I should’ve seen it coming. The signs were all there. Everyone knows that, sure, bottomless mimosas are a good deal. But underneath the surface, they’re just a gateway drug. A one-way ticket to hurt. Too much of a good thing.
You see, brunch began fairly innocently when it first came to fruition in 1895 in Hunter’s Weekly, the Smithsonian notes.
In “Brunch: A Plea,” British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favor of lighter fare served late in the morning. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” Beringer says. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Brunch entered the world with the best intentions, as a 1998 New York Times piece describes the pure aims behind the ritual we’ve all come to know a little too well — “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well.” And if anything, it’s almost become more innocent as it was originally suggested that beer and whiskey be served instead of coffee and tea.
Through all the Bloody Maries and Mimosas, we’ve forgotten that the reason for brunching is to cure the hangover, not to delay or create a new one twenty-four hours later. We parlay these mid-morning libations into early-afternoon boilermakers into happy hour pitchers into late-night liquor-and-sodas. We’re gluttons who crave to sustain the buzz we’ve been waiting to achieve from the moment we walk into the office on Monday morning to when we escape from the confines of our cubicles come 5 o’clock at week’s end.
The issue at hand is that brunch has not only become a Sunday staple, but a Saturday one as well. The “carousers” he’s talking about? That’s you, that’s me, that’s us. But we’re not limiting ourselves to Saturday night carousing. We’re carousing come 4 p.m. on Friday before turning the following morning into what looks like an MLB locker room after a series win. Champagne everywhere, joyous shouts of glee, oversized t-shirts handed out just prior (sure, most of which are on girls that are lampshading after not returning home the night before, but no one’s judging here).
When you start mixing grapefruit juice with prosecco and Hollandaise, you create a dangerous and intoxicating mixture of calories and acidic danger that not only stresses the belt line but the brain as well. In our minds, too much of a good thing is never enough even though we all know deep down that a little bit of a good thing is probably too much. We don’t need stuffed hash browns. We don’t need pieces of bacon and beef sticks in our Bloodies. We don’t need four vessels in front of us holding everything from water to coffee to fountain soda to Salty Dogs.
While part of me wants to maintain on the path that we call brunch, the responsible part of me wants to take back mornings filled with coffees on the couch and CBS Sunday Morning playing on low volume while I catch up on some reading. Deep down, I know I should spend my afternoons at Whole Foods so I can begin meal-prepping rather than calling an Uber to shuttle me from restaurant to restaurant, bar to bar, beer garden to beer garden.
With a heavy heart and a shaky lip, I have to say something I never thought I’d say before: I’m putting myself in brunch timeout. This isn’t a permanent venture, just a means of learning to re-appreciate something I once loved and never took for granted. What may seem like a retirement or exile is simply a strategy to get back to basics.
(Unless a group text comes in around 10 o’clock on Saturday asking what my plans are. Then I’ll probably get a conditioned craving for some avocado toast and a screwdriver.) .
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