Despite my efforts at planning, I was not able to leave work in time to make it to the church for Adrian and Angelica’s wedding. I thought about just showing up, anyway – it’s a Catholic wedding so it’s already long, plus she’s Mexican – but I realized that I give myself enough opportunities for embarrassment and showing up midway through a wedding at a church with loud doors is not ideal.
But I am totally going to the reception. I have been assured that the bar will be open.
With consideration to marriage and love and all that stuff, my level of comfort with any romantic relationship is a direct corollary to my level of comfort with going to brunch. Historically, I have not demonstrated adeptness at either one. I was bad at maintaining romantic relationships and I hated brunch. Romantic relationships involved too much of the things I didn’t like (responsibility, anxiety, talking on the phone) and not enough of the things I did (going to the bathroom with the door open). Same with brunch: too much bad stuff (weak coffee, shitty eggs, screaming children) and not enough good stuff (reasonably priced mimosas, being seated immediately). However, when I am comfortable in a romantic relationship, I am also comfortable going to brunch. Which is not to say that both have to be perfect for me to be comfortable, it’s just tricky math.
Example of Uncomfortable Relationship/Uncomfortable Brunch:
Before Graham, I dated a guy with a regular office job. This meant that like Current Me, his weekday waking time affected his weekend waking time. While I would have been happy to sleep off the previous night’s drunkenness until at least 11am, he was up at 9am and fiddling around on iTunes. We hadn’t been together long enough for me to assume that I could just sleep, and besides, the computer was right by the bed and that shit was annoying. So I woke up, and because this guy didn’t keep any coffee in the house (I know, I have no idea what I was doing with him in the first place), he suggested brunch.
At the time, I didn’t have much experience with brunch. I’d been working multiple jobs and/or late shifts for the past several years, so by the time I was awake on weekends, it was either too late for brunch or I had to go to work. I kind of thought it might involve old people and churchgoers, but, dudes. Coffee. Plus I thought it would be nice to eat breakfast-y foods at a time other than when I was drunk at 3am.
So we went to brunch. After waiting outside in the cold for a few minutes, a rather large family trundled out of the restaurant. An adult daughter at the back of the group muttered through her overbite that “Children are proof that God loves us and wants the world to go on.” No one else in the family commented on this, so I have no idea if it was part of a larger conversation.
Inside the restaurant, there was an Elderly People and Children With ADD Convention taking place at full volume. Thankfully, though, we were seated pretty quickly and a carafe of coffee was plunked on the tabletop. Un-thankfully, when the server came to take the order, the guy I was dating chose the buffet option.
I hate buffets. HATE them. They are disgusting and germy and only fat assholes who wear khaki cargo shorts on cruise ships like them. Unless you’re at a very fancy event, the buffet table is the saddest part of the room. Everything sags there in chafing dishes, waiting for some ebolic pile to come along and scrape the dregs out. I’m not under any misapprehensions that all food plated behind closed doors is magically cleaner, safer, and tastier, but buffets are just so gross as a concept and I felt like crying when he ordered it.
I picked at my plate of miserable buffet food and read the paper and wondered what on earth I was doing with my life. I still hadn’t figured it out a few weeks later, when we were back at that same restaurant for brunch (no buffet this time, thank god) and my coffee cup sat sad and empty for about five minutes in a row. Unacceptable. No more brunch, no more boyfriend.
These are all minor annoyances. I realize this. But they’re not annoyances I want to deal with on a weekend morning or in a relationship.
Example of Comfortable Relationship/Comfortable Brunch:
I don’t understand why everyone says that falling in love feels dangerous and exhilarating. That didn’t happen to me at all. All of the anxieties I’d experienced in past relationships were pretty much absent from my early relationship with Graham. I never thought about whether or not he liked me or if he would translate my invitation to come out for drinks as a psychotic marriage proposal or if he interpreted my previous relationship history (uh, I got divorced once) as a toxic disease from which no man could rescue me. I had to worry about that with the other guys, but it didn’t occur to me with Graham. When we were dating, we were dating. I knew that. When we were exclusive, we were exclusive. I knew that, too (although he still wanted to talk about it; the conversation began with him wanting to be the only person who could go down on me). When I was in love with him, I knew that. It wasn’t crazy or panicky. I just was. I knew he was, too, and that’s all.
So when Graham suggested brunch in the early days of our relationship, my mind didn’t leap to horrible fantasies about Rascal scooters and impetigo-covered little hands reaching for my food from the next table. I didn’t cringe at the thought of buffets or demand that we get coffee beforehand. I said, “okay.”
We chose the Royale because it was close to his house and it had brunch until something ridiculous like 4pm. We both worked late then and didn’t get out of bed before noon. It was slow and we sat wherever we wanted. Coffee was on the table in about a minute.
Well…the coffee there is served in thin glass mugs, which are stupid because they don’t retain heat. The potatoes were gummy and burnt and how hard is it to cook bacon? Also at one point, Graham told me about how his mother only liked one of his ex-girlfriends, Jane, because she became a teacher. The ex-girlfriend before me was highly disliked, which was surprising to everyone because his mother usually likes “more traditionally good-looking” people. Graham’s only advice to me was that his mom might still like me because I had a corporate job.
Despite all this, though, it was a good relationship and a good brunch. I got a lot of coffee refills and didn’t really care about the bacon. I read the paper and didn’t care about the ex-girlfriend comment (mostly because I MySpaced her when I got home and was like, “yeah, whatever”). These days I’d rather make breakfast at home than stand in line for brunch, but it probably still wouldn’t be so bad. As long as there is coffee and a paper and no buffet and we’ve been together for long enough that even though his mother is still not crazy about me (which has nothing to do with my job or my looks but everything to do with my tattoos) so Graham no longer says stuff like that.
Tonight we are going to our friends’ wedding reception. We’ll laugh at everything and get molested by Louis (who is in town, hooray!). We’ll complain about the food. We won’t dance because we don’t do that. We can’t go to brunch tomorrow because I have a bachelorette party that starts at 10am, but if he’s free on Sunday, I will make him pumpkin pancakes.
It’s the anti-brunch.
(cross-posted to ephemeraetc.blog-city.com)