Created By: Lionheart0February 8, 2013 Last Edited By: shimaspawnFebruary 4, 2016

Embarrassing Hobby

A character has an embarrassing hobby they don\'t want their peers to know about.

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Bob is a pretty cool dude. He has a circle friends, regularly gets invited to parties, and has a hot girlfriend. Deep down though, Bob has a Dark Secret which he has been hiding from his friends and even his family his entire life. A secret, which, if it were to be revealed, would completely ruin his social life. His family would disown him, his girlfriend would dump him, and he would become enemy number 1 of the state. You see, Bob has an embarrassing hobby.

In his free time, Bob may be into Live Action Roleplaying, take ballet, or is just a fan of a kids show despite being WAY older than the target demographic. Because of this, Bob will keep this hobby a secret from all of his loved ones to prevent himself from being ridiculed. If Bob actually takes pride in the hobby in question, expect his family and friends to be the one who are embarrassed for him.

Compare Closet Geek. May become a Shameful Source Of Knowledge if the skills gained in the hobby ever come up.

Examples:

Anime

Comic Strip
  • In Zits, Pierce is secretly a scrapbooker and spends a lot of time desperately hiding the fact.

Literature
  • In the Lord Meren mystery novels, set in ancient Egypt, Meren's secret hobby is juggling beanbags. He does this because it's soothing, occupying his ever-busy mind when he's stressed out; however, as a highborn Egyptian nobleman, he has to conceal this habit because juggling is associated with low-born street entertainers and riff-raff.
  • Inverted in Discworld: Nobby is part of the Ankh-Morpork Folk Dance and Song Society and the historical re-enactment society, but doesn't find it embarrassing in the least, while his coworkers do.

Live Action Television
  • In the Psych episode "Not Even Close...Encounters", a childhood friend of Shawn's, who has grown up to be a rich, successful lawyer with a hot girlfriend, is revealed to have a secret room in his house where he keeps an extensive collection of comic book and sci-fi memorabilia and toys. He begs Shawn not to let his girlfriend know.
  • An episode of iCarly ran on the All Girls Want Bad Boys trope until the title character realized her "badboy" had a collection of girly toys. This was a big enough turn off for her to dump him.
  • In Midsomer Murders, Troy secretly collected a comic called The Hawk which he was embarassed about. Inspector Barnaby did not seem to mind when he found out, although he thought Troy was a bit stupid for
  • On Seinfeld Jerry is secretly a fan of Melrose Place. His Girl Of The Week is a cop and doesn't believe him when he says he never watches the show, so she has him hooked up to a Lie Detector and has the investigating detective ask him probing questions about plots going on on MP. Jerry is cool for a while but eventually cracks.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper goes to a cellar room in Caltech every day to play keepie-up with a beanbag. He tries to hide it from his friends and Hilarity Ensues when they try to find out what exactly Sheldon does in the half-hour he mysteriously takes every day.

Video Games
  • Mobster Vinnie Gognitti from the Max Payne series collects action figures, as Max finds out in the second game. This is especially embarrassing to Vinnie since he strives project the tough guy aura despite really not being one.

Western Animation
  • In The Replacements, Alpha Bitch Sierra is secretly a fan of a geeky sci-fi show but cannot admit to anyone until the episode where she loses her spot on the cheerleading squad is no longer obsessed with being 'cool'.
  • In one of the modern Scooby Doo cartoons, a mechanic whom the gang consider a suspect turns out to have been sneaking around to gather wildflowers. He didn't want anyone to know he collected pressed flowers because it didn't fit his tough-guy image.

Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • February 9, 2013
    luisedgarf
  • February 9, 2013
    CaveCat
    How different is this from Real Men Wear Pink?
  • February 9, 2013
    Lionheart0
    The difference is that real men wear pink is exclusively about men with feminine hobbies.
  • February 9, 2013
    RedneckRocker
    Sadly, I've met people like this in Real Life. They seem to spend more time nervous about being caught than actually ENJOYING the hobby. It's kinda sad.
  • February 9, 2013
    1810072342
    Downplayed example (because it only really brings self-inflicted shame, not from anyone else): Beryl Edgely from Skulduggery Pleasant is revealed in Kingdom Of The Wicked to be a secret Trekkie.
  • February 9, 2013
    Xtifr
    • In the Psych episode "Not Even Close...Encounters", a childhood friend of Shawn's, who has grown up to be a rich, successful lawyer with a hot girlfriend, is revealed to have a secret room in his house where he keeps an extensive collection of comic book and sci-fi memorabilia and toys. He begs Shawn not to let his girlfriend know.
  • February 9, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^^We've already got a trivia item for real life examples: One Of Us (e.g. Dame Judi Dench DM'ing for Vin Diesel and Karl Urban).
  • February 9, 2013
    Lionheart0
    One example that comes to mind is the episode of Arthur where the title character develops a secret obsession with Love Ducks.
  • February 9, 2013
    Koveras
    • Mobster Vinnie Gognitti from the Max Payne series collects action figures, as Max finds out in the second game. This is especially embarrassing to Vinnie since he strives project the tough guy aura despite really not being one.
  • February 9, 2013
    Prfnoff
    What is the distinction between this and Cultural Rebel? (Example As A Thesis doesn't make things like this clear, you know.)
  • February 12, 2013
    Lionheart0
    Cultural Rebel is when a person is interested in hobbies outside of their cultural norm. Embarrassing Hobby is Exactly What It Says On The Tin, a character is embarrassed by a hobby or fandom that they're into, and hides their obsession from their peers.
  • February 12, 2013
    MasamiPhoenix
    Candace from Phineas And Ferb loves the children's show Ducky Momo, but can't let anybody find out.
  • February 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    A: Fix your laconic.

    B: Remove the Example As Thesis (the Alice and Bob scenario).
  • February 12, 2013
    elwoz
  • February 12, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On 30Rock Jack had a cookie jar collection as his embarrassing hobby, which he gets rid of in order to get ahead at GE.
  • February 12, 2013
    foxley
    • In Zits, Pierce is secretly a scrapbooker and spends a lot of time desperately hiding the fact.
    • In The Replacements, Alpha Bitch Sierra is secretly a fan of a geeky sci-fi show but cannot admit to anyone until the episode where she loses her spot on the cheerleading squad is no longer obsessed with being 'cool'.
    • In Midsomer Murders, Troy secretly collected a comic called The Hawk which he was embarassed about. Inspector Barnaby did not seem to mind when he found out, although he thought Troy was a bit stupid for keeping it secret.
  • February 12, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In one of the more-recent Scooby Doo cartoons, a mechanic whom the gang consider a suspect turns out to have been sneaking around to gather wildflowers. He didn't want anyone to know he collected pressed flowers because it didn't fit his tough-guy image.
  • February 12, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On Seinfeld Jerry is secretly a fan of Melrose Place. His Girl Of The Week is a cop and doesn't believe him when he says he never watches the show, so she has him hooked up to a Lie Detector and has the investigating detective ask him probing questions about plots going on on MP. Jerry is cool for a while but eventually cracks.
  • February 13, 2013
    PsiPaula4
    Compare Closet Geek.
  • June 18, 2015
    Sharlee
    • In the Lord Meren mystery novels, set in ancient Egypt, Meren's secret hobby is juggling beanbags. He does this because it's soothing, occupying his ever-busy mind when he's stressed out; however, as a highborn Egyptian nobleman, he has to conceal this habit because juggling is associated with low-born street entertainers and riffraff.
  • June 18, 2015
    NateTheGreat
    Nobody's posted Dark Helmet and his action figures from Spaceballs yet?
  • June 18, 2015
    Chabal2
    Subverted in Discworld: Nobby is part of the Ankh-Morpork Folk Dance and Song Society and the historical reenactment society, but doesn't find it embarassing in the least, while his coworkers do.

