What’s the worst lie you told your parents?
‘I was a real sack of shit as a teenager’
No, Dad, I haven’t stolen a set of keys to your house had a copy cut and don’t plan to throw a raging house party while you holiday with your girlfriend in Rome.
The first night he was away we threw said raging house party. Radiators got ripped off the walls, cigarettes were put out on the carpet, and mystifyingly in the fridge. People were running around wearing my family’s underwear. The kitchen table was snapped in half. We painted a six foot long ejaculating penis on the ceiling above my 13-year-old sister’s bed.
I spent the rest of the week he was away redecorating. We superglued the radiators back onto the wall, and repainted the walls top to bottom. My friend’s dad worked at a cleaning company and he got a couple of blokes over to steam clean all the carpets. It was still obvious we had a party. When Dad got back I still tried to pretend nothing had happened, but when he leaned on the kitchen table and went straight through it that evening, the game was up. I spent the rest of the summer working nine-to-five every day to pay him back. We didn’t see each other for two years after that.
The thing I’ve felt most guilty for – that involved lying to my parents – was before a festival. Typically, no one had picked up and everyone knows if you buy drugs at festivals you will ingest glass and regret. I was driving out to my friend’s in the west country, but I had to go in the opposite direction via London to pick up a terrifying £750-worth of drugs. This extended my journey by around an hour and a half, and I drove at about 40mph the entire way for fear of being pulled over (I could see the headlines: my face on the front of every paper). So I told my parents I was sat in traffic, trundling along with hours to go. When my mum said she couldn’t see any traffic alerts on my route (she’s a worrier), I made up an elaborate lie about how the government sometimes conceals bad traffic as it makes the party in power look bad and that I had studied it in a module.
In summer I tell my mum I’m using this really good new fake tan, not that I’ve been going to sunbeds for the last two months.
I keep telling my parents I don’t do cocaine.
My brother dropped out of university but didn’t tell our parents, who for two years, drove him back up to halls. He’d get out, insist on taking his stuff up himself and then go to his real, rented house elsewhere. And I covered for him until it became really clear he wasn’t – and never would be – a doctor.
I was going out with a guy who lived in my village, and he used to come over quite a lot. After a few weeks of dating (and sneaking him in at night) I pleaded with my mum to let him stay over. “We just want to cuddle,” I’d say when she’d raise her eyebrows at me. “I sleep easier when he’s here.” She told me that if I wasn’t mature enough to admit that I was having sex with him, then she wouldn’t let him stay over. This argument went on for weeks, when I eventually gave in and said, “OK, Mum I want to have sex with my boyfriend” and she let him stay. But the thing is, we’d never had sex, and didn’t for another month or two after that. I only pretended we were so she’d let him spend the night. So we could cuddle.
One term at university, I accidentally spent my whole loan before I’d paid my rent for halls. I tried to pretend this wasn’t happening for a while, until it became obvious that I was going to have to tell my parents. So I told them I hadn’t got a loan this year because of an administrative fuck up. My dad cast around trying to find someone to sue, though he did give me the money. He possibly should have sued me.
I called my parents in tears to tell them my laptop had stopped switching on. Actually my one-night stand had kicked it off my bed and smashed the screen. I told my parents that my next laptop got a virus from a bad email attachment someone sent me. I was watching porn. The virus came from porn.
When I was fifteen there was this night on for underaged kids that everyone went to, and usually everyone went to it drunk. I didn’t really drink, but my group of friends all paid my mate’s mum a fiver each to get us some booze. Expecting some WKD and Smirnoff Ice, we turned up to bottles of vodka and schnapps. Basically we all got smashed and the only two memories I have involved my friend’s mum holding a bucket up to my mouth as I vomited and seeing another friend wash sick off her phone under a tap. We never made it to the night, mainly because none of us could walk and one girl was so unresponsive that her mum came and took her to the hospital. When my parents picked me up they asked how the night was, I was hungover as hell, and I said it was great, well worth the fourteen pound ticket (which was a lot when we were fifteen) and thought that would be the end of it. Shortly after my mum found out my friend had gone to hospital when her mum told mine after school about how she’d had to be transported in a wheelchair and had induced vomiting. My mum didn’t talk to me for three days.
Context: I really like baths. I think they’re A Good Thing. Regal, cultured, relaxing. Baths are civilized and humane. So this one time I was running a bath, a really, really big bath. And I fell asleep in it. Fast asleep. Thankfully I didn’t drown, I sort of floated peacefully, like a jellyfish, in this ever growing bath. Growing and growing and growing was this bath. When I woke up the entire bathroom was swamped. A miniature flood. You could have sailed a boat across the floor. I mopped it up, I controlled the situation. Or so I thought. The ceiling, the white ceiling of the room below, had a massive yellow water stain across it. A whole new yellow continent had appeared on the ceiling. And to this day I have offered my parents, who were on holiday at the time, no explanation for what happened.
I asked my parents for a loan, which I promised was for a holiday with my mates. They said I’d been working really hard recently and of course they’d help me out. Actually, I’d spent my salary on gin and cocaine that month and really needed it for rent. Then I had to literally pretend that I was on holiday for a week. I didn’t go on Facebook or Twitter because I’m friends with my mum and didn’t want her to see I was very much still in the country.