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Man Wonders If He's Wrong For Telling Coworker Her Attractive Looks Were 'Intimidating' To The Guys In The Office

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Man Tells Female Coworker Her Looks Are 'Intimidating' To Her Male Coworkers

A 32-year-old man caused a stir online after posting about how he told a female coworker that her looks “intimidated” the rest of their team. 

The man — who posted the story on the subreddit r/AmItheA**hole (AITA) to get people's honest reactions — explained that his team at work just came back to the office last week after working from home, and it was the first time this female coworker met everyone in person. However, when she finally met her peers face-to-face, she noticed that they were much colder to her than they had been when they worked remotely, so she asked to speak with the man, who was mentoring her, to ask him what was going on.

He told her that her attractiveness and the way she carried herself caught the other male coworkers off guard, and they were "a little intimidated and surprised" by her appearance.

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He wrote that she was the only woman on the team of technology developers, as well as the only minority, and had initially kept to herself when she first joined the team. Just before they came back to the office, however, she began warming up to her peers and even cracking jokes with them.

She was then surprised to see that the coworkers she was getting more comfortable with were acting so uncomfortable around her once they met face to face — one of her coworkers nearly spilled his drink on her and then ran off instead of apologizing.

After the Reddit poster's conversation with the woman, she grew even more distant from the team. The man says he made an effort to include her, but that no one else even tried.

When he consulted his wife about the situation, she was immediately appalled.

His wife explained that by telling the female coworker her looks and demeanor were the cause of all the awkwardness, he had placed the burden on her and made her feel self-conscious.

“She also said that my team are a bunch of “scared little boys” who would rather stick to “their little boy groups” instead of humanizing and interacting with women,” the man wrote.

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When he tried to rationalize his thought process and that of his team members, he only dug himself into a bigger hole. “I explained to her that she must understand that a bunch of pasty, nerdy tech dudes wearing T-shirts are obviously going to feel intimidated when their coworker is an attractive woman with exotic looks,” the man wrote.

“My wife rolled her eyes and said that I’m ridiculous.”

The commenters of Reddit unanimously voted that the poster was in the wrong — labeling him as YTA ("you're the a**hole").

Commenters especially took issue with his comment about his coworker’s “exotic looks,” saying that he objectified and fetishized her.

“What is this “exotic beauty” bulls***?” one commenter wrote. “Who cares if she’s the only woman or minority on the team? Y'all need to treat her like a normal human not be massive a**hole weirdos.”

People also mentioned how the man violated the trust that comes between a mentor and mentee and that he only sees her for her appearance.

“Those types of comments are felt in the pit of your stomach for days, it’s even worse because you’re close to a decade older than her, she came to work and figured that her older, married boss was safe, you just told her you weren’t, and that you don’t take her seriously,” another commenter wrote.

One commenter explained what he should have done instead, saying, The saying "the truth shall set you free" doesnt work in this case. You should have told her you will discuss this with your team."

And commenter, RainbowCane, talked about the problem with the tech industry. "There’s a reason that women leave STEM careers at a high rate - men use “being awkward” as an excuse for treating women weirdly. As grownups we’re responsible for suppressing grade school embarrassment over our sexual attraction to others and for learning to behave like professionals at work. This is the definition of hostile work environment."

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Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics. He majors in journalism at the University of Central Florida with a minor in sports business. Follow him on Twitter.