For some, the past is hard to leave behind. Time passes, life goes on, and yet every reminder of old regrets seems to snap the person back into anguish in the present.
A recent Reddit post by omegaskunkeh, as she dubbed herself on the site, offered a play-by-play of when such a troubling reminder arose out of nowhere. The experience left her reflecting.
She eventually turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some feedback.
Her title to the post offered some setting.
“AITA for making a cashier cry for ‘complimenting’ my partner?”
The Original Poster’s (OP’s) full explanation began with the key players.
“My ([30-year-old female]) partner ([32-year-old male)] of 10 years has bipolar disorder on top of a series of other mental problems.”
“He’s struggled with this his entire life, he’s been hospitalized in the past and is so affected by his mental disorders that he’s on disability due to being unable to be around people most of the time.”
“He’s very nervous around people and usually can’t spend a lot of time with me in stores and has to leave to go outside multiple times even during a twenty minute trip.”
Then OP elaborated.
“He has a dark past riddled with drug abuse and some not so healthy self destructive tendencies.”
“To put it as nice as possible even almost a decade later his arms look like he got mauled.”
“He’s incredibly sensitive and ashamed of them despite the fact that I’ve told him repeatedly they just mean he is strong now and they’re healed just like he is trying to do. Nothing to be ashamed of.”
A mundane task set the scene.
“We were in the store the other day and everything was going fine until we went through the check out. Something I can almost never get him to do but he’s in a good place today. He’s smiling and laughing.”
“The cashier was a cute little goth girl.”
Then it happened.
“Anyway. She keeps staring at my partners arms. Really staring. He’s getting uncomfortable and finally she leans forward and says ‘I love…love your scars.'”
The response was palpable.
“He doesn’t say anything but I’ve been with this guy for a decade.”
“His smile falls. He looks down then doesn’t say anything, just hands me his card to pay and leaves the store silently before finishing his transaction.”
OP couldn’t help but voice her feelings.
“I didn’t yell but oh man I wanted too. I told the cashier that was completely out of line. That you don’t point out other peoples scars like that.”
“She rolls her eyes and says she wasn’t insulting him. She likes them! (Dear God).”
And OP continued.
“I go onto say that doesn’t matter and thank her for ruining the one good day he’s had with the public this week and that her actions have done nothing but further deepen the of someone fighting desperately against their own mind.”
“That she should be ashamed of herself. She has no idea why he has them, what he was going through or how he feels about them.”
But the result complicated things.
“She started to cry and to be honest I’m kind of feeling like an a**hole for what I said.”
“So reddit I’m asking you now. AITA??”
Anonymous strangers on the internet weighed in by voting:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
A hefty majority of Redditors deemed OP “Not the A**hole.”
“NTA, that cashier seriously needed a reality check. What she did was so rude and inappropriate. I applaud you for keeping your composure. It is NEVER okay to make unsolicited comments about people’s scars.”
“The fact that she tried to twist her comment as some sort of compliment is downright creepy. She’s clearly romanticizing his scars, which is some of the most disgusting behavior I’ve seen online.”
“I never thought I’d hear of someone having the audacity to do it in real life. So op, you didn’t make her cry. She put herself in that situation, and frankly, probably deserves worse.” — [deleted]
“NTA. His scars are not fashion statements. You never know the history behind a stranger’s scars, and that just seems incredibly unprofessional of her.” — theorminlange
Some weren’t afraid to be a little more blunt.
“NTA who the eff compliments scars that are clearly self inflicted.” — lexisplays
“NTA. Love your scars? What? That’s not something you say.”
“That’s not gonna make people whom have scars feel better about it or why they have them. You was only protecting him and I’m sure he is very grateful for you!” — Hoviosant
“The glamorisation of mental health issues is a real problem. Whilst he should be proud he’s made such progress, strangers commenting on loving them is such f***ing gross.”
“NTA” — Rumplesniffskin
A few viewed OP’s response as a teaching moment.
“NTA. It was harsh but you didn’t yell and she got a much needed lesson.” — kekejaja
“NTA, she’s treating his scars like he did it for attention and in a way fetishizing someone cutting themselves.”
“You NEVER mention someone’s scaring. 9 times out of 10 they don’t want to talk about it.”
“You taught her a lesson that she needed to learn.” — MissCheyenne14
“NTA. She was way out of line commenting on a stranger’s scars. That’s just f***ing rude. You weren’t trying to upset her, you were trying to prevent her shitty behavior in the future.” — dr-sparkle
A small handful of responses, however, did criticize OP’s approach.
“ESH. Outing his mental illness when you see him struggling can be more damaging than a comment from a stranger, no matter how 00’s emo and rude it is to compliment someone’s scars.”
“Because he trusted you. He doesn’t know emo cashier.” — srbr33
“ESH I don’t think your anger against her is warranted, this is the sort of line where you can’t possibly know how that person feels about their condition and if you take everything with the most sensitivity well it would become incredibly limiting.”
“However she should have said sorry at first.”
“She was unprofessional and you raged.” — Naryue
OP later posted an update to the original post.
She clearly took the feedback to heart.
“UPDATE: thank you so much for the feedback as well as all the support for my partner and myself. To all those worrying, he is doing quite well at the moment and I seemingly was more upset about this than he was.”
“My protective nature took over.”
She shared her decision about how to move forward.
“while I understand people saying I should have reported her….maybe I should have but she’s young, probably struggling herself with similar issues if she’s so bold as to point them out, and I said my peace to her.”
“I don’t think putting someone’s way of life in jeopardy during a pandemic over this would really result in good for anyone.”
“And I know my partner wouldn’t want to be the cause of that at all. My partner is fine. I am fine. And all is good for today. That’s all that matters. Thank you and take care of each other reddit. 💙💜❤️”
Evidently, at least according to the wisdom of Reddit, some things–even compliments–are better left unsaid.