A classic setup when a person is part of the Masquerade
, has a Secret Identity
, or is a Tomato in the Mirror
. Another perhaps blurts out something like "I know all about you" or "I'm sorry for how things are with X." The person they're talking to, of course is expecting a completely different line of thought jumping first to their biggest secret. The other secret may not even be something they've done but a simple misunderstanding.
At some point, though, one of the following happens:
- The main character apologizes for their real secret, resulting in The Reveal.
- The second character says something that doesn't make sense under the protagonist's given assumptions, and they ask "what are you talking about?"
- The main or secondary character walks away without anything being revealed, and a good portion of the plot is now driven by Double Entendre.
A subtrope of Poor Communication Kills
- In Dragon Ball Z Gohan gets blackmailed by a girl to go out with her (not Videl), since she knows "his secret." No, it isn't that he's the "Great Saiyaman." It's that he wears teddy bear underwear.
- Harlequin novel Christmas In Cold Creek has two daughters of a con artist (for the younger one's safety from her real mother, the older one claims to be her mother) settling in Idaho. The older one, Becca, thinks the attractive local police officer has found out her "daughter" isn't really hers. Instead, he's concerned about the little girl's "illness" which turns out to be a con job.