The Problem with Brunch
Before moving to New York, I never gave much thought about going to brunch. It was something reserved for holiday buffets and visiting parents. Not the boozy hot mess it is now. Even when I have friends visit from out of town, they give me funny looks when I suggest brunch as if to say, why are we spending more money to support your drinking habit?! Lord knows how many Bloody Marys and gallons of coffee I’ve consumed in this town over the years, but it’s always been a routine I’ve taken pleasure in. But lately I’m starting to feel very indifferent about this New York tradition. It’s as if the french toast sugar rush as finally worn off, and the thrill is gone. There has always been a few things about this strangely large midday meal that have always bothered me, and at the risk of sounded like a crotchety old kill-joy, I’m gonna go ahead and rant about it anyway.
I think half the restaurants in New York that do big business at brunch only exist because of their scene. The food might suck and the service apathetic, but if you draw the right crowd, you’re in like Flint. I understand that you don’t want to run the risk of running into an ex or the dude you made out with last night, looking like the true unwashed sloth that you are in the daytime, but the amount of primping that goes into brunch preparation I don’t understand. I don’t want to fucking accessorize, I just want to wear my old stained sweatshirt and eat my eggs with quiet abandon. It is Sunday after all, the official day of not giving a shit. I already did the whole shower and put on my game face the night before, I don’t want to have to do it again in the morning. Name me one person who has gotten a phone number or met their soulmate while waiting in line for cold eggs and I will retract all my statements.
I’ve been completely guilty of this, but I have to admit I hate large brunch groups. I bet the waitstaff probably hates it twice as much as I do. Big groups of people are a pain in the ass, big drunk and hungover groups of people are a nightmare. Unless it’s your birthday, and if so, just have a party the night before like sane people, but when you try to coordinate more than 5 people, you will probably end up eating at 3 o’clock in the afternoon at some place you don’t even like. I almost wish they would bring back conference lines so everyone could discuss who, what, and where and get it over with. You never get to talk to the people you actually want to, it’s like eating at a Viking banquet hall. And the check. Holy mother of Jesus the check. I’m still trying to get a handle on getting my hands to stop shaking, so splitting a tab among 13 people and figuring out tip and tax is like trying to take the SAT’s on ecstasy. You just have to sit back and hope someone is sober enough to figure it out.
The problem with sharing food is, someone is always going to like the other person’s meal more than their own and overstep the official food sharing boundaries. My boyfriend has learned this lesson the hard way. Once that hamburger hits my mouth, you’re never going to see it again. Attempting this with friends is even harder and certain foods are just not conducive to sharing. Soup is an obvious one, and I’m gonna say any kind of sandwich that isn’t already cut in half is a no no. Plus who wants to swap something back and forth and watch the other person manhandle your food before you even bite into it. Unless you’re starving models splitting a diet coke and taking turns turning your salad into interesting food formations, sharing is not caring. Ignore those years of preschool indoctrination and stick to what you ordered.
If you’re ever wondering why you’re always short on cash at the end of the month, I suggest looking at your old bank statements and adding up the total cost of brunches just for that month. It.will.blow.your.mind. Maybe people are better at personal finance than myself, but it’s insane how much this seemingly casual meal adds up. Even if you don’t go out for dinner very often, most people, myself included, don’t like the idea of having to stand up straight and cook for yourself after a long night of self abuse and tequila. It’s nice to be waited on, but when it turns into an every Saturday and Sunday affair, you need to break that cycle before you forgo new socks for scrambled eggs. Even the most simple basics get up-charged come brunch time. Do you think a side of bacon is worth $5, or “fresh squeezed” orange juice should be the same price as a pack of cigarettes? I’ve found that hosting a quasi pot luck brunch at home can be way more economical and fun than pissing it away on weekly brunches. While I won’t be going cold turkey on this weekend indulgence just yet, you might find me at my local diner Garden Grill a lot more often with all the other broke-asses.