Dropping pearls

Without looking at anyone else’s answer, would you understand this expression, as in this exchange:

“Aren’t you ever going to tell them?”

“Sweetie, I’ve been dropping pearls in front of them since I was 15 and they just don’t want to know.”

Also, please provide your age either way, and what you think it means.

I’d take it as referring to revealing the news that the speaker is homosexual.

I’m 61—and as a side note—not out to my parents. But I don’t think I’ve dropped many pearls, either.

The charitable interpretation is pearls of wisdom, the less charitable pearls before swine. 46.

I have a friend that does this, and inevitably someone responds with a variation of “Can you just say what you mean without obscure metaphors?”

Without looking at any of the responses, I would assume the reference is to the expression “casting pearls before swine.”

Near retirement, and I wouldn’t know exactly what was intended without further context. Because when I saw headline, I assumed that it was about dropping a pearl necklace, which is notoriously a way of distracting people, or indication or cause of upset.

Also pearls (of wisdom) before swine, but that wasn’t what I thought of first. And I liked the first suggestion.

It means to leave ‘hints’.
ETA, read the others. I still think it means leaving hints or clues.

PS, you don’t need to know my age. I’m old enough.

Having never heard this expression in my life, I would assume a kind of double meaning - a hint of ‘pearls before swine’ and a hint of ‘pearls as in a feminine accoutrement, as in not conforming to traditional masculine stereotypes’ and the whole meaning “They wouldn’t know I was gay unless they found me kissing my boyfriend while wrapped in a rainbow flag at Mardi Gras”

The word “sweetie” actually has a pretty big influence here

It could mean multiple things, but all about something important to the speaker. That the speaker is gay, or knows they are adopted, for instance, and the others just don’t want to know.

This. 63.

I did not peek at other answers. I would need more context, but my first thought is "I’ve been dropping pearls (of wisdom)…
mmm, 61

I’m 65, live in the UK and it means nothing to me.

Could it mean farting?!

My mind immediately went to a “pearl necklace”. So I would assume it means something sexual.

I think we could use some context here. Have you ever actually used the phrase? Or had someone use it in front of you?

Why are you asking?

And what are you going to do with the information we give you here? Will it affect the way you come out to your family? Or is it because someone didn’t understand the phrase you’d used with them, and you’re just doing a poll?

This was my immediate thought too. Sort of a cross between “dropping breadcrumbs” (to leave a visible trail to follow) and “pearls before swine” (which the swine don’t care about anyway).

I didn’t immediately think about sexuality as the matter being hinted to, as others have suggested, but I agree it does make some sense. Or perhaps the Biblical reference is important, in which case it could be about embracing/abandoning religious faith.

ETA: 52

Why am I asking? I was going to use the phrase in a post, and I was aware that some people might not have run across it before, so I tried to find it in Urban Dictionary and it wasn’t there. So suddenly I was doubting my memory that (I thought) this was a fairly common expression.

The meaning I was intending was dropping hints about being gay. It is not to do with the pearl necklace that digs mentions, it is simply a metaphor. Thinking about it, it is based on the very old-fashioned notion that gay men generally like to cross-dress, and that a string of pearls might be among such a man’s possession; you can drop one or two pearls and people might ignore it, but if you drop enough pearls they will realize that you have a whole necklace and oh! you must be gay. That’s the metaphor. Of course you are not dropping actual pearls, but hints like “My friend Tarquin and I are moving in together; he’s going to do the decorating*.”

I think the phrase was probably current in the 70’s and possibly earlier. I realize now I haven’t heard it for quite a while.

*Poor Sheridan, he dropped a bucket of pearls and his dear Mum was none the wiser for it.

I would have assumed this as well. 55

The speaker in the OP may have meant he was dropping hints, but that’s not how ‘pearls’ would usually be used. Perhaps the concept of ‘pearls of wisdom’ has developed the concept of other kinds of ‘pearls’.

I really appreciate the OP staying engaged with the thread, and even offering an explanation when asked. So many threads these days are drive-bys like “Whatcha think, should I say* THIS *to a woman at work?”

And our follow-up questions go unanswered… questions like “You’re kidding, right?”; “Has this woman brought up the subject of peeing in public before?”; or “Are you that tired of being gainfully employed?”

And we’re left wondering if it was just a poll, or if someone from our community was about to commit social suicide…

I didn’t catch this post when I posted shortly after it. Never heard this before myself, or maybe didn’t understand the metaphor if I had. It didn’t even occur to me right away that the speaker was talking about revealing that they were gay, but as I read your explanation it made sense.

I think that, as coming out has become more matter-of-fact and less stigmatized, at least here in the US, the practice of hinting has become much less common, and so less talked about. And I also now suspect that this was a kind of gay code anyway, one that people who didn’t knowingly associate with gay guys wouldn’t have heard.

By the way, in my own case, I probably dropped dozens of pearls over the years, unintentionally, and by the time I came out to my parents (in my early 40’s) they, of course, had known for quite some time. But they didn’t really want to talk about it, either before I came out or after.