Ahhhh, r/AmItheAsshole, where the biggest dickheads on a site known for dickheads go seeking validation that they are, somehow, not total dickheads. Known colloquially as AITA, the subreddit is a space for people to ask up to 1.4 million subscribers whether they're in the wrong in a given situation. Then, the people weigh in with YTA (you're the asshole), NTA (not the asshole), ESH (everyone sucks here), NAH (no assholes here). But Reddit isn't always as bad as its reputation, and often, the hammer of justice strikes in favor of everything that is good. This is one of those instances.
This morning, a man made a post titled "AITA for asking a neighbor if she wanted to share food?" In it, he described himself as a "31 year old single guy who lives alone in an apartment complex," where he has a neighbor named… well, he doesn't know her name, actually, despite her having lived across the hall for about two years. Our "31 year old single guy" is "getting really sick of eating cheap fast food or box mac and cheese," he wrote, and due to losing a side job, he can't afford as much takeout as he used to. This is where "Katie," the name he gives his neighbor with whom his exchanges have been mostly hallway hellos, comes in.
Katie cooks often, and from what he can smell, Katie cooks well. He doesn't know what she cooks because, as he wrote, they "aren't friendly" with each other. But he goes to her door anyway, asking that she share (??) her food (??) with him (??). "So I got the idea that I'd offer to give her some money each week to cook a little extra and bring it over to me (or I can pick it up from her!) at night. She's cooking anyway and then I'd have varied presumably delicious food," he wrote. It continued:
"I asked her the next time I saw her and she looked surprised and said she couldn't because she was too busy (which didn't make sense cause she cooks almost every day but okay). The next time I saw her a few days later, I asked her if she was sure and upped the amount I was offering, and she said she was sure and that it was rude to ask me, and that she isn't a housekeeper for hire and I should get a housekeeper if that's what I want. She also called me 'a stranger' even though we have talked in the halls before." (Emphasis here is mine.)
That response made OP feel "like a big jerk and really embarrassed for even asking her, and a little mad because she was acting like I was being creepy (I wasn't, trust me, she isn't my type)," he wrote, which is why he took to Reddit. Reddit, thankfully, was good: His post now has over 2.5 thousand comments, with the top one being a resounding YTA. "But you, OP, are a 100% bonafide asshole. Let's count the ways," it reads. "You are a jerk, you were being creepy, and you should be way more embarrassed than you are." (Emphasis theirs.)
As Redditors pointed out, his actions are creepy and uncomfortable for this poor woman, who might now feel as though her cooking is now being monitored by a lazy neighbor who should be capable of making more than boxed mac and cheese given that he is, as he wrote, 31 years old. Obviously, the whole thing reeks of entitlement in the assumption that "Katie" is already cooking anyway, so she might as well cook for him. Clearly, he knows nothing about her own financial, family, or health status, all things that could affect her ability to leave him a little food.
While his request might be fine with a paid housekeeper, personal chef, or even a really close friend or relative who has expressed an interest in communal cooking, this is, again, a woman whose name he doesn't even know. He can't even ask, "Hey Katie, what are you making for dinner tonight?" because that's not her name.
His initial financial offer, by the way, turned out to be only $5 per dinner, an amount that anyone who's ever actually cooked a meal knows doesn't stretch very far. That barely covers ingredients, much less the time and effort that goes into prepping, cooking, and cleaning up after a meal—nor does it, for that matter, provide any real financial reward to incentivize poor "Katie," who likely wouldn't even have money left over to like, buy herself a nice latte.
As Zoe Fenson recently wrote for The Week, "cooking" is so much more than just cooking. It's the mental load of decision-making as one weighs things like prep needs, purchasing, and the preferences of the people eating the food, and that's a burden mostly expected from women who already weigh jobs, responsibilities, and personal lives.
Since it's Reddit, a platform where anyone can make an account in seconds, we must take this all with a grain of salt; it could very well be fake, meant to stir the pot through enraged pieces like this one. But still, it doesn't sound far out of the realm of possibility, and we surely all know someone self-obsessed enough to actually suggest something like this.
After receiving a mountain of pushback, the man made two edits to clarify that: 1) he's not sexist or assuming that because "Katie" is a woman, she's the one doing the cooking, and 2) he now understands that he is the asshole. That doesn't mean he plans to learn how to cook, however. As he wrote in a comment, he plans to go back to ordering expensive take-out when his work picks up, and if that doesn't pan out, "maybe I'll have a girlfriend who will cook if I clean." (OK, maybe this is fake…)
Well, let it be stated here for the record: Yes, buddy, you are definitely the asshole. YTA!!! Justice for Katie. *bangs gavel*