  • June 19, 2015
    chicagomel
    in TheBradyBunch, one of the boys is embarrassed when the rest of the football team finds out he's in the glee club. Until a pro football player talking to the group says he's in one as well. (anyone remember if it was Bobby or Peter? I'm blank)
  • June 20, 2015
    Snicka
    The difference between this and Real Men Wear Pink is that the men in RMWP are not at all embarrassed about their feminine hobbies.
  • June 21, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^^Peter, definitely.
  • June 21, 2015
    MiinU
    Anime
  • June 21, 2015
    AgProv
    The Big Bang Theory
    • Sheldon Cooper goes to a cellar room in Caltech every day to play keepie-up with a beanbag.
  • June 21, 2015
    MiinU
    ^Does he try to hide it from his friends?
  • July 3, 2015
    AgProv
    Indeed he does. And Hilarity Ensues when they try to find out what exactly Sheldon does in the half-hour he mysteriously takes every day.
  • July 15, 2015
    Ominae
    This is a part of Tomoe Sayama's backstory in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. She likes reading manga in her spare time, but doesn't let anyone know for fears that she'll be mocked for doing a weird hobby.
    Tomoe "I... I-I... I'm WEIRD! I love manga, I watch TV at home all day, I just can't get out of the kotatsu! On my days off, I stay in my PJs, eat snacks, drop crumbs all over, and waste hours online checking my favorite sites! I-I'm too scared to hold hands with a boy, I'm not good at talking to people and I always spend New Year's on my own! I see manga I like and buy it, then I realize I already have that volume, but oh well, you know! God... I'm awful."
  • July 16, 2015
    Chabal2
    May become a Shameful Source Of Knowledge if someone else with the same hobby shows up.

  • July 17, 2015
    shimaspawn
    So differences between this and Real Men Wear Pink:

    • This can apply to women as well as to men.
    • This doesn't need to be a feminine hobby.
    • Unlike RMWP, the person in this trope must be embarrassed by the hobby.

    Not much overlap. I think we can lay that one to rest.

    That said, this is a good trope. I recommend The Secret Index for it's eventual indexing needs.
  • July 17, 2015
    shimaspawn
    Honestly, I think rewriting the description with Alice instead of Bob or at least making it less male focused might help with making it clearer that this isn't Real Men Wear Pink.
  • July 18, 2015
    Exxolon
    Captain Shakespeare's crossdressing in Stardust. Played with in that his entire crew were aware, didn't care and were his Secret Keepers to keep his Badass reputation intact.
  • July 18, 2015
    randomsurfer
    'nother Big Bang Theory
    • In an early episode Penny comes in to use their TV.
      Sheldon: Excuse me, Penny, but we're...
      Leonard: No, no, don't tell her.
      Sheldon: ...playing Klingon Boggle.
      Leonard: Aw!
      Howard: What do you mean, "aw?" Like she didn't know we were nerds?
  • October 9, 2015
    Ominae
    Doing a bump.
  • October 9, 2015
    N1KF
    Would this be related to Guilty Pleasures?
  • October 10, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Half of Guilty Pleasures covers this. (The other half is where someone actually hates something but gets drawn to it for some reason.)

    So Guilty Pleasures is a supertrope.
  • February 3, 2016
    DAN004
    Bump?
  • February 3, 2016
    keyblade333
    Deconstructed in Persona4. One of the main characters, Kanji Tatsumi, loves knitting and sewing things. However because he has the Face Of A Thug he's embarrassed about his hobbies because he fears it'll make himself seem unmanly. Even after going through some Character Development he's fairly embarrassed when discussing his love of "cute things".
  • February 3, 2016
    BrokenEye
    • In an episode of Series/NCIS, it's discovered that the Victim Of The Week is a very prolific collector of vintage television lunchboxes. Though the victim is too... well... dead to be embarrassed by it at the time, he had been keeping his hobby secret from his neighbors and basically every member of the cast mocks him for it.
      • Amusingly, due to the lack of any other leads at the time, they briefly investigate the possibility that he was murdered as a result of a lunchbox deal gone horribly wrong (he wasn't).
  • February 3, 2016
    Chernoskill
    Another vote for Dark Helmet's action figures.
  • February 4, 2016
    Koveras
    This one needs to be better differentiated from Closet Geek, because if it's just about the extent of the hobby (having a hobby doesn't automatically make on a geek), then many examples would be duplicated across these two pages.

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