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Woman Claps Back After Brother-In-Law Tells Her Dress She Wore To Family Dinner Was ‘Inappropriate’

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Difference of opinion in how someone should dress shouldn’t be an issue for most people. But when it comes up, how do you handle someone you need to be around often?

Redditor NeighborhoodJazz57 is having this exact problem with her brother-in-law (BIL). He has made some comments that the original poster (OP) doesn’t appreciate.

However, OP thinks she may have gone too far in her response. Now her husband and his family are upset.

Is OP a jerk? To find out, she asked the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit if she responded poorly.

Or whether she was justified.

“AITA for my response after my BIL said my dress was inappropriate for a family gathering?”

But it’s hard to say when so many are upset with her.

“Ugh! Hear me out!”

“So My bil (my husband’s brother) was married to a women from Greece, Her name is ‘Nana’, and the reason for their divorce was because of how much my conservative bil tried to control her cloths and the places she went. He didn’t want the divorce and was hopping Nana would accept the life he offered and stay but she didn’t.”

“This happened 2 years ago, he now moved back with my inlaws and we’d see him more often.”

“He tried to comment on how I dress on multiple ocassions and it’s unbearable. but since my inlaws said he’s struggling and depressed then I let it go.”

“On friday my inlaws celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday at their home. I wore a heart-shaped blue dress and had my hair up.”

“While we were eating my BIL pointed at me and said that my cleavage was showing and that I shouldn’t have wore this dress because it looked inappropriate for a family gathering.”

“I was utterly shocked, everyone was staring at me and I felt so embarrassed and on the spot.”

“He looked at me waiting for me to blow up probably but I laughed and told him ‘Knock, knock!’ he said ‘Who’s there?’, I said ‘Nana’. Now he paused and seemed confused at the mention of this name.”

“He then faked a laugh and said ‘Nana who?’ I said ‘Nana your goddamn business what I’m wearing! ok!’. He got upset and quickly left the table.”

“My SILs laughed but my husband and his parents were upset and later said that I was way out of line for bringing up Nana to my BIL knowing how heartbroken and depressed he is because of her. His mom said that I was petty and didn’t need to dig at him just to prove a point.”

“My husband thinks I’m in the wrong as well and that I was being deliberately hurtful by bringing up Nana.”

Everyone can seem to agree that the BIL was wrong for what he said. It’s the question of OP’s response that people are wondering about.

Was bringing up Nana justified?

On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for insulting her BIL by bringing up his ex-wife by including one of the following in their response:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

While bringing up Nana might have been harsh, the BIL brought it on himself by continuing the act that lost him his ex in the first place. It’s fine if the conservative attire is something he wants to wear himself, but he shouldn’t be policing someone else in a socially acceptable dress.

OP merely reminded her BIL that there isn’t any reason for him to be saying these things to her.

And for that reason, many on the board agreed that OP was NTA.

“NTA. WTF? He drove his wife away by trying to police her clothes, and he has the sheer nerve to bring that subject up with you?”

“You DID need to dig in to show him that his ex-wife was not an aberration, any woman would find it abhorrent to have a man dictate what she can or cannot wear.” – Sunny_Hill_1

“NTA. You should put the heat on your husband and ask him, ‘Why do you think I should accept your brother disrespecting me? Do you think it is acceptable for him to speak to me like that?’”

“If your husband is willing to just sit by and let his brother act like a pig because it doesn’t effect him he isn’t being a good partner.” – JCBashBash

“NTA. I sincerely doubt he’s ‘heartbroken and depressed’ I suspect his ego is wounded because his ex resisted his attempts at control.”

“What he said to you was entirely inappropriate. It’s also entirely inappropriate that his family continues to enable his behaviour” – Aggravating_Ad9046

“NTA. Depressed? heartbroken? Yeah no he’s sulking because Nana refused to be controlled and manipulated a second longer and is not using you as a target/outlet.”

“Don’t apologize but feel free to have a long talk with your husband about how you’re not taking BIL’s sh*t anymore so he should probably do what he should have done THE FIRST GOTDAMN TIME AND PUT HIS BROTHER IN HIS PLACE” – PommeDeSang

“NTA. Your BIL literally blew up his own marriage and DROVE HIS WIFE AWAY with his inability to keep his inappropriate, thoughtlessly rude, controlling, misogynistic comments to himself, and the man STILL hasn’t learned his lesson?!”

“But you have a bigger problem. Because instead of expecting him to take responsibility for his behaviour and learn from the consequences of his own action, his own family – your husband included – are acting as though the end of your BIL’s marriage happened in a vacuum, as though his actions had nothing to do with anything, and his CONTINUED aggressively inappropriate behaviour, now directed at you, is something to be coddled and sympathised with, instead of called out.”

“They’re actually scolding YOU for the same rotten behaviour he has displayed continuously for years. They’re never going to be on your side. Not your husband, not any of them.”

“It’s not just that he’s not going to get any better, it’s that you’re going to be treated just as badly as she was, and they’re just fine with that. You may want to think hard about that.” – FoolMe1nceShameOnU

The final judgement was that OP was NTA, but it wasn’t unanimous. There were some commenters that thought OP’s joke was too harsh.

Don’t get them wrong, the BIL was still a jerk, but they believe OP could have handled the situation better.

And maybe, just maybe, everyone sucks here.

“ESH, him way more than you. He was absolutely wrong to criticize your attire.”

“You are not obligated to choose your clothing in accordance with your BIL’S opinions and it’s not his place to comment. Period.”

“Your response, while undoubtedly satisfying in the moment, was a bit of a low blow. I don’t blame you and I might have done it too but getting in the gutter with someone is never a positive.”

“From a purely practical standpoint, it might have been better to simply say that the two of you have different opinions regarding what attire is appropriate and since you are a grown woman, you will make your own decisions regarding your clothing and you expect him to respect your right to do so.”

“Furthermore, it’s inappropriate for him to be commenting on his SIL’s cleavage at all, let alone in front of everyone, and you won’t tolerate it going forward.”

“ETA – your husband sucks too. He shouldn’t be ok with your BIL commenting about his wife’s cleavage.” – miyuki_m


“Responding to an a**hole with a purposely hurtful comment is also being an a**hole.”

“That was a comment specifically meant to hurt. You probably practiced it and were just waiting for a time to pull it out.”

“Your BIL is an a**hole, but you dealt with it like an a**hole too.” – kevinnetter

“NTA, maybe slightly ESH because you didn’t have to bring up Nana to get your point across.”

“But on another note I have no idea what you mean by heart shaped dress but sounds cute, can you link it or something similar?” – silkandlinen

“Probably going to be in the minority here, but I’m going with ESH. It’s completely true that your BIL was way out of line and has no business telling anyone what to wear, but you also went the extra mile to use nana’s name to hurt him.”

“You could have still done the ‘none ya damn business’ joke and left her out of it completely.”

“My ESH aside, I would have more than likely done the same as you, op.” – Alabasterus

“ESH – You don’t sound like a mean person but that was not cool. It sounds like he is always an a**hole.”

“Your husband should have shut him down as inappropriate. Being sad isn’t a license to say whatever you want. Your in-laws are coddling a grown man, so they are helping perpetuate his a**holiness.” – HeligKo

It’s possible that OP should have been a little less rude in her response, but it seems like the BIL earned it over multiple comments.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.