How to please an EMO teenager

by Karen Waddy

This story is part of our 'Travelling with Kids' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our recent travel writing competition.


When taking your two teenage daughters for a cultural mid-week city break to Amsterdam, please bear in mind that EMOs dislike EVERYTHING and therefore it’s not exactly going to be a laugh-a-minute.

Don’t be at all surprised if, during your fabulous canal boat cruise, your offspring – who are on the verge of being at an age of sexual exploration – suddenly turn into Mary Whitehouse clones the minute your tour guide points out the ‘working girls’ in the shop windows. Their sudden new-found feminist tendencies will have them loudly sharing their opinions on “exploitation” to anyone within earshot. Phrases such as “It shouldn’t be allowed” will tumble out of their mouths as if they were your elderly maiden aunt, not your hormonally charged 15 year old twins.

In a bid to pursue less controversial activities, avoid at all costs dragging a pair of sullen kids around the superb Van Gogh museum or any other museum for that matter, as they’ll simply act as if they’re being punished.

As a ‘treat’ you’ll take them on an ‘exciting’ trip on a tram, however, don’t expect any thanks. All you’ll get from them is “It’s just like being on a bus!” They’ll walk along the pavements examining their shoes, but will be totally oblivious to the cycle signs on the concrete. This will inevitably lead to a messy confrontation or two as they become tangled up in someone’s handlebars sooner or later.

The whole point of bed and breakfast is so that you can fill up on all-you-can-eat continental goodies in order to save money on mid-morning snacks and having to purchase a large lunch. However, even if you can actually manage to tempt teenage girls out of their beds before 10am in order to eat any breakfast at all, they’ll simply chew on half a slice of toast and tell you they’re now “full up”.

And, on the subject of food, forget any quaint notion of enjoying al fresco dining, tasting delightfully exotic open sandwiches, watching the world go by. Not unless you especially want to her the words “I’m cold” or “I’m bored” along with “do they sell chips?”

A leisurely stroll though the fabulous Vondelpark will take twice as long as anticipated due to the fact they’ll have to rest their exhausted bodies every five minutes, sitting on a bench texting their friends back home informing them that, in their opinion,” Holland is cr*p”.

Finally, you’ll realise that there’s only one place in Amsterdam that your culturally-devoid adolescents will be remotely interested in... The Hard Rock Café. As you sit inside this muso heaven, surrounded by cast-offs from pop heroes of yesteryear, being deafened by pounding beats courtesy of the huge video screens playing whatever’s hip ‘n’ happening on cable music channels, washing down your super-sized plate of chips with a cola, if you look very closely you might actually see one of them crack a smile and you wish you’d have thought of it sooner.

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