October 21, 2009, - 11:28 am

USA Today “Parenting” Blogger: “I Took My 11-Yr-Old Son to Hooters for Publicity (& to Check His Sex Interest), So Should You”

By Debbie Schlussel

Give Bob Elston the Larry Flynt-style “Fatherhood” award. Or give his eleven-year-old son leave to sue for malpractice  . . . and pimping.  The dude is competing with the Heene balloon boy family, but in the sleazebag department, he’s definitely got that father, Richard Heene, beat.


Hooters:  Where to Implant Your 11-Year-Old for Sex Ed Lunch

In today’s USA Today, this “fatherhood” blogger and father of four has a lengthy op-ed bragging about what a great father he is because he took his eleven-year-old son to Hooters a/k/a “Skanks Servin’ Eats,” to gauge his son’s phase of sexual interest and development.  Wow, congrats Bob.  You’re a (tiny) step up from the proverbial “Porky’s”-style silver screen dad who takes his kid to a prostitute.  Three cheers for you.  Nauseating.

But, hey, it got Elston a lot of traffic to his heretofore anonymous blog and a big column in McPaper.  Plus, Elston brags that he is just following in the footsteps of his own sleazy dad:

After a big victory in a youth football game recently, my parents and I took my 11-year-old son to Hooters for lunch. Though this was his first trip to Hooters, he knew from his friends exactly what the restaurant chain is famous for.

We were joined at the table by one of my son’s teammates and his dad. We were surprised to see a lot of families with kids eating at tables around us. We playfully introduced our waitress to our football players. She feigned being impressed with the boys sitting there without shoulder pads in oversized jerseys. I could tell that my son would rather have been at home playing on the Xbox than chatting with a woman much older than he is. His face turned even redder when his football coaches walked over and teased him about getting the waitress’ phone number.

Uh, looks like someone else wanted the waitress’ phone number and to oogle chicks in tight clothes bending over with food trays. Note there is no mother of this son mentioned anywhere in the piece. Gee, I wonder why.

As his dad, I thought of the Hooters outing as an opportunity to check on my own son’s development, or lack thereof, in a real world setting. My son is a fairly handsome boy with long hair, a calm and quiet demeanor, natural athletic ability, and self-confidence that helped win him the quarterback job on his football team. . . .  As a parenting blogger, I thought it might be fun to craft this experience into a blog post that could attract readers and start a spirited discussion. We snapped a picture so that readers could see for themselves what the two 11-year-old boys and a Hooters waitress look like together. I didn’t want to let people get carried away with their own mental imagery.

“Parenting” blog?  PUH-LEEZE.  Using your son and pimping him out at Hooters so you’ll get publicity for your blog is not parenting.  Not even close.  This “father” is no different than the Gosselin family, the Octomom, and the Heene parents.  And, uh, we don’t need to have a photograph of your son with low-class Hooters bimbos to “see it for ourselves.”  I think we all know what Hooters waitresses look like.  Hey, maybe I can get a pic of your son eating chicken wings . . . because otherwise, I’d have no idea what it looks like to see a kid eat.

And don’t tell me, as this scumbag, Elston does, that the Hooters girls are exposing less skin than on a beach or in many ads.  The chicks in Playboy are showing as much skin as was shown on men in the movie “Borat.”  So maybe “dear old dad” should treat his kiddie to a subscription.  Because kids in America aren’t sexualized enough at age eleven.  We need more of it. You need not be a prude to be sickened by this sad excuse for a dad.  We know why people go to Hooters, and it ain’t for the “great wings.”  Just like we know why people read Playboy (not for the articles).

In the three months since I started my parenting blog, the short Hooters post has drawn quadruple the number of hits per day as my next-most popular post. Parenting.com noticed the heated debate going on in its message boards and linked to it in an e-mailed newsletter, sending another flood of readers my way. It showed me the power of the Internet to strike a nerve and generate an instant controversy. Simply mention “11-year-old boy” and “Hooters” in the same sentence, the opposing sides will line up.

Hey, I pimped my son, and it worked!  Now, I’m a temporary Internet star! Balloon Boy Dad, eat your heart out.

Oh, and how great! Daddy Bob Elston inspired other dads to be similarly “good dads”:

Another dad was inspired: “I took my son to Hooters for lunch today after seeing this post.”

This is getting boring.  Time to step things up and take sonny to a strip club.

