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Fuel

Andrew / December 3, 2007 10:05 AM

Say it's your friends who had a kid a couple years ago and haven't gone out much since then. Where would you send them?

Inspired by this recent question on Ask.MetaFilter.

shechemist / December 3, 2007 11:52 AM

Dinner at the HopLeaf, followed by a show at Neofuturists.


jonathan / December 3, 2007 12:27 PM

a show, consisting of music that was never recorded by the wiggles.

annie / December 3, 2007 1:35 PM

E-mailing their friends and setting up a time and a place to meet for drinks and requesting a "do not talk about your kids" night. I don't have children yet, all of my friends do and this past sat we got together and all night it was diaper rash, teething, etc. etc.

milena / December 3, 2007 2:46 PM

no kids myself and to be honest what i always hear from people with kids is the complaint that they no longer have any personal time for each other, so i say a nice quiet restaurant where they can sit and have a drink and get to know each other again.

Carrie / December 3, 2007 2:58 PM

I don't have kids either, but I imagine going out and doing what they did pre-baby would be a good night out. Head to the movies, go to dinner and enjoy not picking up bottles and sugar packets that have been tossed off of the table. Heck, go out and drink if that's what you did pre-baby. Go back to your favorite bar and come home when it closes. However, having a reliable babysitter is key. Give them a heads up that that is your plan and see if they're willing to stay the night and take care of bambino in the morning, too.
Maybe rent a hotel room downtown and enjoy a quiet night together. Get room service, order some movies and just hang out.

I agree with Annie-- if you do meet up with childless friends, please don't talk about their latest poop, or teething or anything baby related. I'm sorry, but it gets boring and most friends who don't have kids want to reconnet with you and hang out like old times.

fluffy / December 3, 2007 3:26 PM

a nice hotel room, a bucket of chicken and a 12-pack of beer

Chef / December 3, 2007 3:55 PM

The question is about going out for recent parents…why on earth would people be bitching about the subject matter of the night out?

If the parents want to talk about their kids the whole night, then why is that a bad thing? It is their night, it is their choice.

If the parents do not want to talk about their kids at all, then once again it is their night, it is their choice.

What I would do is baby-sit for the couple free so they can do whatever they want to do and not have to pay a babysitter.

Complaining that new parents talk too much about their kids is as hipster-doofus as you can get.

Dutch101 / December 3, 2007 4:40 PM

I have to disagree there Chef. People talking about their new kids incessantly is, while perhaps more understandable, no less annoying to others than talking incessantly about your job no one cares about or your new boat/car/girlfriend, etc. That isn't really hipster doofus, that seems to me to be effective and courteous conversation. I don't mind at all if people mention their youngsters (especially if I asked), give me a quick update, show me a picture and move on, but much beyond that, and I could frankly care less.
Ahem, back to the topic of conversation, I would think that they would enjoy a nice adult dinner at a fancy place, then some sort of favorite entertainment event, like a concert, play, or something like that where kids are either unwelcome or inconvenient. From what I have gathered from folks that have children, having ANY sort of a break where they can act like adults and not have to worry about the kid for a 6 or 8 hour period is a nice thing every now and again.

p / December 3, 2007 4:54 PM

chef's pro-choice stance on parents' conversations at first seemed liberal but reached further until he revealed himself a conversation libertarian. I want ppl to stop talking about their dogs and cats.

The parents should take a salsa lesson, go to dinner then hit the sofitelllllL. Give the kid to a cool aunt/auntie.

flange / December 3, 2007 4:54 PM

i'm going to pass along chef's contact info so the parents can spend an evening telling him about their tyke's poop.

because during the holiday season, it's nice to have a win-win.

skafiend / December 3, 2007 5:11 PM

Chef, you're missing the point. The person who wrote the original post about parents yakking too much about their kids are doing in on a mixed night out with friends with NO kids. They should refrain from their personal poopy diaper stories until it's "Just Us Parents" night. That's like going on with a few postman friends and you're not one and hearing them talk about their wildest zip code stories all night or the problems they've encountered with the new Z-4000 Sorting Machine for five hours. Not my idea of fun.

