I am, as most of you know, childless. Not that I loathe them mind you; I have a godchild to whom I am devoted. I've even taken her and a gaggle of her school chums to the Getty for an afternoon. That's right, get your mind around that: your Pansy and 6 or 8 12 year old girls. Without a net, or even a valium, and I lived to tell the tale.
My godchild, I am happy to say, is a well raised child, with excellent manners. Even as a tot, she never threw a public tantrum, much less a salt shaker. I would like to think that in part is because both myself and her mother had long mastered "the Look". I remember "the Look" from it being (thankfully infrequently) levelled at me by my own mother. It was a look that said "what you are doing at this moment is very much displeasing to me, and I suggest you stop it forthwith. Since, if you do not I will be forced to remove you from these premises and you will incur punishment that will be as hideous as it will be impossible to prosecute" Mother was a master of "the Look" and was unafraid to use in on her children, other children, bank officers or even small appliances, almost all of whom would fall into line. Being a precocious child unto the diabolical, I took notes.
Sadly, I think "the Look" is going out of fashion. At lunch at a mid-priced restaurant this weekend there were several couples with children (not babies- if they're in pampers I don't expect them to tow that line) who apparently didn't feel that having a screaming fit was enough to warrant removal from the room (couple A) or that (couple B) since little Beezie and Wendyo (props to Erma Bombeck) were merely throwing food and hitting and not reaching for the cutlery yet and really getting gangsta on each others a$$es, there was no reason to actually intervene. Luckily, there was patio dining and it wasn't actively raining. Yet.
I noticed the phenomenon on "The Real Housewives of New York". One of the couples brought their tow-haired little moppet to a gathering at "21". One of the other guests, the boyfriend of one of the housewives was there after 48 hours or so at work, detouring from his oncoming coma to show the rest of the viperous "friends" of his girlfriend that they had not broken up. All he needed to be able to stand by his woman was one of "21"'s famous burgers. Before he could manage to get more that a bite said moppet went at his burger with a fork in a manner that would make Freddie Kruger re-enroll in supernatural serial killer school for an emergency refresher course in remedial hacking and slashing. Parent's reaction? Mom smiles vaguely at the wallpaper and dad asks boyfriend "You have son's don't you? So you know the story.." Yeah buddy, what I know if I was in the boyfriends position I would be seriously be thinking of bailing on the burger and feasting on Moppet Tartare...
Or at the very least, employing "the Look"