Family traditions are sacred. When you start dating someone, it is fun to let them participate in your quirky family traditions.
But, what if the tradition is just too weird to actually participate in?
Redditor orangetradition encountered this very issue with their boyfriend’s family. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for refusing to participate in my boyfriend’s family’s bizarre orange tradition?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained.
“My boyfriend (bf) and I have been together a while now but I hadn’t met his family until a week ago when they invited us to stay at their house. I was very excited to meet his parents for the first time and they were super sweet when I got there.”
“Both of them are lovey people and we all got along well.”
“They gave us free rein to do whatever but the one thing they insisted on was that we join them for their tradition of eating oranges as a family on Saturday mornings. They grow their own oranges and have been doing this since my bf was a kid so he was especially thrilled to share the tradition with me as a ‘rite of passage’.”
But, the tradition had a twist.
“So the morning came and his mom brought in some fresh oranges from the garden. We sat at the table and I was getting ready to peel my orange when I saw my bf’s mom BITE into her orange like it was an apple!!!”
“With the peel still on!!! I was so stunned when I saw my bf and his dad do the same thing with their oranges, as if it were totally normal.”
“I guess they noticed my shock because they asked me why I wasn’t eating. So I started to peel my orange but then his mom told me to stop, that I was eating it wrong and had to bite into it with the skin to ‘get the full experience’.”
“I politely told her that I like to peel my oranges and I’m sure they taste just as great either way but she kept insisting that I had to bite into my orange for tradition.”
“After saying multiple times that I’d rather peel it and the family (including bf) pushing back, I put the orange back on the table and said though I appreciate the gesture, I personally feel uncomfortable eating oranges that way and I’d rather not participate.”
That caused a strain with OP’s boyfriend.
“Things were tense after that and we left the next day. When we got home, my boyfriend chewed me out for being rude and embarrassing him and his family.”
“He said I should’ve just eaten the orange ‘the right way’ since his parents were gracious to let me stay with them.”
“I can see his point and I apologized for causing any hurt (I really do like his family and think they’re great people) but stand by my decision to opt out of the orange tradition.”
“He feels I could’ve compromised and I feel that I should be able to eat things how I want. It’s a silly squabble in the grand scheme of things but my boyfriend and I are really at odds about who’s in the wrong and would love an outside opinion.”
OP added some edits to their story.
“Some people have been asking what kind of oranges/whether they’re actually oranges. All I can say is that I was told they were oranges and they looked like typical oranges with thick skin.”
“Here’s a photo of the trees in their backyard from a few years back, for anyone who wants to see for themselves.”
“Lots of frequently asked questions so I’ll just answer them here.”
“No, they don’t just bite into it once to make it easier to peel. They don’t peel the oranges at all.”
“They eat the whole thing—fruit, skin, and pith—like one would eat an apple. Yes, it is messy. Yes, the skin is thick.”
“The tradition involves eating the entire orange like that, not just a bite. I do recognize that I could’ve surrendered a bite to keep the peace.”
“This is the first time I’ve seen my boyfriend eat an orange. He never ate them with me as he would say that nothing compares to his parents’ oranges.”
“He has seen me, our friends, and people in TV shows/movies eat peeled oranges. I assume the same goes for his parents.”
“My boyfriend has never commented before on the common peeling technique.”
“His parents do this EVERY Saturday. I am not sure how they eat their oranges on other days, but I imagine it’s the same.”
“The whole family is expected to participate every Saturday when at the parents’ house, but I don’t have to do it in my own home.”
“The reason I didn’t try one bite is mostly because I was caught so off guard since all my boyfriend told me was that we were going to eat oranges. He didn’t let me know about the method in advance so I panicked.”
“That and the insistence that I eat the ENTIRE fruit the way they wanted me to turned me off of trying it. I might be open to trying it in the future.”
“I think that covers it!”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“I like how we’re all just calmly answering this like it isn’t some crazy cartoon bullsh*t.”
“Nobody eats oranges peel and all. I mean f’k, they peel into individual sections that are damn near bite sized…I literally cannot imagine why you would do this in the first place.”
“Have you considered the possibility that they are just f’king with you? Idk if I would be mad or impressed by the commitment.”
“But for real…NTA. No one gets to tell you HOW to eat things.”
“That’s loony tunes. And your response was really respectful. Stand up for yourself!” ~ Allchemyst
The OP responded:
“Tbh I kinda thought they were f’king with me at first and was really surprised when they kept insisting? They seemed pretty serious.”
“I’m fascinated with their dedication to the tradition and wouldn’t have minded hearing more about it if they hadn’t tried to rope me in. I get the people who slice the orange first and then eat the peel but seeing it eaten like an apple was surreal not going to lie.”
Redditors wondered about the mess.
“It’s a soft fruit….didn’t the juice just go everywhere? Also did it all stay together?”
“I feel like at a certain point it would have to fall apart unless you take bites in specific places….did they eat all the way through the middle and just leave the top and bottom to throw out?”
“I have so many goddamn questions about this. It’s going to haunt me.”
“I’m not 100% sure you’re not f’king with us. But if you are a troll you are by far the most entertaining one I’ve dealt with so I’m still here for it.” ~ Allchemyst
The OP replied again.
“It was as messy as you’re probably imagining and the oranges eventually ended up collapsing and then they had to eat it in smaller chunks anyway.”
“And lol not a troll but I recognize that this situation is ridiculous enough for people to think that.”
One Redditor argued there was more to the story.
“I eat kiwis unpeeled because the skin isn’t a separate part of the structure of the fruit (see also: grapes). But I don’t eat the ends of the kiwi, they’re only partially separate from the fruit, tough, and look pretty gnarly.”
“I’m a therapist, so things on AITA that catch my attention are usually behavioral, and this post is no different – the eating of the oranges is highly ritualized and compulsory.”
“It’s also not associated with any religious practice, which would still not explain the weird behavior, but would explain the ritual way it practiced, it being compulsory, and it being foisted into non-family.”
“(I’m not trying to attack religion, it’s precisely because I’m religious that I say that. I’m Jewish and we do some crazy sh*t.)”
“The other thing that’s weird is that they give no reason for the ‘ritual’, no story as to why and how they started it. Most family traditions have a story behind them.”
“They just treat OP as being strange for not being willing to perform a highly unusual and unpalatable with zero explanation.”
“The only thing weirder than how they eat oranges is the compulsory, ritualized behavior that has no origin story.” ~ rbaltimore
It’s okay to eat whatever you want, however you want. Just don’t force anyone to follow suit.