Temerity Jane
15. 07. 2011

Ok, I know this is one of the most tired topics in the entire world, but my kid is new, so you basically have to hear all of it all over again.

Another restaurant, this one in Pennsylvania, has banned children. Well, not all children, but children under six. I don’t see why this is still making news, because it’s happened before and isn’t exactly a novel idea anymore, but there you have it.

I was discussing it on Twitter with some people yesterday, and everyone I was talking to was totally in favor of the idea, because they are sane individuals, like myself, at least where restaurants and children are concerned.

However, I did see someone this morning saying that they thought that banning children from a restaurant was “disgusting.” Because… I don’t know why. Because children should be welcome everywhere? Because your children should be welcome everywhere? Because sometimes you want to go places that aren’t child appropriate but have no one to watch your kids while you go, so you have to take them with you, and if they were banned, you wouldn’t get to go where you want to go?

As far as I can tell, it comes down to that last reason, combined with the fact that some people really believe that their children are a delight, universally loved by everyone and no. No, they’re not. Really. REALLY.

Even though we have a kid, and have for two months now, basically making us experts, Phil and I are still firmly of the belief that there are places where children do not belong. Example – we’re both huge Harry Potter fans, but we didn’t go to see a midnight showing of the movie for two reasons. One, Penny doesn’t belong in a midnight movie. Two, we had already been asleep for three and a half hours.

I don’t doubt, though, that there were a bunch of babies and small children at different midnight showings around the country, and I think it’s probably because the parents just couldn’t wrap their minds around denying themselves something because of the baby. No, it’s definitely best to take the small kid along and possibly ruin the experience for everyone, because it definitely wouldn’t be fair if you had to miss it just because you have a kid.

Phil and I are also agreed upon the fact that we are definitely Leavers. You know, if you’re in a store or restaurant and your kid starts being a total shit, you leave. Leavers. Well, in a restaurant, first you can try taking them outside and walking them around a little bit before you leave, but assholery of the kind that will not be rewarded with a dinner out in public ends in Leaving. To go boxes or cancelled orders or whatever. Full cart in the store? Fine.

And don’t give me that “just wait til you’re actually IN the situation” shit like with the shopping cart thing. We still put our shopping carts away, and we would absolutely leave a restaurant or store if Penny was acting up in a way that was making everyone else in the whole place miserable, or, when she’s older, acting in a way that isn’t in line with the behavior we expect from her, whether or not she is disturbing everyone.

Something I heard ALL THE TIME as a waitress: A kid is just throwing this huge fit at the table, or throwing food, or knocking shit over, and the parent says to me, “Just ignore him. He’s only doing it for attention.”


I totally get that it would ruin a nice night out for Phil and I as well. And I totally get that leaving a full cart is embarrassing and having to come back later would be a total pain in the ass. And I AM bummed that we haven’t seen Harry Potter yet, and won’t get to experience it with all the rabid super fans (we’re going to the drive in to see it). But the difference between us and the people who don’t remove their poorly behaved children, or who show up to places and events that are clearly not for children is that we’re completely aware that “fairness” doesn’t come into play at all anymore.

Honestly, I just can’t think of why some parents are insistent on bringing their children to events where they clearly don’t belong or are actually totally unwelcome, other than the fact that they themselves don’t want to miss out, and can’t wrap their minds around the idea of having to pass on some of the more awesome events because they can’t leave their kids. Which, in my mind, comes down to “It’s not FAIR that YOU get to go and I DON’T, just because I have a kid, so I’m bringing him. Then it’s FAIR.” And that’s my generous assumption. The other assumption would be that someone is so self-absorbed and so self-important that they truly do not give a shit about the experience of others and are perfectly fine ruining it as long as they get to go where and do what they want, when they want.

Anyway, I’m annoyed just talking about it. Phil and I are Leavers and we will see Harry Potter at the drive in with the windows closed and Penny in the back, and don’t give me that “just wait until it’s you in the situation” crap because I am TELLING YOU – we’d leave.

Whatever. Here’s my kid.

