Created By: JMQwilleran on December 19, 2012 Last Edited By: JMQwilleran on January 20, 2013
Troped

Unmanly Secret

A character who has Real Men Wear Pink characteristics tries desperately to hide them.

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We all know here that Real Men Wear Pink, but some haven't gotten the memo. Hence this trope, when someone who has Real Men Wear Pink characteristics tries to hide them out of shame, embarrassment, fear of teasing/bullying, etc. They may choose to keep them to themselves, or they may share it with only a few close friends. If they think that they're hiding it, but a lot of people around them know anyway and don't care, it could be The Not Secret. May also lead to the use of Less Embarrassing Term.

A similar phenomenon would be a female character who is One of the Boys trying to hide anything considered feminine or girly that they like, though this doesn't seem to be nearly as common. The inversion would be a female trying to hide the like of anything manly, though that's probably even less common these days.

This can also be used in reference not only to things that are considered "girlish," but anything that's considered antithetical to manliness, such as something dubbed "childish" or "nerdy."

Contrast Agent Peacock, who is very up-front and open with his feminine side, but still kicks as much ass as the Mr. Macho character.

Examples

[[folder: Jokes]]
  • There's a joke about a guy who finds himself all alone in the house, all the womenfolk scared off by the big game on TV that night. He double checks the locks and party supplies and... catches up with his favorite Soap Opera.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
  • Referenced in the thoughts of the Varden leader Nasuada in Inheritance of Inheritance Cycle when she thinks about how certain men within her army have revealed things about themselves to her that would be surprising given that their outward loves seemed to be only "wine, women, and war," such as a tendency to memorize romantic poems.
  • Butler, Artemis Fowl's six-foot-plus One-Man Army and Battle Butler, likes watching romantic comedies, though he will never admit this to anyone.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
  • In Sadie J, Kit tries to hide his fashion interests from cousin Lollo (Welsh, pronounced Yoh-low) by pretending to enjoy rugby. Lollo then says that he'd like him anyway when he accidentally (but inevitably) finds out.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
  • Again zigzagged with Hubert of Tales of Graces and his fanboy-ish interests. In some cases, he has no problems debating canon with other characters. But when Sophie catches him playing with "Beach Brigade" toys, he tells her that the Beach Brigade is a branch of the Strahtan military dedicated to waterfront protection.
  • This is the main issue that Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4 has. His mother owns a textile shop, and he likes to make little dolls for people, which directly contrasts from the tough biker badass persona that he tries to project to people. His entire character arc/Social Link is about learning to overcome his hangup about this and accept himself as a whole.
    • There's also Naoto Shirogane, an ace detective who wants desperately to prove herself in a male-dominated profession, to the point of posing as a boy and not showing her more girly traits to anyone.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
  • Zigzagged with Binky Barnes on Arthur. When his character first starts developing not manly interests, he tries to hide them, but then gets found out anyway. Though some people try to make a big deal of it at first, his perceived fierceness and reputation as a bully allows him to quell any teasing or bullying simply by growls, posturing and death glares. In later seasons, he still sometimes tries to hide it, but just as often is open about it. In Season 15's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," he doesn't care one bit that his friends in the Tough Customers gang know that he's going to be performing in a clarinet solo, but is terribly afraid that one of them might find out that he still sometimes holds his mother's hand. When they do find out anyway, they chew him out... for not having a juicier, more embarrassing secret!
  • On PB&J Otter, both Peanut and Munchy refer to their Bucky Spacebeaver toys as "action figures" instead of "dolls" to try to preserve their perceived manliness. Additionally, Flick Duck tends to behave very secretively about any behaviors or hobbies of his that would be perceived as girlish.
  • In "Read It and Weep" on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Rainbow Dash feels that nobody can know that she, being the sportish flying pony that she is, likes something like egg-head like such as reading and she goes to increasingly elaborate lengths both to hide it and to get her book back.
    • A survey of "bronies" found that around 50% identified as either Hidden Bronies or Secret Bronies and hide their interest in the My Little Pony program from family and friends, though not in all cases for this reason.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • December 19, 2012
    Chabal2
    • Butler, Artemis Fowl's six-foot-plus One Man Army and Battle Butler, likes watching romantic comedies, though he will never admit this to anyone.
    • There's a joke about a guy who finds himself all alone in the house, all the womenfolk scared off by the big game on TV that night. He double checks the locks and party supplies and... catches up with his favorite Soap Opera.
  • December 19, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    Again zigzagged with Huber of Tales of Graces and his fanboy-ish interests. In some cases, he has no problems debating canon with other characters. But when Sophie catches him playing with "Beach Brigade" toys, he tells her that the Beach Brigade is a branch of the Strahtan military dedicated to waterfront protection.
  • December 19, 2012
    lakingsif
    In Sadie J, Kit tries to hide his fashion interests from cousin Lollo (Welsh, pronounced Yoh-low) by pretending to enjoy rugby. Lollo then says that he'd like him anyway when he accidentally (but inevitably) finds out.
  • December 19, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    In "Read It and Weep" on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Rainbow Dash feels that nobody can know that she, being the sportish flying pony that she is, likes something like egg-head like such as reading and she goes to increasingly elaborate lengths both to hide it and to get her book back.
  • December 19, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    • This is the main issue that Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4 has. His mother owns a textile shop, and he likes to make little dolls for people, which directly contrasts from the tough biker badass persona that he tries to project to people. His entire character arc/Social Link is about learning to overcome his hangup about this and accept himself as a whole.
      • There's also Naoto Shirogane, an ace detective who wants desperately to prove herself in a male-dominated profession, to the point of posing as a boy and not showing her more girly traits to anyone.
  • December 19, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
  • December 19, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    How is this a stock phrase? I don't recall any character specifically using the line "Nobody can know I'm not manly." Nor do the objections regarding stock phrases on the page that you linked seem to have any relevance to this, for example - "We don't want people to think it's about characters saying the phrase." I don't think anyone's going to get the idea that is about characters saying "Nobody can know I'm not manly," because nobody says that.