As for what the parents can do, how about a movie where they can sit and listen to babies cry in the theater and remember to not do that. Or to not do that again.

Clarke / December 3, 2007 5:15 PM

I do have kids, two, and I have a 3-step plan. (1) Where I send myself and my wife -- and what I would recommend to other p's -- is going where there is good music, good food and drinks, and a crowd. The crowd (a well-behaved, fun crowd) is most important, getting you back out and being part of the larger world. (2) Whereever a couple would go, try not to go anyplace where you are looking at a screen -- movies, a bar with the games on, etc. Look at eachother the whole night, instead. Remember and rediscover. (3) Lastly, make no promises about the night ahead -- you may tell yourselves you are not going to talk about the kids, and may also say let's not reminisce about our dating and days before kids. But these things sneak themselves in, and that's love, man. Love for the times that brought you together, love for your children.

And if you can't get a sitter...put a couple Wiggles DVDs on for an hour, run upstairs and do what made the kids in the first place.

Chef / December 3, 2007 5:41 PM

So let me get this straight...these "analogies" are based on "friends" getting together for a night out…FRIENDS mind you.

Some "friends" have kids, some “friends” don't.

The "friends" who have kids CANNOT talk about their children during the evening out.

That doesn't sound like a friend to me.
That doesn’t sound like a friendship.

That doesn’t sound like anything except people bitching about kids.

If you are so hard as to not have your “friends” talk about their kids, then it is time to get new “friends”.

Who treats people like that?!?!

Dutch101…Are comparing a newborn child to a job, or a boat or some sort of object? Are you serious? Once again...hipster-doofus.

JD / December 3, 2007 7:46 PM

I pretty much agree with Fluffy.
Dinner, booze, a baby sitter, and a hotel room.

Thats what I would want.

Peace, quite, and drunken hotel room booty.

Also, a gift basket containing condoms, spermicidal lube, a diaphragm, birth control pills, and an "at home vasectomy kit"

I wouldent want to be responsible for a "mistake"!

Brian / December 3, 2007 8:48 PM

My honest opinion? You have children. You gave up your right to a personal life, going out drinking, etc., when you had that child. That child is your responsibility, not a grandparent or a babysitter's. Grow the hell up and own up to your responsibilities and quit trying to ‘re-live’ your youth.

*battoning down the hatches for the sh*t storm that my opinion is sure to cause*

Spook / December 3, 2007 9:28 PM

Yo B, a Spooks got ya back, baby!
I think it’s a fair trade. A breeder (you can be a parent with out being a breeder), giving up their personal life and not forcing their "babies" on us in restaurants, bars, movies, the Blue line, the Armitage bus (those strollers take up five seats!), etc, etc. They are after all more responsible for the world's growing over-population problem than poor folks in Asia, Latin America or Africa.

Yup, I kid you not. American's consumes (imported from all over the planet) 11 times the resources of someone living in Asia or Africa. And every American kid (including the tens of thousands waiting for adoption parents that they will never get) equals 11 kids in terms of burden on "our" ecosystem. They are stomping out the "planetary grass" with your baby’s ecological carbon footprints.

So if you have 2.07 children, it’s about equal to a family of 23 kids straining the environment.

But then again, were Americans, making us exempt from having to rethink brining babies into the world at this point cause where Gawds people

Leelah / December 3, 2007 9:38 PM

This is a weirdly hostile topic.


jonathan / December 3, 2007 10:50 PM

let's hear it for...soapboxes?

Brian / December 3, 2007 11:00 PM

I prefer those heavy-plastic or metal wire milk crates over soapboxes myself.

emdub / December 4, 2007 8:08 AM

OK, spook, you are entitled to not reproduce. Good for you. Sometimes children happen, by choice or not...

