No Kidding

Published 18 years, 3 months past

After a short evening walk, Tantek and Kat and Carolyn and I arrived at 219 West in Austin, Texas for the WestCiv gathering.  The crowd inside was quite loud and densely packed, saturated with so many Web geeks that it was threatening to precipitate a site right onto the carpet.

Just as we got close to some people we knew, a staff member appeared at our elbows.  “I’m very sorry, folks, but this is a 21-and-over establishment,” he said with a distinct lack of sorrow.

So if you wondered where we were, or happened to spot us in the 90 second window before we left, or I walked past you without interacting and never got back to you… that’s why.  We weren’t blowing you off; we just ran afoul of an odd local custom.

As a result, we’ll be absent from the vast majority of the evening gatherings at SXSW.  Hope all you kids have fun.  We’ll be hanging out with the other grown-ups and getting some sleep.

Comments (11)

  1. I hear your pain. I live in Austin and have 3 kiddos. I’d love to be there trying to meet everyone I read on a regular basis, but I’m pretty sure my wife wouldn’t be too thrilled with me checking out of the family for 5 days to attend the day and night festivities while she hangs out with the kids on spring break.

    Hmmm… seeing that there are several people in the same boat. What if I hosted a cookout? We’ve got a trampoline, playscape, enough toys to start a Toys-R-Us, and a bunch of frozen margeritas from a party my wife hosted last night.

    Somebody touch base with me and lets give it some thought.

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  3. Definitely a downer if you have kids with you. Gives me something to remember in the future if/when my wife comes with me. BTW, it was a pleasure getting a chance to meet you in person.

  4. My Small Person is of school age (hence my not being able to come to SXSW as someone needs to do the school run) however here in the UK people tend to look at you like you are crazy if you actually want to take your children out with you. Pubs in the evening are a definite no-no and restaurant staff look at you in horror …

    Despite this we take the Small Person to anywhere unless it is actually against the law, the end result being she is very well behaved when with a group of adults and most of our local eateries know her well now and don’t look quite so alarmed :)

  5. Hi Eric,

    Just goes to show how different cultures can be, in Belgium bringing the kids to a restaurant or even a pub isn’t considered not-done at all, in fact it’s pretty rare (at least around 7 or 8 pm) for a busy restaurant not to contain some families with kids eating out – even the fancier restaurants.

    Not all that many “21-and-over” (more likely “18-and-over” here) establishments where you’d want to take your kids (or even your wife, if you catch my drift ;) ) here…


  6. Children should not be brought to good restaurants unless they are quiet and obedient. People — including those who have children — go to restaurants (with the exception of McDonald’s, Chuck E. Cheese, and others of that ilk) to have a peaceful, relaxing meal and conversation.

    If a child misbehaves in a restaurant (such as by making loud noises, throwing food, crying, banging on the table, etc.), the child must be removed immediately. Removing the child promptly reduces the impact of the child’s misbehavior on innocent bystanders, teaches said child that such behavior is not appropriate and results in the instantaneous termination of an enjoyable activity.

    Jerry Steinberg
    Founding Non-Father of NO KIDDING!
    The international social club for childless and childfree couples and singles;

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  8. Define “good restaurants”, Jerry. As you no doubt inferred from my post, 219 West was basically a restaurant/bar, and any child (had it been allowed in) could have held the world’s worst temper tantrum and not been heard five feet away. In fact, from what little glancing around I was able to do, many kids would have been better behaved than half the adults there.

    So do you just have such a large axe to grind that you did it even where it didn’t really make sense to do so? Personally, I largely agree with the points you made, but the manner in which you push your agenda definitely needs some work.

  9. To: Jerry Steinberg…

    How about adding this to your rule about restaurant attendance: “Adults should not be brought to good restaurants unless they are quiet and obedient.”

    I don’t think adult-focused establishments should not be turned into playgrounds. In my experience, however, I’ve been more bothered by misbehaving adults than by misbehaving children. I don’t know that we need special rules for children, but rather, better rules (and compliance) by all restaurant guests.

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  11. By “a good restaurant” I mean a restaurant with table service, a restaurant with a wine list, a restaurant with tablecloths, a smoke-free restaurant (after all, you wouldn’t want to put someone off a $100 meal, would you?), a restaurant in which the level of the din still allows one to hear a salad fork fall on the carpeted floor.

    The few remaining child-burdened friends that I still have agree. They don’t want their evening ruined any more than childfree folks do; in fact, since they have kids, they dine out (at “good restaurants”) less frequently than childfree people do, so it’s more of a rare treat for them. Noisy, disruptive children should be removed from the venue IMMEDIATELY. That includes restaurants, cinemas, museums, art galleries, libraries, etc. — any public place in which people expect peaceful quiet in which they can communicate with one another without having to resort to yelling.

    And children should never be taken into smoky bars. Second-Hand Indoor Tobacco Smoke (appropriate acronym there) is a major cause of asthma and ear infections in children. If the bar is smoke-free, then it will not pose the same health hazard to children.

    And I agree that ANYONE who misbehaves in a public place and disturbs others should be removed IMMEDIATELY — child or adult.

    Jerry Steinberg
    Founding Non-Father of NO KIDDING!
    The international social club for childless and childfree couples and singles;

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