The COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over, but more and more people are getting vaccinated by the day, with almost 17% of the U.S. population having received both doses. Combined with the news that vaccinated people are unlikely to carry or spread COVID-19, some vaccinated friend groups are beginning to return to something approximating “normal.”
I’m overjoyed to be able to gather indoors with my friends again, but when one of them suggested an Easter brunch at her apartment, I balked. Not because of the religious connotations—I’m Jewish, but I love celebrating any food-centric holiday—or the stress of socializing again, but simply because the word “brunch” immediately struck fear into my heart. It’s been over a year since I made my way into a stuffy, overcrowded restaurant to eat rubbery omelets and chug down the obligatory “bottomless” mimosas, and to be honest…I don’t miss it.
While I would give anything to magically snap back to pre-COVID society, our new era will undoubtedly call for some reexamination of social norms. I can’t imagine ever getting on a packed subway train again without a mask (or, at least, not for a very long time), and the idea of staying out until 4 a.m. the way I used to fills me with dread. I hope that some of my crowd anxiety recedes and my joie de vivre returns as the threat of the pandemic lessens; but there are some things I’m more than happy to dispense with forever, and waiting in line (in line! The indignity!) for potatoes and eggs I could have made at home is definitely one of them.
I’m far from the first or only person to hate brunch; Anthony Bourdain himself called it “a horrible, cynical way of unloading leftovers and charging three times as much as you ordinarily charge for breakfast,” and many chefs famously work brunch as a last resort. (As a former employee of a seafood restaurant with a weekend brunch special, I can confirm that nothing turns Brooklyn adults into whiny, shrieking toddlers faster than the idea that they might not get to enjoy their waffles and Bloody Marys at an outdoor table.)
There were stories written about brunch-hating as early as 2014, as well as 30 Rock jokes about the phenomenon way back in 2012, and I fully acknowledge that detesting brunch—or anything, really—is not a personality. Still, the tentative return of my social calendar is forcing me to restate something I never thought I’d have to say again: I do not want to get up before 11 for a meal. Ever. Especially when the solution is so clear—just do lunch! It’s all the fun and socialization of brunch, minus the rush and table competition and occasional hangover-induced misery.