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Guy Called Out For Refusing To Wear A Kilt To Sister’s Wedding Due To Previous Trauma


WARNING: this article mentions non-explicit childhood sexual abuse

For all the joy that wedding’s bring, all weddings also come with an unfortunate amount of stress.

One of the most common points of contention at any wedding can be the dress code.

It’s almost become expected for bridesmaids to be less than enamored of their dresses, or the groomsmen to not like the style or color choice of their suits and ties.

For Redditor ToKiltornotToKilt, the clothes his sister chose for him to wear at her wedding had very dark connotations, so much so that he refused to wear them.

But after causing a rift between him and his family, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to attend my sister’s wedding because of the dress code?”.

The OP first filled readers in on his and his sister’s upbringing, as well as a bit about their relationship.

“My (29 m[ale]) sister Carrie (26 f[emale]) is getting married to her long-term boyfriend Alex (29 m) next year.”

“We’re not very close, but we’re on good terms and I’m really happy for them.”

“We were born in Scotland, but our parents moved to Switzerland when we were young.”

“Growing up, we felt more Swiss than Scottish.”

“For their wedding, however, Carrie and Alex decided to emphasize both her Scottish and his Swiss heritage, and one way they want to do that is by having Carrie’s family wear traditional Scottish clothing while Alex and his side wear traditional Swiss stuff.”

“This means I would have to wear a kilt.”

The OP then became very open about a dark moment from his childhood, and how the idea of wearing a kilt triggered that memory.

“Here is where it gets complicated.”

“I don’t want to go into detail, but a neighbor groomed me from age 8 to 14.”

“When my parents found out, it broke my family apart.”

“They got divorced a couple of years later.”

“Personally, I’m alright now. I’ve been in therapy for years and I’m coping well with whatever trauma there still is.”

“But there are things I can’t do, because they remind me of what happened to me, and one of those things is wearing feminine clothing, like dresses or skirts.”

“Not something I’m regularly confronted with, but a kilt is close enough to a skirt that I don’t ever want to wear one.”

“I’m terrified of what might happen if I do.”

“So, when Carrie told us about that idea, I knew that it wouldn’t be possible for me.”

“Our parents think it’s a great idea, because it honors our heritage, but I just can’t do it.”

The OP decided to tell his sister he refused to wear a kilt, which did not sit particularly well with her.

“When I was alone with Carrie I asked her if I can just wear a suit, but she was adamant that the men in her family have to wear a kilt.”

“She got upset when she realized how much I hated that idea and wanted to know the reason.”

“This is the part that might make me the AH.”

“I didn’t tell her the real reason, because I didn’t want to make it about me again.”

“She never said it out loud, but she had rather troubled teenage years, due to our parents’ messy divorce and me being in and out of psychiatric hospitals.”

“I think she resents me for it, and I understand that.”

“So I told her I hated the kilt idea because it’s celebrating a culture she has no real connection to, and that we would be spending the day trying to avoid old, drunk Swiss ladies getting a glimpse of what we wear under a kilt.”

“Carrie was furious.”

“She didn’t say a word and just left the room.”

“Since then, she has avoided me.”

“Our parents are angry at me too, and it upsets them that I apparently think so little of my heritage.”

“Yesterday, I got a call from Alex.”

“He told me that Carrie wants me to know that I either attend the wedding in a kilt or I don’t attend at all.”

“She thinks that by not respecting her wishes I prove that I don’t care about her feelings.”

“I told Alex that I won’t be attending.”

“The thought of not being involved in Carrie’s wedding is upsetting, but I just can’t do it.”

“Carrie is so angry that she won’t come to our family Christmas.”

“AITA for not even trying to wear a kilt, and for lying to my entire family?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

There was not a decisive consensus on whether or not the OP was the a**hole in this situation or not, though most Redditors agreed it was well within his rights to refuse to wear a kilt.

Many believed he needed to be open and honest with his sister and family about why he couldn’t wear a kilt and he shouldn’t have made up a fake reason.

“Not the a**hole.”


“It is OK not to put yourself into unsafe territory.”


“Don’t you dare keep her thinking that you think her wedding day idea is stupid.”

“Invalidating her happiness for something that is a genuine need for you is hurting both of you.”

“Knock it off.”

“Carve out some private time.”

“Address not only the issue of the kilt, but also your fear that she resents you.”

“You might never get an opportunity to do this again.”

“Your peace of mind, your relationship with your sister.”

“All of it can be approached with out fear or entitlement.”

“The longer you wait, the worse this will get.”

“Text her to set up a time.”- PlanetEgo.

“NTA but I think you really do need to sit down and tell your sis why you won’t wear the kilt.”

“Your ‘explanation’ only made it worse because you belittled her heritage and reasoning for the clothes etc.”

“I would’ve been offended too if my brother said this to me.”

“She may be more understanding if you tell her from the heart exactly why.”- MissContrariwise

“You are not the asshole for not wanting to wear the clothes, but you are the asshole for what you said to her, you insulted her idea.”- Jujubavc

Others felt this was simply too delicate a situation to really put any one person at fault.


“I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

“You are not TA in my opinion, even though you lied.”

“You are under no obligation to share your trauma with anyone and it is valid that wearing a kilt would be crossing a personal boundary that can/will trigger a trauma response.”

“That being said, I don’t blame your sister for thinking that you are TA based on what she thinks is the reason for why you won’t wear a kilt and for not attending over something she doesn’t know is a legitimate, big deal.”

“This is a tricky situation and I wish I had a solution to it.”

“It is not fair that you have to choose between seeming like an a**hole or disclosing something majorly personal and painful, especially since you got the impression that your sister is resentful towards you about your parents divorce (which by the way is not okay – you were a child and she should not pin the blame of their marriage not working out on you!)”

“Would it be totally out of the question for you to ask to talk to your sister privately and telling her that you have a personal reason as to why you can’t wear a kilt?”

“And that you really want to be there to celebrate her big day but you can’t if wearing a kilt is required of you.”

“Maybe you can suggest a compromise that is within your comfort zone? “

“Perhaps (these are just suggestions) you can wear shorts that has a kilt-type print, or maybe you can wear shorts underneath a kilt?”

“Or pants underneath a kilt but that may come off as passive aggressive, unless you can pass it off as a lighthearted joke somehow.”

“Or, if the kilt is supposed to be worn to only either the ceremony or the reception, maybe you can skip that but attend the other?”

“Regardless of what happens, I hope this issue will be resolved in a way that doesn’t re-traumatize you or make you seem like an asshole when you’re not.”

“And I wish you the best.”- sadlonelycorndog


“I think it was wrong to lie to your sister in such a hurtful manner; however, you’re not obligated to disclose why you don’t want to wear a kilt to anyone.”

“I do think you should tell her that you were lying about why you don’t want to wear a kilt.”

“I also think you could suggest compromises.”

“As others have suggested maybe Tartan Trews or maybe other clothing that represents your Scottish heritage.”

“Hope it works well for you OP!”

“Good luck!”-AphroditeRose1.

For his part, after hearing the opinions of several Redditors, the OP came to the decision being honest about why he wouldn’t wear a kilt to his sister’s wedding was really the only option.

“Thank you.”

“You’re absolutely right, of course.”

“I do have to talk to her.”

“It’s weird, I was so confused and unsure what to do yesterday, but after having a couple hundred strangers on the internet shout at you to own up and communicate like an adult, things are suddenly much clearer.”

Here’s hoping after an open, and honest conversation with one another, the OP and his sister will come to an understanding, and he will be present on her special day.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.