There are those among us who, while growing up, were totally awkward around people we liked, and we couldn’t necessarily recognize when someone was complimenting us.
And at the opposite end of the dating spectrum, there were those who thought everything qualified as flirting, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor High-Place-6554 was recently mortified at a restaurant when her husband called out their server for trying to flirt with him, simply because she had complimented his hairstyle.
When her husband later confessed why he had made such a scene, it gave the Original Poster (OP) pause.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my husband that he didn’t need to embarrass the waitress?”
The OP’s husband was regularly complimented for his appearance.
“My husband (34) is your ‘brutally honest’ type of guy.”
“He’s also incredibly attractive because he takes good care of his appearance.”
“From the time when we started dating, I pretty much got used to strangers or servers complimenting his looks and expressing their admiration in different ways.”
“I always found it harmless, but he would get so worked up over the smallest comments from people. He thinks it’s rude and ignorant.”
The OP was surprised when her husband recently spoke up about it.
“We went out to eat at a new diner.”
“When we gave the waitress our orders, she looked at my husband, smiled, and complimented his hair.”
“He smiled and said, ‘Thank you!'”
“He then looked at me and asked if I noticed how the waitress was ‘basically trying to flirt.'”
“I did notice but figured maybe she did this to get more tips or something since it’s a pretty common practice and I myself used to do it.”
“He looked at me, shocked, and asked, ‘Really??'”
“He then dropped it until the waitress got back with our meals.”
“As she was putting the food down at the table, he looked at her and said, ‘Hey, let me tell you a little secret.'”
“She looked at him and was like, ‘Um??'”
“He then said, ‘I have been all around the world for the past 10 years, and I’d seen many, many beautiful women, but I’m MARRIED (he stressed this word) to the most beautiful one, and she’s all I see, now and forever.'”
“The waitress looked dumbfounded. She smiled awkwardly and then asked why he was telling her this.”
“He replied, saying that it’s to save her time and effort with whatever she was trying to do.”
“She looked down and quickly walked away.”
The OP tried to talk to her husband about what happened.
“I said that was hurtful and was uncalled for.”
“But he said that she needed to hear it to learn a lesson and know her place.”
“I told him she was just being harmlessly flirty (barely) which could be her way of getting better tips and that he didn’t need to embarrass her like that.”
“He was like, ‘I don’t get you, you should be encouraging me to shut this s**t down instead.'”
“I said it was just a comment she made about his hair, and that’s it.”
“He got upset and said that I made him feel s**tty for trying to set a boundary for himself, but I thought he overreacted.”
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 couldn’t believe the husband thought the server was hitting on him over his hair.
“I have told so many people I like their hair because they have cool hair, and getting compliments on things you have influence and choice over is awesome.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever told someone I liked their hair as a seduction plan.” – very_busy_newt
“I’ve had a couple of people use my hair to hit on me. But it’s always way more blatant than ‘I like your hair.'”
“Now I’m wondering if all those complete strangers I’ve seen that I told I liked their hair because they had awesome hair, thought I was hitting on them…” – Fairykinn
“One of the moms at my son’s kindergarten always looks so perfect. She is the type who could put on a garbage bag and still be the most stunning person in the room.”
“When I really like her outfit, I always compliment her on it. I physically can’t keep my mouth shut, because it’s so fabulous.”
“Not once was I accused of hitting on her. I never get either why people confuse compliment with a romantic interest.” – Explain_your_sneeze
“A lady complimented my husband’s hair last night. At no point did either of us think she was flirting with him.” – randomly-what
“People need to keep in mind: the waitress is never actually hitting on you or into the fact that you’re hitting on her.”
“They are doing a job, which includes being friendly, and their compensation for that job depends on how much you like them at the end of the meal, basically.”
