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I Do It Alone: Brunch

i brunch alone

by Lindsay Lelivelt


Nothing so lonely and nothing so liberating as bellying up to the bar, in the single stool between the coupled couples and enjoying weekend libations and luxuries ahead of the wait.


Nothing so bold or so brave as sitting, sipping, savoring solo at a table for two.

A regular Carrie Bradshaw, I brunch alone.
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No friends with benefits, just me and benedicts.

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It’s a silly, fine line of faltering between “Hell Yeah” proud of myself and “What if I just look at my phone and scroll Instagram forever” as I wait impatiently for the Bloody Mary to reach me. I fidget a little, or I did back when I first started this ritual. I would constantly check my hair or play with the hem of my shirt — anything to distract me from feeling exposed. Because that line is there, drawn between my self-confidence and societal pressures. A line that tries to separate me from mimosas.

Of course, that’s really the only line you experience because when you brunch alone, there is rarely a wait when flying solo. But that pressure (perceived or otherwise) can get to you.

Sometimes that very fine line is buffered with books or early baseball games on TV, other coping mechanisms and defensive tools to protect me. But oftentimes it’s just me and my own thoughts. Vulnerable. Unsettled. Hungry. What a terrible combination of feelings. What a powerful trio to overcome. What is the stigma, the problem with eating by yourself at a restaurant? And why, like so many things, is it even worse for a woman? Much like sitting alone with a book at a bar, I am constantly interrupted by other patrons – likely thinking that I need small talk to make up for the loneliness that I must obviously be feeling.

It’s best when I’m hit on over breakfast potatoes. This usually happens at brunch spots with sports on for football Sundays or any given baseball game or soccer tournament. And it always starts the same. If I’m without a book as a shield it’s, “Why’s a pretty girl like you brunching all alone?” That’s easy enough to deflect with a politely delivered, “I’m attempting to achieve nirvana via this french toast. Thank you for the compliment, but it’s a solitary pursuit.”

But my favorite is the approach when I’m reading. Once, I had two books with me - one I was about to finish, and one to start right after.

“What are you reading there?”

Bad Feminist and Not That Kind of Girl.”

“...oh.”

Can’t a girl enjoy some pancakes in peace?

The only tragedy of brunching alone is that you have no counterpart to order the other things you want to eat and share plates. The burden of deciding between two things, and settling on a side. It’s not fair.

I want the bacon and the sausage. The huevos rancheros with the frittata. I don’t want to have to pick between savory and sweet, but there’s only so much space for food at a table or along the bar. Sharing makes the gluttonous tendencies of brunch a little less obvious. But I suppose, that’s why to-go boxes were invented. And stretchy pants.

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Everyone’s favorite part of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” is the eating part. This is a fact, don’t @ me.
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As a single lady, I try to live out that life every chance I get. But with breakfast foods. Not pizza. OK, sometimes with pizza. But also with bacon and eggs and hash browns and quiche. An eternal love affair, a true
relationship with food. Food and all its comforts.

I don’t take the time during the week to make a proper breakfast for myself before heading out the door to work. Honestly, I’m lucky if I even remember to eat before lunchtime. It’s a bad way to be, and I know I’m not alone in forgoing this important meal. But it happens. So, on the weekends, the ceremony of breaking the fast from the night before, the act of nourishing both body and mind with the tastiest of treats, is important to me. It’s a nice reset and a chance to slowly start the day right. On Sundays, it’s how I try to set the tone for the week. I start the week with confidence, with intention, with waffles.

I know that this relationship with food is really a relationship with myself. One that I continue to foster as I try to make more time for me. Knowing myself, being comfortable enough to go places alone, to try new things and take care of myself, to venture out beyond my comfort zone to seek comfort – that’s amore.

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Why would anyone ever eat anything besides breakfast food? What a heavenly pleasure that we should all indulge in more often — with or without the social shield of a friend. Because sometimes what we really need, more than a brunch buddy is some biscuits and gravy. And sometimes, I’m more reliable than a group of people. I know I’ll get myself to the meal I want, but friends can easily flake.
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And why would I ever let anyone in between me and breakfast bliss? Table for one, please.

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Lindsay Lelivelt is a Golden Girls aficionado living and writing in San Francisco. You can find her posting on most things as @lindsaylelivelt or at whiskyandwhimsy.com.

Previous Installments
- "I Do It Alone: The Movies" by Ursula Wheeler
- Interested in contributing to this monthly series? Please contact Britt.

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