An inconvenient booth

Finding a way to hate brunch one customer at a time

To be straight up with you all, I was kind of annoyed when the SN&R team just assumed I would write the contrarian’s take on brunch. Like I’m some weird amalgam of Andy Rooney, Lewis Black and Little Mikey from those old Life cereal commercials.

“Let’s get Raheem! He won’t eat it. He hates everything!”

But really, who hates brunch? It’s breakfast food at a nonbreakfast time. I enjoy breakfast foods and being late. I’m the one lobbying his friends at midnight to slum it at Denny’s just to order unlimited buttermilk pancakes for $4. I never end up requesting a second helping, usually to the server’s confusion, but it’s just $4! I can’t lose!

Sure, they could be a little more forthcoming with the syrup, but I digress.

Brunch: I started thinking about it a little. And damn, it turns out my colleagues know me too well.

Now, maybe it’s just the brunches I’ve attended, 75 percent of which occur during Mother’s Day or a similarly bright occasion where there’s no fixed tradition or location. But to my mind, there’s a pretension to brunch, a borrowed snobbery that people try on like ironic fedoras or adult princess costumes.

I mean, the tone is pretty much set with the cutesy, portmanteau word platter combining “breakfast” and “lunch.” Like my friend Scott is going to call me up and say, “Hey man, does Raheemie want to get some yummy brunchy with Scotty? Pwetty pwease?”

Ick. Ick. Ick.

And it seems like such a marketing ploy. Like a handful of influential restauranteurs got together back in the day and decided Americans needed a fourth square meal to cram food down their throats. What’s next—linner? Dunch? Dinnert?

All of which underscore the naked economic savagery, where the businesses running this cheery scam know they can surge-price us for a flute of store-bought OJ dashed with a spit of champagne. I actually can’t decide which is weaker: the mimosas, the coffee or brunch’s entire reason for being.

Yet we fall for it.

Every brunch I’ve been dragged to involved a wait of at least 30 minutes in a crowded entryway with a group of people whose conversations I usually regret overhearing.

Brunch is the proletariat playing pretend 1 percenter. And to me, the idea is about as appealing as summering in the Hamptons. I’m sure it would be lovely if not for the people.

It is rooms filled with trust-fund brats and their mean-dean dads. Politicians in khakis and cool aunts in yoga pants. Sweater-necked brunch bros and a bridal shower party putting off way too much energy. Or my people: hungover groups of friends who just want to silently carbo-load, but are now forced to cheerily answer the question “Rough night?” 47 different times.

Brunch, in other words, is my vision of millennial hell, set in a daytime nightclub filled with a sunny cult of morning people. Everything is hued in pastel and no one can eat until all the Instagram photos are taken, filtered, compared, shared, commented on and retaken.

It is not my scene. I don’t dig it. I don’t care about it. And I don’t want to spend 20 minutes discussing toast points with a guy who has seven bands but no songs. Not at 11 in the morning. Not ever.

But hate? That’s a pretty strong word.

And, yet, maybe a little accurate.