Times have thankfully changed when it comes to running a household.
Gone are the days where women are expected to do all the cooking and cleaning while their husbands are away at work, and then have a hot dinner ready for them the minute they walk in the door.
At least, one hopes those days are gone.
The father-in-law (FIL) of Redditor Upbeat_Fix_4061 still firmly believed that women and men have very specific roles in home, which is the men are served and the women do the serving.
Something the original poster (OP) would take no part in, much to the fury of her FIL at a recent family gathering.
Wondering if she disrespected him, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my FIL he can starve if he wants because I didn’t care?”
The OP explained how a family gathering which was meant to be a joyous occasion turned sour at the dinner table.
“My husband and I (both 26) recently hosted a family dinner to announce our pregnancy.”
“It’s important to add that my husband doesn’t have a close relationship with his father, but we keep him around because he still has 3 minor siblings that we love and care for.”
“My FIL is the type of person that still thinks women should serve men at dinning times.”
“Like, he has to be served first because he’s the breadwinner and sh*t like that.”
“We usually don’t care since we mostly ignore them, however this time my family was present and we consider he f*cked around and found out.”
“My dad is my favorite person in the world, my mom died when I was little and my dad took care of my older sister and I, they’re the only family I have left.”
“At dinner, both my husband and I cooked things we knew both of our families would like.”
“The first issue started when my FIL tried to sit at one of the heads of the table and my husband said no, he sad at one and I sat at the other, me with my father and sister to either side and him with his brothers.”
“So my FIL was kinda in the middle and didn’t like it.”
“The second problem and the cause of all of this is that everyone was kinda serving themselves.”
“However my dad has a damaged nerve on his right hand and he struggles when holding spoons/forks and such.”
“My sister bought him a parkinson-friendly cutlery set that he brings around.”
“But a big spoon for serving is still hard for him, so I offered to serve him his plate while my sister served him his drink and then we all sat to eat and chat.”
“Three or four minutes after that, my FIL asks out loud ”Is no one going to serve me my plate?'”
“My husband looks at him confused and says ‘no, we don’t do that here?'”
“My mother-in-law (MIL) just gets up in a hurry and takes his plate but my FIL says no and that ”the hostess did it for her father, so she can do it for me'”.
“I say ‘yes, my father who has an injured hand, you’re fine’.”
“He says that he won’t eat then and I just shrugged and said that he could starve and I didn’t care.”
“He leaves with my MIL and while everyone agrees with me, my own father said that it was a disrespectful thing to say and I should apologize for the way I did it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was absolutely right to put her FIL in his place, and was not the a**hole for doing so.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s FIL needed to be called out for his sexist, misogynistic behavior, and the OP handled the situation perfectly.
“He got up and left?”
“Did you later let him know the purpose of the dinner?”- okbutdidudietho
“You didn’t instigate the situation.”
“He was being ridiculous and you declined to entertain his behavior.”- BlueLavender0104
“Your father in law needs to know not everyone follows his sexist views.”
“And in someone else’s home he doesn’t get to act that way.”
“If his own wife wants to be his servant that’s her choice.”
“In your home you make the call.”
“And his attitude is messed up.”
“You need to make sure he doesn’t treat you the same way he treats his wife.”- Prudent_Border5060
“Not only are you NTA, you’re a f*cking legend.”
“F*ck that guy.”
“If he holds such traditional values, he’d respect the house rules of the house he was in.”
“But he didn’t, cause he doesn’t.”
“He’s just sexist and entitled.”-petulafaerie
“Kudos to your dad for raising someone with a shiny spine.”
“Your father is too kind.”
“It was a very good way to set boundaries.”
“Good thing your husband is by your side.”
“Your poor MIL, what a life she has.”- esk_7140
“He’s more than capable and why should you apologize for his sexist assumptions?”- Selmo20
“I thought this was going to end with him injuring his hand on purpose to get served on hand and foot.”
“That said, NTA.”- DeterminedArrow
“I was over him as soon as he tried to sit at the head of your table.”- Peskypoints
“NTA be happy he left and you got to enjoy dinner in peace.”
“Sorry you have to keep him around.”- HumbleDot4343
“Your FIL was an incredibly rude dinner guest.”
“He can host his own dinners according to his own rules as he wishes, but he is not entitled to sit at the head of anyone else’s table.”
“And congratulations!”- madzteir
“That’s a level of misogyny and entitlement that I can not understand.”
“And talk about needing to read the room.”
“I can see how your dad sees it as rude and disrespectful since he probably assumed the right thing to do is just smile and serve.”
“However, your FIL was rude and disrespectful in your home and possibly made your dad feel less than by pointing out that he was served by you.”
“Regardless, eff your FIL! In sure your dad will see your side once everything is cleared.”-Maleficent-Day-1510
“What a wildly unpleasant person!”
“You should use baby talk on him the next time he acts up.”- SaboraHoku
“My former in laws tried that at my house.”
“The men get served first, then the children then the women.”
“I politely told her that we don’t do that in my home.”
“We all sit together and we eat together.”
“You did nothing wrong.”
“Bless your dad, he’s probably just trying to keep the peace.”- Susan1240
“Honestly I’m glad you spoke up, because it sounds like FIL has never been told no.”- katminte
“You answered perfectly.”
“If you want to sulk instead of eat, have at it.”
“In regards to your father, try light weight serving spoons with very wide handles.”
“You could try food safe foam tubing, but it has to be removed for washing, which is a pain.”
“If he also has a tremor, then heavier spoons will help, otherwise avoid any extra weight.”- Seguefare
“If your DH wanted FIL to stay, it would have been on him, as host, to get up and serve him.”
“Reason being, FIL had just insulted you, he wanted to be served by a host/ess, and he’s DH’s responsibility.”
“But he didn’t get up and stop FIL from leaving, so the problem was solved.”
“Your dad is just looking out for your future family peace with FIL.”- TheQuietType84
“NTA people who have tantrums at dinner are welcome to leave.”- Wise_Impression_6391
“That sounds horrifying.”-chobanihowitzer
“In your home FIL is not the head of the house, and should not expect to be treated as such.”
“And he should not expect to be treated the same way as someone with an injury who needs assistance.”
“When I visit my son and his family I ask where to sit.”
“It’s called manners, and FIL should learn some, usually a small voice says ‘Beside me, Grandpa’, and my son just goes along with it.”- RevKyriel
“Your house, your rules.”- unrulytits
“Your father has good intentions, but I would be firm.”
“‘Thank you for your opinion, however, it is much easier for you to say I should react to sexism in my own home kindly when you are a man’.”
“‘I have no obligation to be polite in response to sexism’.”- RamsLams
It’s hard to imagine anyone would be so stubborn as to choose not to eat at all if he won’t be served.
And it’s sad that the first inclination of the OP’s MIL after he made this demand was to get up and serve him herself.
One can only hope he gets used to going to bed on an empty stomach if he thinks he’ll ever win this battle.