When dropping kids off at school becomes a regular thing, sometimes parents will start to make friends of their own.
But certain behaviors absolutely would not be acceptable, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor pspf150 was called out about making an inappropriate joke about the moms of the other kids in his son’s class.
Though he thought it was a harmless joke, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised to discover how furious some people were over it.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for asking the fellow school run dads which mom they think is the hottest as a joke?”
The OP was dropping his kids off at school.
“I (29 [male]) have two kids, an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. Their mom and I have been together since we were 14 and got married two years ago.”
“We both have good jobs, so made the decision to send our kids to a really good private school in our city.”
“I start work later than my wife so I do the school run.”
The OP was joking around with fellow dads.
“Because the school is a fairly small community, everyone knows each other, and the yard before school starts is full of conversation.”
“There are 6 or 7 dads that I regularly talk to in the mornings, their children are in my son’s class.”
“There’s also a group of moms of children in the same class who do the same.”
“We often banter around, making up harmless hypotheticals to have a laugh in the morning.”
“As a joke, I asked the guys which of the moms they thought was the hottest, and they all laughed and gave their answers. That was that, didn’t think much of it.”
But other people didn’t think it was funny.
“I’m assuming that one of the guys must’ve told their wives, who then told my wife.”
“When I arrived home that evening, my wife was p**sed off and said that I was objectifying the women and that it was misogynistic of me.”
“I said it was just a joke and that I miss that kind of harmless banter from before we had kids.”
“She just told me to grow up.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out the joke wasn’t much of a joke at all.
“I don’t get the ‘joke.'”
“Actually, a ‘joke’ like this came up on a hockey team and it started with the guys talking about the looks of each other’s wives and escalated to a bunch of guys picking on one wife calling her fat, ‘a fridge,’ and ‘a unit’ after she had children.”
“Her husband found out and was rightfully p**sed off. It got around to the other wives and the ‘fat’ wife had to hear about what all her husband’s ‘friends’ thought about her.”
“I bet she felt f**king awful. Her self-esteem was f**ked up and she was embarrassed that her husband had to hear that about her.”
“I think the husband ended up leaving the team and it was a big deal. The men who made the comments were let go and not resigned by another team.”
“Still a funny joke?”
“Bringing up looks of spouses or not spouses isn’t funny. At any age.” – blackwidowe
“I’ve been one of those women. Usually, the one picked as ‘ugliest,’ ‘fattest,’ ‘least bangable,’ you name it. If it was a negative trait, it was pretty much guaranteed it would be me. It also never mattered what anyone else looked like.”
“I can absolutely guarantee that it is beyond hurtful. Get told these things long enough and it doesn’t matter how strong you are. Doubt creeps in.”
“I have extremely hard boundaries about ‘jokes’ and mean-spirited behavior now.”
“And I’ve even called myself out for doing it. And promptly turned it around on myself and shamed MYSELF. (And did it all in a public place where I got some bizarre looks. But it did make me stop and really examine my own behavior.)” – Danger-puddle
“They’re like, ‘We’re a bunch of middle-aged men cosplaying as faithful and committed dads. In reality, we’re emotional adolescents who see women primarily as tails to chase.'” – myalter2021
“Give it 8 years and one of the others gives says, ‘none of the mom’s, but [your daughter’s name]’ as his answer. Still funny and harmless?”
“YTA. You might have only intended for it to be harmless banter, but clearly, someone wasn’t comfy with it given they told on you (even if they answered to not look ‘uncool’), and it is actually harmful.”
“It’s harmful to the women who get to be objectified, to the women who might feel slighted by not being picked, to the people who have suffered the actions often preceded by ‘harmless’ objectification and should feel that a playground full of kids is safe from that, to your wife who now has to question why you’re eyeing up other women ‘hypothetically’, and to your daughter who will suffer some if not all of that because your blithe ignorance of the harm is not unique.”
“Be better for your wife and daughter. Try to, if not prevent them from suffering harassment – a bit outside any one man’s reach! – at least not encourage it in places they should be able to go without worrying who’s perving on them.”
“Yes, responsibility is boring, being a grown-up is dull.”
“But you wouldn’t opt-out when your kids were in your care and put them at risk of harm through neglect, so don’t opt out in a way that puts them at risk of social harm.”
“You need to be responsible about being irresponsible, and there’s no getting out of that.” – GojuSuzi
Others agreed and said the OP was actively objectifying women.
“My goodness. ‘Which one do you want?’ Like they’re pastries in a display case, not people. The ‘jokes’ weren’t funny before the kids came along, it’s just nobody troubled to tell you. Your wife is right.”
“‘Grow up’ implies that this is childish behavior, to be expected from kids. It’s not. It’s crappy behavior at any age. Do better.”
“And apologize to your wife.” – Amiedeslivres
“It’s not harmless and it’s f**ked up to reduce someone to the way they look. I guarantee that none of the other moms found it funny to be spoken about this way.”
“Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny? YTA.” – arson_is_awesome
“YTA. Objectification isn’t a joke and it isn’t harmless. Your wife is right and I feel sorry for your kids, especially your own daughter. Gross and double gross.” – disastermolly
“Especially his own daughter, yes. Especially his own son though too. He is teaching both his kids what behavior is appropriate.”
“OP, time to do a LOT of learning.” – littleesaintp
While the OP thought he was just having a fun time with the other dads, the subReddit insisted there was much more to it. By making such a joke, not only would it inevitably lead to hurt feelings, but it also could encourage that way of thinking. Especially around children, who are future adults, that’s especially troubling.