    In fact, a Google search for the phrase "Nobody can know I'm not manly" reveals two results, both linking to this discussion.
  • December 19, 2012
    lakingsif
    ^ No New Stock Phrases basically means no line of dialogue, ever spoken or not. It needn't have ever been used in a work; if it's a first person non-narration it's gotta go.
  • December 19, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    That seems a bit unnecessarily restrictive, but okay. In that case, hmm... how about The Not-Manly Secret? Or would that be too close to The Not Secret and therefore confusing?

    Though I still feel "Nobody can know I'm not manly" isn't a line of dialogue so much as it is a thought, a feeling, rather like "I hope nobody just saw me doing that."
  • December 19, 2012
    lakingsif
    ^ 'Nobody Can Know I'm Not Manly', though a thought, is still a personal expression. Something more simply descriptive of the person like 'The Secret Camp' or, rather, something that makes it clearer you mean girly-camp as opposed to camping or summer camp.
  • December 19, 2012
    TheHandle
  • December 19, 2012
    lakingsif
    That's pretty good, thumbs-up man.
  • December 19, 2012
    StarSword
  • December 19, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    Yeah, A Man's Pink Secret could work, although it implies that the character has to be a man. What about Unmanly Secret Hiding, or simply The Unmanly Secret?
  • December 19, 2012
    TheHandle
    Just Unmanly Secret should do. Closet Camp is also nice as an alt title with Added Alliterative Appeal, and relates well to Camp Straight and Macho Camp.
  • December 20, 2012
    dvorak
    Contrast Agent Peacock, who is very up-front and open with his feminine side, but still kicks as much ass as the Mr. Macho character.
  • December 22, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    Okay, name issue is worked out, so we are moved on from that. I've also gone ahead and added all the examples to the first post, though I still need to sort them. I'll try to think up / hunt down some more also. In the meantime, if anyone else has any others they can think of?
  • January 19, 2013
    JMQwilleran
    Assuming nobody else posts anymore examples or has any objections, I think I'm just going to go ahead and launch this tomorrow. It's workable, we have a good title now, so I see no reason not to.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cljv4gqrzqcnpiilim5vzjih&trope=UnmanlySecret