Monday, November 14, 2005

Whine and Dine

A news item on Sunday recounted a story about a restaurant in New York that doesn't allow unruly or exceedingly loud children and the parents were outraged. How dare the restaurant presume to teach their children manners or penalize them for not having any. One mother actually said on camera that she used to be irritated by such behavior herself until she had children and realized how difficult it was to control them.

Oh, boy. I cannot let this one go. If I'm paying for a meal - I don't care if its Denny's or Mary Elaine's in the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale where one can easily drop $500 for a meal - I have certain expectations. One is service. Two is ambiance - the ability to carry on a conversation over a meal I didn't have to prepare nor will have to clean up after. I don't want to share that time with someone else's children who can't be controlled. Nor do I want to have to look at toothless grins with drool running out mouths and bits and pieces sometimes aimed in my direction. Nor do I want to visit with them when they stray from their table.

I wonder where my generation has gone so wrong. We were taught table manners, how to speak, how to dress and how to behave. We obviously failed to pass on the necessity of same since today there is a thriving business in classes to teach college students and, worse yet, grade school kids - manners! Why don't the parents teach them?

We went from suits and ties to casual Friday to casual. We went from one not wearing a hat inside to baseball caps on backwards everywhere. At least businesses are now beginning to reinstate dress codes. They've found sloppy dress leads to sloppy work. There was a time when we lived in Houston and Bum Phillips was coach of the Oilers. He was asked why he didn't wear his trademark cowboy hat in the Astrodome. His reply, in effect, was his Mama taught him it was impolite to wear a hat indoors. Enough said.

I wonder if a baby sitter isn't about equal in cost to feeding the tykes in a restaurant - especially if there is more than one. I should think the parents might enjoy an evening without the hub bub themselves.

At the very least be polite enough not to use a public venue as a training ground for kids. If you don't want the restaurant to teach them - you teach them. Then bring them out. Not everyone in the establishment is going to think they are as cute as you do.

Its kind of like Bacchus. Not everyone thinks he's as wonderful as I do. I don't take him to visit. His table manners though aren't all that bad.


Word Tosser said...

AMEN to that.... so well said...

I have said, when they wanted to have no smoking section... that they should have no children section. Maybe have the resturant in half... Family Room and a room for the rest of us.
This was with my own children too. My kids didn't see the inside of a regular resturant until they were in their teens.
I know I will be thought of as a horror child hating person. But I have paid good money for dinners that I didn't get to enjoy because of screaming babies, child kicking the back of my booth, or child throwing food. To the tune of the parents saying sweetly, honey don't do that.... and most of the time not even saying I'm sorry to us. My kids were home with a babysitter... I wanted peace and quiet. And no, going at a late hour didn't guarntee it either.
With a Family Dining, the kids can do their thing with other families around doing theirs. And we can be having a quiet peaceful meal in ours.
Well said, Dogwalking.

Irving said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I too,have often wondered what had happened to manners in this country but like you said, many parents aren't teaching any so the question then becomes - WHY? Don't they care? It is so frustrating. Even at ball games people have to be told to remove caps during the playing of the National Anthem. That was one of the first things I ever learned in my life. No one had to tell me to do it after that. As for restaurants, there should be restaurants for kids, restaurants for adults, or in some cases as your suggest, separate sections.