Restaurant bans children under five, reignites debate about kids in restaurants
Last week, a restaurant in Rome banned children under five, and the news made the never-ending debate about kids in restaurants resurface. The owner of the popular seafood restaurant La Fraschetta del Pesce slipped this sign in his window… and some people were not happy.
The sign translates to, “Due to some unpleasant incidents caused by a lack of manners, children under five are not allowed in this restaurant.” The restaurant owner has some strong feelings and opinions about kids, as evidenced by this interview Grub Street unearthed: “They run slalom among the tables,” he told the paper La Repubblica. “They throw olive oil on the floor, they upturn the water, they send the salt [cellar] flying across the room, they try to dismantle the furniture, they shout, they cry and above all… they hate fish.”
They hate fish. Dying.
Personally, I appreciate a sign like this, because I like to know when establishments are totally intolerant of children so I don’t accidentally bring my kids in there and end up spending money in a place where I’m clearly not welcome. The thing is, this argument about children in restaurants is often pitted as a childfree vs. parents argument — and it’s not. It’s really, really not.
You know who hates enduring misbehaved children on a dinner date? Parents, that’s who. Parents who’ve managed to escape their own annoying children for a few hours of peace, roll into a nice restaurant, then have to hear little Timmy whining about his food or dodge him running around the restaurant. Parents hate this shit more than anyone, because they’ve finally gotten a respite from their own children and are forced to deal with someone else’s.
Let’s stop making this a parents vs. the world argument. For every one place that doesn’t “allow children” — there are dozens that do. I’d rather know what that one place is ahead of time so I don’t bring my kids in, and also so I can make a mental note that the one night every couple months I get to slip out and enjoy a meal alone, I can be sure there won’t be kids there screaming in my face.
As far as I’m concerned, I gave birth to the most perfect specimens that ever lived, are living, or will live. If I need to get away from the sounds of my own children, whom I carried for nine months and had sliced from my womb, whom I love more than anything on this planet — do you really think I want to hear someone else’s? The answer is “no.”
We all know what the issue is, and it’s not that all parents believe kids should be able to go anywhere at any time. It’s that we all have different definitions of what is appropriate and expected in a public space, and often that changes depending upon the mood you’re in, the stress you’re under, and how the planets are aligned. There are people who can’t stand children and don’t think they should be allowed in some restaurants, period. There are people who think kids she be able to be kids, and the general public needs to be more patient. Most people fall somewhere in the spectrum between these extremes.
I’ll gladly keep my kids out of restaurants owned by people who think all kids suck. And I’ll gladly enjoy a silent glass of wine there, too.