So those who have them need to be responsible parents. Part of that process is maintaining sanity.

When you have a child, your identity as an individual basically DIES. It's a painful process to get used to being a completely different person overnight.

And if you go out with your childless friends, if they are really friends, they will ask you about your baby, and yourself, how you are doing, post-parenthood. Most of those conversations have been initiated by friends. I kind of don't want to talk about it, it's mundane for me.

But if my friends ask me me what I've been up to lately, talking about childrearing is unavoidable, because he takes up 90% of my time and consciousness.

Sorry.

peta / December 4, 2007 8:18 AM

Children are beautiful miracles. Society way to hostile to them. Remember, you were a baby once, too.

vit / December 4, 2007 9:18 AM

I agree that dinner at a nice restaurant and cocktails or some sort of entertainment type event afterwards would be lovely.

Now as far as some of the cranks on this thread.

1. As a childless woman in her mid-thirties, I have no problem with my friends who talk a bit about their kids, in fact, I like kids, other peoples kids, and enjoy occasionally talking about kids. So don't be afraid to tell me about your kids as long as you are able to eventually change subjects (I have some fun stories about my sister's kids too).

2. Your right to 'a life' does not end with the birth of your children. Of course you are responsible for raising them, but you don't sign away your right to an occasional evening out provided you have good childcare. Children need to now how to spend time away from their parents just as parents need to occasionally be away from their children. My parents spent probably 99% of their non-working time with me and my siblings growing up, but they occasionally allowed themselves a night out without us, it was healthy for them, and us.


As much as some people seem loathe to admit it, children are an integral part of our society, and even if you don't realize it or particularly like children all that much yourself, it would be a miserable, miserable world without them (not to mention a doomed one). So wasting your time being overly hostile to their existence makes as much sense as being overly hostile to the existence of air, or trees.

leah / December 4, 2007 9:25 AM

I would offer to babysit for free for the entire night so the parents can have a date.

However I do feel ripped off if they go out for once, finally, and I don't get to see them. So if instead we do a group of friends, I'll be honest & say I'm not super interested in what height percentile Junior is in or their phrase of the week they just learned.

Just like they're not interested in the torturous minutia of why my job makes me put my head in the oven. Let's have fun! Let's lol & forget all our troubles!

leah / December 4, 2007 9:29 AM

Which is not to say kids are necessarily a "trouble"!

flange / December 4, 2007 9:38 AM

wha?

"beautiful miracles"?

no more or less than they're sexually transmitted diseases.

puhleez, let's not romanticize them any more than they need to be. i'm not "hostile" to well-behaved children or parents but there's no such thing as miracles (except as metaphor and even that's tiresome) and the notion that children in particular are miracles contradicts my understanding of the process through which they are created.

and addressing the original question, which no one seems to do much of, i think it's up to the parents.

peta / December 4, 2007 9:52 AM

I'm so sorry to have offended you, flange, with the awe I find in the process of creating life and the joy of watching children discover the world around them for the very first time, including its hardships. You sound like your folks didn't allow you to enjoy beauty very much.

Spook / December 4, 2007 10:17 AM

Hey Peta, too bad you can't expand your suburban horizon and get awed by people who grow mature instead of just growing up.
Nothing is awe inspiring about having a child, its called being an animal. Maybe if we remembered this, we might consider our interdependence on the environment instead of pillaging it.

You sound like you're 90 years old throw back. I'm awed by the few people that challenge stupid b.s American normative about “biological clocks" and "name sakes" etc.

I am awed by people that actually question what it means to create more life on an over burdened planet or people like my neighbors who adopted a child in need in America.

peta / December 4, 2007 10:22 AM

Spook, you shouldn't have children. You'd spread your bitterness into another generation. I think you need some time to mature, too. You're not there yet.

mucifer / December 4, 2007 10:49 AM

MOST people shouldn't have children. especially people who don't understand that others might not want children, that we don't want to hear about their poop or hear their crying at the restaurant. sure, babies can be cute, but mostly only to their mommies.

