how do you feel about children in adult-oriented places?

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dear anderson,

i thought i would send you a quick note after coming across the latest wordpress writing challenge. the topic is whether children should be allowed in adult oriented places. as you know, this is a topic i am quite passionate about. this is because i generally dislike being in the presence of children. i don’t want to appear as though i am a cranky old ogre who hates all kids, but at times that is totally who i am. i think people who have kids are more than welcome to that burden, but why should i be subjected to it as well?

i don’t want to seem unreasonable. i am fully aware of the fact that if parents didn’t brave the outside world they would probably lose their minds and their kids would be socially deprived oddballs. but, that fact does not automatically give parents and kids free reign on said outside world. there have to be limitations. i mean, i don’t get to go hang out in family bathrooms at the mall, so i think it’s only fair that i don’t need to associate with children when i’m out and about. there are choices that families can make, just as there are choices i can make as a childless misanthrope.

for example, when i travel i love going to adults only hotels. this way i know that the only people who are peeing in the pool are drunk dudes, rather than every baby in sight. mostly it’s the sounds of children playing that bother me. they have no concept of how loud they are. i know i only learned this myself at the age of approximately 27, but being startled by kids screaming “cannonball!” is the fastest way to ruin a vacation for me. so i think that by actively planning to avoid children everyone wins, i can swear loudly, be tipsy and relax and children can get excited about a pirate themed pool down the street. but, why do i have to be the one that has to plan?

when i make dinner reservations i think about when best to avoid families, when i go to the mall i do the same thing. but then i can’t help but think to myself, why am i planning my life around children? i don’t have them, nor do i want them but they still have a level of control on my happiness. and i think that’s where my anger and frustrations come from. i certainly don’t want parents to feel agoraphobic , but i don’t think it’s fair that i am more aware of their kids than they are themselves. i know when their kid is playing on their iphone and the sound is too loud, i know when their kid is peering under the door of a bathroom stall and i know when their kid is standing right in the middle of the sidewalk. i don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect the parents to be aware as well. i feel sympathy when a baby is crying on an airplane, and i rarely get mad when that happens. what i don’t like is a child standing on their seat looking back at me expecting me to smile and amuse them. i have my own stuff going on, that is not my responsibility. i have found the best way to discourage this particular behaviour is to glare at the child, for the most part they get the message. sometimes the little buggers are persistent though and think we’re playing some sort of face making game. at which point, i have been known to crack a smile. but that smile is always forced.

I do make an exception when it comes to children i know. Generally i like them, but still in relatively small doses. If we are related their chances of positive attention are greatly increased. In fact, i have a calendar of pictures of my cousin’s kids at my desk and i genuinely love opening a new month. I just don’t really like strangers or their children.

i know i’m kinda vehement on the subject and i try to put myself in a frazzled couple’s shoes when they just want a normal life. but, i just don’t think i need to be impacted. so yes, i do feel that there is a time and a place for children, but if they’re well behaved and not demented, screaming dirt balls, i probably won’t get too upset if i encounter them during a nice dinner out. and, if i can’t stand the thought of a child being in my vicinity, i will plan accordingly. And, if i’m seated at a restaurant by a family that leaves a messy disaster zone in their wake, i tip a little extra because they didn’t ask for the burden either.

until next time,
~k

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