A Chicago chef considers banning babies from his super fancy restaurant. While I understand the annoyance, my question is: Is he going to ban all potentially disruptive adults too? Also, why doesn't anybody care about my "fine dining" experience?

By now you've probably heard of the Chicago chef who Tweeted about banning babies from his super fancy ($265/person) restaurant.

Here's the Tweet: "Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no, but…"

On the one hand, I get it. People are annoying. Who the heck shows up at a fancy restaurant with a baby? Well, as it turns out, the restaurant's own policy is partly responsible for that problem, considering they use a "ticket" system with no refunds. In other words, this couple's babysitter fell through and since they couldn't get a refund, the two understandably showed up with their offspring rather than waste nearly $600.

baby boy screaming

Wait. People spend $600 on dinner? I'm confused.

But still, babies aren't allowed in the theater or opera, right? (And sorry, but that's not the same. If there's a baby crying next to you at the opera or theater, you can't hear the event you paid to witness.) And since a good part of fine dining is the "ambiance" (from what I recall from way back when I used to engage in such things), why should a baby be allowed to ruin another's experience? And I'll admit, if my husband and I go out to a nice dinner for an anniversary or something (though I promise you we won't be spending even near $300), we would probably not adore a baby yelling next to us.

We just left that sound at home.

But then again, I have absolutely no context for what it means to be spending $600 on dinner. It's incomprehensible to me. My gut says, "If somebody has that kind of money they shouldn't be worried about some couple with a baby." I mean if you can spend $600 on dinner, maybe you should just be grateful you can spend $600 on dinner and stop worrying about concerns like temporary noise tainting your $400 bottle of wine.

Frankly, the idea that people should never be inconvenienced by cohabitants on earth is insane. Ridiculous, and insane.

What about middle-class "fine dining?"

'Expensive' is relative. If my $100 is your $600, what makes yours more important?

And can we talk about the fact that the only reason this is an issue is because we're talking about rich people? Why isn't anybody talking about banning kids from middle-class "fine dining?" I mean, when we go out to a $100 dinner (which is a lot for us), shouldn't we be entitled to an annoyance-free evening? That's "fine dining" for us. There are plenty of restaurants that are inappropriate for kids (in my opinion) but no talk of "banning" them comes up. Why? Because we're not "fine dining" enough? Because our money isn't as much and therefore our comfort is less important? "Expensive" is relative. If my $100 is your $600, what makes yours more important?

Oh right, because the more money you have, the more important your needs. Obviously. It's the American way.

Lighten up, people

In the end, I think society should just lighten up. Eating is a social act. Families tend to do it together. And is a crying baby really that annoying when it isn't yours? Well actually, yes. It is. But what about the really loud talker at the table next to you, or the lady who's had one too many vodkas and won't stop squeal-laughing? What if a person unable to regulate his voice due to a disability enters the restaurant? Should he be banned too?

My point is there is a myriad of ways to "ruin" the ambiance, and annoyances happen. Annoyances happen often. Life is basically one giant irritation, and the higher your expectations for a "perfect" evening, the higher the likelihood of some really annoying thing happening. Why? Because we're looking for them. We're scoping out the thing that's going to ruin our perfect evening. If our expectations are low, we just hang out, enjoying what comes.

(Incidentally, that's why I love impulsive vacations: I have no expectations. Anything that works is a bonus. Anything that's fun is a bonus. They are without a doubt our best family trips.)

If being wealthy requires an uptightness so, um, tight that I get all bent out of shape because a small human dares disrupt my food consumption — well, I'll take chaos and noise any day of the week.

But then again, I'm not spending 600 bucks on a meal, so maybe I don't understand, and that's cool too. If rich people want to ban babies from a restaurant, that's fine, particularly since I wouldn't be eating there anyway.

And frankly, I'm glad it's a life I'm not a part of. If being wealthy requires an uptightness so, um, tight that I get all bent out of shape because a small human dares disrupt my food consumption — well, I'll take chaos and noise any day of the week. And yeah, I'll even take the crying baby, because if I'm sitting at a nice restaurant with my husband and a baby starts crying near me, I might feel a twinge of irritation, but ultimately I'll just smile and relax, enjoying the two things and two things only running through my mind: 1.) Wow, it's nice to be here and 2.) So glad I'm not the one with the crying baby.

More on outings with babies

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