Mucky Fingers / December 4, 2007 11:12 AM

1. There's nothing miraculous about birth. Rodents & insects reproduce. People are so impressed with themselves for having a kid. Where has this burst of narcissism come from? Our grandmothers once made babies just to counteract the killing efficiency of the Nazi party.

2. If parents bundle in groups to discuss the intricacies of how-to-read videos, fine. But hearing someone else blather on all day about their kid is the same as someone describing a dream they had in detail: BORING.

3. It's easily a contentious opinion that some people on this thread share; parents are often boring people. Parents of past decades made a purpose to enjoy themselves. This culture enables people to cocoon themselves away from the world, and parents as a result are unable to participate in the easiest of dinner table conversation. There isn't a parent yet who can smoothly segue discussion away from bicycle paths and on to diaper rashes.

skafiend / December 4, 2007 11:20 AM

To clarify...

It's ok for the FWK (friend with kid) to talk about the kid with the KF (kidless friend). ... a bit. I don't think anyone here HATES kids. But not everything the kid does or has done to him is interesting/funny/amazing to the KF. If the topic of The Kid goes on for more than 30 minutes, don't be surprised if the KF starts to tune out. Sorry, but not being that interested in FWK's kid-centric stories doesn't make you a bad person or a bad friend. Friendship is not unconditional. If you can't see that I'm losing interest in the kid stories and you keep rolling on then YOU'RE a bad friend. It's like someone going on and on about their cat (and no, I'm not comparing kids to animals and no, I do not hate cats. Just cat stories...)

Also: Having a kid does not mean you stop being a person or flush your occasional chances for fun down the toilet. It cuts DOWN on that time, but still... If you can find a willing and reliable friend or relative, go for it.

Parents Night Out Suggestion 2: Some sort of blues club. I don't think anyone can think about kids when they're listening to the blues.

flange / December 4, 2007 11:28 AM

alas, peta, as off-topic as it is, for which i apologize, my father's photography was exhibited around the u.s. and europe in the '50s and '60s; as for me, when inspiration strikes, i while away my hours composing music from pop to jazz to classical.

your stereotypes limit only yourself and are yours to discard.

peta / December 4, 2007 11:31 AM

I don't think a rodent giving birth is any less miraculous. How these cells get together and create something that breathes and has a personality, however basic, is amazing.

I do think that most of the people on this thread are too involved with themselves to appreciate family life and how it could be just as interesting as what club you went to last night, even moreso. Don't put your values on other people. It is precisely the people who can't welcome new members of the tribe in who are shallow.

Dutch101 / December 4, 2007 11:41 AM

Chef, I am saying that, conversationally, kids are like any other topic. If you constantly drag the topic of conversation back to your interests or current status, whether that is a job, a kid, a boat, or whatever, that's crummy, self-absorbed conversation. And you'll note I did say it is more understandable to talk about kids, but it's sure not any less boring for someone who is on the receiving end of a one-sided diatribe about said kid/job/boat, whatever.
Listen, I don't have kids, I don't want kids. My sister has kids, my friends have kids. I think that is great. But if I were in the context of having an adult night out, and ALL they wanted to talk about was their kids, well, I wouldn't probably ever schedule another adult night out with those people. Like I said before, if I ask, I want to hear something about it, but after that, can't we talk about politics, or the state of the economy, or the film work of Truffaut or something? You know, something big people talk about?
Where is the anger coming from Chef, do you have nothing better to talk about than your young 'uns?

peta / December 4, 2007 11:51 AM

My last word from the estimable Philip Pullman:

"A soft answer turneth away wrath, as it says in my favourite book." (Proverbs 15:1.) ... It's a foolish thing for the teller of a story to answer critics. If you're putting forward an argument, you can argue back and demonstrate why your argument is better than theirs. But if someone doesn't like a story you've written, what are you going to say? ‘Well, you should'?"

