One of the nice benefits of living in a house is having a yard to relax in. You can garden, get some work done in the fresh air, or simply work on your tan.
But when considering neighbors, is there an appropriate level of attire that should be required while you’re on your own property?
Redditor bikinithrowawayAITA was recently confronted by her elderly neighbors’ adult daughter over this issue, so she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if she was wrong for her behavior, asking:
“AITA for not putting on clothes in my own backyard?”
The original poster (OP) explained how she normally gets along splendidly with her neighbors.
I [28F(emale)] live next door to an older couple named Joe and Jane. They are in their 70s but extremely active, and during the warmer months Joe spends almost all of his free time outside tending his yard.”
“I have a great relationship with Joe and Jane. Any time I’m out working in my yard Joe will come over and we’ll chat for half an hour or more.”
“I have the key to Joe & Jane’s house, they have a key to mine. Basically what I’m trying to say is they’re the perfect neighbors.”
“I have a small courtyard in the back. The two wings of my house kind of envelope the courtyard, so usually when I sit out you can’t see me from the neighboring houses.”
“I love love love to sit out there and tan while I’m working or attending school online. However, I occasionally need to move in order to stay with the sun, so for a brief period of time, you can kind of see me from Joe and Karen’s back yard.”
But one of her neighbor’s adult children was not so keen on the OP’s desire to catch some rays.
“Joe and Jane have adult children and one of them, Amanda [50sF] has been coming over a lot lately.”
“Yesterday as I was sitting out with a pair of shorts and a bikini top, I moved my chair slightly (so I was partially in view of them in the backyard) and soon Amanda came traipsing through my yard and approached me:”
“A: Hi, could you please not wear a bikini when my dad is working in the yard? It’s not appropriate.”
“Me: Oh, I’m sorry, does the bathing suit bother him? He’s never mentioned anything to me about it… ?”
“A: Well no, but it bothers me. My dad is older and he shouldn’t have breasts in his face when he’s trying to work outside. (We have 3/4 of an acre between our houses lol.)”
“Me: You can hardly see me 99% of the time, and I think your dad is more focused on his gardening when he’s out here than he is me.”
“A: You ‘young girls’ just think that everybody wants to see your bodies. Well I’ve got news for you, we DON’T. Go put some clothes on! (Lmao this is a direct quote.)”
“Me: Ma’am, I’m just trying to mind my business and get some work done. If your dad has a problem, he’s more than welcome to come talk to me about it, as he normally does. Until then, I’m just gonna ask you nicely to get off my property.”
The OP went ahead and changed out of the bikini top, but was still miffed by the entire exchange.
“Afterwards I changed into a sports bra/moved my chair out of the sun so I was no longer visible to her. (I know that being right and being a decent human being are two different things).”
“I guess I could just put a sports bra on whenever she’s over (even though I think she’d still have an issue with that & it would mess up my tan lines), but at the same time it’s my property and I shouldn’t have to change my behavior to suit the preferences of someone who doesn’t even live here.”
“TLDR: AITA for sunbathing in partial view of my neighbors, and not putting on a shirt when my neighbor’s daughter (who doesn’t live here) had an issue with my bathing suit?”
Redditors then weighed in 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
They assured the OP that she was not doing anything wrong, and Amanda should butt out.
“NTA. From the way the title read I was fully expecting this to be total nudity.”
“You were wearing a bikini and shorts. They’d see more flesh at the beach or at the local pool. Your neighbor’s adult children need to mind their own business.”—walnutwithteeth
“I was expecting topless at the least going into full on nude. Even if it was a bikini without shorts, the bikini is completely appropriate.”
“I have a neighbor who lays out in the front yard in her bikini. I can’t imagine telling her to cover up at any point in time.”—Traveling_Phan
“I think we’ve forgotten the concept of ‘look away’. So many people are so entitled that they feel the world should revolve around them and their feelings.”
“From ‘too tight tops’ to ‘too short shorts’ it runs the gambit. If people just minded their own business none of this would be an issue. Puritanical views don’t help things…”—WorldAsChaos
“NTA. I wouldn’t have changed at all if I were you. She needs to mind her own business, you weren’t bothering anyone and were barely even visible to them.”—lihzee
“A bikini isn’t appropriate in your own backyard?”
If the daughter is incensed by the sight of a bikini top with shorts, just imagine how she’d react at a pool or a beach.
“Yeah like I could see the argument if it was total nudity especially since local laws may weigh in on things at that point.”
“But like has she ever gone to a pool? Or a beach? Or like anywhere near a beach?”
“People go into Walmart dressed like that during the summer. As long as the important bits are covered there’s really no argument.”—Pokabrows
“Bikinis and shorts are more than appropriate for sunbathing, on your own d*mn property.”
“It’s also weird as hell that she would come over and try to frame it as her dad being uncomfortable, but despite having a great relationship with her dad and mom, to the point where you guys have keys to each other’s homes, he’s not comfortable enough to raise the issue with you? I call bullsh*t.”
“Not only are you not in view of the neighbor for the entire time, but there’s pleeeeeeenty of distance between the two houses that I doubt anyone can really clearly see what you have on. But even if they could, you’re on your own property.”
“She doesn’t live with her dad, but even if she did she’s not the property owner (of either property), and if she has such an issue with it, she can stay inside, or you know, not look. NTA.”—smartiesmouth
Some pointed out that the dad is probably not really the one with the issue.
“Wow. NTA at all! ‘Karen’ sounds like she’s the one who doesn’t like seeing younger women’s bodies.”
“You’re on your own property and you’re not even naked. You do you! Sounds like you get along with Karen’s father just fine.”—FigureEast
“I mean, you told that to his daughter, and I want to to stress, you’re so very NTA BUT, do you actually think his daughter said anything to him?”
“I’m guessing no, because I’m also going out on a limb here, he doesn’t have a problem, so as such, hasn’t said sh*t to his daughter because, again, the only problem is his (lightly) sexist daughter.”—cptspeirs
“NTA. And I’m not gonna lie, from the title I assumed you were going to say you were naked lol.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with a bikini, sounds like Amanda dearest is jealous.”—Kazvicious
“Karen sounds like she’s dealing with some body image issues and is hiding behind concern for her dad as a way to vent it.”—MongooseOnTheLoose42
“I’m thinking Amanda is ashamed of her body and jealous of yours. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”—CraigBrew2
After receiving her feedback, the OP updated her post to agree with what folks had been saying.
“Overwhelming consensus is NTA and you guys have made me feel a lot more comfortable. Thank you.”
“I’m just gonna remind myself that everyone carries around baggage and she’s probably working through some issues and insecurities of her own, and try to meet her with compassion where she’s at.”
“So far I have not seen Amanda since she approached me so hopefully this will all blow over and not impact my relationship with Joe and Jane. But if anything further goes down I’ll definitely update you all.”
It certainly sounds like Amanda could also extend some compassion to the OP and mind her own business.