Members of a popular internet forum were beside themselves after one woman explained why she was accused of “emasculating” her friend’s boyfriend.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Forsaken-Treacle-654 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said she and her husband invited another couple for an afternoon of squash and walking dogs, and revealed how those plans quickly turned into a series of heated interactions.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for ’emasculating’ a guy by winning against him in a game?” the post has received nearly 6,500 votes and 800 comments in the last 12 hours.
Writing that she and her husband have regularly been playing squash for the last few months, the original poster said her friend (called “Rebecca”) and her boyfriend (called “Joe”) joined the couple for a few games, despite only having played squash once before.
“I played [two] games against Joe and won both of them, because I have been playing for much longer than he has,” OP wrote. “I saw that he was starting to get a bit angry after the first game so I told him he is doing really good considering it’s only his 2nd time, but didn’t let him win the second game either.”
“When he played with Rebecca after that, he acted really rude and belittling towards her because she wasn’t as good,” OP added.
After returning home, the original poster said she invited the couple on an evening walk. The couple agreed, but the original poster said her friend’s boyfriend’s behavior worsened throughout the hour-and-a-half jaunt.
“Joe seemed to be in a really bad mood,” OP wrote. “During the walk, Joe was rude towards Rebecca, getting mad at her because she didn’t know where we were.”
“Next day, Rebecca was all mad at me, saying that she had to deal with Joe’s bad mood because not just won against him twice, but then I also ‘challenged’ him on a walk,” OP continued. “She said that I shouldn’t have emasculated him, because he took it out on her.”
“I told her that Joe is an a**hole and she should break up with him if he treats her badly,” OP added.
Toxic masculinity, defined by Very Well Mind as “the notion that some people’s idea of ‘manliness’ perpetuates domination, homophobia, and aggression,” has been a topic of conversation since the 1980s, but has become a primary focus of attention in the last decade.
Inciting warped ideas of toughness, anti-femininity and power, Very Well Mind also reports that toxic masculinity “glorifies unhealthy habits,” and discourages men from addressing their mental health, no matter how dire the situation.
Through acts of aggression and emotional insensitivity, toxic masculinity can quickly manifest itself in relationships, negatively impacting romantic partners and other loved ones, according to Healthline.
Throughout the viral post’s comment section, Redditors were stunned at the erroneous claims of emasculation and called out the original poster’s friend’s boyfriend for perceiving a friendly squash game and evening walk as gender-based challenges.
“[Not the a**hole],” Redditor u/Seemoreifandsorbuts commented. “Joe is toxic [as f**k]. It was a dog walk, not a double-dog dare.”
“And getting mad because he was beat by a girl and then taking it out on his [girlfriend]? What a prize,” they added, sarcastically.
Redditor u/Sk111W echoed that sentiment and eviscerated OP’s friend’s boyfriend for his childish behavior.
“Don’t play if you aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle losing,” they commented. “Don’t associate with women if your fragile excuse for masculinity can’t handle them being good at things they do regularly.”
“Adult men realize they’re not perfect, and not better than women at every single thing they do,” Redditor u/GrandpaJoeSloth chimed in. “What a grown little baby Joe seems to be.”
In the post’s top comment, which has received more than 13,000 votes, Redditor u/tatasz took aim at Joe, slamming what he seemingly believes to count as manliness.
“Men don’t get emasculated by a game and a dog walk,” they wrote. “He just isn’t one.”