Don't listen to parents if you don't want to, even if you're supposed to be taking them away from their kids for a few hours. Think that making art is the same as being beautiful. I have my own opinions; I love children.

Chef / December 4, 2007 12:14 PM

Dutch…hmmm…I’m confused…the hate started when people qualified their posts with stating “I’ll take them out but we are NOT going to talk about kids”. Go ahead…read above.

In my first post I was merely pointing out that if you are taking out new parents for the sake that “they are busy with their kids” then let them talk about whatever they want to talk about…it is their night.

Now, if you find that boring, then maybe those people are not friends anymore.

And Dutch…there is aggression in some of these posts, but certainly not from the Chef.

A hipster-doofus is not a put down…it is a person that lives and breathes right here in Chicago.

Skafiend…well put. I would add that friendships should be easy. If you find you are fighting for the friendship, fighting to agree on a conversation topic…then maybe it is time to find new friends.

Spook / December 4, 2007 12:14 PM

Ahhhhhhh, I get it Peta!

Babies are like Lava Lamps to entertain your eternally stoned mind.

And funny that you use the word “tribe” as yet another smiley cliché as opposed to a group of people that live collectively and responsible. Critical thought means “bitterness to you”, which precluds you from considering/ being concerned with issues of over population, starvation, and considering that maybe the "tribe" is too big and older members of the tribe should take care of our home, Mother Earth and adopt some unwanted kids of the tribe.

JasonB / December 4, 2007 1:33 PM

Chuck-E-Cheese


Spook / December 4, 2007 2:43 PM

Proper!!

B,

When you get that MacArthur Genius Grant,
hope you're not too in the clouds to buy a Spook a drink

Rabbit Procreator / December 4, 2007 3:01 PM

yeah, weirdly hostile topic indeed. Spook, you probably shouldn't procreate. Thanks!

hera / December 4, 2007 3:09 PM

how about no more fuel questions that have anything to do with children. I don't want to speak for all parents who might be reading this garbage, but it makes me feel like throwing up whenever it goes around, and all of the self absorbed adults start whining about how awful their lives are when they have to be around, see, or hear about children.

has it ever occurred to any of you that you would never spew such hatred about any other segment of the population? why is it ok for you to publicly discuss how much you hate children? Would you say the same thing about people of other races, religions, sexual preferences? I doubt it.

and finally, have you ever shared your opinions on this with your parents? I'm sure your "breeders" would love to hear all about how awful it is that people go around having children.

to answer the question, a great evening out for us involves a trustworthy babysitter, sushi and a good movie.

Leelah / December 4, 2007 3:26 PM

I've chosen to not have children, but my friends who are parents have to suffer through me talking about "my kids" (that I teach), so why would I not listen to them when they have stories to tell me?

Our babies may not be little people, they may be passions or hobbies or ideals. Sometimes we tolerate the things our friends love, other times we eschew them. So it goes.

Tell the parents to do what makes them happy.

spandex / December 4, 2007 3:28 PM

Still cracks me up! Ha-ha!

"It was the 90’s when crack cocaine hit the east coast streets like a tsunami "

skafiend / December 4, 2007 3:46 PM

Why are so many jumping to extremes?

Most of the people here are not saying the top of children is completely off limits. They're just saying HAVE limits. Yes, we know you love you're children and we probably love them too. But when it comes to a topic of conversation, they're just saying have limits. Period.

I don't think anyone here has said they HATE children. Hell, even Spook is just suggesting adopting the ones that are already here rather than add to population (which as a worker with a child welfare agency I have to say is not a bad idea). But where people are getting the idea that some here are saying they HATE kids is a mystery to me.

I agree, no more questions concerning kids because people on BOTH side of this issue are getting irrational.