“So small compliments, smiles, laughing at your stupid jokes, and generally responding positively to whatever you give them, is part of the job, not flirting.” – alwaysforgettingmyun
“I love to compliment people. I work in retail and I try to find honest compliments for as many people as I can. I love doing this and seeing their faces light up.”
“A woman the other day actually cried because she had been feeling so down on herself that day and I made her feel better at least for a moment.”
“I had to stop complimenting most men almost immediately because, no matter my delivery or the innocence of the comment, waaaaay too many of them took it as flirting.”
“I’ve also had to change the way I phrase things because some men are just gross.”
“If someone said, ‘I’m sorry,’ about something they feel is inconveniencing me, I used to always say, ‘You’re fine!’ Now I have to say, ‘You’re okay!,’ because so. many. men. would make it uncomfortable.” – Liveable_jumble
“I’ve seen so many men interpret any positive attention at all as ‘flirting’ if it was paid by a woman.”
“A cashier that smiles at him and cracks a joke while ringing him up, a colleague telling him he did a great job on his last presentation, even something as simple as a ‘good morning!’ might be interpreted as flirtatious if she makes eye contact while she says it.”
“Half of me finds it deeply obnoxious, and the other half is just so, so sad for men who are this starved for praise and human connection.” – DiTrastevere
Others thought the husband needed to work on his humbleness and self-awareness.
“Can you imagine being a 34-year-old man obsessed with your appearance and probably telling everyone about every time a stranger says something nice to you? Cringey.” – briberylibrary
“‘My husband is one of those brutally honest types’ and ‘my husband is very attractive’ honestly sounded like an oxymoron straight off the bat.”
“By ‘attractive’ I’m guessing OP just means ‘conventionally handsome,’ because nothing about his personality displayed here sounds nice in the slightest.” – SpamLandy
“NTA. Used to receiving compliments or not, that’s an awful way to view it! Compliments don’t equal sexual attraction.”
“You can compliment a friend or stranger without feeling the need to be in a relationship or to have sex.”
“This dude sounds like he jumps to conclusions and then boasts to make himself feel better. Maybe he needs to start giving out compliments instead of only receiving them to gain some humbleness back.” – KaytTheNotSoGreat
“NTA, your husband is an arrogant, egotistical, rude prick. He might be superficially physically attractive but his personality is anything but.” – Sprogpaws
“Him saying she needs to ‘know her place’ is honestly disgusting.” – unluckysupernova
Some felt some combination of terrible for the OP and for the server.
“Someone liking your hair is not them flirting or even being attracted to you.”
“Like, say thanks, and move on with your night.”
“I have second-hand embarrassment for him. The waitress was probably like, ‘……ok?’ and then went in the kitchen to talk about how weird he was.”
“NTA.” – Wonderful_Mammoth709
“As a woman, I don’t like to comment on how strangers look at all. I try to avoid anything that might be perceived as… intimate.”
“I save the intimate comments for the people I know because I have a better idea of how they’ll take it.”
“This isn’t to say the waitress did anything wrong. I’d just be mortified if I were her and it’s a situation I try to avoid.” – myohmymiketyson
“I compliment strange women often. Great outfit, cute bag, nice make up, fancy hair… And I have never had a negative response.”
“At a minimum, it’s always a smile and a thank you, if not a full-on explanation about how the purse was on sale, or they’re going to an event later. Always a nice exchange.”
“I would and will NEVER compliment a strange man, because of men like in this post.”
“Imagine being so narcissistic, that any minor compliment instantly means women are hitting on you. I feel so bad for that waitress.” – maimee78
“People who pride themselves on being brutally honest are often more interested in brutality than honesty.”
“Plus anyone who wants to put a server in their place is automatically an AH.” – PomegranateReal3620
While the subReddit didn’t think the OP was wrong to speak on the server’s behalf, they were certainly concerned with her husband’s behavior.
Not only had he blown the situation out of proportion and likely embarrassed the server, but he also needed a serious lesson in humbleness and what qualifies as flirting.