We all have our own personal values and beliefs, and it’s important that we surround ourselves with people who share the same (or very similar) values.
But while we might be able to align ourselves with our friends and family, our beliefs might make it harder to find a romantic partner, depending on what those beliefs are, reasoned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Thick-Price5341 had a friend who she felt was wonderful in every way but who could not land a second date.
When she became suspicious that it might, unfortunately, be because her friend did not shave her legs or armpits as a message against the patriarchy, the Original Poster (OP) tried to broach the subject with her… but the resulting conversation didn’t go very well.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for suggesting to my friend that she should shave?”
The OP’s good friend was wonderful but struggled with her dating life.
“My (29 Female) friend, let’s call her Emily (32 Female), is an amazing person. She’s fun, adventurous, intelligent, super active, a fantastic cook, outgoing, and just a great girl to be around.”
“A few years ago, she decided not to shave anymore (legs, armpits, female areas) out of protest to the patriarchy, resulting in her having very long dark hair everywhere.”
“A few days ago, we were having a beer, and she told me how sad her dating life was, that she kept meeting guys and having very fun dates but never got a callback or when she tried asking for a second or third date, got rejected in a very generic manner.”
The OP tried to give her some advice.
“Now, after telling her, ‘You’re so gorgeous and wonderful, the right man will come, don’t worry,’ multiple times, I decided to go out on a limb and said something along the lines of, ‘I know this is a very superficial thing to say, but do you think it might help a little if you would shave?'”
“She was very taken aback and told me she was disappointed I would suggest she change her appearance for men and that I was the reason so many women were suppressed.”
“I immediately apologized, but the evening was pretty much ruined.”
“I texted her the next day apologizing again for hurting her, but she hasn’t replied.”
The OP wasn’t sure what else to do.
“I really did not want to hurt her, but I also don’t quite see how my comment was that bad, so I am not sure how to phrase my apology.”
“So I decided to take it here and ask people here how big of an AH I am.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP was trying to help her friend and was NTA.
“She has the right not to shave, and the men she dates have the right to think it’s gross. People are attracted to what they are attracted to. That’s just reality. If she wants a man who doesn’t mind that she doesn’t shave, that will be a much smaller percentage of the male dating pool, and it will be more difficult for her to find a partner.”
“If she was asking for your advice and you were trying to help her, then NTA. Especially because you are likely right, and the hair is the reason the men are not staying. I think it’s silly that she is mad at you for just stating the obvious truth.” – newfriend836639
“You just suggested the reason she may be having problems with dating.”
“You are also probably correct. Of course, she is free to do whatever she wants with her body, and they may not meet others’ preferences, which means they may not want to date her.”
“This may mean they miss out on a great person for superficial reasons, but that is a choice they are free to make.” – Tyberious_
“NTA. She was lamenting about why she doesn’t get a second date. You gave her the honest reason. You didn’t go about it rudely or meanly. You basically worded it in a question form. As in, do you think that this is the reason?”
“It’s on her if she wants to change, but it seems obvious that she doesn’t. She needs to accept that most men don’t want to date a hairy female. Not saying all men are like that, but a big majority are.”
“And instead of wasting her time and theirs, she should make it known that she refuses to shave because she is fighting against the patriarchy. That way, she cuts out getting the generic not going to happen spiel.” – Brandie2666
“NTA. A lot of people of either sex and/or sexual preference don’t like bodily hair in abundance.”
“And no one is going to fall in love with your personality on a first, or even third, date. Physical attractiveness is important, but even more important is the impression that you’re well groomed not only for your personal liking but also of the potential partner.”
“In the case of your friend, there could be some feature that is putting prospective partners off her. I don’t say there is, necessarily, or even that it certainly is the body hair. But it is wise to think about it or even address it with a good friend.”
“Indeed, you’d be a bad friend if you’d never say anything just to be ‘nice.'” – alexandraadler
“I’m going with NTA IF it went down the way you said it did, and she was wondering out loud why she couldn’t seem to get past a first date. Her ego is just bruised because you suggested a possibility to her that she doesn’t want to think is true but in all probability is.”
“You could send her a text (even better, leave her a voicemail) that you fully understand and respect her decision not to shave, to protest the unfair double standards the majority of society expects women to abide by.”
“THAT BEING SAID, point out that the conditioning of society’s beauty standards runs deep, and if she’s having problems finding a partner that will be empathetic to that, then maybe it’s just a matter of finding a different route to go when looking for a partner.”
