways and say, 'just between us,' and that's the end of the discussion.
Basically ever since I started college, my dad has indulged me in small ways that we keep between us: a new computer when my old one crapped out during an intensive summer chemistry class, transferring the cost of flights when he knows it cost me quite a bit to come home and visit, reimbursing my lost wages when I join them on a family holiday that vacation days don't cover - just nice things like that which are no skin off his back but which my mom thinks I should have budgeted for."
"My parents split up when I was little and my mom had custody of us except for some weekends. There would often be times that dad picked us up and my mom would inform him that I and/or my siblings were grounded because of some juvenile stuff we did. Dad would acknowledge I/we were grounded and we were not to enjoy any TV, video games, playground activities, sweets, whatever... then he'd almost immediately take us to the best ice cream spot in town, the movie theater, or the local amusement park.
I figured he did it just as a way of giving the figurative bird to my mom; but as an adult, I realized that because he only got to see his kids once or twice a month, he wanted to enjoy every bit of time he could have with them."
"My dad was doing some DIY stuff putting in a breakfast nook in the kitchen and he drilled right through the wall into the built-in drawers on the other side. The drawer he happened to drill into contained my mom's wigs (it was the '70s, don't ask). She never wore them often, but they were expensive and well, power drill into a drawer, they were all a giant ball around the drill head like the world's worst giant lollipop.
My dad managed to extract the mess and just threw it all out with a 'Don't tell your mother' to me. Months later when my mom went looking, she figured she had just misplaced the wigs (it was a big old house) and years later when he came clean she just laughed it off. Decades later, I can still get a laugh out of her with the story of him pulling the giant wig-ball out and going, 'Oh crap...'"
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"My dad bought me some throwing knives that were supposed to be used only at our cabin. I used them with my friends against the wall of an elementary school. The cops came. It was a pretty mutual, 'So, we're not telling mom about this, right?' Totally worth it though, I learned how to get them to stick right before we were busted."
"It was Christmas eve and I was chatting with my dad in his office, him at his desk and me sat cross-legged on the floor next to him. He was messing around with a scalpel, dropping it onto the floor trying to make it stick into the carpet or something stupid. Well, on one drop it slipped out of his hand earlier than he meant to when it was positioned directly over my right leg.
The blade goes straight through my jeans and the handle sticks upright. I felt no pain and was kind of shocked but immediately relieved that it had managed to find a baggy part of my jeans that had no piece of my leg under it, probably the only place it could have gone without piercing my leg as this was kind of in my mid thigh/groin region. My dad's face was just white. I had to assure him that it had missed my leg. Needless to say, he didn't want me telling my mum that he had just dropped a scalpel onto her son's leg. Looking back I've no idea what he was doing playing with a scalpel but he learned his lesson."
"I was visiting/meeting family in Nicaragua with my dad, and on a trip to the Corn Islands, I got a bad headache. I told my dad to have fun with my family while I stayed at the inn resting. He was hesitant to leave me alone, but I told him I just needed to rest...
Within 30 minutes of him leaving the pain in my head and neck was unbearable and I was barely able to walk; I was on the verge of passing out. I ran outside crying because the pain had made me hysterical and I had all the symptoms of meningitis. I asked the ladies at the bar next door if they can take me to the doctor. They took me to a little house down the street where the doctor lived.
When my dad arrived after getting the message from one of the ladies that I had gone to the doctor, one of the first things he said when I calmed down was 'Don't tell your mom, ok?'
I told my mom later anyway just to see what she would say and I got pretty much the Hispanic mom equivalent of 'that's nice dear.' Either she wasn't listening to my story or she thought I was over exaggerating."
"My mother became uber religious when I was about 12-years-old. As a result, she declared Halloween Satanic and told me I could no longer celebrate the holiday.
On the night of Halloween, I sat in the bathroom in my costume and put on scary make-up. My father came home from work and saw how sad I was about not being able to celebrate Halloween with my friends. My mother was working late at the hospital, so my father instructed me to gather my things. First, he took me to the candy aisle and told me to pick out any two bags of candy I wanted. Afterward, he drove me to a local amusement park that was hosting a fright night and allowed me to ride some rides and walk through a few haunted mazes."
"I was at most 9 or 10 years old at the time, and my mum was out of town for work so it was just me and my dad. After I went to bed, I heard some noise coming from the next door room where the TV was, so I go and investigate. It turns out that my dad had put on Lawrence of Arabia since he thought I was asleep and it wouldn't wake me up.
For the rest of the time that my mum was out of town, we'd stay up till around midnight watching war movies that contained far too much violence and bloodshed for 10-year-old me. When the week was up, he told me not to tell mum what we were up to. We ended up doing this every time mum went out of town to work."
"My family is very religious and my mom is a social worker so she was very against most video games and movies that depict violence or anything risque. Once I went on a fishing trip with my dad, uncles and other cousins up to Canada. It was a trip well over 12 hours and portable DVD players were the new thing.
It may not seem like much but I watched my first PG13 movies on that road trip -- all of The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Jurassic Park. This was huge for me at the time. It probably wasn't the most risky 'don't tell your mom' moment, but it is definitely the one I remember the most."
"When I was a kid my family lived in Fort Benning, Georgia. My dad was (and still is) super into fishing and while he's generally a pretty rational guy, one day he got the urge to drive us two to the Chattahoochee River for a day of fishing in a 1987 Honda Civic.
So, we get there, park, fish for a while and decide to head back. It turned out that dad parked in a pretty soft section of the river bank and the car tires had sunk into the ground a little bit and now the car was right proper stuck. We had to go foraging for chunks of wood to try and wedge under the tires and thankfully, after a fair amount of scrounging for fallen branches and getting them stuck under the tires, we finally got the car free and got the heck out of there.
We both agreed that, while mildly amusing, mom never needed to know we went off-roading in the family car and almost got stuck."