But what the most spirited critics fail to appreciate is that there is no magic formula to produce caring, generous and responsible kids. If there were, then parenting would not be fun. Instead, we all must be willing to take risks and make mistakes as we figure out how to shape our children into good little adults before sending them off into the world.

Hey, let’s take risks and accompany our kids to bondage and S&M clubs because there is “no magic forumula to produce caring, generous, and responsible kids.”  Man, this guy is warped.  Parenting is a job.  It’s a responsibility.  It’s not “fun.”  Nor is it supposed to be.  These dads looking for “parenting to be fun”–like this jerk–are the problem.

I learned from the way my parents raised me.

My dad bought me a Playboy magazine when I was a teenager — not to stoke my sexual fire but to open the topic for discussion. My mother, who was also at the Hooters lunch with us, feels strongly that an innocent lunch is a safe way to demystify sex for kids. “I don’t want my grandson to come unglued at the sight of a woman’s breasts,” she said.

Hmmm . . . then why not go all out and take him to a live sex show?  I mean, after all, it will “open the topic for discussion” and this crone’s grandson, after being exposed, won’t “come unglued at the sight of a woman’s vagina.”  And why wait until the old age of eleven?  Why not nine or ten?  Charming family.  Descended from carnies?  (With apologies to the hard-working people at our nation’s carnivals and fairs, for the comparison.)

It’s bad enough that in every corner of American pop culture, fathers are portrayed as losers, cheaters, and simply not around. Now, this is the new “fatherhood” and “parenting by dads”? Uh, no thanks. If the choice is between this and single mothers raising kids, we’re in heap big trouble.

And, indeed, we are.

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31 Responses

there’s always been the jackass, super-male archetype of father. my uncle joe was very much like that. at a family get-together one summer, i remember him humiliating my cousin paul who was around 11 at the time, for refusing to take a sip of beer. he bellowed at my cousin,”DON’T YOU WANT TO BE A MAN?! DRINK THIS BEER!”. i vividly remember my uncle grabbing my cousin’s arm with one hand and jamming the tipped-up beer can into his mouth with the other. at this point, my dad intervened and pulled my beer-drenched cousin, humiliated and nearly in tears, away from him. as my dad was reading my uncle the riot act starting off with, “what the hell is wrong with you, joe?!”, my uncle was incredulous at my dad’s objections and laughing it off. he truly didn’t get it.

today, my cousin paul is an alcoholic. is it my uncle’s fault? who knows…

howard roark on October 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm

There are certain places you shouldn’t take kids to and if its a boy a father shouldn’t give him the impression women are sexual playthings who exist solely for a man’s pleasure. That’s not the way to instruct a boy to become a man and there are fathers dumb enough to believe all there is to being a man is getting one’s first sexual conquest. Its one thing to teach an impressionable boy the facts of life and its another thing altogether to inform him that women don’t need to be treated with respect and that sex has no real consequences.

There are dumb fathers and there are smart fathers. The kind Debbie profiled isn’t a role model father – and parent – for our sons.

NormanF on October 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I think it is abusive to put an 11 year old in such a situation. This kid is probably barely in middle school. Why force feed this stuff down his throat? Even if this kid were much older, this process really tends to reinforce the modern trend toward diminishing the afffectionate, loving, and caring side of romance and sexuality. Women are objects to be viewed and used within certain limits. This sounds rather Islamist actually.

Also, was this “father” married or ever married? If he is married, what does this say to the boy about his father’s relationship with his mother? Isn’t it nice to go out with your prepubescent son to cruise for broads?

Sorrow01 on October 21, 2009 at 12:45 pm

How are the Hooters Girls outfits any worse than what a kid would see at a beach (binikis, speedos, etc.)?

Dont Tread On Me on October 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Yes, but do you take an 11 year old out specifically to check out his sex interest? It is not the attire, but the purpose of the visit. This prepubescent kid was being pushed into doing something that the article even noted made him uncomfortable. This was not some 15 or 16 year old, but an 11 year old.

    Sorrow01 on October 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    At the beach, he’s not going to be made to have a conversation with an older girl in a skanky outfit. I saw my first Prostitute in Peoria at age 14, while riding in a bus. But that’s not the same as having your idiot dad force you into conversation with her to “check your responses.” What a cretin.

