I consider myself to be a pretty non-judgmental person. I really don’t care how you birth your kid, how you feed your kid, and how you raise your kid, as long as you don’t bring your screaming kid into a fancy restaurant.
After that whole Alinea debacle in January I thought we had all come to a pretty universal conclusion; if you’re going somewhere that it takes four hours to get your meal that will cost lots and lots of money, leave your kid at home. And no, this wasn’t something we established during our annual “Childless Bitch Initiative Conference” at the Hilton. Parents know more than anyone how annoying babies can be.
Well, we’re all getting tut-tutted over at The Powder Room, because if you don’t like babies screaming at your restaurant, that you must be “childless,” you’re almost certainly classist, and somehow it is probably also the millennials’ fault:
“So much of the objection is deeply rooted in classism. Apparently, if you can only afford to eat at the Olive Garden for your best date nights, you deserve what you get – maybe you should have made more money or stayed home if you didn’t want to deal with children being children. There’s a certain arrogance that informs the idea that dinner at a place like Alinea is somehow sacrosanct and to be held in highest regard, but people at Chili’s haven’t earned a meal in peace.”
No. There is too much no here. First let’s talk about what this person is assuming to be true, and that’s that anyone goes to The Olive Garden on date night. Come on.
Second, I don’t care where I am. I don’t care if I spend $200 on a meal or $15 on a meal, I still don’t want to hear your kid scream. Of course, that’s based on the understanding that I am a very crotchety, very cranky individual. With that said, if your baby cries in a Chili’s, I feel that I have rescinded the right to side eye you. Chili’s is a family place. I’m likely there with my family.
But yeah, if the meal costs more, my looks will get progressively dirtier, my passive aggressive “Oh my goodness, can you believe this?” will get progressively snarkier, until eventually I’m just staring at you rudely, hoping that the discomfort you feel is almost as uncomfortable as the shrill cry of your infant as they squirm in their seat.
I don’t think that people who expect peace and quiet at an expensive restaurant are entitled, classist, or, as the author suggests, “childless”:
“So to all the childless adults inconvenienced by children on their special night, if you’re eating at Alinea, you’re already doing better than most. Quit complaining about the 3% of the time they have to deal with children instead of thanking the stars and birth control for the other 97%. You just need to stop it.”
Even if I were childfree, I would never stop. Never. A lot of people that complain about kids in restaurants aren’t the barren-wombed shrews that this author imagines. They’re me. They’re my husband. They are parents that have one-one!-cotdamn night to go out every year, they’ve saved for it, booked a sitter, booked a back up sitter. Legs have been shaved past the knee, people. So please leave your kids at home.
I’d also like to offer the following rebuttal: People who want to enjoy a night out in peace after spending far too much money aren’t “whiny and entitled”, the parents who tote their kids everywhere, even to Michelin-starred restaurants are, and they’re raising the next bunch of entitled whiners, too. Some places aren’t for kids. No. Not even your kid, the specialist of all the dazzling snowflakes.
If you want to make everyone uncomfortable by bringing your screaming infant or prone-to-tantrums toddler into a three-star place well past everyone’s bedtime, than I think you’re a douche. If you then make a stink about the place not having changing tables/not having saltines for your kid to smush on the floor/calling you out for being a selfish jerk, then you might be the elusive megadouche.
Do kids need to learn situation specific behavior? Sure. Why not start with the situation specific behavior of not being bored to the point of crying or being shitty at a restaurant or symphony or museum, just because you can’t be arsed to figure out a better solution.