A Redditor asked the AITA community whether or not he was wrong for introducing his girlfriend as a model even though she explicitly told him not to.
Identity issues are deeply tied into what we do for a living and for good reason: we spend more time at our jobs than anywhere else. Our coworkers, bosses, customers/clients, and the work that we do, whether we like it or not, ultimately define our existence.
Or maybe it doesn't. There are some who believe that there's a separation between your work and social lives. That the way you make a living doesn't necessarily define who you are. Personally, I think that how you go about making a living is the real mark of what kind of person you are, but I digress.
This Redditor's girlfriend happens to make her living as a professional model. Like she's signed to an agency and everything.
However, she also works as a martial arts instructor and although that career isn't anywhere near as lucrative as her modeling one, she feels that that's more indicative of what her personality is and what she represents and wants to pursue in life.
When he was introducing her to some friends, he, being a finance guy who's all about making money and having it (by his own admission later in the post), says that she doesn't earn her living as a martial arts instructor, but that her bread is buttered by being a model.
Although she never explicitly told him she doesn't like being referred to as a model, she got upset, because she tells everyone she teaches martial arts. He turned to Reddit for some help, because he couldn't see what the big deal was.
Naturally, it being the internet filled with a bunch of judgmental strangers (which has its advantages and disadvantages), they all piled on OP to tell him what a bad person he was and jump to conclusions about the nature of his relationship with this woman.
Some people said that he was misogynistic and clearly only with this woman for her looks.
Some accused him of "showing her off" and only mentioning that she was a model so he could brag about it to other people to boost his own social standing.
After sifting through all of the harsh responses, however, he did emerge with a kernel of information that he took to heart: he was wrong. So he reacted accordingly and decided to try and make it up to his girlfriend as best as he could.
He clarified that she never explicitly asked him not to refer to her as a model, but he admitted that he did know she never leads with that in conversations with people. He also talked more about the nature of their relationship and extolled all of her amazing qualities as a person, saying that she's way more than just a pretty face.
His reaction to being called out on his behavior was awesome. He left work early to watch her instruct a children's class and was in awe of the way she handled it. She was patient, kind, understanding, and supportive of all the kids who showed up to learn.
He even stuck around to be a human dummy for her women's self-defense class and it was awesome.
It was a really sweet gesture on his part and even though he got (wo)manhandled by a bunch of students, he still kept at it and showed an honest enthusiasm to learn more about what she does and where her passions lie. He admits he felt "emotional" when realizing how wrong he was about her job and how much she loves it.
He also learned a bit about the modelling industry in the process and discovered it wasn't the "glamorous" and amazing job everyone thinks it is.
It turns out his girlfriend doesn't like to introduce herself as a model to avoid the very real stigmas associated with the profession. She ultimately feels more fulfilled as a martial arts instructor because it's a profession that she worked to become amazing at.
Becoming a model was something that happened by "accident."
He also said that he learned his girlfriend doesn't necessarily "approve" of the modelling industry she works in and for good reason, too.
Ultimately, he did find a way to help make it up to her, in addition to everything else he did. As a finance-bro, he's extremely good with money. So good that he offered to help her create a plan to help her save up for her own dojo. She was thrilled by the prospect of opening up her own business so she could do something that isn't posing for pictures to make money when she decides to give up modeling for good.
All in all, it seemed like the dude handled it like an absolute champ and had the best possible reaction to being a jerk. It just goes to show that while you can't really control your first feeling towards something, you can control your reaction and hopefully your feelings will come along for the ride. For this dude, it seems like that's the case.