I personally love to cook, especially trying out new recipes to impress my spouse or friends. But even though I enjoy this chore more than people typically do, there are plenty reasons why I wouldn't be keen on doing it for a stranger in my building. But all those reasons seem to be escaping a clueless gentleman who posted on reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" community with genuine confusion over a neighbor's reaction to his very odd request.
A user with the screen name "AwayPerformer" describes himself as "a 31-year-old single guy who lives alone in an apartment complex," where he has lived for six years. His neighbor, who he calls "Katie" — because he doesn't actually know her first name — has lived across the hall for two of those years. Though they say hello when they pass each other, they don't hang out or, you know... know each other's names, but that seems pretty typical to this New Yorker who doesn't know the names of a single person in her building other than the superintendant and the girl with the very cute dog.
One thing AwayPerformer does know about his neighbor is that the food she cooks for herself smells fantastic. Meanwhile, he's been low on funds lately, which has limited his food options somewhat, and it doesn't sound like he's much of a wiz in the kitchen. "I'm getting really sick of eating cheap fast food or box mac and cheese. I'm gaining weight and I never feel great," he explains. That's a totally relatable problem that he tries to fix with a super un-relatable solution.
"This is where Katie comes in," he says. "I can always smell her cooking in the hall and it always smells amazing," and he knows it's not the other guy on their floor making those delicious smells, which gives him an idea: "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," he says. "She's cooking anyway and then I'd have varied presumably delicious food." Win win, right? Yeah, wrong, bud.
He finally works up the nerve to ask and Katie predictably responds with surprise and discomfort at the weird request. She says she's too busy, which seems preposterous to this guy since she's already cooking. Not realizing that maybe it was the easiest way for her to politely say, "I don't want to be your personal chef, 5B," he asks again a few days later, this time upping his offer.
This time, realizing she had to be blunt and direct, Katie told him it was rude of him to ask her this and "she isn't a housekeeper for hire and I should get a housekeeper if that's what I want." Good for her! But now AwayPerformer feels hurt that she called this man who admits he doesn't even know her first name a "stranger" and that she had the audacity to make him feel like he was "creepy."
My dude, you probably feel she thinks you're creepy because she thinks you're creepy! I would, too! And it seems so would most of the sage commenters on reddit. "Why on earth would you think that you're entitled to this person's cooking?" wrote the top commenter. "Even if she were your spouse this would be a problem, and you don't even know her! How did you hear her say 'no' and decide to keep pressing the issue? She's calling you a stranger because you are a stranger, and she's telling you no because NO."
People also grabbed upon the OP's adding that he wasn't creeping on her because "trust me, she isn't my type." Seriously, guys like this will trip over themselves to neg a woman who made him feel shame about acting shamelessly. Others pointed out that the far more sensible solution for a 31-year-old adult living along would be to... learn how to cook his own meals.
"Learn to cook," advised one successful adult human in the thread. "There's plenty of videos and subreddits to help you along. Hell, get a slow cooker. It's so hard to f--k s--t up with a slow cooker." This person does not lie. You just throw a bunch of stuff in and turn it on and in 6 hours: voila, dinner.
But it's clear this guy doesn't understand the work involved in planning and cooking even a slow-cooker meal because he's assuming there would be no change in the amount of work if she suddenly took him on as a... catering client? Doubling recipes can be a pain, and he's forgetting the pressure she would feel over planning a menu, shopping for and cooking for... a stranger.
Not to mention she'd have to consider this random dude down the hall when making plans after work. Seriously, contemplating all the logistics of this proposed arrangement is giving me a tiny panic attack.
So a) it's completely understandable why she said no and b) plainly clear that some guys can't seem to grasp that when a woman says "no," it's a final answer — not a jumping off point to start negotiations.
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