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Guy Balks After Partner Demands He Cover His Tattoos When Meeting Their Family For The First Time

Mike Harrington / Getty Images

Snap judgements are so easy to make.

A scar, a wardrobe choice, even the type of jewelry someone wears tells us something about that person.

Whether it’s true or not.

At what point though does trying to make a good first impression turn into hiding yourself?

This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) laveea when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for clarity.

They asked:

“AITA for telling my boyfriend that he should’ve covered up his tattoos if he wanted ANY respect from my family?”

OP began with the background.

My bf and I have been together for almost 2 years.”

“We’re polar opposites but managed to work through our differences in the past.”

Then there was a little character history.

“For some context: he’s almost 90% tattooed (up to his neck) and comes from a difficult background to put it mildly.”

“Today he’s employed and doing well for himself but his upbringing was quite rough.”

“I wouldn’t describe myself as ‘posh’ at all but I come from a family where image, looks, and your accomplishments matter.”

“However, I’d say I’m a little more casual than them.”

“A few months ago I finally got the courage to introduce him to my family.”

“This was a HUGE deal to me and I told him that first impressions would make or break everything.”

“I told him that he will cover his tattoos – no ifs, ands or buts – because my parents are super old-fashioned.”

“I bought him an outfit for the night to ensure he’d look presentable and classy.”

“We had a practice run and I told him what he should or shouldn’t say, how to talk, how to address any of my dad’s concerns etc.”

“At no point did he ever show any enthusiasm so that was a bad sign.”

Then OP got to the issue at hand.

“Fast forward to the dinner.”

“It was an absolute DISASTER.”

“Yes my parents and sister were a little critical but they’re like that with any guy I date.”

“My bf was so pissed that he purposely unbuttoned the top of his shirt so you could see his tatted neck.”

“Of course that offended my parents and a huge argument ensued.”

“Not only were they telling him that he’s not good enough for me, they were telling me how disappointed they are.”

“It was a nightmare.”

“To make it worse my bf told them that I like his tattoos (which I do but he was just adding fuel to the fire) and that it didn’t matter what they think.”

“They told him to leave.”

“It goes without saying that my parents have 0 respect for him now.”

“It was already difficult to convince them that he’s much sweeter than he may appear.”

“My mom has been hysterical and asking why I’m having ‘intimate relations’ with someone who looks like they belong in prison(he’s not a criminal!).”

“I have been guilt tripped and made to feel like complete sh*t all because he chose to wreak havoc.”

The fallout continued until…

“A couple of days ago we were arguing and I told him that he should’ve hidden his tattoos if he wanted any respect from people like my family.”

“He was hurt and said that it’s f*cked up that I want him to change to gain respect from them.”

“He even claimed that I’m obviously embarrassed to be associated with him and not even worthy of respect in his eyes.”

“None of that is true, just saying.”

“After that argument we haven’t talked much.”

OP was left to wonder…

“So am I the a**hole for telling my bf that he should’ve covered his tattoos if he wanted to establish a level of respect my parents could work from?”

“It’s not that they bother me (I think he’s crazy attractive, tattoos or not) but he knew that my parents would freak out.”

Having explained the situation, OP asked for Reddit’s wisdom.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors decided: YTA

Some pointed out how unsustainable OP’s plan was. 

“YTA, you say you coached him on what to do, say, what to show ie his tattoos…. “

“At what point were you going to show your parents your boyfriend and not this puppet you set up for their approval?”

“I get that it’s a lot of pressure to deal with from your family to ‘keep up standards’ but you’ve acted like you agree with those same standards wholeheartedly.”

“Why not warn your parents ahead of time that he is tattooed so your poor bf didn’t have to feel like he was being hidden away like so much cat vomit?”

“By telling him he has to appear acceptable to them you’re essentially telling everyone that you’re ashamed of him.”

“What was stopping you from telling your family about his tattoos earlier?”

“Also, what was the plan for the future?”

“Tattoos would have been seen sooner or later, as would his true personality.“~RobertaBeauregarde


INFO: what’s your plan if they ever wanted to see you both when it is hot outside and he’s not willing to die of heatstroke?”~Known-Programmer1799

Others were shocked at OP’s behavior.

“At no point did he ever show any enthusiasm”

“Of course he didn’t!”

“You were basically showing him that everything in his life up to this point is wrong.”

“Your family are the ones that don’t deserve respect in this scenario and your bf deserves so much better.”

“YTA majorly.”~RubY-F0x

There was also a suggestion there were deeper issues.

“Exactly this.”


“If you love and respect someone then you support them and that includes against judgemental a**holes even if they are your family.”

“You dressed him like a doll, you coached him and drilled him on how to act and what to say.”

“And this man went along with it!”

“He cares about you enough to conceal himself, to pretend to be someone he isn’t, all to make you happy and respect your parents.”

“And it wasn’t enough!”

“He did all that and they still treated him like crap!”

“Of course he was p*ssed!”

“Why should he pretend after that when they clearly had no intention of behaving like decent humans?”

“Why should he hide himself under concealing clothing for people who showed him no respect or behaved like kind hosts?”

“You need to look hard at yourself OP.”

“The way you have treated this man reeks of contempt.”

“Even though you say you are not like your family, you need to examine why you have acted like this and why, when you were angry, you threw this in his face.”

“Because seriously, relationships can’t function without respect.”

“You either love him and respect him (including his tattoos and his difficult background from which he has built a life for himself, showing moral fibre and true grit) and therefore defend him against your family.”

“Or you split up because he doesn’t deserve to be treated like something out of the wrong side of the tracks.”

“Do both of you a favour and try to understand why you did this because the reason should dictate whether you stay together or walk away.“~Lulubelle__007

While a few were more direct.


‘You’re great, I just can’t take you out in public’~CloakedZarrius

OP did return for a final word.

“The amount of women dm’ing me that they’re single and asking if I’ve broken up with him yet is pathetic. It wasn’t funny the first time and it isn’t funny now.”

“Also, I think mods can lock this post now.”

Snap judgments are easy.

It is much harder to get to know someone than it is to just assume you know them by some arbitrary aspect of their appearance.

The line between making a good impression and repressing who you are is wherever you draw it.

Be true to yourself and your goals, and be wary of those who want to alter either of those things.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.