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Heroes

The incredible tale of how a Frito-Lay janitor pitched his billion-dollar idea to the CEO

The incredible tale of how a Frito-Lay janitor pitched his billion-dollar idea to the CEO

Editor's Note: In May 2021, Frito-o-Lay disputed aspects of Montañez's story, which are collected in this story reported by the Los Angeles Times. Montañez stood by his story in a follow-up interview with Variety. The original story begins below.


Occasionally you read a story that sounds so much like a movie script you question whether it's real or fake. The tale of how Flamin' Hot Cheetos was invented is one of those stories.

Ankith Harathi shared how the beloved spicy snack came about in a viral Twitter thread, and it's a must-read.

Harathi wrote:

"A janitor making $4/hour walked into a Fortune 500 company boardroom. Shaking, he took a seat opposite the CEO.

'So I had an idea...' he nervously began.

Years later, that idea would become an iconic consumer brand and make him worth ~$20M.

Here's how that meeting went 🧶👇


Richard Montañez grew up in Cucamonga Valley, California, sharing a one-room cinderblock hut with 14 family members.

He dreaded school. Barely able to speak English, he'd cry to his mother as she was getting him ready for class.

When asked, all other students in class would eagerly shout out their dream job: Astronaut, Doctor, Racecar driver.

Richard had nothing to say. 'There was no dream where I came from.'

He dropped out of school in 4th grade and took odd jobs at farms and factories to help make ends meet.

Some years later in 1976, a neighbor let him know of a job opening for a factory janitor at the Frito-Lay plant down the road. The $4/hour pay was more than he'd ever made.

As he was getting ready for his first day of work, his grandfather pulled him aside and said:

'Make sure that floor shines. And let them know that a Montañez mopped it.'

Richard made it his mission to be the best janitor Frito-Lay had ever seen.

He spent his off-time learning about the company's products, manufacturing, marketing and more. He even asked salesmen to tag along and watch them sell.

In the mid-1980s Frito-Lay started to struggle. The CEO announced a new initiative to all 300,000 employees. 'Act like an owner' Trying to empower them to work more creatively and efficiently.

Montañez listened.

Then, he called the CEO.

'Mr. Enrico's office. Who is this?'
'Richard Montañez, in California'
'You're the VP overseeing CA?'
'No, I work at the Rancho Cucamonga plant.'
'Oh, so you're the VP of Ops?'
'No, I work inside the plant.'
'You're the manager?'
'No. I'm the janitor.'

The CEO got on the line. Loving the initiative, he told Richard to prepare a presentation, and he set a meeting in 2 weeks time.

Stunned, Richard ran to the library and picked up a book on marketing strategies. Then, he started prepping. 9) 2 weeks later, he entered that boardroom.

After taking a moment to catch his breath, he started telling them what he'd learned about Frito-Lay and the idea he'd been working on.

'I saw there was no product catering to Latinos.'

On the sales trips he shadowed he saw that in Latino neighborhoods Lays, Fritos, Ruffles, and Cheetos, were stocked right next to a shelf of Mexican spices. Frito-Lay had nothing spicy or hot.

The Latino market was ready to explode, Montañez explained.

Inspired by elote - a Mexican street corn covered in spices - Richard had created his own snack

He pulled out 100 plastic baggies. He had taken Cheetos from the factory and coated them in his own mix of spices.

He'd even sealed the bags with a clothing iron, and had hand drawn a logo on each one.

The room went silent.

After a few moments, the CEO spoke, 'Put that mop away, you're coming with us.'

Flamin' Hot Cheetos became one of the most successful launches in Frito-Lay history. They went on to become a viral, pop-culture sensation.

Richard became a VP and amassed a $20M fortune.

Not bad for a boy from Cucamonga."

This story has so many heroes. First, Montañez's grandfather, who taught him to work hard and take pride in his work no matter what it was. Second, Montañez himself for having the gumption to share his idea, the initiative to quickly gather the skills he needed to present it, and the courage to approach the CEO in the first place. And finally, the CEO who was open-minded enough to hear an idea from one of his enormous company's janitors and give him the accolades and position he deserved.

Montañez now gives speeches to help inspire others to honor their uniqueness and embrace standing out from the crowd.


See more details of his story—including how he had simply looked up the CEO's phone number in the phone book, not really knowing that that's not something people did— in his interview on The Passionate Few:

How The Multi-Billion Dollar HOT CHEETOS Idea Was Born! (Creator, Richard Montanez Interview)www.youtube.com

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Family

I told a kid a riddle my dad told me when I was 7. His answer proves how far we've come.

This classic riddle takes on new meaning as our world changes for the better.




When I was 7, my dad told me a riddle.

"A man and his son are driving in their car when they are hit by a tractor-trailer.

Photo via iStock.

(We were driving at the time, so of course this was the riddle he decided to tell.)

