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Man calls GF a 'Karen,' for being rude to an old lady on a plane. 'She constantly complained about a smell.' AITA?

Man calls GF a 'Karen,' for being rude to an old lady on a plane. 'She constantly complained about a smell.' AITA?


"I called my girlfriend a 'Karen” for being rude to an old lady on the plane and now she’s mad."

Me (28M) and my girlfriend (27F) were on a 7 hour flight and an old (about 80 or so) lady sat in the aisle seat in our row. The lady was travelling alone likely from Sri Lanka and didn’t speak a word of English. It was clear that she was a bit confused as it seemed to be one of her first flights. My girlfriend sat next to her and I sat in the window seat.

From the first moment to the end of the flight my gf constantly complained about a smell coming from the lady. My gf would even make faces and sounds here and there. Yes, there was a smell that came in waves but it was likely because of the bathroom behind us.

Then my girlfriend complained about the lady’s bag touching her only so slightly and constantly said “she should know to not have her bag there. Why doesn’t she know to put it under the seat, everyone should."

I offered several times to switch seats with my gf and she said “no, it’s fine." Then, the lady got my gf’s attention to try to communicate with her and my gf was so dismissive basically saying loudly “I don’t understand you” and looking at the lady for only a second before going back on her phone. It was extremely rude.

I tried to single to the lady that we couldn’t understand her language and she should speak English/french to us or to the flight staff. Then, the lady wanted help opening up her seat’s tray so she tapped my gf’s shoulder. My gf leaned away slightly and looked at me saying “She touched me. Why is she touching me”. I looked at the lady and helped her with her tray.

Later on, the lady tapped my gf’s shoulder again so she can get help opening up her water bottle. My gf basically threw a tantrum and cried saying “she touched me again. I can’t do this. This is a horror flight. I am not a nurse." Granted, my gf was trying to sleep at the time and had her eyes closed but I thought it’s such a child-like reaction from a grown person.

I get that the lady is annoying. But she is elderly, travelling alone and has a different background than us so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I was visibly annoyed during the flight and spent most of it watching the lady to make sure I step-in and help her before she asks my gf for help (who didn’t help the lady once).

I was quiet for a few days after that and the topic came up. I told my gf that i wasn’t mad at all but it was the saddest and most I’ve been turned off by her. For context, I grew up in a small, poor African town and that lady reminded me of my grandmothers and great aunts so I took the entire thing personally.

After a back and forth, out of frustration I also called my gf an entitled white woman (ie a Karen) and said that if the lady was white, she would’ve helped her out and thought the whole thing was cute.

This obviously wasn’t received well but I know it to be true given other comments she made in other contexts. She also thinks of herself as a progressive - so although it was harsh of me to say so, she needs to see it from my perspective.

She was upset and said that I am insensitive and that the lady was being objectively annoying and invading herpace. She also said that no one should call their partner a Karen. Anyway, we haven’t talked since and I don’t intend to apologize or yield on that comment…

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

BlueGreen_1956 said:

You offered to switch seats with your GF which would have eliminated the problem, but your GF refused. I suspect she was enjoying being outraged, which is a hallmark of all Karens.

Bulky_Specialist9645 said:

NTA. Now that you know her true colors you need to find someone more kind like you seem to be.

Consistent-Drive-345 said:

NTA. As a child of immigrants who sacrificed everything in a foreign country to allow me and my brother to have a good education and speak multiple languages fluently, it breaks my heart to think that my dad could ever be seated next to someone like your girlfriend.

It sounds like you also felt personally affected by your girlfriend's behavior based on your background. How do you think your girlfriend will end up treating your family once they become inconvenient to her?

Important_Flower_816 said:

NTA but your gf is throwing up a lot of red flags just from this post alone. You may wanna sit down and consider how often you've seen her treat people who aren't just like her I'm the same manner she treated this woman.

feb2nov said:

NTA. She appears to lack compassion. I would also be horrified by her reactions. The older lady wasn't asking for much.

jlzania said:

She's done you a favor by showing you exactly who she is. Run for the hills.

Sources: Reddit
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