    Occam's Tool on December 17, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Kerry, when the time comes, a man is going to be needed to set both the example and the rules. Women are good with love and compassion. But men provide guidance and set the rules. This goes for girls, too. I think in the larger sense of the word Debbie’s commentary is a wake-up call about the fathers we should have – but don’t in our society. No family can raise the next generation of responsible men without a male authority figure. And it bears reminder once again that no matriarchy has ever survived.

NormanF on October 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Don’t…. its just not appropriate to take a boy out to see scantily clad women. Its one thing to take him out to the family restaurant. Its another matter altogether to take him out to Hooters. And it is a good idea to expose him to adult women when he can meet girls his own age when he is ready? Why force things? The job of a parent is not to have “fun.” Its to set boundaries and help a boy grow up to be a man, not to teach him he can be just as lecherous as Dear Old Dad. We don’t need the image. In an age where we all knew right from wrong, no father would have pimped out his own son for that Warholesque 15 minutes of fame. I guess that’s just too much to expect from Dads in our own day.

NormanF on October 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I am not defending the dad who took his kid to Hooters. I am just asking those of you who found their outfits so offensive (or at the least unfit for childrens’ eyes) if you would also remove your children from a public beach which may have scantilly clad people. Or prevent them from viewing classical artwork and sculptures?

My point is – the lack of clothing (like at a beach) is LESS of an issue than the debasement and objectification (like at Hooters). I do not support taking your children to a Hooters for sex ed!

D: When there’s a “Michelangelo’s ‘Hooters Girl,'” let us know. Until then, I think sane people know the difference between art and hos. DS

Dont Tread On Me on October 21, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    The difference between art and reality is a good subject, but vast. In this case art helps us see the beauty of the body, its idealism. So does Hooters for that matter, but only if you have a dad explain loving women (which, in reality, mostly means mostly spending money on them, which begins with buying Mother’s Days cards). Eleven is much too young for this kind of excursion. Boys are not the sexual robots that are commonly portrayed, and they need a few wise words more than “eye candy” which is everywhere anyway.

    David O. on May 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I think the original Tinkerbell outfit covered about as much … or as little… just saying.

Dont Tread On Me on October 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I’m not a prude. In Somalia, they’re molesting women to make sure they don’t wear bras! Apparently, that’s considered too sexual by Islamists. The disrespect for women’s bodies as we see is only a difference of a degree in kind in both the West and Islam – both driven by the urges of men who can’t control themselves around the weaker sex.

NormanF on October 21, 2009 at 1:29 pm

You go dad! What a country!

Norman Blizter on October 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Yeah, I would expect that of you. Would it be just as cool if his dad took him to a NAMBLA meeting in order to explore is sexuality at 11?

    Sorrow01 on October 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

What teen, or even college kid, wants to go to Hooters with their dad? That’s something you do with your buddies and don’t tell your parents about. I always felt sorry for the kids whose parents “chaperoned” school dances and such. This seems like the same embarrassing kind of intrusion.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but daddy’s little quarterback will probably turn out to be a faygale if he keeps up this kind of thing.

Jewish Marksman on October 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm

If you want your 11 old boy to see women, take him to a strip club. Upgrade the experience. Hilarious! Its not only embarrassing, it says a lot about a parent that wants to push a boy into the adult world before he’s ready to take that step on his own. Hooters may have the food but as Debbie said, that’s not why people go there. Its only different from a strip club in that there’s no nude entertainment.

NormanF on October 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Look, it is obvious he did this and posted it to generate controversy and the resultant web blog traffic.


Hooters is not a strip club or seedy establishment. It is a sports themed restaraunt, with a marketing image using a not too subtle double entendre.

Women dress more provactively than that in public here in Seattle and it is chilly and rainy here most of the year. At least, they keep their sexy outfits on the premises.

Seattle Dad on October 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Long live America…..and Hooters! I cannot see anything wrong with going to this establishment. The girls are, at least, dressed and are well endowed by nature. Your typical wholesome All-American woman.

Chuck on October 21, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I went to Hooter’s once, alone in Baltimore. I was single at the time, and in my 30s. The food was mediocre, and I had seen prettier girls. Yawn.

    11 year old boys should be being taken to Pizza Hut, Perkins, or IHOPs following games. My dad didn’t take me to places like that when I was a kid. I don’t take MY son to such places.