The father dies instantly.

The son is badly injured. Paramedics rush him to the hospital.

Photo via iStock.

As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, I answered:


"The doctor is his mom!"

Photo via iStock.

My dad first heard the riddle when he was a child in the '60s.

Back then, most women didn't work outside of the home.

Few of those who did had college degrees, much less professional degrees.

Female doctors were few and far between.

Back then, it was a hard riddle. A very hard riddle.

By 1993, when I first heard it, the notion that women could be highly skilled, highly trained professionals wasn't so absurd.

To me, it was normal.

I knew women who were lawyers. Bankers. Politicians. My own doctor was a woman.

To be sure, women still faced challenges and discrimination in the workplace. And even 20 years later, they still do.

But at its core, the riddle is about how a family can work. And that had changed. Long-overdue progress had rendered the big, sexist assumption that underpinned the whole thing moot.

A very hard riddle was suddenly not a riddle at all.

I never forgot it.

Now, I'm 30 — almost as old as my dad was he first told me that riddle.

My dad at 30 (left) and me at 30. Photos by Eric March/Upworthy and Mary March, used with permission.

I don't have kids, but I mentor a child through a volunteer program.

Once a week, we get together and hang out for an hour. We play ping pong, do science experiments, and write songs. Neither of us like to go outside.

It's a good match.

One day, we decided to try to stump each other with riddles.

He rattled off about five or six.

I could only remember one: The one about the man, his son, and the surgeon.

Photo via iStock.

I thought it would be silly to tell it.

I was sure that, if it was easy in 1993, it would be even easier in 2014. Kind of ridiculous, even.

But a part of me was curious.

It had been 21 years — almost as long as it had been between when my dad first heard the riddle and when he shared it with me.

Maybe it wouldn't be so easy.

Maybe I was missing something obvious, making my own flawed assumptions about how a family could work.

Maybe the world had changed in ways that would be second nature to a 13-year-old but not to me.

So I began:

"A man and his son are driving in their car, when they are hit by a tractor-trailer. The father dies instantly. The son is badly injured and is rushed to the hospital by paramedics. As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, he answered: "it's his other dad"

Photo via iStock.

Times change. Progress isn't perfect. But no matter what shape a family takes, at the end of the day, #LoveWins.


This article was written by Eric March and originally appeared on 06.21.16

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Celia Robbins/X (used with permission)

Celia Robbins regretted not buying a puffin sweater in Iceland three years ago.

We all know that social media has its pitfalls. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general even wants to put a warning label on social media apps to alert us to the health danger it poses, especially to young people.

However, social media has also connected people around the world in a way that humanity has never seen before. That can be both good and bad, but when it's good, it can delight and inspire people around the globe.

That's where an Icelandic puffin sweater comes in.


Celia Robbins shared a post on X explaining that her 14-year-old daughter had asked her if she ever has any regrets.

"While I know she was asking this question on a philosophical level, my mind immediately went to this puffin sweater I saw in Iceland," she wrote. "It's been 3 years since I saw it in a shop there, & I still regret not buying it."

Three years may seem like a long time to be pining for a sweater, but non-buyer's remorse is a real thing, especially when you can't just hop online and order something. Robbins really loves puffins, but the sweater was too expensive for her buy at the time, and when she went back to Iceland in 2022, she couldn't find it again.

Fortunately—but unexpectedly—a random stranger who lives 4,000 miles away had the exact opposite regret about exactly the same sweater.

David Wiskus, who is the CEO of Nebula and lives in New York, shared that his regret was that he bought that puffin sweater for his wife two years ago on a trip to Iceland.

"She has worn it zero times," he wrote. "I'm in NYC. Cover shipping and it's yours."

Robbins was incredulous, but Wiskus was serious. "I would never joke about a puffin sweater," he wrote.

The people of X became invested in the puffin sweater exchange. What are the chances, after all?

But sure enough, 10 days after Robbins posted the photo of the sweater she wished she'd bought, it arrived at her home in Berlin, Germany. Wiskus even covered the shipping and expedited it, despite Robbins offering to pay for it.

And wouldn't you know, it fits her perfectly.

Robbins told TODAY.com she almost started crying when she received the package.

“I don’t know how else to explain it, but it’s like a tiny little moment where the universe cared about me," she said. “I’m living in a new country. We’ve only been in Berlin for like 11 months, and sometimes life is really hard. I don’t speak German. I thankfully have a job where I get to speak English, but this was just the universe being like, ‘Hey, I care about you and what you want.’”

Wiskus told TODAY.com that he was on a work trip to Amsterdam when he happened to come across Robbins' tweet and immediately recognized the sweater. It still had the tags on it in his wife's closet.

“I was sincere. I would happily get rid of that sweater,” he said. “I didn’t realize so many people on the internet would be that excited about it.”

