Parents Vs. Childless In Anonymous Internet Smackdown
A few months ago Eater posted a short blurb to the effect that Dale Levitski, AKA goofy Dale from Top Chef Season 3, will start serving brunch at his Chicago restaurant “Sprout,” with the real news being that no kids are allowed, in an otherwise kid-friendly neighborhood. “Anyway”, observes Eater “we’re sure the stroller class is going to get up-in-arms about this.” So, you can see where this is going.
Flash forward to June when J. Frankfurter is aimlessly clicking around Eater and comes across this seemingly innocuous write-up. Having two children himself, who he frequently brings to restaurants, J. Frankfurter stops to read the article. It becomes quite clear that Eater has only bothered to report on this piece of non-news for the purpose of provoking some controversy – and indeed, the comments section has quickly devolved into a full-on flame war.
Some readers are fully supportive of this policy, and seem to have some preconceived notions about parents:
There are more brunch options in chicago than buildings in some suburbs i.e. don’t go to sprout if you have kids. That’s it! Just, don’t, go; the rest of us will have a splendid time while you’re conversing about what new-agey parenting books you just read and if you foresee patronizing a charter school, or tossing your offspring into the CPS.
Other readers seem to feel that having kids around will cramp their style
Do you know how hard it is to have a nice, quiet, brunch without your messy brats SCREECHING in my ear? It’s Sunday. I want quiet. I am hungover. I am going to talk about how hungover I am, graphically. And maybe what drugs my friends did, and who hooked up with whom. No kids, yay!
This draws a swift and decisive reaction:
I think YOU should stay home. You’re the one with the problem, not me. If I want to take my SCREECHING kids out to brunch, not only will I do that, I’ll personally seek your hungover ass out just to piss you off.
Finally, a voice of reason chimes in:
Nice. Just, nice. What we all need is more confrontation about silly-ass things. All of you, grow up.
But it is ignored:
Why should I be allowed to have one nice, quiet, place where I can enjoy a meal with friends and not have to worry about it being ruined by obnoxious children? You chose to have kids, I chose not to. Don’t force your lifestyle choices on me. And at BRUNCH no less, in front of the EGGS.
And then things just get ugly:
By the way, those of us who /choose/ to continue the human race actually do expect a little thanks from selfish little non-breeding jerks, just like you.
Really? Seriously? I’ll spare you the points here about overpopulation, et. al. So you get no thanks from me for the great service you’re doing to me with your offspring.
And from there things just go downhill:
What a pompous ass. Maybe there should be restaurants where men can’t go? Women? Black people? Chinese?
Then everyone gets all insulted and offended that someone would equate this to racism and sexism, etc. Then finally someone named “Lynette Spring Baker” chimes in with this:
To all the parents with well-behaved, respectful children who feel slighted, let’s face it: some less-than-stellar parents ruined it for you. Please place your angst where it belongs.
First of all, I’ll just state the obvious – these people are all idiots. Second of all, I am a parent of two energetic children, ages 4 years and 21 months. I like to go out and eat in restaurants, and I do so often, with my children. Here’s where I stand on this issue: more power to Dale Levitski if he wants to keep children out of his restaurant. Frankly, I could care less, and the fact is, most other places are kid-friendly.
In regard to bringing my own children to restaurants, I follow my own set of guidelines that are intended to prevent them from ruining other people’s meals. Call it self-policing. The way I see it, in exchange for me following these guidelines, the other patrons of a restaurant can, in return, STFU and mind their own business.
Here are my guidelines:
1) I will not take the kids to restaurants that are clearly not kid-friendly, or that are excessively quiet/romantic.
2) I will bring along toys, games and/or art supplies to keep them busy and quiet.
3) I will keep them from running around the restaurant.
4) I will tip very generously if my kids make a big mess, or create lots of extra work for the waitstaff
5) I will remove the kids from the premises if they start screaming or causing a loud disruption
So that’s my end of the deal, and I’ll keep it. But if you’re hung over and don’t feel comfortable sitting near two little kids, too fucking bad for you. I’ve been up since before 7am and probably had a bad nights sleep, and I could care less if I’m cramping your style.