When you turn 18, I gotta tell you, things get pretty sweet. Not only can you vote and buy Cutter's Choice like a champ, your ability to enter pubs without a crippling sense of dread increases tenfold. When the barman asks for ID because you still look 13 and your 'soul patch' resembles pritt-stuck pubic hair, you can confidently present that provisional driving license with the same confidence Lauren Goodger enters the VIP section at the Sugar Hut.
In essence, you are the shit. You can now join all the other of-age ballers in the pub, your very own members club - neigh, temple - where you can reject the shackles of youth and drink until you realise it's your only escape from the miserable realities of adulthood - and then drink some more.
But I sometimes think this idyll I speak of is now consigned to the past. Because when I go to the pub nowadays, from Brighton to London, from Brixton to Peckham, they are all, for the most part, full of children. The drunk in the corner has been replaced by a young couple, replete with long-haired toddlers dressed in gender-neutral clothing, running about the place like fruit-shoot courses through their veins. Pubs are no longer the preserve of casual drinkers, fun-loving professionals, boisterous drunks, depressing drunks, functioning alcoholics, underage teens, criminals, domestic animals and regular adults, they are now the establishment of choice for families and their precocious sprogs.
One pub near me even has a fucking creche.
My snarky comments aside, The Black Lion pub, Leighton Buzzard, thought it would humorously address a serious problem children cause when they're booking it around a boozer: The risk of staff dropping a plate of boiling hot food on the little fuckers:
This was a big no no for some people, who felt the sign promoted child abuse. The owners just thought it was a bit of a laugh.
I understand that new parents feel as if they shouldn't be excluded from pubs just because they have kids. No one wants to think children are limiting their freedom. But when someone owns a business that makes the vast majority of its money off a product that can only be legally purchased by people over the age of 18, you can't expect them to defer to the needs of people who aren't. After all, you wouldn't polish off a load of tins near a playground (If you would please turn yourself in to Yewtree asap)
Hopefully The Black Lion's sign will encourage more establishments to focus on what they do best: Provide adults with a safe environment to drink excessively with other like-minded people.
Do you agree with me? Perhaps you don't and want to tell me? If so, there are ways you can, so please don't hesitate to do so.