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It’s admission time: I haven’t attended a brunch in over six months.
Yes, I know, I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Whether it’s because life has gotten in the way or I’ve finally learned that drinking in the morning is bad for me, brunch is a facet of my life that has come and gone. Even the greats have to hang up the cleats every once in a while, and my prime is clearly over.
But what I’ve learned throughout the years is that I have a unique set of skills that allowed me to brunch at a high level for longer than I ever thought imaginable.
Yes, I’ve covered other Ten Commandments in this realm at length — Day Drinking, Sunday Drinking, Group Dinners, Open Bars, Group Texting, the works. But we’ve never honed in on the requirements of the ritual that is brunching. Now is that time.
I. Thou shall make a reservation.
As high maintenance as this sounds, it becomes absolutely essential when you live in a major city. The absolute last thing your hangover needs is an hour-long wait, cramped in the confines of a restaurant entrance while brunch-goers pile in smelling like booze and sex.
Does this take prior planning? Yes. Do you need a designated responsible friend to take matters into their own hands and be the mom of the group? Of course. Does this take more than a small amount of research on OpenTable? No. Do the right thing and make a reservation on Friday afternoon when you’re not doing anything in the office anyway.
II. Thou shall be on-time.
Punctuality is close to godliness, especially when the first commandment has been followed. While a no-show commands that a particular friend is put on Brunch Probation, tardiness cannot be tolerated when the straits are this dire.
Issues that can arise include (but are not limited to): not being seated until your entire party has arrived, having to send several “seriously, where the fuck are you” texts, and (last resort) having to cancel the plans altogether when your less-than-responsible friends decide to sleep in rather than shampoo in some bloodies.
III. Thou shall shower prior to attending.
At its core, brunch is generally a mess. Everyone feels like a mess, the restaurant turns into a mess, and your insides become a mess after you bombard them with every craving in sight. While the table is littered with three drinks per person (water, coffee, booze), you must have a united front in cleanliness on the outside.
Yes, you can wear anything from a fit to athleisure, but showing up with pillow creases and booze breath is out of the question as you run the risk of giving your friends secondhand anxiety due to your carelessness.
IV. Thou shall make it Instagrammable as hell.
The main reason you go to brunch is to heal the wounds from the night prior. Secondly, it’s to be social and recap what went down after everyone turned the lights off at the third bar. But most importantly, brunch is a vessel for showing others that you’re better and more productive than they are.
If you aren’t getting a story off while surrounded by a bunch of people questioning whether they’re hungover or buzzed, you’re not portraying your crew in the positive light they deserve. Peeling yourself out of bed is something that should be commended and recognized to your 500 followers. A generic post of a mimosa next to a succulent is better than no post at all.
V. Never before 10:30; never after 2 p.m.
If it’s before 10:30, it’s breakfast. If it’s after 2 o’clock, you’re too deep into lunch to justify ordering anything with eggs as its base. You can argue endlessly about what timeframe brunch is actually supposed to fall into, but the sweet spot exists somewhere in the aforementioned timeframe. The earlier you book, the more likely it is to fall apart. The later you book, the likely it is to turn into a brown-out-before-the-group-dinner-that-night situation.
…not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
VI. Respect thy waiter.
They hate their lives almost as much as you did when you woke up and saw that you had an unreturned text to your ex from after midnight. If you think being a waiter is tough in the first place (it is), imagine being a waiter in a restaurant where your prime clientele is a bunch of yuppie scum whose brains are functioning at about 25 percent.
Brunch waiters work harder than any other waiters out there. They can’t set a bottle of wine down on the table and let you pour it yourself like at a nice dinner. No, they have to be at your beck and call as you attempt to find any and all coping mechanisms to cure your hangover.
And honestly, they’re probably hungover too. Treat them as you’d like to be treated.
VII. Thou shall make post-brunch accommodations (Saturdays only).
Saturday brunch is a different beast than Sunday brunch (excluding NFL Sundays). On Sundays, your intentions should be to cure your hangover. On Saturdays though, your intentions should be to get out of the house and stay out of the house.
Whether you go to a wine bar or beer garden immediately following your eggs benedict, it’s essential that you have something in mind before the check comes and you inevitably say, “So, are we just all going to go home?”
If you absolutely must, at least take a small stroll to find an iced americano and decompress before deciding what you should actually do. Don’t waste your Saturday.
VIII. Thou shall go directly home after (Sundays only).
If I’ve learned anything from going to a brunch with a make-your-own bloody mary bar, it’s that bloodies cause me to default to nap mode. And if I’ve learned anything from ingesting an entire carafe of mimosas, it’s that it makes me want to turn into Leo from the day party scene in The Wolf of Wall Street. The absolute last thing my Monday needs is the dreaded “Sunday Funday” hangover because I let brunch give me false confidence that I can still go hard.
IX. Thou shall split the bill evenly.
As I previously stated, everyone’s brains are that of a bowl of lumpy oatmeal. If the group is over four people, it’s law that everyone throws in their Chase Sapphires and splits it evenly despite Monica only having a side salad and Trevor pounding two entrees. That’s the cost you incur when you accept the invite. They say you can’t put a price on a hangover cure, but you can — it’s $30.
X. Thou shall not order shots.
Shots are the straw that will break the camels back. I’ve stated before in The Ten Commandments of Day Drinking that shots will cause your day to spiral, and this holds true when it comes to brunching as well. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea either didn’t go hard enough the night before or doesn’t get hangovers. Neither of those people are people you should be friends with. You know, unless they made the reservation because everyone else in your group of friends is too big of a shitshow to do so themselves. .
If you’re too hungover to go to brunch, then it’s time for The Sunday Scaries Podcast. Covering everything from hangovers to sleeping to scented candles, it’s the perfect way to unwind when drinking with friends just seems to overbearing. Subscribe on iTunes, and leave a review if its helped.