“I can’t stress enough, I really thought this was just, like, doing a funny bit with a random stranger on (X) and it’s just turned into this other thing," he added. "But the sincerity of it is what I find so charming.”

How does his wife feel about him giving away her sweater? She's okay with it, he said, but she did tell him, “you’re going to have to take me to Iceland so I can get another sweater.”

People have loved the story on Upworthy's Instagram page, celebrating the internet being utilized for something so wholesome and magical:

"This is ABSOLUTELY what the internet is for. Nothing more. Nothing less."

"This is what I had hoped the internet and social media would partly be, connecting people around the world in really zany but loving ways. Keeping hope alive."

"Stories like these keep me coming back to the internet 😍👏🐧"

"This is the best damn use of the internet—more like this story!"

Who knew it a puffin sweater would bring people together to gush over the positive side of social media.

Pop Culture

Alan Tudyk creates Reddit account just to connect with fan who missed out on talking to him

The 'Resident Alien' star sent the sweetest message to a fan who lamented not telling him how important the show was to her.

This is how you treat a fan.

Even if you don’t typically get star struck, odds are there’s one celebrity that would send you into a nervous fit should you ever come face-to-face. Especially if that celebrity was part of a project that meant a great deal to you.

Like, how do you tell them that a movie or TV show they starred in changed your entire outlook on life in the 30 seconds that you’re probably allowed to interact with them? You can’t. So instead you say something lame alá “Gee, I’m your biggest fan,” as they politely sign some memorabilia, and then your time is up. Opportunity for connection with someone who greatly impacted your life: gone.

This is what happened when a fan of the sci-fi comedy “Resident Alien” got a chance to meet the show’s star, Alan Tudyk, at a convention.


Unfortunately, nerves got the best of her, and she “blew” her chance to share how meaningful the show has been during a particularly dark period of her life. Filled with anguish and embarrassment, she created a throwaway Reddit account just to vent about the experience.

“I went to Fan Fest Boston and met Alan on Saturday,” her post began. “I wanted to tell him that ‘Resident Alien’ was the first show that made me laugh after my husband died this winter, that it helped me to feel human again, and I wanted to thank him for that.”

via GIPHY

However, the OP was very aware of how “exhausted” Tudyk appeared, and the long lines of people still waiting to see him. Plus she knew they couldn’t say their piece “without crying.”

So instead, she “stood there awkward and stupid,” and made a joke about “Firefly,” the show that launched Tudyk’s career.

The entire debacle left the OP regretting that she never got a chance to let Tudyk know “that his work really affected someone and helped them through a hard time.”

“I know he probably wouldn’t care and he would forget by the end of the day so I’m not sure why it’s bothering me so much, but I just really wanted to say thank you.” the post concluded.

Well, through the almighty power of the internet, Tudyk found out about this post. And he responded in such a thoughtful way.

resident alien, alan tudyk

A photo of Tudyk's response

preview.redd.it

Here’s what he wrote:

“My friend sent me this. Sorry you feel like you missed your opportunity. I have read your message. I love that you have such a beautiful connection with the show. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I’m glad you’re finding your laugh again and honored that I’m a part of that. Your story and similar stories I’ve heard are so touching. It makes me feel like my work, which I appreciate getting to do, has worth beyond the Hollywood hustle of it all and the BS business of show business.”

Tudyk even gave the OP another opportunity to meet, inviting her to come by the following day before he hopped on a plane so that he could also say “thank you in person.”

Though the OP wasn’t able to meet Tudyk that day (she explained in a follow-up post that it would be her kids’ first Father’s Day without dad, and they had to “come first”), she noted that she would return to the same convection next year, and tell it to him again—this time in person.

She also ended her heartwarming post with a very appropo “Resident Alien” quote, in which Tudyk’s non-human character Harry reflects:

“Everyone needs to belong to something bigger than themselves. Yes, there is strength in numbers, but maybe it's simpler. Maybe humans just feel better when they know they are not alone on this earth.”

TikTokker Mackenzie Waddell shares a heartfelt story about her daughter.

A mother on TikTok shared a heartfelt moment when her 9-year-old daughter opened up about her self-image concerns, wondering about her appearance as she grows up. The story was a wonderful example of a mother delicately dealing with an issue that far too many young women face. It was also a difficult moment because the conversation brought up the mother's body issues as well.

The conversation happened while the two were clothes shopping at Target. “My 9-year-old’s saying she's fat, and this is because she has to wear adult sizes versus kids 'cause she's really tall, just like me,” Mackenzie Waddell told her 222,000 followers.


“She kept calling herself ‘fat’ and that she had too big of a butt and that the other kids her age don't have to wear adult clothes,” Waddell continued. “I reminded her that I, too, had to wear adult clothes when I was her age 'cause I was really tall just like she is.”