Got a hot lead on a job as a mannequin at Penney’s.

I don’t know if you know this, Internet, but I don’t drink. At all. And you know, it’s kind of super awkward, and weirdly, it was only more awkward when I was pregnant and now breastfeeding.

When you’re with a bunch of people who are drinking, most of the time it is not even a thing if you order a diet soda instead of alcohol, but there are always those situations where there are one or two people who don’t seem to have progressed much past college age, who want everyone to drink because drinking is how you have a good time.

Those people will generally encourage you to come on! Just have one drink with us! And I say, I am having a drink and my drink is diet soda. But no, no, that’s not enough, it has to be alcohol to be a drink, and I say, well, I don’t drink.

With pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is always someone who wants to jump in and tell you, “You can have a drink you know. It’s okay to go ahead and have one.” Or to tell you about pumping and dumping, or what have you. And I reply, well, I don’t drink, soooo… “BUT YOU CAN HAVE ONE. IT’S FIIIIINE.”

Yeah, I don’t drink. So, no.

But you have to be careful when you say, “I don’t drink,” because that sentence leads to assumptions.

Assumption 1: I’m anti-alcohol and I’m sitting here, drinking my diet soda, and JUDGING YOU as you have a margarita or two.

Not true! I do not give half a crap if you choose to drink. Please, go ahead. Drink! I just don’t. I’m not anti-alcohol. I’m anti-me-having alcohol. As in, I won’t have any. You go ahead. I don’t care. You will not convince me to drink with you, but you go on with your bad self. Get a little crazy. Wear a leopard cowboy hat and “Woooo!” a little. I’ll watch.

Assumption 2: I am a recovering alcoholic.

Also not true! I’ve never had a problem with alcohol, other than the problems I have with people who continually try to cajole me into drinking alcohol after I’ve politely said, “No, thank you.”

What I need is an easy, polite way to convey that I don’t drink, without having people jump to either of those conclusions.

In most situations, it’s not necessary. Someone asks what I’m drinking, I say diet soda, and we all move on. But you know the people I’m talking about. The ones who kind of push for everyone to join in on the alcohol consumption, because they’ve associated alcohol with having a good time? Those people always push me to the point that I find myself needing a polite and firm way of saying, “I don’t drink.”

“I don’t drinkon it’s own should be enough, but it’s not always, because of the assumptions above. I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable drinking AROUND me – I really am perfectly happy with diet soda and have zero investment in what anyone else drinks.

And look, I get that there’s nothing to be ashamed of about being an alcoholic in recovery, and I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but I’d really rather people not assume that I am or was an alcoholic. Because I’m not. And never was. So while I have nothing against alcoholics (which is a stupid thing to say, because, come on – I’m just being polite here), I don’t think it’s fair that I should allow myself to be thought of as an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic just because it’s easier than trying to get a VERY SIMPLE CONCEPT through to some people.

“But you used to drink! You drank that time, remember?” I do remember. I did used to drink. I also used to poop in my pants, but I gradually stopped doing that, too.

I don’t drink because I don’t like it. There is absolutely no alcoholic beverage that I prefer over the taste of diet soda. Diet soda is less expensive. I don’t feel like shit the next morning after drinking a little too much diet soda. And I hate – HATE – the feeling of being drunk. I hate it. Even slightly tipsy. I can’t stand it. I don’t even drink the alcoholic beverages in WoW – a VIDEO GAME – because the drunk effect is too realistic for me.

So I don’t want to lie (I’m allergic to alcohol, I have to get up early, I’m donating my liver tomorrow, etc), and I don’t want people to assume things. There’s got to be a way to say “I don’t drink” that doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable, doesn’t make anyone think I have a problem with alcohol, and shuts down the nagging to “just have one!”

I don’t know that there really is a way, though. Internet, you should know – some people just don’t drink. Even if they used to. No, not just one. None. Zero drinks. No judging, just no alcohol. Really. None at all. I can, I’m just not going to.

Be a peach and really get in my neck rolls, would you?