There comes a time in every teenager’s life where you have to hide something that you’re doing. You hide embarrassing things from your friends and hide almost everything else from your parents. You probably have grown a large repertoire of ridiculous half-truths and lies since those years to cover up for almost any occasion:
No, I don’t know who that person is!
Oh, I was sure that this the agreed upon time to be home.
I was just at a friend’s place...watching a movie.
This injury? I jumped off a swing.
But the truth is, if you have a consistent habit you want to hide, the lies can get tougher. When you are an adult you likely hide your role-playing habit from most people. People have a skewed view about the hobby (it is so lame) or a biased idea of those who play (the ever-virgin male who lives with his parents.) These stereotypes don’t always allow all people to admit their hobby, for fear of a change in the way people look at them.
When you use the lies from your youth, they get old really fast. Not only do they get old fast, but people start to ask you more detailed questions. Which leads to more detailed lies and more chance for error. Role-playing is generally falls into a routine pattern, so you need to build the lie, before you get too involved in your half-orc warlock’s backstory.
Lie 1: Generic Games Lie
What are you doing tonight?
Beginner lie: Playing games with my friends.
Problem: This lie given consistency always comes with questions. It is too general and cryptic. Also, people who don’t understand role-playing games will also not understand the need to play any type of game over and over again with the same people…. And if they do, they may wonder why they are not invited.
Intermediate lie: I’m playing video games with my oldest friends.
Problem: Though it is good because it is specific and you can explain why your other people may not be invited, it also gives the impression of a Peter Pan Complex. I mean, seriously, will you ever grow up? Playing the same games with the same friends you played with years ago is not an attractive lie.
Professional lie: I’m playing board games with disadvantaged children
Benefits: This lie will explain the regularity of the task. You can also let them know why they couldn’t come along with you; there is an application and criminal records checks and a entirely long process (how tedious). The extra benefit to a lie like this is that you can now invoke a sense of superiority about your weekly game.
Lie 2: Hanging out Lie
What are you doing tonight? Do you want to have dinner and hit a movie?
Beginner lie: No, sorry I can’t. I already have plans with some friends.
Problem: This lie pits one group of friends over the one who is engaging you in the conversation right now. Also, if they hear the same thing again, you are likely to automatically distance yourself from your dinner and movie friend.
Intermediate lie: No sorry, I can’t. I am hanging out with my significant other.
Problem: This one is a pet peeve of mine since it can cause your friends to suggest that your SO is monopolizing all your time. It leads to you throwing your SO under the (metaphorical) bus every time you are role-playing as well as when you are actually spending time with your loved/liked one.
Professional lie: This is my book club meeting night.
Benefits: This an accepted social activity for people who are normal, but is nerdy enough for your friends to not want to join you. You can also pick a specific book you have read to talk about quite easily. The rhythm of The Cat in the Hat is reminiscent of walking along on a journey through the book.
Lie 3: The Routine Lie
What are you doing tonight? We should go to the pub for some drinks.
Beginner lie: Sorry, tonight is my house cleaning night
Problem: Your house better be immaculate always for this lie to work. Also, even if your house is that clean, it is easy for your pub-going friend to be insulted by this. You are literally choosing to clean a toilet over a drink at a bar with them.
Intermediate lie: Oh, tonight's family dinner night, actually.
Problem: This one is more plausible, because family traditions are set in stone. However, it does leave you open to having possible free time after dinner. For a long role-playing session, you probably aren’t going to have time to hit up a pub afterward. This one also only works if you have family in town.
Professional lie: This is the night I work on myself.
Benefits: Now you probably don’t want to work it exactly that way, but it is a personal routine and it is self-care. Maybe the goal is to write a novel. Nobody ever has to see that. It is always a work in progress. Maybe, you are a painter. You don’t paint to display your work, but to improve. Or maybe, you are into fitness. You could easily tell them you are into Crossfit and post about it incessantly on social media and it is believable.
For whatever reason, you need to hide your hobby, happy lying!
Vanessa is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother (not male, virgin, or living with her parents). She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. She thinks everyone should be roleplaying. Every time she writes a new article, she knows that she is outing herself as a role-player to more and more people. That scares her, but she eats fear for breakfast (and toast and coffee.) She sometimes bothers her friends to help with her blog articles which you can see here. She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.