@missmommymack

Im so devastated that she feels that way about herself. 💔

The discussion led to a question that was hard for the mother to hear.

“... she asked me if she was gonna look like me when she grew up. And I asked her, ‘Do you mean big like me? When you grow up?’ And she said, ‘Yes. I'm not trying to be mean mom, but I want to look like Aunt Sarah, not you,’” she recalled.

Her daughter’s remarks hit her right in the heart, but she responded with perfect composure. "I kept a brave face and said, 'As long as you are happy and healthy, and you love yourself, that's all that matters. No matter what size you are,” Waddell said.

The mother was sure not to take it personally, but it still cut close to the bone. “And was I hurt? Yeah, I was. But she didn't mean to hurt me. It just really sucked. Yeah,” she concluded.

The post went viral, receiving over 1.7 million views and over 2,000 comments. The most popular commenter thought that Waddell should tell her daughter to avoid commenting on people’s weight.

"You should tell her she hurt your feelings. She needs to know. You did a great job supporting her in how she feels. She has to learn that skill also," Char8201 wrote.

However, many women responded with nothing but love for how Waddell handled such a challenging situation. "You responded beautifully, momma. She’s still learning and these are the moments where we provide that guidance, even when it hurts," Mavv13 wrote. "Oh mama. Thank god she feels comfortable to talk to you openly," tirrelltribe added.

After the tremendous response to her video, Waddell responded with another post, educating people about how one’s weight doesn’t necessarily mean they eat unhealthy. “A lot of people like to assume that plus-size people don’t know how to eat healthy or are unhealthy. When, in fact, we’re not,” Waddle said.

She added that her daughter lives a healthy lifestyle but avoids having conversations about weight with her because “That’s what traumatized me.”

@missmommymack

Replying to @user3838812846970 she will always be perfect, no matter what.

This article originally appeared on 9.28.23

@jfisher62/TikTok

"I had to unlearn it because it never was okay."


There is certainly no shortage of stories from women highlighting the glaring disparity between society’s expected responsibilities of husbands vs. wives. Some are a bit more lighthearted, poking fun at the absurdity. Others reflect utter frustration and had-it-up-to-here-edness with partners not doing their share of the work.

However, self-proclaimed “Clueless Husband” J Fisher’s honest, thoughtful retrospection on the subject shows that it’s not just female partners noticing that things need to change.

In a now-viral TikTok video, Fisher describes how he used to consider himself the “main character” of his relationship.


What exactly did that look like? Early on in his marriage, it looked something like this:

“Say we'd be going on a trip. My partner at that point in time would be doing the laundry, vacuuming the house, making sure the dishes were done. I would think, I would literally think like, ‘Well, yeah, we don't have to do that. That's you wanting to do that. It's not what I want to do,’” he explained in the clip.
@jfisher62 What NOT to do as a husband #fyp #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #fairplay #parenting #feminism #dismantlethepatriarchy #relationship #marriage #support #partnering ♬ original sound - J Fisher

Fisher later shared how his wife would then get everything ready for said trip, while he would simply pack for himself. This continued even after they had kids. It became worse, actually.

“My partner would do all the work to get all of them ready to make sure they were bathed, snacks packed, and I would get myself ready.”

Looking back, Fisher can plainly see how this behavior was “not okay.” But how did he think this was acceptable in the first place? After some reflection, he realized that it was simply the standard being modeled to him from an early age.

“I saw my own father do this quite a bit where he would take care of his own needs. So, I know I didn't learn it from nowhere," he said. "But I also had to unlearn it because it never was okay. I thought that my role was to do all these things outside of the home and that the home was women's domain. I saw that modeled and even taught as the way it should be, but, oh my gosh, is that not partnership? And that sucks.”

After coming to this revelation, Fisher’s opinion is that if you approve of this division of labor, that you “shouldn’t be in a relationship.”

Hard to argue with that.

Hoping that he can further illustrate a better partnering mindset in a way that “may help it click for some guys,” Fisher has all kinds of insightful TikToks focused on taking accountability and expanding emotional intelligence. In them, he often names therapy, setting boundaries, finding community and accessing personal joy (rather than relying on a partner to fulfill all emotional needs) as major tools for creating a more equal relationship.

@jfisher62 Good intention ≠ Truly loving 💔😔 “I’m Sorry” doesn’t begin to do it justice. #fyp #foryoupage #marriage #longtermrelationship #partner #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #accountability #healingjourney #grief#stagesofgrief #dabda #acceptance ♬ original sound - J Fisher

And perhaps the best part—there doesn’t seem to be so much shame around the subject. Fisher acknowledges his own goodwill while still admitting to displaying less-than-healthy behavior. It’s hard not to feel like if maybe this kind of honest, yet compassionate reexamination of gender stereotypes were more commonplace, we’d all collectively be a lot farther ahead.


This article originally appeared on 5.4.23