There used to be standards about acceptable behavior. What was said between friends when their parents or the children weren’t around versus what might be said at the dining room table. What was said in public versus what was said in the barracks. The difference between public and private is no longer blurred – it’s gone. And I openly admit that my foul mouth has contributed, right along with everyone else, to its demise.
But I do have to question a few things. When did it become okay to wear a tee shirt with the “F” word into a restaurant for dinner? When did it become okay to stand in line at a bank and discuss your sexual conquest from the night before? When did it become okay to talk about erectile dysfunction during family hour on television? And don’t even get me started on the people that talk on their phones (’cause we all know how important they are) while in line, in restaurants, or at the movies! When did everyone’s personal rights become more important than those of the people surrounding them?
And heaven forbid you say anything about that behavior. My husband politely asked the young man in the bank to hold it down because there were ladies present, and got a rant from this crap bucket about his right to say whatever he wanted. Managers of restaurants and retail stores say nothing because someone has told them that “the customer is always right.”
It would be really easy to blame it on television. The first time Arnold smarted off to Mr. Drummond and the first airing of The Simpson’s may have sounded the alarm for the end of the polite child. But it isn’t their fault. It’s ours. We didn’t teach our children (or our friends) what was acceptable or polite, or the difference between public and private.
And now, we’ve crossed to the dark side where we may not be able to change some of those things. Parents now face being brought up on abuse charges for delivering a well-deserved smack on the butt to a brat. Restaurant and store managers face being fired for asking people to control their children or asking them to leave because their dress or behavior is offensive to other diners.
Let me be clear – I would happily eat out in a restaurant that had a no-kids section. I hate going into a brew-pub and finding a mess of kids in the place because they’re allowed in since food is served. Really! Let’s take the kids to the bar with us? Is there no safe place? I don’t want to sit in the bar and listen to your kid scream. What is this? Date night for the people who are so dysfunctional they wouldn’t even qualify to get on Jerry Springer? I hate to tell you people – most of us don’t like your kids. We don’t think they’re cute. We’re just sorry you didn’t have to have a license to reproduce – you wouldn’t have qualified and we’d have had a nice meal without them and you. And if you’re going to ignore them – why not leave them home unattended rather than inflicting them on us!
If you are the type of parent that needs me to stand in front of the security camera as a blind so you can smack your brat – I’m here for you. If you aren’t going to control your brat – don’t call me – we aren’t friends.
I would also happily pay a little extra to eat in a place where I didn’t have to see every girls bra straps or whale tail, muffin top, bare midriff, cottage cheese thighs in short-shorts, men’s underwear – or worse – their butt cracks, and tee shirts with the “F” word. I’d also pay a little more for a restaurant that banned cell phone use completely. No ring tones, no texting, no checking your mail, and no talking to someone loudly on the phone while everyone else is forced to put up with your rude and insensitive behavior. Unless it’s a sports bar, I’d also be happy to go to a place that didn’t have a television. It’s hard to talk to people sitting across from you when they keep looking at the TV or their Facebook news feed.
But the simple fact is, the boundaries have changed and we must now live with a good bit of behavior that would have earned most of us a whipping when we were younger. There’s no way to go back in time to a kinder and gentler society – that ship has sailed. But there is always time to choose how you behave, what your boundaries are, and who you will associate with.
Here endeth the rant!
Lisa Pietsch says
I was at a local restaurant having a lovely dinner with one of my favorite companions one evening when a couple came in with an infant. They had just been seated when the baby got fussy. They both got up, made their apologies to the waitress and left.
I was impressed. My companion and I had a lovely dinner (even though the waitress dropped full trays twice).
* Now, mind you, when I was married and my own infant acted up, my husband was one of those F-Tards that would just carry on while the child screamed. It was always up to me to pack up the kid and leave the restaurant while F-Tard ate his dinner hot and I got mine to go.
I was spoiled by my friends Pat & Mary Ellen who always took turns taking the baby outside if he was fussy. But now parents seem to just sit there and talk over the noise. Perhaps I should have added that most of my friends are the type of people who would happily block the camera so that I could slap the snot out of the parents.
pat hogan says
All I can say is AGREED!
You are my sister from another mother! I could NOT have articulated this subject better than you did in this blog. I raise my glass to you! Of course, I’m having to do it from home, because I enjoy my glass of wine in a quiet, F* free, child free environment.
Amy Fox says
We all feel as if we live in such a large society that our behavior doesn’t matter, because ‘I won’t ever see you again’. But what if that were no longer true~at least in our own minds. Maybe that person listening and watching you at the restaurant is going to interview you for your next job, or approve you for your next loan. Perhaps we would think a little harder about our image, and behavior!