Some subjects are polarizing, and we as a society have to accept that. Some people don’t shower everyday, and even though that’s completely psychotic, I can get past that.
But you’re just out of line if you’re going to step on the toes of everyone’s favorite meal — brunch. I can’t just let that type of behavior slip between the cracks because I’d like to think of myself as a brunch-truther. Vice did just that.
As always, the original text is in quotes.
Brunch Is America’s Most Hated Meal Because We All Ruined It
Brunch is, without a doubt, the most divisive meal known to man. For everyone like myself who loves nothing more than crawling out of bed on a Sunday afternoon to eat a shitload of eggs, there’s another two people who’d rather auto-erotically asphyxiate while watching Full House reruns than eat brunch.
Find me one person that would prefer to auto-erotically asphyxiate rather than enjoy the fine tastings of a brunch menu bursting with Cinnamon Bread French Toast, Crabcake Eggs Benedict, and Mimosas of all shapes and flavors. Just one.
In major cities across the country, hoards of hungry, well-heeled eaters line up for hours to shove unhealthy food into their mouths and get day-drunk. To my ear, that sounds like a gravy-soaked dream come true.
It’s not even about “shoving food” into your mouth. It’s a social scene where you’re there to put the vibe out that, yeah, you’re crushing it. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’m a light-fare kind of guy. I’m not trying to leave with a bloated face and a stomachache. That’s what the night before was for. Me? I’m splitting small plates with the girls next to me and making sure I’m just the appropriate amount of champagne-buzzed.
Unfortunately, brunch has become synonymous with upper class, yuppie assholes and urban tourists. More than any other dining experience, the leisure and excess of brunch typifies the gaping divide between America’s haves and have-nots. A low-income, ethnic neighborhood is not truly gentrified until it has a trendy destination that experiments with kale.
Upper-class, yuppie assholes? I’ll take that. It’s better than being in the category of people that are slummin’ it and eating microwavable bacon on top of some eggbeaters.
Furthermore, don’t just throw kale in there either. Do I like kale? No. It’s tough to digest and brutal to chew. Don’t act like it’s something all of us just love purely because we like being social between the hours of 11 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon as opposed to 11 at night and 1 in the morning.
A beautiful meal that involves both bacon and alcohol has been ruined by the afterbirth of our culture’s rapidly escalating class conflict. If society implemented a few of the below suggestions, we could make brunch not only more egalitarian, but also significantly less shitty.
Okay, you’re just being rude. Let’s just get to it.
It Costs Too Much
The image of the typical brunch patron is that of a snob who spends most of their morning deciding what to wear to brunch. That’s our fault. Brunch developed into an exclusively bourgeois activity because it’s expensive, and middle class strivers are complicit in this sham. If I go to brunch, I’m probably going to spend at least $40. Entrees alone can cost up to $20. Drinks aren’t far behind. It’s the perfect meal for the oncoming rush of generic culture and gentrification because it’s essentially elitist.
Okay, you make a fair point, as I’ve pointed out in Things Girls Do After Graduation. Half of eating brunch is the process of figuring out where to actually brunch.
But if you’re going to brunch and dropping $40? You’re doing everything wrong. Last week I went to a place in Houston where the cheapest entree was $12 and carafes of mimosas were $19. So what’d I do? I split an entree (and had more than enough food) and went all in on splitting carafes before hitting up the $5 beer menu. Boom, in and out for $29 and a cool buzz.
The only way this will change is if we collectively start supporting shitty, low-cost diners where the wait staff is more sassy than dismissive. If enough city dwellers skipped the interminable lines and grabbed corned beef hash and a can of domestic beer for brunch, maybe we could save the world.
You can do that, bro. No one is stopping you from drinking beers and eating corned beef hash. Honestly? That sounds like a remarkable brunch to me. No one is telling you to spend $18 on avocado toast with a side of artisanal grass-fed bacon. Free your mind, bro.
We’re Inviting the Wrong People
Often, brunch is used as a tool for urban professionals to network. It’s not a meal. It’s a goddamn circus with multiple rings, all teeming with needy, egotistical, starving animals. Satiating these beasts can either be a simple task (sticking a bloody mary in their hand and hoping for the best) or a Herculean effort riddled with potential social disasters.
Okay, so your version of networking isn’t getting a little swervy and seeing what happens? 90% of the networking I do is over one-too-many-cocktails with said urban professionals. “Sticking a bloody mary in their hand and hoping for the best” might actually be my new mantra, which I thank you for.
I suggest we stop inviting colleagues or acquaintances to brunch. This should be a pleasant activity, not a rush to show off to your direct competition or a way to get ahead in your career. You should really only invite close friends who won’t mind if you embarrass yourself by throwing up brie-flavored vomit in the back of the cab on the way home. This is why certain people create “brunch clubs,” a cadre of trusted associates that appreciate you enough to tolerate you while you’re day-drunk.
Wait, your close friends throw up brie-flavored vomit in the back of cabs? I know I’m not one to judge, but you might wanna keep your friends in check, man. That’s… that’s kind of a problem if they’re doing that after a mid-day brunch. I’m all for keeping work separate from my business life, but it sounds like you’ve got some friends going down some pretty bad paths. Figure that out.
But on the flipside, a “brunch club” is something I can get behind. I hate when we’ve got outsiders around cramping my style and judging me for getting a voddy-topper on my second round of Screwdrivers.
Restaurants Make Us Wait Too Fucking Long
OK, this has nothing to do with class. It’s just a pet peeve of mine. I refuse to wait in line for over an hour for anything, unless we’re talking about a machine that dispenses unlimited free hot dogs. You have to trudge through a mass of people also waiting for food, find the host or hostess who may or may not be completely frazzled, write your name down, and then hope to god you can find a comfortable place to sit.
