Hostess With The Leastest
Friday, Jan. 24, 2003

My wife and I took the kids out to dinner recently. When we got to the table, the hostess asked us if we wanted a high chair for my daughter, who's 3.

I looked at her (my daughter) and asked her if she wanted a high chair or a regular chair. Before she could even answer, the hostess leaned over to me and said, in a low voice, but loud enough that my wife could hear, "now, honey, you can't let kids make every decision for ya" and smiled in what I feel confident in describing as a condescending manner.

I thought about that after she left us to our waitron. By the way, regular chair.


First of all, "honey"?!?! Do I know you? No, I don't, and even if I did, the number of people who call me that, or anything similar to that, is very small indeed. Plus, what the fuck? I hate people who do that, who call people they barely know or sales people or cashiers or whoever "honey" or "dearie" or "sweetie". It's so belittling, and I can't understand why the people who do it don't see that that just gets them off on the wrong foot immediately with whoever they're talking to.

"Oh, but I was just trying to be nice." Great. Fine. I'm in favor of niceness, as a general proposition, but you can be nice and respectful at the same time. "Young man". "Young lady". Like that.


Now the other thing: who, exactly, are you to tell me how I should be raising my kids?

My daughter is, to put it charitably, headstrong. I have found that it pays to pick your battles, and that if she feels like she has some input and control over what's going on, then she's much more rational and personable than if you just give her a string of commands: "No, you'll sit here. No, you'll eat this. No, blahblablah."

Letting her choose what kind of chair she wants lets her feel like a "big girl" and isn't any skin off of anyone's body part. Plus, and this just might be me, but I like to let the kids make some decisions sometimes so they can feel what it's like to exercise judgment and take responsibility. Is her choosing a kind of chair a life-altering decision? Of course not. But it's training for later work, I think, even at that low level.

But you know what? That's irrelevant. I don't care what Ms. Voice of Experience thinks of my parenting skills. She doesn't know shit about my family and isn't likely to, ever, so I'd appreciate it if she would just do her job, which is to guide us to our table, smile and go back to her post. Why does she and every other Nosy Parker think that they have a right to tell me how to do something (nevermind their absolute certainty that they're right)?


When the bill came, I asked the waiter if the hostesses get a cut of the tips at the end of the shift (I used to wait tables). He said that they did. I paid for the bill via plastic, pressed a cash tip into his hand, looked right at him and said "she gets none of this, 'kay?" He looked over at her, smiled, and replied "yup. And, thanks." No problem, bud.

Posted by mikeski at 5:04 p.m.