Suggestion No. 3: If you can swing it for a weekend or a day or two, Starved Rock. Get the hell away from the city.

leah / December 4, 2007 3:57 PM

I'd hardly put "child" in the same bucket as say gays & any-race-other-than-your-own when it comes to groups people hate on. We were ALL kids once. It's kind of different.

I think people get defensive b/c the kids are "little thems" so they feel personally attacked at others' disinterest in their child's growing vocabulary.

Are you interested in MY growing vocabulary? I thought as much.

There are certain things in life that unless asked, you can bet are only interesting to you & you alone. It's true.

List of things I am fascinated with that I spare others the details of:

*status of my latest skinned knee
*the new litter I just discovered.

*my S.A.D.

Now I feel like a total creep.

leah / December 4, 2007 3:59 PM

I think skafiend nailed it.

V / December 4, 2007 5:00 PM

/me hi-fives Brian

I'm a girl and luckily I don't have friends who have started popping out kids yet.

...and though it's a shit thing to say, I'll probably leave behind the friends that do choose to have kids when it happens. Diapers and pregnant stomachs just aren't something I want to discuss or be around.

...and no I'm not a bitch or an evil person....I actually like "kids" but preganancy and babies disgust and repel me like the plague. I have some sort of life-long intrinsic phobia of all things baby/birth related. Thusly, I choose to not to be aorund it.

Spook / December 4, 2007 5:40 PM

Man, yall suck

Ska is the only person who can just simply consider a new "Paradigm" about actually particapting and being a world citizen. Its too much for your midwestern townie mind sets

F*ck it, don't think about any body other than your fat greedy selves. Yea we need more of you!

Your are God's gift
to the mall

p.s Spandex!

Son, you know you liked that! I see you!

;-)

In the immortal words of Biggie Smalls “lyrically, I”!

B/S Monitor / December 4, 2007 5:48 PM

Yo Spook!

You forgot to bag on all of us for reading the Red Eye!!

That is part of your normal ritual when posting, right?

Rabbit Procreator / December 4, 2007 6:16 PM

Spook, your posts remind me of freshman year in the dorms - the guy down the hall. Just cracks me up.

Anyway, what's *really* nice is to have someone come over, watch the munchkins, let us go out, and *stay* over so that we can sleep in in the morning.

Yeah, that would be so sweet.

Spook / December 4, 2007 7:21 PM


b.s monitor are you on salary, contract or are you paid in beer? But keep up the good work and;
Yes Red Eye readers

"Deserve to die and I hope they burn in hell!"

Don't get too afraid yall, its Dave Chappell talking, Spooks is now just safe at home drinking a Guiness, hoping peapods makes it through the snow cause he's hungry!

Rabbit Procreator, I did have the room at the end of the hall freshmen year! It could have been me! Although I've calmed down since then ;-) Where did you go?

B/S Monitor / December 4, 2007 7:34 PM

Yo Spooks...I personally don't read the Red Eye...sarcasm does not translate well on message boards sometimes.

:-)

kelly / December 4, 2007 9:11 PM

ANYTHING that would ensure the parents at least a solid 8 hours of sleep. Most parents I know like booze and music, but it's basic 1. SLEEP that is a luxury.

Someone may have said this already, but I haven't read much of the responses past the first 20 because of all of the hostility.

Which is as predictable as any topic that broaches:

Kids (I remember the dining out fiasco post: NO KIDS IN MY CITY! OH NO TAKE YOUR CRITTERS TO THE SUBURBS)

ANY mention of The suburbs v. city.

Total hostility for anyone different than the young/free/arty/city living posters is met this way.

SO, so tired.

Spook / December 5, 2007 9:13 AM

Honorable B.S. Monitor,

Some how I didn't take you for a Red Eyed reader, and your sarcasm, like the B.B.C comes in dry and clear, so don’t worry.

p.s. keep up the good work and I hope they pay you in beer, tis the season!

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