“I would gently suggest that she merely start being more forthcoming about it from the get-go… (perhaps posting it in her dating profile). The men who find that superficiality a deal-breaker will weed themselves out, saving them from wasting their time OR hers, and she’ll have a clearer view of who the quality guys are who can look beyond that superficial aspect.”
“I don’t think she’s fishing with the wrong bait; she just needs to fish in the right pond.”
“Good luck, sister! Hope she’s able to come around and appreciate your input for what it was.” – smacfa01
Others felt the OP offered unsolicited advice and a judgmental comment and was YTA.
“YTA… If body hair is a deal breaker for a man, it’s not going to be a guy she would want to be with. You wouldn’t tell a friend to lose weight to ‘get a man,’ so any variation of that is AH behavior, like telling her to wear makeup, shave, wear less makeup, wear different clothes, not those clothes, the other ones…”
“People are entitled to their preferences, such as liking a beard on a guy, long hair, short hair, whatever. That is fine and not what is being judged here.” – evelynsmee
“I have leg and arm hair, and I am in a loving relationship with a man who is holding me as he’s sleeping. If I had listened to you, I would have been making myself uncomfortable for someone who doesn’t care one way or another.”
“A more supportive thing to say would have been, ‘You’ll find someone perfect for you; just keep working on yourself, and the rest will fall into place.'”
“She definitely wasn’t asking for advice; just wanted some emotional support from a friend. The world tries to pressure women into conforming to shaving, and I’m sure it hurt to hear a friend also try to do the same.” – going_88mph
“YTA. OP’s friend is comfortable in herself and her body and does not conform to society’s standard of ‘beauty,’ and I applaud her as she’s everything I aspire to be. OP pointed out about her body hair, and that could completely destroy everything that made her feel comfortable in the body she’s in.”
“I also hate the entire society standard of men wanting women to be BALD all over, which is essentially what pubescent girls look like. It’s gross. Body hair is normal and no one should be ashamed for what their body naturally looks like.” – undercovergloss
“None of the men OP’s friend dated gave an indication that not shaving was the issue, so it seems OP suggested it as SHE has her own prejudices and assumed the men would have the same.”
“It’s like thinking your friend doesn’t meet a certain beauty standard, and instead of telling them that they will find someone that will love them no matter what (it’s just hair after all and no indication of cleanliness) or that it’s better to be single than change yourself for a someone else, OP told the friend to change their values to attract someone who they’d probably be incompatible with for the sake of getting into a relationship.”
“Soft YTA as OP wasn’t malicious, but I can see why the friend was hurt.” – notherefor_that
“I’m saddened by the number of NTA comments here and the lack of reflection on our own socialization into cultural gender norms. I have read the post twice, and nowhere does it suggest OP’s friend linked it to body hair or that OP has surveyed all these dates and found out this is the reason.”
“You made a judgment based on your own prejudices. Maybe your friend is picking the wrong men or is a boring date?”
“I know many straight women who don’t shave (I have never shaved my pubic hair, and no man has ever complained nor have they had any issues if I haven’t shaved my legs) and they never seem to have trouble attracting a male partner.”
“You assumed it’s due to not shaving, but you’re just projecting onto men; you don’t know prejudices they may or may not have.”
“YTA.” – Jess1ca1467
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of reactions this got. Thank you all so much for your well-worded answers and for your input.”
“Emily messaged me yesterday evening asking if we could talk about the whole thing, and we had a phone call.”
“She started by apologizing for her reaction and for the things she said to me.”
“I told her that I wanted her to know that I and many others love her for who she is, and the last thing I wanted was to suggest that she change herself for a guy.”
“Another important piece of advice I got here was to make sure she actually was asking for my opinion and not just venting, so I told her that I was very worried I had given her unsolicited advice.”
“Thankfully, she didn’t see it that way. She told me I had always been a loyal friend who had her back and she always had valued my advice, which was why she was so taken aback by my comment.”
“I told her that what I should have said is that I feel like in the past, she has been attracted to men who don’t necessarily share her values and that she might need to be more clear with her dating choices and first make sure they align with her values to avoid being disappointed.”
“She also agrees with this, and we really had a great conversation after that.”
“Thanks again to you all for the insightful comments and for your help!”
The subReddit completely understood how the OP was trying to help her friend and that her comments likely came off the wrong way, or at least unexpectedly.
Fortunately, after the OP spoke to her friend again, it seems all is well, and her friend will simply need to be more mindful of who she dates in the future and perhaps check to see how their values align with hers before bothering to go on the date in the first place.