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Guy Questions Paternity Of Friend’s Triplets Because They’re Not All The Same Skin Tone

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

In this age of instant information, it can be easy to forget about discretion.

We are all accustomed to having a question, asking a machine, and getting an immediate answer.

Whether that answer is accurate or not isn’t the point, the fact that we receive the information that’s important.

Of course, people don’t work the way virtual assistants do, and sometimes asking a poor question can have terrible results.

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Paternityquestion9 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

He asked:

“AITA for privately asking my friend about the paternity of her children?”

OP began with some background.

“Saw another post that reminded me of this situation.”

“A few years ago, my close childhood friend gave birth to triplets.”

“Her husband is a light black man.”

“Of the three, two were the same skin tone as her husband, and the third was much darker. The skin tones made me a little suspicious that her husband might not be the father.”

“I pulled her aside privately and asked her seriously if her husband was the father.”

“She didn’t even listen or answer rationally, she just freaked out at me and acted super insulted and kicked me out.”

“I reached out to her husband and told him about her reaction and told him he should get a paternity test and he called me an a**hole and blocked me.”

“Neither has spoken to me since.”

“I’ve always thought that they dramatically overreacted and were probably hiding something because of their responses, but they’re still married and sometimes I feel bad about what happened.”

“I just felt a lot of empathy for her husband because I would be devastated if I wasn’t confident that I was the father of my future children.”

OP was left to wonder,

“Was I an a**hole for asking privately?”

Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

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 were very direct.



“One of his parents likely has a darker skin tone, and that came through in the grandchild. Not uncommon, super normal. You are a FLAMING a**hole for this. I cannot give a bigger YTA.” ~ Bryleigh98

“YTA -“

“Aside from the question being totally inappropriate, you clearly have no idea how the genetics of skin color works, at all.”

“You didn’t question the paternity of her children, you accused her of cheating on her husband, and used your own ignorance to support the whole thing.”

“Edit: thank you kind anonymous user :)” ~ bubbalooski


“It’s none of your business, dude.”

“And do you honestly believe that he overreacted to someone accusing him of being cheated by his wife and not be the father of his children?”

“Basically something that could make him lose the people that — most likely — are the most important ones in his life.”

“There’s also several other possible scenarios, maybe he was cheated on and he forgave and accept to raise them as his own or maybe he couldn’t have kids and they decided on a donor and he didn’t want anyone to know?””

“Or, the most likely, they are his children and you don’t know as much as you think about genetics.” ~ ImagineTheMammoth

Others had personal stories.

“Same situation happened with one of my uncles when my cousin was born.”

“Both him and his wife have darker completions, brown/black eyes, dark hair…”

“And here comes my cousin with his white blond hair, ice blue eyes, and pasty white skin.”

“It almost destroyed their marriage. Turns out he’s basically a photocopy of our great grandfather who was Dutch.” ~ Jenipherocious

“My husband is mostly Greek, and I’m a mix of both Eastern and Western European.”

“We both have dark hair and dark eyes, as does our oldest.”

“Our youngest is blonde and blue eyed.”

“Never thought we would have a child with those features, but it happens.”

“I have family members with blue eyes, so of course there is a chance, but I figured with both parents having dominant traits it wouldn’t happen. That’s genetics for you though.” ~ ktbsquared

Commenters pointed out a deeper social issue.

“When my daughter was a newborn a woman at the grocery store asked ‘Where did you get her?”‘

“I spluttered at her that I made the baby and the woman said ‘Oh, your complexions are so different…'”

“Go fuck yourself, lady.”

“The same shopping trip another woman admonished me for taking my daughter out in the cold (it was the coldest month on record for our city).”

‘”I was buying food, not walking around the mall for fun. People are nosy idiots.” ~ BubbleGumLizard

“See, the thing is, while everything you said is 100% correct (and take my upvote), ignorance of genetics shouldn’t even be factored in. This literally should just never be a question that’s asked.”