    One minor disagreement with Debbie—parenting is hard work, sure. But it is also fun. My two Munchkins (both age 7) are the most fun people in my life. There’s nobody else I would prefer to see a movie with, except maybe my wife. But I don’t take them to see “Barb Wire.” And I won’t when they’re 11. Or 17.

    Occam's Tool on December 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Hence the pun on the name….and its all really for the “great wings!”

NormanF on October 21, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Hey I’ve been to many Hooters. Big Deal. But the best one I have been to is the one in Jacksonville at the Jackson’s Landing. The Tilted Kilt is better. If you have been to a Tilted Kilt then you will know why. Better food, better beer selection, bigger TV screens and something else about their outfits.


Oh yeah what was Debbie Blogging About…?Ehhh, not good for the dad to blog about it. If you gonna do something like this with your son this it isn’t something to be boastful about. I guess most dads want their boys to be interested in girls. A dad’s biggest fear is when your son says, “Dad I want you to meet my boyfriend?” When I was younger my older brothers always pushed girls on me, my dad was too strict to do something like that. However ya gotta loosen a boy up. We don’t need boys “exploring” the world if you know what I mean. Let boys know their role and the they will follow.

By the way, worse than eating at Hooter’s and seeing kids there is seeing a bunch of dykes roll in. Talk about a buzzkill. Now that is an OUTRAGE to blog about!!

CaliforniaScreaming on October 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm

CS, let’s face it – there are pretty waitresses because men like eye candy when they want to order something to eat and drink. Men like to be served by women. Hooters and Tilted Kilt serve a male demographic. Its the kind of place that single men and if they have a male buddy, go out to hang at. Debbie was wondering why the mother wasn’t mentioned. I think it was just a father-son bonding experience. And Hooters and TK are really the public equivalent of the “man cave” where women aren’t invited. That’s sets them apart from the mainstream restaurant business.

NormanF on October 22, 2009 at 3:35 am

I expect he will be booked on HOprah where she will advise every boy be given a blow up doll.

FeFe on October 23, 2009 at 8:27 am

Going to Hooters is no worse than taking your 11-year old to a PG-13 movie. This is totally unacceptable for the religious fundamentalists.

Censored on October 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I love the girls in usa form g domeno is sa

domeno on November 13, 2009 at 4:30 am

There’s nothing wrong with pretty girls smiling and pleasant, and still with their clothes on. But! embarrassing your kid by writing about it, and bragging about yourself, is disgusting. This is a typical modern self-congratulatory attitude, and it strongly implies a women are sex objects attitude. Of course women are, but only after we respect and love them.

David O. on May 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm

This is bizarre. My friend “D” must have seen the original article because he posted on FB about taking his almost teen son to Hooters for the first time. He then updated during lunch about the child needing napkins and a drool cup…sad to say I was only one of two commentors to call him on his shameful behavior. He even posted a pic of this poor awkward kid posing with the Hooters staff. And then tried to defend himself by saying he was trying to teach the boy to treat “all” women right. By which I guess he meant event the ones who exploit their bodies for money.

There are so many things wrong with all of this I don’t even know where to start. But I suppose I’ll settle on this…sexual awakening is confusing enough without the added pressure of a parent forcing you into a situation and leeringly checking your reaction to see if it’s in line with his own perverted expectations.

Amy on June 13, 2010 at 12:26 am

Amy, excellent post.

I still recall my childhood enough to have a good idea what that 11 year-old kid and his friends are going to do, and it’s probably going to involve them trying to get hold of some form of pornography. Because now that behavior is endorsed by dad.

Furthermore, his ability to respect future mates (or at least the ones deserving of and who will expect respect) is in danger.

Brian on July 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Oh, please, talk about a tempest in a teapot! It’s been awhile since I’ve been to hooters, but it’s just a hamburger joint, for pete’s sake! Yes, there are very attractive women as a general rule serving food. But orange shorts and a T-shirt is really no big deal. Just a normal summer day on any given street in southern California. The waitresses were as professional as at any other restaurant. This is hardly the pit of iniquity you’re making it out to be, and it just makes you look the more foolish for trying.

Scruffy Scirocco on April 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I was actually taken to Hooters at a young age as well. It really isn’t that bad.

bigger on May 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Que bien que están esas tres putas relajadas, me las cogería hasta no dar más, esas medias me vuelven loco, hijas de puta !!!.

Juan Manuel on May 29, 2015 at 2:30 am

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