A few weeks ago, we were enjoying a nice meal with my brother and his wife and their daughter. She was quite well-behaved, as were my children. At one point, the kids at another table started making a lot of noise. Everyone in the restaurant seemed appalled that the parents were not keeping their children in check. "If your children don't know how to behave in a restaurant, you should leave them at home," muttered one annoyed guest, under his breath, at another table. Everyone nodded in agreement. When the families with the loud kids left, everyone gave them the stink eye on their way out.
Not long after that, we were dining with our children at another very nice dinner establishment, when a table for eight was set up right next to us. Soon thereafter, a group of eight enormously heavy women were seated, and they proceeded to throw back several glasses each of wine almost immediately. By the time they were starting in on their second round, they were cackling like a bunch of geese. Their jokes became louder and lamer, and after about twenty minutes of it, I found myself eating like a starved prisoner just so I could finish my meal and get going. Looking around at the other guests, I saw few annoyed faces. I cannot fathom why. If it had been a group of four women and four kids, and the kids were making half as much noise, everyone in the house would despise them. But because they were adults, paying for a good time, they could be as loud as a herd of elephants, and they didn't have to contend with so much as a single stink eye.