Man shamed for wearing ‘obnoxious’ outfit choice to meet girlfriend’s conservative Indian parents for the first time

Gillian Sisley

A viral Reddit post explores one couple’s experience in meeting the parents, and the tension that arose when the author’s outfit choice was deemed inappropriate.

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

The author in this scenario was looking forward to meeting his girlfriend’s parents and assumed the meeting was going to be casual. However, he decided to wear something rather unexpected, as he explains:

“I thought it was a completely casual meeting and I wore an Iron Maiden T-shirt. I do happen to like the band but that's not even why I wore it; that's just how I dress and that shirt just happened to be clean that day. I went and met her parents and thought we'd had a good meeting. However my girlfriend is NOT happy with me.”

In a relationship, meeting the parents is a crucial step in determining if the connection between partners is strong enough to last, explained by Cosmopolitan. It can also be a challenging event to navigate, as it requires both partners to be mindful of etiquette and social norms. As detailed by the New York Times, the traditional western approach is to dress in a more formal way, such as wearing a collared shirt or a dress, while in some cultures it may be more appropriate to dress in a more casual way.

The author’s girlfriend is of Indian descent and her parents are immigrants to the United States, which may have played a role in her opinion. He continues:

“She feels as if me dressing in a T-Shirt rather than a nicer button-up shirt was bad enough, but that wearing a shirt with skulls on it was--in her words–’just obnoxious’."

The author, however, felt that his girlfriend should have communicated her expectations to him beforehand. He stated:

“I honestly just dressed for the meeting the way I usually do and didn’t even think about it. I think that if she had certain standards that she should have communicated them to me beforehand.”

The girlfriend in this case might have been expecting her author to dress in a way that was more respectful to her parents, or that adhered to a more conservative dress code.

The Reddit post sparked a lively debate, with many readers offering advice on how to navigate this situation in the future. One Reddit user suggested:

“I think it would have been better if you guys talked about it beforehand and you could have dressed up a bit more if you wanted to.”

As another user put it:

“It's important to be aware of how your partner's culture and family view certain things, and to be respectful of it.”

What do you think?

Was the author justified to wear an outfit that was comfortable, even if it wasn’t the most traditional or conservative outfit choice?

Or should the author have been more intentional about making a first appearance to his partner’s parents, and should have discussed expectations with his girlfriend before the meeting?

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