Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury links to a report of an interesting phenomenon: Gen X and Millenial parents feel comfortable enough to drag their stroller-bound young ‘uns to bars:
Millennial and Gen X parents are changing child-rearing expectations to remain as close to pre-kid life as possible — so much so that meeting up with friends for drinks is low-key enough to bring the kids (NYTimes.com 2.10.08).
This is the sheerest sort of lunacy. Let us all remind ourselves of what happens in bars.
- People drink alcohol and eat food.
- Sometimes they also listen loud music and play games.
- In a drunken haze, people also try to solve the problems of the world and/or pick up somebody of the opposite sex.
- With enough alcohol, some people can get loud, uncoordinated, belligerent, horny, or all of the above.
Parents considering dragging their kids to a bar should carefully consider the following questions:
- Name one seemingly insurmountable problem facing the world that you solemnly swear your child will undertake to solve after said child has consumed no less than three pints of beer. If the kid can’t hold their beer you may substitute three drams of single-malt scotch.
- What is the maximum number of cuss words—and at what volume—your child will be permitted to hear before the bar ceases to be appropriate?
- What is the maximum number (or nature) of sexual exploits—and at what volume—your child will be permitted to hear before the bar ceases to be appropriate?
- What is the maximum number of poorly aimed darts, errant cue balls, or spilled drinks your child will be permitted to endure before the bar ceases to be appropriate?
- How many times are you willing to get kicked in the nads by other patrons by telling them to “watch their language” or “pipe down” or “don’t launch the cue ball off the table” because your child is present—against all logic and reason—in the bar. Where adults congregate. And talk about adult things. At adult volume. Drinking things only adults are permitted to be served.
You get the basic idea.
Look, there is a place where adults and kids can gather together and the adults can enjoy a drink in a fully-controlled environment where the kid will not overhear undesired swear words, sexual content, or have any contact with random non-conscientious strangers. It’s called Your Own Damn Living Room with Treehouse on the TV. Learn to love it.
A few years ago I toured Spadina House, a grand old Edwardian mansion next door to Casa Loma. The original owners, the Austin family, had some fairly strict rules about certain areas of the house. Children and women were not permitted in the billiard room, because that is where the adult males smoked, cussed, consumed alcohol and—presumably—acted with typical lack of good judgment and graces, as men can do when they get sufficiently liquored up. The one day the whole family was allowed in was Christmas morning, when dad would get all decked out in the Father Christmas outfit and distribute presents.
I tend to think that in some ways they got it right. While this is not necessarily a good template for our gender-equal times, there is something to be said for keeping adult activities and child activities separated. For most sensible people, never the twain shall meet, and wanting to mash the two together just seems absurd and pointless.