He's a total pig - What should I have done?
The family (Spouse, self and restaurant-trained 5-year-old) went out tonight for an early dinner to a local restaurant/bar at 5:30 PM. We go here often with our daughter, always at off hours, although we couldn't be considered regulars. We were sitting in the restaurant section, not the bar.
At the table behind us were three men drinking but not eating. One of the three was speaking very loudly and his vocabulary displayed an impressive command of assorted 4 letter words. Every few sentences the "F Bomb" detonated loudly. After one particularly loud outburst I couldn't help myself and turned around to give the hairy eyeball to the table. One of the non-sewer mouths looked at me quizzically and I motioned and said fairly quietly, "I have a 5-year-old here!" Nothing changed but a few minutes later I heard some comments about how I shouldn't bring a child into a bar. Even if I didn't have the kid with me, I didn't want to be subjected to that kind of language during dinner myself.
I didn't want to say anything to the waitress because all I would have accomplished would be losing her the tip from that table. Spouse and I fantasized briefly about flushing the jerk's car keys down the toilet when he got up from the table and left them sitting there but I didn't have the guts.
Let me also add that this restaurant is not a dive and has been mentioned often on our regional board as a very Chow-worthy destination.
So what should I have done?
The loud foul-mouthed guy was a jerk and probably more than a little drunk during "happy hour." He was acting very inappropriate and being offensive and I would have asked the manager to be moved and told manager why. If you were still in earshot, I would have left. To add insult to injury they had the nerve to state you shouldn't bring a child into a bar area. Some people are just jerks and by even fantasizing about doing something back (although tempting) brings one down to the jerk's level. Let it go. I bet this guy has a tremendous hangover the next day.
I think I would have moved my table to another location, if possible. I've learned that you can't correct the behavior of others and, as you experienced, people resent it if you try, so that only makes things worse. I suspect your child is not going to pick up that language from hearing it in this situation. she may not have been even paying atttention. and, she doesn't hear it at home, so she's not likely to speak that way. But if she picks it up, you could explain it's not language for her to say. Easier to teach a 5 year old, than an old, drunken buffoon!
I once faced a similar situation. I'm not suggesting you do what I did but I'll relate the experience. I very politely did what you did. When that didn't work, I went over to the table and said, "I understand your right to free speech but honestly, how would you feel if the child sitting at my table was your Granddaughter?" That seemed to strike a nerve, and he apologized and toned it down.