My children have thankfully grown beyond Chuck E. Cheese. We went a handful of times when they were younger. They’d still be excited if I took them there, but they long ago stopped asking, as I did little to mask the fact that I am not a fan.
Not ONLY because they ran a commercial (perhaps they still do) using the word “funner,” but that alone is enough to merit my dismay. Don’t ask me to bring my kid to your establishment, hand you my money, and then watch as you try to teach my child that “funner” is acceptable. Not okay.
But I’m also not a fan because Chuck E. Cheese brings to mind casino carpeting, moving parts, and manufactured joy. Maybe that’s unfair, but that’s the vibe I get.
I don’t dig it.
In the post-C.E.C. era, I thought I’d gained new freedom. Then Dave & Buster’s came to town. If you’re not familiar, Dave & Buster’s is the adult version of Chuck E. Cheese. It has all the games and lights and germs you come to expect from a Chuck E. Cheese, but this time with a full bar.
I understand that this is a great place for adults and kids to play. You can unwind, relax, and indulge in video games or skee-ball. The few times I’ve been, we take turns letting the girls pick games and play the occasional 4-player air hockey (I show no mercy). It’s not awful. But it’s also at the bottom of my list for what to do on a Friday night. Maybe I’d have a different take if I hadn’t been the parent doing the Chuck E. Cheese outings when our daughters were younger.
My husband is much more of a sport. Maybe he even enjoys it a little. His tolerance is greater. I felt bad for being such a wet blanket, but now I’m okay with it. We all have our strong suits, which works in our favor when it comes to sharing the parental duties. Mike teaches our girls keyboarding and technology, reads them motivational quotes from entrepreneurs, and chaperones the occasional trip to Dave & Buster’s. I try to keep the tooth fairy and other magical creatures alive, oversee homework and volunteer at their school, and take them to puberty class (I’m not making that last one up, it’s a thing).
I think it’s okay that I don’t want to go to Dave & Buster’s. It’s okay that my husband has never volunteered to take them to puberty class (but really, what’s more fun that talking about fallopian tubes and learning about male genitalia via a 4-foot sketch of a penis displayed on a giant screen?).
Now if I can just eradicate words like “funner” and “brang” and “boughten” from my family’s vocabulary, we’ll be all set.