I speak, of course, of brash, bratty and ill-mannered kids; the kind who will race up and down a restaurant or airplane; the kind who will scream and cry at the top of their lungs because daddy refuses to take them out of their high chairs; the kind who throw their stuffed animals at each other and repeatedly pummel the back of your plane seat for, say, three hours in a row.
Recognizing that repeat customers such as I are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, Ryanair has launched child-free flights. Malaysia Air announced it would institute a baby ban in first class (Sigh. It makes me want to book a flight to Kuala Lumpur just to enjoy the solitude). And, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are also reportedly considering no kids policies.
And, it's not just airlines that dislike other people's kids as much as I. The Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City has been kid free since '03. And, Celebrity Cruises has declared sections of their cities on the sea strictly off-limits to anyone under 16. As Larry David would say, "It's a good thing! It's a good thing!"
There's a reason marketers are finally waking up to the havoc caused by poor parenting and their run-away freight train-like offspring. There are more and more empty nesters every day. What's more, 20 percent of American women NEVER bear children (that's a 50 percent increase since 1970). And, the cost of raising a kid now averages $230k. That's simply too much for many cash-strapped couples in this never-ending recession of ours.
There's even a website solely devoted to helping people like me find kid-free destinations. It's called LeaveThemBehind.com. I love it! Another site called NoChildrenByChoice says more and more brands are getting past their fear of alienating America's long-standing love affair with baseball, apple pie and kids and, instead, promoting child-free vacations.
No matter what your fear or phobia, it helps to know you're not alone. And, baby (pun intended), I'm not alone by a long shot when it comes to disliking someone else's snot-nosed child ruining my experience.
I may even reconsider my future retirement plans (which had called for hanging onto my New Jersey home for weekends and buying a pied-a-terre in the Apple). It turns out there's a city in Scotland that has a village rule preventing households from having even one child! Dogs, however, are welcomed. It's called Firhall. I'd call it Nirvana.