“Kind of like asking a women if she’s pregnant. It’s information that isn’t worth knowing on the chance you are wrong. I get that everyone is nosy, but the reward isn’t worth the risk.”

“Oh, almost forgot. YTA” ~ Crimsonsz

Some tried to explain OP’s mistakes to him.


“‘I’ve always thought that they dramatically over reacted and were probably hiding something because of their responses'”

“Their responses are exactly what you’d expect from a happy, non-cheating couple dealing with an asshole who decided to start slinging accusations of cheating based on said asshole’s inadequate understanding of how genetics works.”

“‘Was I an asshole for asking privately?'”

“Do you seriously have to ask if you were an asshole for privately accusing your friend of cheating on her husband?”

“This has to be a troll post, because I can’t imagine anyone is actually this clueless.” ~ MultiFazed

“I can’t imagine if someone accused me of cheating on my SO and then went to him with no evidence.”

“I would be furious.”

“And, as another user pointed out, natural triplets aren’t very common, so they could have gone through fertility treatments to conceive their children and then had OP come along and accuse the wife of cheating.”

“I really, really f*cking hope this is a troll post.” ~ kilowatkins

“So, first off, triplets are rare. Multiples like that imply, to me, IVF.”

“For all you know the husband is infertile and they needed IVF to conceive and you just hit a massive sore spot by being an inconsiderate ass.”

“Secondly, there are a lot of factors for skin color and it is more than possible for a child to have markedly darker or lighter skin than their parent.”

“Finally, what business is it of yours?”

“So, yes, YTA.”

“You intruded on a subject that’s none of your damn business and then, when your ‘friend’ got upset at you for being nosey, you tried to blow up her marriage.”

“In what world would you not be the a**hole? I’m not surprised they cut you out of their lives.” ~ bornconfuzed

There were also lots of genetics lessons.

“Ima get heat for this, but white people don’t understand POC genetics.”

“This is like that time they got all the lactose tolerance genes completely wrong because they only studied the european variants–oh yeah, that fake map is still on Wikipedia”

“OP’s question is like me questioning a blonde about her infidelity because her husband has blue eyes and her son brown.”

“If you just google ancestry results on youtube, you’ll find scores of super light/straight up white people who are 20, 30, 60% African.”

“Ancestry is not inherently linked to pigmentation.” ~ egadsby

“Human skin tone in particular is determined by a lot of different genes.”

“Genetics isn’t always as simple as the Punnett squares and Mendelian traits they teach you about in high school” ~ PartyPorpoise

“Even if this genetic trait didn’t skip a generation, most traits are the combination of a long genetic sequence, where in each individual component of the sequence needs to be turned on or off.”

“Ex: two very short people have a very tall child.”

“It’s not necessarily the case that mom was cheating with a basketball player.”

“Random chance could also dictate that the majority of the genetic markers for height were activated out of the total combined markers for height of the X and Y (or X and X) chromosomes.”

“Same thing goes with race.”

“This is presumably either a mixed race or at least not both white couple.”

“With fraternal triplets it’s extremely likely that the kids all have different combinations of the existing combinations of genetic markers for melanin.”

“One comes out darker than either of the parents?”

“That could easily be a frontloaded combination of genetic markers making up the overall gene for skin pigmentation.”


“ETA: this is why we need stronger science programs in schools” ~ BigBoiPrettyKitty

OP returned to defend his choice.


“Okay I get it I’m an a**hole.”

“I want to make it clear that I didn’t think the triplets had different fathers. I’m not an idiot.”

“I thought it was possible, given the skin tone of the third triplet, that all three were fathered by a darker man and the first two were a bit lighter because my friend was very fair”

Curiosity is a wonderful trait that has propelled humankind literally to the edges of our world and beyond.

Curiosity led to the advent of flying machines, vaccines, and (most importantly) pudding.

The double edge of that need to know can be the breaking of important boundaries and the loss of friendships.

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.