Reservations. Ever heard of ’em? We made a 12:30 rezzie for twelve last weekend and it worked out perfectly. Premier table, two waitresses, minimal waiting, in and out in less than 90 minutes.
A great man once said, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” You either gotta plan ahead or stay behind, bro. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Most people spend this time having inane conversations or Instagramming anything and everything they can find. At some brunch spots, you can drink while you wait for a table to open up. Drinking occupies that dark space between your ears that insists on generating thoughts like, “Why would I wait so long to eat?” or “I really hope I don’t end up with nightmarish flatulence after I’m done eating.” Alcohol keeps existence’s sorry truth from interrupting your good time, which is the second biggest reason why restaurants serve booze at brunch. The biggest reasons is, of course, monetary gain. Not only are the drinks pricey, but if you drink enough before you’re even seated, you’re bound to order more food. Yes, I will take an extra side of wild boar bacon. Also, can I get some ranch with that? In a to-go cup?
Find a way to alleviate this interminable purgatory, or I may never eat eggs benedict again.
If eating and drinking too much is such a chore for you, leave brunch domination to those who enjoy dominating. Me? I’m not a gym guy, so I let people workout without me raining on their proverbial parade. Part of the reason I drink so much at brunch is to forget how many calories I’m taking in. So yeah, I would love some wild boar bacon with a side of ranch. And maybe some sausage links too, because Meatless Mondays are a thing and I need to go all-in on Sunday.
You Basically Can’t Order Any Real Alcoholic Drinks
Drinking during a meal is one of those luxuries the well-heeled love most about brunch. That’s why all brunch drinks are so goddamned fancy. It’s yet another outward sign of success. If all you want to do is be in an environment where it’s culturally acceptable to eat pancakes at 2 PM, then just stay home (side note, some people have brunch at home with booze, and they’re doing it right).
Wait, define “fancy” for me. If adding fruit juice to some type of alcohol (champagne, vodka, gin, whatever) is fancy, then call me Jay fuckin’ Gatsby. If having a drink with two ingredients constitutes being shamed for being too uppity for you, you need to take a huge step back and reassess your standards. If people were drinking bourbon neat at brunch, they’d be throwing up in the back of cabs like your friends.
That seems like the reason why only some beverages are OK to order. Most restaurants endeavor to foist a $15 bottomless mimosa or bloody mary on its patrons. Again, this is the height of conspicuous decadence, and it’s alienating. The restaurants want you to binge-drink a silly cocktail that is easy to make in bulk. I’ve seen people try to order a beer at brunch, and the response from the wait staff is akin to telling a date your favorite movie is Triumph of the Will and you love ball torture. Let me order something cheap without my waiter throwing shade in my general direction.
What kind of mom-and-pop brunches are you attending where bitchy waitresses are refusing to fetch a few beers? This is either a product of your environment or a product of the way you’re treating your waitress. If you’re rolling into a nice brunch spot with a bad lumbersexual attitude acting like you’re better than everyone else that’s having a good time, I can see why someone might give you some stink eye when you’re ordering a 15% ABV Nitro Stout. I’d hate you too.
The Music Choices Are Shameful
Brunch became popular as a pseudo-meal because it was relaxing. You can eat brunch whenever you want, and you can do it outdoors in shorts and flip-flops (a.k.a “LA formal wear”). The music should reflect that lackadaisical tone, and it shouldn’t get in the way of you actually having a conversation.
Exactly. Well said.
Most brunch places in LA don’t adhere to this simple rule, and instead choose to assert their musical choices as though the restaurant were a side stage at Coachella. The irony of playing old 2 Pac songs during the whitest meal known to man is lost on everyone but me. Either I get the band pictured above playing Gene Krupa’s greatest hits or I walk.
Woof. When I’m brunching, I’m on a strict John Mayer or acoustic diet and that’s not negotiable under any circumstances unless Van Morrison is around. Last year’s season premiere of Girls even had a live duet (sup, Marnie?) playing and their worst performance would be better than EDM. Like I said earlier, you might be putting yourself in the wrong situations because your brunches sound miserable.
The Food is a Total Afterthought
Oh, have you forgotten about eating? By now, most brunchers have forgotten that they’re actually participating in a meal and not a Girls Gone Wild video shoot on Bourbon Street. What does one order? Does it even fucking matter? Food is food. If you’re drunk enough, sucking on a plastic bag full of silver dollars might satisfy your hunger. Eggs, bacon, and hollandaise sauce are almost a bonus. Also, eating too much might get in the way of the peacocking that has taken over brunch culture. The “brunch spot as outdoor nightclub” phenomenon will always keep a certain element of the population at bay. The concept of eating being secondary to being seen near food isn’t relatable or egalitarian at all. It’s alien to just about everyone.
I’ve never been to a brunch similar to a Girls Gone Wild video shoot on Bourbon Street… but I’m definitely not opposed to that because that sounds awesome.
But the best meals are the ones where you can’t remember what you ate because you were too busy engaging with other people. I’m not trying to have an uppity-foodie discussion about how my eggs were overcooked. I’m trying to max-chill with my buddy Todd and recap how awesome we were the night before.
That’s why my most important suggestion is to ban fedoras, gladiator sandals, aviator sunglasses, beanies during summertime, cutoff shorts where the pockets are visible, and oversized watches from brunch. I look forward to my Presidential Medal of Freedom. You can just mail it to the VICE LA office.
I’m all for banning fedoras, aviators and beanies. But a chick wearing gladiator sandals with cutoff shorts and an oversized watch that screams, “My dad pays my rent?” Would.
Image via Shutterstock